LOT'S WIFE..Turn around..look back...see with new eyes

Friday, July 16, 2010

Turn Around........Read This!

See with new eyes.....the Cold War!

David E. Hoffman recently won the Pulitzer Prize in the category of General Non-fiction 2010 for his new book----

The Dead Hand: The Untold Story Of The Cold War Arms Race And Its Dangerous Legacy

Hoffman comes with solid credentials. He is a contributing editor at the Washington Post. He covered the White House during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and was diplomatic correspondent and Jerusalem correspondent. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Moscow bureau chief, and then as foreign editor and assistant managing editor for foreign news.

THE DEAD HAND is a fascinating and chilling read. It revisits the Cold War arms race and details the inner-workings of the Soviet nuclear program. During the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union’s combined nuclear arsenals containing the explosive power of one million Hiroshimas.

From the time of Brezhnev, Soviet leaders feared “decapitation” – that they could be killed in a matter of minutes by American missiles. Because of this they invented an automatic retaliatory system, known as the Dead Hand. It would launch all their nuclear missiles if they were totally destroyed in an attack.

After it was drawn up, they had second thoughts about the fully automatic system, so they built a semi-automatic system that would leave the fate of the world in the hands of three surviving duty officers buried deep underground in a concrete, globe-shaped bunker. This was a Doomsday Machine; it was really built and it still exists, and the story is told in the book.

Vitaly Leonidivich Katayev, a staff member of the Central Committee who had a "front row seat" in all arms race-related discussions, kept highly detailed notebooks of technical data. He also saved thousands of pages of official memos. These papers provided the author with the foundation for his book. The data is described as the first full account of how the arms race finally ended. The Dead Hand provides an unprecedented look at the motives and very secret decisions of each side.

The Dead Hand also reveals the scope of the Soviet germ warfare effort. For me, this was the most frightening information presented. Using genetic engineering, Soviet scientists tried to create unstoppable super pathogens. They built a factory to produce tons and tons of weaponized anthrax in the event of war. This was a blatant violation of their commitments under the 1975 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. The book provides new documentary evidence of how this illegitimate program was covered up.

Using top-secret documents from deep inside the Kremlin, memoirs, and interviews in Russia and the United States, the author discusses, in detail, the scientists, spies. diplomats, and soldiers, involved.

He tells how Reagan, Gorbachev, and many others struggled to bring this all to an end. The book gives evidence that Gorbachev played a central role in slowing the nuclear escalation between the superpowers.

The Dead Hand details the Soviet response to Ronald Reagan’s dream of a global defensive shield that would make nuclear weapons obsolete. Only months after Gorbachev took office, the Soviet missile and space designers gave him an enormous plan to build their own Soviet “Star Wars.” It would have cost billions of rubles and extended the arms race into outer space. But Gorbachev would not do it.

When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 it ended seventy years of failed ideology, hyper-militarization and rigid central control.

But, left behind were: 6,623 nuclear warheads on land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, 2,760 nuclear warheads on sea-based missiles, 822 nuclear bombs on planes and 150 warheads deployed on cruise missiles, as well as perhaps another 15,000 tactical nuclear warheads scattered in depots, trains and warehouses.

Even more terrifying, in what was abandoned, were tons of chemical weapons, anthrax bacteria spores, and smallpox. There were hundreds of thousands of workers who knew the secrets, and who were now displaced, embittered, dispirited, and, in some cases, facing great poverty. These people were for sale. Their knowledge, expertise, and material was, and still is, marketable.

In The Dead Hand the reader will learn the really frightening details of the race against time to make sure the weapons and the scientists did not fall into the wrong hands.

The race is still being run.

This is history we all need to know……..

No comments:

Post a Comment