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Diane Publishing Books
History of Strategic and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume I: 1944-1955
As part of a larger study of the strategic arms competition which developed after World War II between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., this study of the two countries’ strategies for air and ballistic missile defense addresses two broad subjects: (1) How did each country approach the problem of defense against the threat from the air? (2) Why did each country accent particular elements of an air defense strategy at various periods between 1945 and 1972? The first question concerns the means that leaders chose for defense against an increasingly sophisticated offensive threat. For the most part, the history of that sequential selection of defenses from available technology and budgetary resources is a matter of evidential fact. In Chapters IV and V and several appendices of chronologies, tables, charts, maps and notes, this volume provides a distillation of those facts for the 1945–1955 period. The second question, by far the more difficult of the two, concerns elite perceptions and motivations — the calculus of costs and returns whereby leaders assessed threats, risks and capabilities and devised strategy. The evidence provided by research on the first question offers only partial explanations for the second; observable weapons systems do not explain but only manifest prior decisions. Chapters I to III offer judgments about the relative importance of those decisions between 1945 and 1955 and about internal versus external factors that sustained the alloca tion of enormous Soviet and American resources to homeland defense against enemy bomber and missile threats. For purposes of description and analysis, the post–World War II decade is logically split by the watershed outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950. Before 1950, American deployment of resources for air defense reflected the severe budget ceilings imposed on military planners, who generally sympathized with the post war emphasis on economic growth for civilian consumption. After 1950, all aspects of American air defense were expanded. Figures.
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