DROPSHOT: The United States Plan for War with the Soviet Union in 1957 by Anthony Cave--Ed. Brown

DROPSHOT: The United States Plan for War with the Soviet Union in 1957

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In 1949, as the Cold War first began to heat up, the Pentagon prepared a study, based on the supposition that eight years later, on January 1, 1957, the US and USSR would be at war, and drawing up a scenario for American strategy. It is this study, made public last year, which Brown, a British journalist who specializes in similar projects--he is also the editor of The Secret History of the Atomic Bomb -- has edited and introduced. The contents of the report, with the benefit of hindsight and the excellent scholarship on the early Cold War now available, is fairly predictable. Underpinning the whole thing is a vision of the USSR as a formidable aggressor, attempting to subvert the West internally while threatening it militarily. The details of the plan, now insignificant, center around US strategic air strikes against Russian territory following Soviet ground victories in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Although the Pentagon expected the Soviets to have developed atomic bombs by the time war broke out, the report lays great emphasis upon the predominance of US atomic capabilities, and predicts an ultimate win on the basis of that superiority. While interesting as an example of American self-confidence in the postwar years and anti-communist paranoia, this is by now familiar stuff, covered in detail most recently by Daniel Yergin in The Shattered Peace. As documentation, Dropshot (the plan's name) is just another fossil from the Ice Age of US foreign policy.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1977
Publisher: Dial