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Blueprints for Battle

Planning for War in Central Europe, 1948-1968

edited by Jan Hoffenaar and Dieter Kr?ger. edited by David T. Zabecki

Publication Year: 2012

While scholarship abounds on the diplomatic and security aspects of the Cold War, very little attention has been paid to military planning at the operational level. In Blueprints for Battle, experts from Russia, the United States, and Europe address this dearth by closely examining the military planning of NATO and Warsaw Pact member nations from the end of World War II to the beginning of d?tente. Informed by material from recently opened archives, this collection investigates the perceptions and actions of the rival coalitions, exploring the challenges presented by nuclear technology, examining how military commanders' perceptions changed from the 1950s to the 1960s, and discussing logistical coordination among allied states. The result is a detailed study that offers much-needed new perspectives on the military aspects of the early Cold War.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Foreign Military Studies

Front cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-x

In November 1986 I was working at the Ruppertsweiler Underground Facility during a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise. Affectionately known as . . .


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pp. xi-xxxii

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A Note on the English Edition

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p. xxxiii-xxxiii

The German federal government’s translation service, Bundessprachenamt, initially translated the preface, the introduction, and nine of the fourteen chapters of this book into English. Five of the chapters were originally . . .

Abbreviations and Common Terms

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pp. xxxv-xxxvii

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Introduction: The Plans of the Warsaw Pact and NATO

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pp. 1-3

On 22 and 23 March 2007, military historians from Russia, the United States, and Eastern and Western Europe convened to discuss the military operational plans developed during the Cold War. With the opening of the archives, . . .

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1. Strategic Problems and the Central Sector, 1948-1968: An Overview

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pp. 5-20

Western Europe’s vulnerability to a Soviet thrust from East Germany was arguably the most pressing concern of the five powers that signed the Brussels Pact in March 1948. It was the most persuasive reason for the European allies . . .

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2. Aims and Realities: NATO’s Forward Defense and the Operational Planning Level at NORTHAG

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pp. 21-31

At its formation, NATO basically represented a regional alliance with its leading powers as global actors. The classical strategic thinking of the Anglo- Saxon sea powers had to be coordinated with the demands of their . . .

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3. Soviet and Warsaw Pact Military Strategy from Stalin to Breshnev: The Transformation from “Strategic Defense” to “Unlimited Nuclear War,” 1945–1968

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pp. 33-53

Drawing in part on recently acquired sources from Russian archives, this chapter presents an overview of the changes in Soviet military strategy from 1945 through the end of the 1960s. It examines how nuclear weapons . . .

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4. Waiting to Be Kissed? NATO, NORTHAG, and Intelligence

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pp. 55-74

An intelligence chief once remarked, “Intelligence is regarded as a Cinderella service,” and war is what changes Cinderella into the princess.1 This analogy sought to capture the way intelligence had been badly neglected before . . .

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5. East German Military Intelligence for the Warsaw Pact in the Central Sector

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pp. 75-92

“Our military politics as a whole must . . . be based on a realistic assessment of the adversary.” With this statement made in 1964, Heinz Hoffmann, the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) minister of defense, underpinned the . . .

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6. Waste and Confusion? NATO Logistics from the Dutch Perspective

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pp. 93-107

Within NATO, logistics was and still is a national responsibility, which reflects practical, political, and economic considerations. Every country that provided troops to an operation was expected to provide the necessary . . .

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7. The Logistics System of the Soviet and Warsaw Pact Armed Forces in the 1950s and 1960s

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pp. 109-119

During the 1950s and 1960s the strength and organizational structure of the strategic operational logistics system and the unit trains of the Soviet armed forces and the Warsaw Pact members underwent essential changes. Starting . . .

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8. Soviet Union Military Planning, 1948-1968

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pp. 121-129

Immediately after World War II the 12-million-man Soviet army was reduced to a strength of 2.8 million. The most capable forces at the time were concentrated in the occupation zones in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. . . .

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9. War Games in Europe: The U.S. Army Experiments with Atomic Doctrine

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pp. 131-153

At the end of World War II the U.S. Army assumed a new mission. The emergence of the Soviet Union as a hostile power and the threat posed by substantial Soviet armed forces in Eastern Europe forced American military leaders . . .

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10. Fighting for the Heart of Germany: German I Corps and NATO’s Plans for the Defense of the North German Plain in the 1960s

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pp. 155-174

“Who actually knows about Jassy?”1 A few years ago Bernd Wegner raised this question to broach the issue of the ignorance of a growing number of historians who dedicate themselves to the history of the military using a . . .

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11. The German Democratic Republic

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pp. 175-201

Eggesin in the north of the German Democratic Republic (GDR): Shrill alarm bells are ringing in a remote barracks complex. Units of the 9th Tank Division of the Nationale Volksarmee (National People’s Army, NVA) are . . .

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12. The British Army of the Rhine and Defense Plans for Germany, 1945-1955

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pp. 203-215

Early British defense planning for a Soviet invasion of Germany is a subject that has received little scholarly attention. During the research for this essay I found that little primary planning material has survived. The records . . .

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13. The Dutch Contribution to the Defense of the Central Sector

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pp. 217-237

From 1951 until the end of the 1960s and following a period of reticence, the Netherlands was fully committed to making a meaningful military contribution to the NATO defense of the Central Sector in Europe.1 Since 1945, it had . . .

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14. Concluding Remarks: Warfare in the Central Sector

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pp. 239-244

More than two decades have passed since the end of the Cold War, and for younger readers the subject of this publication must seem like ancient history, and a history that fortunately never happened. But I know that for me . . .


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pp. 245-247


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pp. 249-261

E-ISBN-13: 9780813136523
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813136516

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Foreign Military Studies

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Military planning -- Europe -- History -- 20th century.
  • Military planning -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Military planning -- Soviet Union -- History -- 20th century.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- History -- 20th century.
  • Warsaw Treaty Organization -- History.
  • Military history, Modern -- 20th century.
  • Cold War.
  • Europe -- Defenses.
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