chapter  8
17 Pages

The Lessons of World War II and the Cold War

WithJoseph P. Mastro

The experiences of World War II and the traditional focus of the Soviet military on the ground forces remained the cornerstone of Soviet doctrine. Stalin apparently wished to recognize the military for its performance in World War II; therefore, he added military men to the Central Committee, particularly at the candidate level. At the conclusion of World War II the Soviet Union found itself as one of the two remaining great powers in the world: Germany and Japan had been defeated, France’s power had proven illusionary, and Great Britain had been nearly crippled, with its empire in the first stages of disintegration. Conservative military doctrine was almost totally influenced by the successes of World War II. The attainment of a workable intercontinental ballistic missile gave the Soviet Union a temporary edge in the cold war, even though the supposed superiority was more imaginary than real.