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Encyclopedia > Able Archer 83

Able Archer 83 was a ten-day NATO exercise starting on November 2, 1983 that spanned the continent of Europe and simulated a coordinated nuclear release.[1] It incorporated a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, participation by heads of state, and a simulated DEFCON 1 nuclear alert. The realistic nature of the exercise, coupled with deteriorating relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and the anticipated arrival of "super-stealth" Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe, led some in the USSR to believe that Able Archer 83 was a genuine nuclear first strike.[2][3][4][1] In response, the Soviets readied their nuclear forces and placed air units in East Germany and Poland on alert.[5][6] This relatively obscure incident is considered by many historians to be the closest the world has come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[7] The immediate threat of nuclear war abruptly ended with the conclusion of the Able Archer 83 exercise on November 11, which, coincidentally, was also Remembrance Day.[8][9] NATO 2002 Summit in Prague The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation[2] (NATO; French: ; also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance or the Western Alliance) is a military alliance established on 4 April 1949 by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. ... USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) kicks off Exercise Valiant Shield, the largest war games of the United States Navy since the Vietnam War. ... November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Europe at its furthest extent, reaching to the Urals. ... In telecommunications, radio silence is a status maintained where all fixed or mobile radio stations in an area stop transmitting. ... Queen Elizabeth II, is the Head of State of 16 countries including: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand and the Bahamas, as well as crown colonies and overseas territories of the United Kingdom. ... Defense Condition is a measure of the activation and readiness level of the United States armed forces. ... The Cold War (1979-1985) discusses the period within the Cold War between the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev as Soviet leader in 1985. ... The Pershing II Missile during a test flight The MGM-31 Pershing was a solid-fueled two-stage inertially guided medium range ballistic missile used by the U.S. Armys Missile Command. ... In nuclear strategy, first strike capability is a countrys ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation. ... GDR redirects here. ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... USAF spy photo of one of the suspected launch sites The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States regarding the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ... November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ... Wreaths of artificial poppies used as a symbol of remembrance Remembrance Day (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom), also known as Poppy Day (South Africa and Malta), and Armistice Day (United Kingdom, New Zealand and many other Commonwealth countries; and the original name of the holiday internationally) is a day to commemorate...

Contents

Prelude

Operation RYAN

The event that served as the single greatest catalyst to the Able Archer war scare occurred more than two years earlier, during a May 1981 closed-session meeting of KGB officers. At this meeting, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and KGB chairman Yuri Andropov bluntly announced that the United States was preparing a secret nuclear attack on the USSR. To combat this threat, Andropov announced, the KGB and GRU would begin Operation RYAN. RYAN (РЯН) was a Russian acronym for "Nuclear Missile Attack" (Ракетное Ядерное Нападение); Operation RYAN was the largest, most comprehensive peacetime intelligence-gathering operation in Soviet history. Agents abroad were charged with monitoring the figures who would decide to launch a nuclear attack, the service and technical personnel who would implement the attack, and the facilities from which the attack would originate. In all probability, the unlikely-sounding goal of Operation RYAN was to discover the first intent of a nuclear attack and then prevent it.[10][11] 1981 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The KGB emblem and motto: The sword and the shield KGB (transliteration of КГБ) is the Russian-language abbreviation for Committee for State Security, (Russian: ; Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti). ... The General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (First Secretary in 1953-1966) was the title synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenins death in 1924. ... Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev Russian: ; January 1, 1907 [O.S. December 19, 1906] – November 10, 1982) was the effective ruler of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, at first in partnership with others. ... Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (Russian: Ю́рий Влади́мирович Андро́пов; 15 June [O.S. 2 June] 1914 – February 9, 1984) was a Soviet politician and General Secretary of the CPSU from November 12, 1982 until his death just sixteen months later. ... For other uses, see GRU (disambiguation). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Backronym and Apronym (Discuss) Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations, such as NATO, laser, and ABC, written as the initial letter or letters of words, and pronounced on the basis of this abbreviated written form. ... Intelligence (abbreviated or ) is the process and the result of gathering information and analyzing it to answer questions or obtain advance warnings needed to plan for the future. ...

