Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War

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Nate Jones
New Press, The, Nov 1, 2016 - Political Science - 320 pages
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In November 1983, Soviet nuclear forces went on high alert. After months nervously watching increasingly assertive NATO military posturing, Soviet intelligence agencies in Western Europe received flash telegrams reporting alarming activity on U.S. bases. In response, the Soviets began planning for a countdown to a nuclear first strike by NATO on Eastern Europe. And then Able Archer 83, a vast NATO war game exercise that modeled a Soviet attack on NATO allies, ended.

What the West didn't know at the time was that the Soviets thought Operation Able Archer 83 was real and were actively preparing for a surprise missile attack from NATO. This close scrape with Armageddon was largely unknown until last October when the U.S. government released a ninety-four-page presidential analysis of Able Archer that the National Security Archive had spent over a decade trying to declassify. Able Archer 83 is based upon more than a thousand pages of declassified documents that archive staffer Nate Jones has pried loose from several U.S. government agencies and British archives, as well as from formerly classified Soviet Politburo and KGB files, vividly recreating the atmosphere that nearly unleashed nuclear war.
 

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Contents

Foreword by Tom Blanton
Thoroughly White Hot Able Archer 83 and the Crux of the War Scare
Aftermath One Misstep Could Trigger a Great War
Why Is the World So Dangerous?
Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board Report The Soviet War
CIA Studies in Intelligence Article by Benjamin Fischer The 1983
95
KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov to General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev
109
Memorandum of Conversation Between General Secretary Yuri Andropov
115
Memorandum for National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane from
11
UK Ministry of Defence Soviet Union Concern About a Surprise Nuclear
21
Central Intelligence Agency Special National Intelligence Estimate
28
Central Intelligence Agency Memorandum for the President Vice
41
Reagans Handwritten Addition of Ivan and Anya to His January
56
Notes
70
Index
111
Copyright

U S Army Intelligence and Security Command Daily INTSUM November
131

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About the author (2016)

Nate Jones is the director of the Freedom of Information Act Project for the National Security Archive. He is also editor of the National Security Archive's blog, Unredacted. He lives in Washington, D.C. Thomas S. Blanton is the director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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