The strategic mind-set of the Soviet Military: an essay-review

by Arnold L. Horelick


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A review of translations of [The Armed Forces of the Soviet State] (1975), by A. A. Grechko and [Soviet Military Strategy] (1968 edition), by V. D. Sokolovskiy. The utility of Soviet military literature for understanding the strategic purpose of the USSR is critically assessed. Comparison of successive editions of the books under review offer the specialist an opportunity to explore in minute detail changes in authoritative Soviet military views on the broad range of subjects. For general readers the volumes are recommended primarily for the insights they offer into the strategic mind-set of the Soviet marshals--basic and remarkably stable attitudes toward nuclear war that appear to be fundamental elements in the belief system of the Soviet military. The author concludes that differences between Soviet and American outlooks are less likely the consequence of a temporary "lag" in Soviet strategic sophistication than of profound differences between the political cultures of the two societies.

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