Conventional military force and Soviet foreign policy.
McConnell, Robert B.
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The Soviet Union has, historically, always maintained a large standing army, primarily for defensive purposes. However, after World War II and with the advent of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Armed Forces have undergone tremendous change. This paper traces the changes in Soviet attitudes towards conventional military force since World War II and attempts to illustrate the role of conventional force in Soviet foreign policy. Postwar Soviet military development is traced through four distinct phases: 1945-1953 was a period in which the Soviet military was generally a continental land army; 1954-1959 saw the introduction of nuclear weapons but little or no change in strategy and doctrine; the period 1960-1967 saw the birth of the Strategic Rocket Forces and primary emphasis on nuclear warfare; and since 1968 the Soviets have been developing both a strong nuclear capability as well as a modern conventional force capable of global deployment. In addition to historical surveys of the phases in military development, detailed analyses are presented of the Soviet military interventions in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) as well as Soviet military support of the MPLA in Angola (1974-1975).
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