The Cold War

Intelligence in the Cold War: What Difference Did It Make?

Hughes, Gwilym and Michael Herman, eds.

"Special Issue on 'Intelligence in the Cold War: What Difference Did It Make?'" Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 6 (Dec. 2011): entire issue. Also published as Michael Herman and Gwilym Hughes, eds. Intelligence in the Cold War: What Difference Did It Make? London: Routledge, 2013.

Peake, Studies 57.3 (Sep 2013), calls this "a very valuable collection of views."

1. Gwilym Hughes, "Introduction: Intelligence in the Cold War," 755-758.

2. Len Scott, "Intelligence and the Risk of Nuclear War: Able Archer-83 Revisited," 759-777.

The article explores "what we know (or believe we know) about the events of 1983, and where our understanding is most in need of further illumination.... Whether we came close to nuclear war will remain an increasingly fascinating question for those who try to understand the Cold War."

3. John Prados, "Certainties, Doubts, and Imponderables: Levels of Analysis in the Military Balance," 778-790.

This essay examines "one aspect of intelligence performance, the importance of assumptions versus data.... On balance, for all the defects in the system American policy-makers during the Cold War were much better off for possessing a sophisticated intelligence community."

4. Michael Herman, "Intelligence as Threats and Reassurance," 791-817.

"[F]or each side the intrusive intelligence activities of the other were an important and continuing element.... The knowledge they produced may eventually have given Western governments -- and possibly the Soviet regime -- the confidence that the Cold War could be managed without disaster, yet for both sides the adversary's intrusive collection demonstrated the hostility that made the conflict continue."

5. Pete Davies, "Estimating Soviet Power: The Creation of Britain's Defence Intelligence Staff 1960-65," 818-841.

"[A]n integrated defence intelligence structure ... could not have been achieved in advance of the unified MoD with overarching strategic and financial authority over the three single-Service Departments (and which itself required the intervention of the prime minister)."

6. Julie Fedor, "Chekists Look Back on the Cold War: The Polemical Literature," 842-863.

"Conspiratorial thinking offers a possible form of defence against humiliation,[footnote omitted] and many former chekists have turned to conspiracy theories as a way of making sense of the traumatic events of the past few decades."

7. Shlomo Shpiro, "KGB Human Intelligence Operations in Israel 1948-73," 864-885.

"Operating out of the Soviet Embassy in Tel-Aviv, a large contingent of KGB case officers ran a string of agents deep inside Israel's security and diplomatic establishments.... Once diplomatic relations were severed, in 1967, the KGB lost much of its local capabilities and had to rely on 'illegal' case officers to run its agents in Israel, whose effectiveness was often compromised by Shabak double agent penetrations."

8. Michael Herman, "What Difference Did It Make?," 886-901.

"The most important Cold War judgments for each side were of the balance of offence and defence in the opponent's politico-strategic aims, and how this might be changing; and both sides may have got this balance wrong."

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