One of five underground bunkers built for the East German Foreign Intelligence Service in 1983
One of five underground bunkers built for the East German Foreign Intelligence Service in 1983

The impetus for the implementation of Operation RYAN is still largely unknown. Oleg Gordievsky, the highest-ranking KGB official ever to defect, suspected that it was born of the increased "Soviet Paranoia" coupled with "Reaganite Rhetoric". Gordievsky conjectured that Brezhnev and Andropov, who "were very, very old-fashioned and easily influenced… by Communist dogmas," truly believed that an antagonistic Reagan would push the nuclear button and relegate the Soviet Union to the "ash-heap of history".[12][13][14] CIA historian Benjamin B. Fischer lists several concrete occurrences that likely led to the birth of RYAN. The first of these was the use of psychological operations (PSYOP) that began soon after President Reagan took office. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (960x668, 518 KB) Summary Operation RYAN command Center in East Germany http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (960x668, 518 KB) Summary Operation RYAN command Center in East Germany http://www. ... The Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (en. ... Oleg Antonovich Gordievsky (born 10 October 1938 in Moscow, Russia), was a Colonel of the KGB and KGB Resident-designate (rezidentura) and bureau chief in London, who defected to the United Kingdom. ... In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. ... Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). ... The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an intelligence agency of the United States Government. ... Benjamin B. Fischer has worked for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for nearly 30 years, and has been headquartered at its Center for the Study of Intelligence, History Staff, in recent years. ... Psychological Operations (or PSYOPS) are techniques used by military and police forces to influence a target audiences emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately behavior. ... For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ...


PSYOP

Psychological operations began mid-February 1981 and continued intermittently through 1983. These included a series of clandestine naval operations that stealthily accessed waters near the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom GIUK gap, and the Barents, Norwegian, Black, and Baltic Seas, demonstrating the very high degree of proximity NATO ships could attain to critical Soviet military bases. American bombers also flew directly towards Soviet airspace, peeling off at the last moment, occasionally several times per week. These penetrations were designed to test Soviet radar vulnerability as well as demonstrate US capabilities in a nuclear war.[15] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x1239, 465 KB) Summary GIUK Gap http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x1239, 465 KB) Summary GIUK Gap http://www. ... The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean. ... The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean. ... Location of the Barents Sea. ... Map of the Black Sea. ... The Baltic Sea is located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. ... A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground targets, primarily by dropping bombs. ... Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a particular country on top of its territory and territorial waters or, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere. ... This long range Radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to determine and map the location, direction, and/or speed...

It really got to them," recalls Dr. William Schneider, [former] undersecretary of state for military assistance and technology, who saw classified "after-action reports" that indicated U.S. flight activity. "They didn't know what it all meant. A squadron would fly straight at Soviet airspace, and other radars would light up and units would go on alert. Then at the last minute the squadron would peel off and return home.[15]

The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States Government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ...

KAL 007

Main article: KAL 007

In contrast to the extremely secretive PSYOPs against the Soviet Union, the Soviet attack on the Korean civilian airliner KAL 007, on September 1, 1983, brought relations between the two superpowers to a very new public low. In addition to illustrating the historically antagonistic relations between the USA and USSR in the early 1980s, the Soviet attack on KAL 007 lends several insights into Able Archer 83. The Soviet Union (perhaps due to PSYOP penetrations) guarded its territorial airspace strongly. The disaster demonstrated the hair-trigger mindset held by many in the Soviet Union. Reagan assessed in his memoirs, "If, as some people speculated, the Soviet pilots simply mistook the airliner for a military plane, what kind of imagination did it take to think of a Soviet military man with his finger close to a nuclear push button making an even more tragic mistake?"[16][17] Korean Air Flight 7 (KAL007, KE007) was the flight number of a civilian airliner shot down by Soviet fighters on September 1, 1983, over Soviet territorial waters just west of Sakhalin island, killing all 269 passengers and crew. ... Korean Air (KSE: 003490) is the largest airline based in South Korea. ... Korean Air Flight 7 (KAL007, KE007) was the flight number of a civilian airliner shot down by Soviet fighters on September 1, 1983, over Soviet territorial waters just west of Sakhalin island, killing all 269 passengers and crew. ... September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... An American B-2 bomber in flight. ...


