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Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War
     

Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War

by Nate Jones (Editor), Thomas S. Blanton (Foreword by)
 

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In November 1983, Soviet nuclear forces went on high alert. After months nervously watching increasingly assertive NATO military posturing, Soviet intelligence agencies in Western Europe received flash telegrams reporting alarming activity on U.S. bases. In response, the Soviets began planning for a countdown to a nuclear first strike by NATO on Eastern Europe. And

Overview

In November 1983, Soviet nuclear forces went on high alert. After months nervously watching increasingly assertive NATO military posturing, Soviet intelligence agencies in Western Europe received flash telegrams reporting alarming activity on U.S. bases. In response, the Soviets began planning for a countdown to a nuclear first strike by NATO on Eastern Europe. And then Able Archer 83, a vast NATO war game exercise that modeled a Soviet attack on NATO allies, ended.

What the West didn’t know at the time was that the Soviets thought Operation Able Archer 83 was real and were actively preparing for a surprise missile attack from NATO. This close scrape with Armageddon was largely unknown until last October when the U.S. government released a ninety-four-page presidential analysis of Able Archer that the National Security Archive had spent over a decade trying to declassify. Able Archer 83 is based upon more than a thousand pages of declassified documents that archive staffer Nate Jones has pried loose from several U.S. government agencies and British archives, as well as from formerly classified Soviet Politburo and KGB files, vividly recreating the atmosphere that nearly unleashed nuclear war.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Able Archer 83:

"Twenty-one years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, a NATO exercise, Able Archer 83, came terrifyingly close to precipitating an accidental nuclear war. Nate Jones’s brilliantly researched and gripping history of government miscalculations and misjudgments on both sides of the iron curtain during this war game, poses the 21st century’s most serious existential question: How many nuclear bullets can humanity dodge? Read it and reckon! I don’t think you will like the answer."
—Martin J. Sherwin, University Professor of History at George Mason University and author of A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies

"Able Archer 83 is an invaluable resource on one of the most dangerous moments of the Cold War. The book contains an unmatched collection of previously secret documents about the War Scare of 1983 and the Able Archer exercise at the center of it. If you want to learn from history, this is the place to start."
—David E. Hoffman, author of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy

"Able Archer 83 brings us back to a moment when we all came close to becoming cinders or radioactive corpses. It’s an important contribution to our understanding of how the Cold War played out, and how erroneous assumptions routinely become institutionalized policy, which then becomes almost irresistible."
—Glenn L. Carle, a former CIA officer and author of The Interrogator

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620972618
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
11/01/2016
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
154,160
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Nate Jones is the director of the Freedom of Information Act Project for the National Security Archive. He is also editor of the National Security Archive’s blog, Unredacted. He lives in Washington, D.C. Thomas S. Blanton is the director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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