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Cold War Statesmen Confront the BombNuclear Diplomacy Since 1945$
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John Gaddis, Philip Gordon, Ernest May, and Jonathan Rosenberg

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0198294689.001.0001

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Stalin and the Nuclear Age

Stalin and the Nuclear Age

Chapter:
(p.39) 3 Stalin and the Nuclear Age
Source:
Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb
Author(s):

Vladislav M. Zubok

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198294689.003.0003

Stalin understood the military and political significance of atomic weapons and directed all available Soviet resources to obtaining this weapon. However, he remained largely a statesman operating on the premises and experience of the pre‐nuclear age. For him, the emergence of atomic weapons made the prospect of a future war more terrifying, but no less likely. America's atomic monopoly in the first phase of the Cold War did not play a substantial role in deterring Stalin. He was determined to defend his spheres of influence and to dispel any sign of possible Soviet weakness in the face of America's atomic saber rattling. Stalin, a genius of state terror, power broking, and war diplomacy, was different from statesmen in the democratic countries, but his outlook on world politics was consistent with the realpolitik of the pre‐nuclear age. He had as much inclination as some of his ’liberal’ Western counterparts to regard nuclear power as a means of augmenting military power and, in larger terms, the power of the state.

Keywords:   Cold War, deterrence, diplomacy, nuclear parity, nuclear weapons, Soviet Union, spheres of influence, Josef Stalin, state power, USA

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