Weapons buildup

On March 23, 1983, Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, labeled by the media and critics as "Star Wars". While Reagan viewed the initiative as a safety net against nuclear war, leaders in the Soviet Union viewed it as a definitive departure from the relative weapons parity of détente and an escalation of the arms race into space. Andropov – who had become General Secretary following Brezhnev's death in November 1982 – lambasted Reagan for "inventing new plans on how to unleash a nuclear war in the best way, with the hope of winning it."[18] March 23 is the 82nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (83rd in leap years). ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), commonly called Star Wars after the popular science fiction movies of the time, was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983[1] to use ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic... This article is about the series. ... Détente is a French term, meaning a relaxing or easing; the term has been used in international politics since the early 1970s. ... A ground-based interceptor, designed to destroy incoming ICBMs, is lowered into its silo at the missile defence complex at Fort Greely, Alaska, July 22, 2004. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The US Pershing II Missile
The US Pershing II Missile

Despite the enormous Soviet outcry over the "Star Wars" program, the weapons plan that generated the most danger during Able Archer 83 was the 1979 NATO approval and subsequent deployment of intermediate-range Pershing II missiles in Western Europe. These missiles, deployed to counter Soviet SS-20 intermediate-range missiles on its own western border, represented a major threat to the Soviets. The Pershing II was capable of destroying Soviet "hard targets" such as underground missile silos and command and control bunkers. The missiles also possessed "super sudden first strike capability"; it was estimated that the missiles (deployed in West Germany) could reach targets in the Soviet Union within four to six minutes of their launch. These capabilities led Soviet leaders to believe that the only way to survive a Pershing II strike was to preempt it. This fear of an undetected Pershing II attack, according to CIA historian Benjamin B. Fischer, was explicitly linked to the mandate of Operation RYAN: to detect a decision by the United States to launch a nuclear attack and (it must be believed) to preempt it.[19][11][20] Pershing II missile, Public domain image from redstone. ... Pershing II missile, Public domain image from redstone. ... The Pershing II Missile during a test flight The MGM-31 Pershing was a solid-fueled two-stage inertially guided medium range ballistic missile used by the U.S. Armys Missile Command. ... A common understanding of Western Europe in modern times. ... The RSD-10 Pioneer was a medium-range ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead deployed by the Soviet Union from 1976 to 1988. ... A missile silo is a underground vertical cylindrical container for the storage and launching of ICBMs. ... Bunkers in Albania A bunker is a defensive military fortification. ... In nuclear strategy, first strike capability is a countrys ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation. ...


Exercise Able Archer 83

Thus, on November 2, 1983, as Soviet intelligence services were attempting to detect the signs of a nuclear strike, NATO began to simulate one. The exercise, codenamed Able Archer, spanned Europe and simulated European command and communications procedures during a nuclear war. It probably emulated the Pentagon's Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) which, at the time, named 25,000 military targets, 15,000 industrial targets, and 500 targets associated with Soviet leadership. Some Soviet leadership, because of the preceding world events and the exercise's particularly realistic nature, believed — in accordance with Soviet military doctrine — that the exercise may have been a cover for an actual attack.[21][22] Indeed, a KGB telegram of February 17 described one likely scenario as such: November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located at 48 N. Rotary Road, Arlington, Virginia 22211 (Map). ... Single Integrated Operational Plan (or SIOP) is a blueprint that tells how American nuclear weapons would be used in the event of war. ... February 17 is the 48th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

In view of the fact that the measures involved in State Orange [a nuclear attack within 36 hours] have to be carried out with the utmost secrecy (under the guise of maneuvers, training etc) in the shortest possible time, without disclosing the content of operational plans, it is highly probable that the battle alarm system may be used to prepare a surprise RYAN [nuclear attack] in peacetime.[23]

