Cover: Commitment to Purpose

Commitment to Purpose

How Alliance Partnership Won the Cold War

by Richard L. Kugler


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This book presents an in-depth historical analysis of how the Cold War unfolded in Europe from 1946-1992. It focuses on the NATO-Warsaw Pact military confrontation, but it views this confrontation in the larger framework of security policies and East-West diplomacy on both sides. Its thesis is that the West won the Cold War because it not only forged the NATO military alliance, but also learned how to make this alliance work by mastering the art of peacetime coalition planning. The effect was to keep Western Europe secure, thereby allowing the West’s superior economic performance and political cohesion to overshadow the rival Soviet-led bloc. A further thesis is that the western alliance should be kept alive in order to deal with new problems on Europe’s horizon. The book includes a foreword by Robert Komer, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Table of Contents

  • Section 1: Introduction

  • Chapter One

    Scope and Methods

  • Section 2: Laying the Foundations: The 1940s and 1950s

  • Chapter Two

    Origins of the Cold War

  • Chapter Three

    Military Buildup

  • Chapter Four

    Nuclear Interlude

  • Section 3: The Great Strategy Debate: The 1960s

  • Chapter Five

    Revolution in American Military Strategy

  • Chapter Six

    The Debate Erupts

  • Chapter Seven

    The Search for Solutions

  • Chapter Eight

    Toward a New NATO Military Strategy

  • Chapter Nine

    NATO Force Trends: The Uneven Path to Progress

  • Chapter Ten

    Alliance Decay or Growth?

  • Section 4: Ambiguous Competition and Growing Resolve: The 1970s

  • Chapter Eleven

    U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy in the Nixon Administration

  • Chapter Twelve

    The Tangled Web of NATO Defense Planning and Détente Diplomacy in Europe

  • Chapter Thirteen

    Toward Reawakened Interest in Defense Policy

  • Chapter Fourteen

    NATO Policy in Carter’s Early Years

  • Chapter Fifteen

    NATO Policy in Carter’s Last Years

  • Chapter Sixteen

    Legacy of the 1970s: A Decade of Neglect?

  • Section 5: Strategic Resurgence and Sudden Victory: The 1980s

  • Chapter Seventeen

    The Reagan Foreign Policy and Defense Strategy

  • Chapter Eighteen

    INF Modernization in Europe

  • Chapter Nineteen

    Toward NATO Conventional Force Improvements

  • Chapter Twenty

    Toward a Safer Europe: 1985-88

  • Chapter Twenty-One

    The European Military Balance in Historical Perspective

  • Chapter Twenty-Two

    The End of the Cold War and Start of Something New

  • Section 6: Lessons of the Past, Policies for the Future

  • Chapter Twenty-Three

    How the Cold War Was Won

  • Chapter Twenty-Four

    Toward a More Political Alliance: Prospects and Problems

  • Chapter Twenty-Five

    Future U.S. Policy in Europe

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was supported by The Ford Foundation and by RAND using its own research funds.

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