Lessons of the Cold War

James M. Dubik, Frederick W. Kagan, and Kimberly Kagan

Hertog Foundation | 2016

This seminar will introduce students to the Soviet Union, American grand strategic thinking in the early Cold War, and U.S. and Soviet nuclear thought.  It will consider the challenge Americans faced defining and understanding the Soviet threat.  It will also explore the Soviet view of the Cold War, the challenges facing Moscow, and Soviet approaches to meeting those challenges.  It will highlight the way wildly divergent experiences in World War II, as well as extreme differences in ideology, shaped each side’s perception of the other and created mutually-incompatible approaches to the conflict.  It will also explore the development and evolution of nuclear war theory on both sides, emphasizing the very different conclusions drawn about the nature and acceptability of nuclear war by systems guided by such opposing ideologies and experiences.  It will end by considering how to apply lessons drawn from the Cold War to the challenges emanating from Russia today.

Advanced War Studies Courses are open only to alumni of the basic War Studies course. These sessions are offered in the winter and summer, and focus either on a national security challenge or on a historical conflict. Learn more about the War Studies Program.

Image courtesy White House Photographic Office | Ronald Reagan Presidential Library