The February 17, 1983 KGB Permanent Operational Assignment assigned its agents to monitor several possible indicators of a nuclear attack. These included actions by "A cadre of people associated with preparing and implementing decision about RYAN, and also a group of people, including service and technical personnel… those working in the operating services of installations connected with processing and implementing the decision about RYAN, and communication staff involved in the operation and interaction of these installations."[24] February 17 is the 48th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Because Able Archer 83 simulated an actual release, it is likely that the service and technical personnel mentioned in the memo were active in the exercise. More conspicuously, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl participated (though not concurrently) in the nuclear drill. United States President Reagan, Vice President George H. W. Bush, and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger were also intended to participate. Fortunately, Robert McFarlane, who had assumed the position of National Security Advisor just two weeks earlier, realized the implications of such participation early in the exercise's planning and rejected it.[25] Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. ... Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (born April 3, 1930) is a Catholic German conservative politician and statesman. ... George Herbert Walker Bush GCB (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States of America serving from 1989 to 1993. ... Caspar Willard Cap Weinberger, GBE (August 18, 1917 – March 28, 2006), was an American politician and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld. ... Robert Carl Bud McFarlane (born July 12,1937), was National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan from 1983 to late 1985 and became one of the administration’s primary scapegoats during the Iran-Contra Affair. ... The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor, serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. ...


Another illusory indicator likely noticed by Soviet analysts was an influx of ciphered communications between the United Kingdom and the United States. Soviet intelligence was informed that "so-called nuclear consultations in NATO are probably one of the stages of immediate preparation by the adversary for RYAN."[26] To the Soviet analysts, this burst of secret communications between the United States and the UK one month before the beginning of Able Archer may have appeared to be this "consultation". In reality, the burst of communication regarded the US invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983, which caused a great deal of diplomatic traffic as the sovereign of the island was Queen Elizabeth II.[27] // In cryptography, encryption is the process of obscuring information to make it unreadable without special knowledge. ... Combatants United States Antigua and Barbuda Barbados Dominica Jamaica Saint Lucia St. ... October 25 is the 298th day of the year (299th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of sixteen sovereign states, holding each crown and title equally. ...


A further startling aspect reported by KGB agents regarded the NATO communications used during the exercise. According to the Moscow Centre's February 17, 1983 memo, Location Position of Moscow in Europe Government Country District Subdivision Russia Central Federal District Federal City Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov Geographical characteristics Area  - City 1,081 km² Population  - City (2007)    - Density 10,469,000   8537. ... February 17 is the 48th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

It [was] of the highest importance to keep a watch on the functioning of communications networks and systems since through them information is passed about the adversary's intentions and, above all, about his plans to use nuclear weapons and practical implementation of these. In addition, changes in the method of operating communications systems and the level of manning may in themselves indicate the state of preparation for RYAN.[28]

Soviet Intelligence appeared to substantiate these suspicions by reporting that NATO was indeed using unique, never-before-seen procedures as well as message formats more sophisticated than previous exercises that possibly indicated the proximity of nuclear attack.[29]


Finally, during Able Archer 83 NATO forces simulated a move through all alert phases, from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 1. While these phases were simulated, alarmist KGB agents mistakenly reported them as actual. According to Soviet intelligence, NATO doctrine stated, "Operational readiness No 1 is declared when there are obvious indications of preparation to begin military operations. It is considered that war is inevitable and may start at any moment."[30] Defense Condition is a measure of the activation and readiness level of the United States armed forces. ...

Soviet SS-20 missile
Soviet SS-20 missile

Upon learning that US nuclear activity mirrored its hypothesized first strike activity, the Moscow Centre sent its residencies a flash telegram on November 8 or 9 (Oleg Gordievsky cannot recall which), incorrectly reporting an alert on American bases and frantically asking for further information regarding an American first strike. The alert precisely coincided with the seven- to ten-day period estimated between NATO's preliminary decision and an actual strike.[31] This was the peak of the War Scare. Image File history File links SS20_irbm. ... Image File history File links SS20_irbm. ... Telegraphy (from the Greek words tele = far away and grapho = write) is the long distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters, originally over wire. ... November 8 is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 53 days remaining. ...


