David R. Stone
This chapter examines the military history of the Cold War. It explains that most military activities during this period were focused on apocalyptic nuclear war which never came and that the military aspects of the Cold War contributed to its end. The chapter suggests that while the military side of the Cold War did play a major role in ending the Cold War, it was not because of the policies of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, for there is little evidence that they were intended to produce moderation in Soviet leadership. It argues that reforms initiated by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev came from the realization of the decay of Soviet military superiority and the increasing economic burden of defense spending.
This chapter, which examines the role of nuclear weapons in the Cold War and the role of the Cold War in the nuclear revolution, argues that the development of nuclear weapons significantly affected the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union beyond the nuclear crises and arms races. It investigates the role of the atomic bomb in making impossible the postwar cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union, and evaluates the role of nuclear fear in invalidating the Soviet's Marxism-Leninism ideology. The chapter also considers how the mutual assured destruction pushed the superpowers away from direct military confrontation and into senseless weapon overproduction at home.