The Evolution Of The Soviet View Of Us Strategic Doctrine (1954-1976): Its Implications For Future Us Strategic Policy Decisionmaking

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies


Soviet pronouncements and evaluations on various US strategic doctrinal concepts over the period from 1954-1976 were analyzed. It was found that Soviet analysts have consistently tended to project their own strategic concepts of nuclear warfighting and the attainment of victory in a nuclear war onto US strategic doctrine. At the same time, however, Soviet analysts also recognized that the US was moving towards a deterrence strategy instead of a warfighting strategy, which was contrary to what they had expected. In addition, it was increasingly admitted in public and private analyses that limited wars of both nuclear and conventional type were possible, and that it was necessary for the Soviet Union to be able to wage such conflicts. Soviet analysts resolved the contradiction between their own apparent expectations of US strategic doctrine and the actual US shift towards a deterrence posture by concluding that the evolution of US strategic doctrine was in reality a forced response to the growth of Soviet strategic power. Throughout the period under study, Soviet propaganda was directed primarily as "declaratory deterrence" statements designed to reduce the credibility of US strategic doctrine. The main result of the Soviet perception of US strategic doctrine was that it had provided a self-sustaining motivation for the growth of Soviet military power across the spectrum of nuclear and conventional capabilities without any clearly definable upper limit, and seemed to indicate no obvious penalty for too much military buildup.


Political Science, International Law and Relations

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text