The Soviet Union, believing its only chance of surviving a NATO strike was to preempt it, readied its nuclear arsenal. The CIA reported activity in the Baltic Military District, in Czechoslovakia, and it determined that nuclear capable aircraft in Poland and East Germany were placed "on high alert status with readying of nuclear strike forces".[32][9] Former CIA analyst Peter Vincent Pry went further, saying he suspects that the aircraft were merely the tip of the iceberg. He hypothesizes that — in accordance with Soviet military procedure and history — ICBM silos, easily readied and difficult for the United States to detect, were also prepared for a launch.[33] The Baltic Military District was a military district of the Soviet armed forces, formed briefly before the German invasion, and then reformed after World War II and disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. ... A Minuteman III ICBM test launch from Vandenberg AFB, California, United States. ...


Soviet fears of the attack ended as the Able Archer exercise finished on November 11. Upon learning of the Soviet reaction to Able Archer 83 by way of the double agent Oleg Gordievsky, a British MI6 asset, President Reagan commented, "I don't see how they could believe that — but it’s something to think about."[34] November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 50 days remaining. ... A double agent pretends to spy on a target organization on behalf of a controlling organization, but in fact is loyal to the target organization. ... The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the United Kingdoms external intelligence agency. ...


Soviet reaction

President Ronald Reagan and Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky
President Ronald Reagan and Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky

The double agent Oleg Gordievsky, whose highest rank was KGB resident in London, is the only Soviet source ever to have published an account of Able Archer 83. Oleg Kalugin and Yuri Shvets, who were KGB agents in 1983, have published accounts that acknowledge Operation RYAN, but they do not mention Able Archer 83.[35] It is important to note that Gordievsky and other Warsaw Pact intelligence agents were extremely skeptical of a NATO first strike, perhaps because of their proximity and understanding of the West. Still, agents reported what they were ordered to observe, not their estimations of what their observations meant. This critical flaw in the Soviet intelligence system — coined by Gordievsky as the "intelligence cycle" — fed the fear of US nuclear aggression.[36] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (946x1029, 631 KB) Summary President Ronald Reagan and Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (946x1029, 631 KB) Summary President Ronald Reagan and Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky http://www. ... Oleg Antonovich Gordievsky (born 10 October 1938 in Moscow, Russia), was a Colonel of the KGB and KGB Resident-designate (rezidentura) and bureau chief in London, who defected to the United Kingdom. ... A Resident, or in full Resident Minister, is a state official of certain representative types, required to take up permanent residency abroad officially. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Oleg Danilovich Kalugin is a former KGB spy. ... Yuri B. Shvets (b. ... Unofficial Seal of the Warsaw Pact Distinguish from the Warsaw Convention, which is an agreement among airlines about financial liability and the Treaty of Warsaw (1970) between West Germany and the Peoples Republic of Poland. ...


No Soviet political figure has publicly acknowledged Able Archer 83. Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, who at the time was Chief of the main operations directorate of the Soviet General Staff, told Cold War historian Don Orbendorfer that he had never heard of Able Archer. The lack of public Soviet response over Able Archer 83 has led some historians, including Fritz W. Ermarth in his piece, "Observations on the 'War Scare' of 1983 From an Intelligence Perch", to conclude that Able Archer 83 posed no immediate threat to the United States.[37] The rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union (Russian: Marshal Sovietskogo Soyuza [Маршал Советского Союза]) was in practice the highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... Fritz W. Ermarth has been the Director of National Security Programs at the Nixon Center since 2002. ...


American reaction

In May 1984, CIA Russian specialist Fritz W. Ermarth drafted "Implications of Recent Soviet Military-Political Activities", which concluded: "we believe strongly that Soviet actions are not inspired by, and Soviet leaders do not perceive, a genuine danger of imminent conflict with the United States."[6] Robert Gates, Deputy Director for Intelligence during Able Archer 83, has published thoughts on the exercise that refute this conclusion: Robert Michael Gates, Ph. ...

