Blueprints for Battle: Planning for War in Central Europe, 1948-1968

By Jan Hofeenaar; Dieter Krüdcger et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction
The Plans of the Warsaw Pact and NATO

Jan Hoffenaar and Dieter Krüger

On 22 and 23 March 2007, military historians from Russia, the United States, and Eastern and Western Europe convened to discuss the military operational plans developed during the Cold War. With the opening of the archives, we are gaining ever greater knowledge of the conflict between East and West during that period. The conference was an initiative of the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH) and was organized in cooperation with NIMH’s German counterpart, the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt (Military History Research Institute, MGFA) in Potsdam. It took place in Münster, Germany, and was sponsored by the Center for Netherlands Studies and the German/Netherlands I Corps headquarters, which is based there. The conference focused on the war plans for the European Central Sector during the 1950s and 1960s. The choice for the period was logical, as the archival records for that time are relatively accessible. That was also the period when both sides were armed to the hilt and facing each other across the Iron Curtain.

Professor Lawrence S. Kaplan, America’s “Grand Old Man” of historical research into the Cold War, gave the inaugural lecture. In his presentation Professor Kaplan traced the overview of the most important international developments during the period, the dominating feature of which was the strong distrust from the start between the two major powers—the United States and the Soviet Union. Each action was seen as yet more evidence of the other power’s bad intentions, contributing to the spiral of the costly conventional and nuclear arms race.

It does not appear now that the Soviet Union had aggressive intentions. It did, however, have plans to attack immediately (the strategic offensive) in

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