The Soviet Strategic Air Force and Civil Defense
This chapter discusses the origins of the Soviet weapons posture in the context of the development of the Dal’naia aviatsiia (DA) and the related role of civil defense in the USSR. The status of the DA was elevated in 1935–1936 by the creation of a separate command for long-range bombers under the direct control of air force headquarters in Moscow. Soviet belief in the value of strategic bombing must have been persistent, because in April 1942 the DA was established. In the period of 1953–1960, the Soviets began to close the gap between the DA and the US Strategic Air Command. The Soviet strategic air force has neither the long tradition nor the prestige that other branches of the Soviet military possess. In 1946, one year before the US Air Force became a separate service, the Soviet strategic air force became a separate branch of the armed forces.