Information about the peculiar and remarkably skewed frame of mind of the Soviet leaders during those times that has emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union makes me think there is a good chance — with all of the other events in 1983 — that they really felt a NATO attack was at least possible and that they took a number of measures to enhance their military readiness short of mobilization. After going through the experience at the time, then through the postmortems, and now through the documents, I don't think the Soviets were crying wolf. They may not have believed a NATO attack was imminent in November 1983, but they did seem to believe that the situation was very dangerous. And US intelligence [SNIE 11-9-84 and SNIE 11-10-84] had failed to grasp the true extent of their anxiety.[38]

A still-classified report written by Nina Steward for the President's Foreign Advisory Board concurs with Gates and refutes the previous CIA reports, concluding that further analysis shows that the Soviets were, in fact, genuinely fearful of US aggression.[34] This is a history of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. ... A typical classified document. ...


Some historians, including Beth B. Fischer in her book The Reagan Reversal, pin Able Archer 83 as profoundly affecting President Reagan and his turn from a policy of confrontation towards the Soviet Union to a policy of rapprochement. While somewhat cryptic, the thoughts of Reagan and those around him provide important insight upon the nuclear scare and its subsequent ripples. On October 10, 1983, just over a month before Able Archer 83, President Reagan screened a television film about Lawrence, Kansas being destroyed by a nuclear attack entitled The Day After. In his diary, the president wrote that the film "left me greatly depressed."[39] The French for bring together. Used in English to describe the theory (that) says that children are best able to explore when they have the knowledge of a secure base to return to in times of need. See Attachment theory This article is a stub. ... October 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years). ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Lawrence is a river city in Douglas County, Kansas, 41 miles (66 km) west by south of Kansas City, along the banks of both the Kaw and Wakarusa Rivers. ... Official language(s) none Capital Topeka Largest city Wichita Area  Ranked 15th  - Total 82,277 sq mi (213,096 km²)  - Width 211 miles (340 km)  - Length 417 miles (645 km)  - % water 0. ... The Day After is an American TV-movie which aired on November 20, 1983 on the ABC network. ...


Later in October, Reagan attended a Pentagon briefing on nuclear war. During his first two years in office, he had refused to take part in such briefings, feeling it irreverent to rehearse a nuclear apocalypse; finally, he consented to the Pentagon official requests. According to officials present, the briefing "chastened" Reagan. Weinberg said, "[Reagan] had a very deep revulsion to the whole idea of nuclear weapons… These war games brought home to anybody the fantastically horrible events that would surround such a scenario." Reagan described the briefing in his own words: "A most sobering experience with Cap W and Gen. Vessey in the Situation room, a briefing on our complete plan in the event of a nuclear attack."[40][39] Caspar Willard Cap Weinberger, GBE (August 18, 1917 – March 28, 2006), was an American politician and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld. ... John William Vessey, Jr. ... White House Situation Room in March 2003. ...


These two glimpses of nuclear war primed Reagan for Able Archer 83, giving him a very specific picture of what would occur had the situation further developed. After receiving intelligence reports from sources including Gordievsky, it was clear that the Soviets were unnerved. While officials were concerned with the Soviet panic, they were hesitant about believing the proximity of a Soviet attack. Secretary of State George P. Shultz thought it "incredible, at least to us" that the Soviets would believe the US would launch a genuine attack.[41] In general, Reagan did not share the secretary's belief that cooler heads would prevail, writing: Seal of the United States Department of State. ... Shultz in his official D.O.L. portrait. ...

