With 2016 marking 25 years since the collapse of Soviet communism and the Cold War era drawing to an end, many people will still recall the palpable military and political tension that existed between East and West from 1946 until 1991. However, an entire generation of Millennials are likely to have limited or no memory at all of this bleak and uncertain period of history.
Yet 70 years on from the start of the Cold War era, global tensions are growing again, and the media has started speculating whether the Cold War could actually return following NATO’s decision to bolster the Western military alliance’s defences in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland at its Warsaw Summit in July. This is despite NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowing to continue dialogue with Russia, saying: “We don’t want a new Cold War. The Cold War is history and it should remain history.”
To observe this highly volatile era, Haynes is publishing the Cold War Operations Manual this month. The first time a book has included comprehensive information on US and NATO nuclear weapons, this fascinating title is written by Pat Ware, an expert in the Cold War period and a recognised authority on military vehicles.
Pat Ware describes the background to the Cold War, the East-West arms race, the insanity of ‘mutual assured destruction’ (MAD), preparations taken by Western governments against the real possibilities of nuclear war, and the complete lack of any credible civil defence measures. He also examines the massive infrastructure and organisation required to maintain a credible Cold War Stance, including insights into how atomic weapons work, the construction of subterranean government bunkers, while not forgetting CND and the anti-bomb movement.
Supported by more than 270 archive photographs and illustrations, the Haynes Cold War Operations Manual describes the West’s offensive and defensive infrastructures and demonstrates just how close the world has come to a nuclear Armageddon on several occasions.
Talking about writing the manual, author Pat Ware commented: “For a long time I have been fascinated by the somewhat horrifying contradictions of nuclear war, and the undeniable truth that should it turn hot, neither side would emerge victorious.
“This manual has given me the opportunity to reveal some of the cold hard facts about this era. It includes looking in depth at steps taken for civil defence at the time, such as advice provided to the public in booklets like ‘Protect and Survive’ and the idea of the ‘four-minute warning’. The harsh reality of nuclear fallout was of course that no amount of planning could possibly mitigate the effects of a nuclear attack on a civilian population – despite it forming an intrinsic part of the UK government’s Cold War strategy at the time.
“Even 25 years later, the Cold War, along with the very real, though curiously farcical threat of nuclear apocalypse, remains a potent force in popular memory, and of course, the worldwide nuclear stockpiles also remain – diminished, but more than capable of destroying civilisation. Given the uncertain times that we live in, it seems that the world must continue to ‘live under the shadow of the bomb’.”
The Cold War Operation Manual joins other Haynes titles relevant to the era including the V Force Manual, the RAF Tornado Manual, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom Manual and the Hawker Siddeley/BAE Harrier Manual.
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