Assessing the Conventional Balance in Europe, 1945-1975

by Richard Bitzinger


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This Note examines the state of the NATO-Warsaw Pact conventional military balance between 1945 and 1975 as it was perceived at the time, describes the methodology used to arrive at these conclusions, and discusses and assesses perceptions of both defense analysts and Western officials regarding the military balance. In particular, it considers the analytical approaches used to assess the state of the balance, how "subjective" the analyses were, and ways the interpretations of the balance have changed over the years. Underlying this discussion is the role of nuclear strategy in shaping perceptions of the conventional force balance.

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