We had many contingency plans for responding to a nuclear attack. But everything would happen so fast that I wondered how much planning or reason could be applied in such a crisis… Six minutes to decide how to respond to a blip on a radar scope and decide whether to unleash Armageddon! How could anyone apply reason at a time like that?[42]

According to McFarlane, the president responded with "genuine anxiety", in disbelief that his leadership could have led to an armed attack. A still-classified 1990 retroactive analysis shows the President's more alarmed reaction to be more correct than the more relaxed view of some of his staff. To the ailing Politburo — led from the deathbed of the terminally ill Andropov, a man with no firsthand knowledge of the United States, and the creator of Operation RYAN — it seemed "that the United States was preparing to launch… a sudden nuclear attack on the Soviet Union."[43][13][44] In his memoirs, Reagan, without specifically mentioning Able Archer 83 — he states earlier that he cannot mention classified information — wrote of a 1983 realization: The evangelist John of Patmos writes the Book of Revelation. ... The Politburo (in Russian: Политбюро, full:Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, abbriviated Политбюро ЦК КПСС), known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, functioned as the central policymaking and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ...

Three years had taught me something surprising about the Russians:


Many people at the top of the Soviet hierarchy were genuinely afraid of America and Americans. Perhaps this shouldn't have surprised me, but it did…


During my first years in Washington, I think many of us in the administration took it for granted that the Russians, like ourselves, considered it unthinkable that the United States would launch a first strike against them. But the more experience I had with Soviet leaders and other heads of state who knew them, the more I began to realize that many Soviet officials feared us not only as adversaries but as potential aggressors who might hurl nuclear weapons at them in a first strike… Nickname: DC, The District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Location of Washington, D.C., in relation to the states Maryland and Virginia Coordinates: Federal District District of Columbia  - Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D)  - City Council Chairperson: Vincent C. Gray (D) Ward 1: Jim Graham (D) Ward 2: Jack Evans... In nuclear strategy, first strike capability is a countrys ability to defeat another nuclear power by destroying its arsenal to the point where the attacking country can survive the weakened retaliation. ...


Well, if that was the case, I was even more anxious to get a top Soviet leader in a room alone and try to convince him we had no designs on the Soviet Union and Russians had nothing to fear from us.[45]

Subsequent events

Able Archer 83 was the last nuclear scare of the Cold War. [citation needed] By 1983 the United States, under the leadership of President Reagan, was in the middle of a massive arms buildup, one which would last throughout the mid- and later half of the 1980s. United States policies of the 1980s, such as the 600-ship Navy, drove home the US desire to continue military opposition to the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, the declining health of then General Secretary Konstantin Chernenko led to the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. Gorbachev's policies and programs within the Soviet Union — notably glasnost and perestroika — set into motion the events that ultimately led to its dissolution in 1991. US and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945-2005. ... The 1980s refers to the years of 1980 to 1989. ... The 600 Ship Navy was a plan put forth as a campaign plank by Ronald Reagan in 1980 to rebuild the United States Navy to its former size after post-Vietnam cutbacks. ... The General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (First Secretary in 1953-1966) was the title synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenins death in 1924. ... Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko (Russian: ; September 24, 1911 – March 10, 1985) was a Soviet politician and General Secretary of the CPSU who led the Soviet Union from February 13, 1984 until his death just thirteen months later. ... Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov ( , IPA: , commonly written as Mikhail Gorbachev; born March 2, 1931) was the last leader of the Soviet Union, serving from 1985 until its collapse in 1991. ... 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Poster showing Mikhail Gorbachev, with the slogan perestroika Perestroika ( , Russian: IPA: ) is the Russian term (which passed into English) for the economic reforms introduced in June 1987 by the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. ... This is a history of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. ...


References

  • Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky (1992). KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev. Harpercollins. 
  • Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, eds. (1993). Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations, 1975–1985. Stanford UP. 
  • Fischer, Benjamin B. (1997). A Cold War Conundrum. History Staff Center for the Study of Intelligence. Retrieved on 2005-12-29.
  • Fischer, Beth A. (2000). The Reagan Reversal Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War. University of Missouri Press. 
  • Gates, Robert M. (1996). From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. New York: Simon & Schuster. 
  • Testimony of Oleg Gordievsky to Congress, House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee of Military Research and Development, Hearing on Russian Threat Perceptions and Plans for U.S. Sabotage, 106th cong., 1st sess., 1999-10-26.
  • Pry, Peter Vincent (1999). War Scare: Russia and America on the Nuclear Brink. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. 
  • Oberdorfer, Don (1998). From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1983–1991. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. 
  • Reagan, Ronald (1990). An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. 

2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... The U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, commonly known as the House Armed Services Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives, the lower house of Congress. ... // Two sessions, roughly paralleling the calendar years 1999 and 2000: First Session: January 6, 1999 – November 22, 1999 Second Session: January 24, 2000 – December 15, 2000 January 7, 1999 – February 12, 1999: Impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton March 29, 1999 – Dow Jones Industrial Average ended above 10,000 for... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 66 days remaining. ... Location in Connecticut Coordinates: NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford Region South Western Region Incorporated 1835 Government type Representative town meeting First selectman Gordon F. Joseloff Town meeting moderator Alice H. Shelton Area    - City 86. ...

Notes

  1. ^ a b Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum"
  2. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions, 85–7.
  3. ^ Beth Fischer, Reagan Reversal, 123, 131.
  4. ^ Pry, War Scare, 37–9.
  5. ^ Oberdorfer, A New Era, 66.
  6. ^ a b SNIE 11-10-84 “Implications of Recent Soviet Military-Political Activities” Central Intelligence Agency, 18 May, 1984.
  7. ^ John Lewis Gaddis and John Hashimoto. COLD WAR Chat: Professor John Lewis Gaddis, Historian. Retrieved on 2005-12-29.
  8. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, 87–8.
  9. ^ a b Pry, War Scare, 43–4.
  10. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions, 74–6, 86.
  11. ^ a b Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum": RYAN, Phase II: A New Sense of Urgency.
  12. ^ Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum": Appendix A: RYAN and the Decline of the KGB.
  13. ^ a b Testimony of Oleg Gordievsky to Congress.
  14. ^ Reagan, Ronald (1982-06-08). Address to Members of the British Parliament. University of Texas archives.
  15. ^ a b Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum": PSYOP.
  16. ^ Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum": KAL 007.
  17. ^ Reagan, An American Life, 548.
  18. ^ Fischer, A Cold War Conundrum: "Star Wars"
  19. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, 74–6.
  20. ^ White, Andrew (1983). Symbols of War: Pershing II and Cruise Missiles in Europe. London: Merlin Press, 25–9. 
  21. ^ Fischer, Reagan Reversal, 123.
  22. ^ Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum": Able Archer 83.
  23. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions, 78.
  24. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, 72.
  25. ^ Oberdorfer, A New Era, 65.
  26. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions, 76.
  27. ^ Walker, Martin (1993). The Cold War: A History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 276. 
  28. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions, 80–81.
  29. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, KGB, 599–600.
  30. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, 79.
  31. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, KGB, 600.
  32. ^ Gates, From the Shadows, 271, 272.
  33. ^ Pry, War Scare, 44.
  34. ^ a b Oberdorfer, A New Era, 67.
  35. ^ Fischer, "A Cold War Conundrum": Appendix B: The Gordievsky File
  36. ^ Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, 69.
  37. ^ Ermarth, Fritz W. (11 November 2003). Observations on the ‘War Scare’ of 1983 From an Intelligence Perch (PDF). Retrieved on 2006-05-21.
  38. ^ Gates, From the Shadows, 273.
  39. ^ a b Reagan, An American Life, 585.
  40. ^ Fischer, Reagan Reversal, 120–2.
  41. ^ Shultz, George P. (1993). Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 464. 
  42. ^ Reagan, An American Life, 257.
  43. ^ Fischer, Reagan Reversal, 134.
  44. ^ Nina Stewart, in a report to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, 1990, as cited in Oberdorfer, A New Era, 67.
  45. ^ Reagan, An American Life, 588–9, 585.

2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... May 21 is the 141st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (142nd in leap years). ...

Further reading

  • SNIE 11-10-84 can be found by searching for it at CIA.
  • Did East German Spies Prevent A Nuclear War? by Vojtech Mastny.
  • CNN Cold War - Spotlight: War games
  • The Straight Dope: Operation Able Archer: Were the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war?

 
 

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