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Oceans Ventured - Winning the Cold War at Sea

John Lehman

A thrilling story of the Cold War, told by a former navy secretary on the basis of recently declassified documents.
When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the United States and NATO were losing the Cold War. The USSR had superiority in conventional weapons and manpower in Europe, and had embarked on a massive program to gain naval preeminence. In Oceans Ventured, John Lehman reveals for the first time the untold story of the naval operations that played a major role in winning the Cold War.

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A thrilling story of the Cold War, told by a former navy secretary on the basis of recently declassified documents. When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the United States and NATO were losing the Cold War. The USSR had superiority in conventional weapons and manpower in Europe, and had embarked on a massive program to gain naval preeminence. But Reagan already had a plan to end the Cold War without armed conflict. Reagan led a bipartisan Congress to restore American command of the seas by building the navy back to six hundred major ships and fifteen aircraft carriers. He adopted a bold new strategy to deploy the growing fleet to northern waters around the periphery of the Soviet Union and demonstrate that the NATO fleet could sink Soviet submarines, defeat Soviet bomber and missile forces, and strike aggressively deep into the Soviet homeland if the USSR attacked NATO in Central Europe. The Soviets, suffocated by this naval strategy, were forced to bankrupt their economy trying to keep pace. Shortly thereafter the Berlin Wall fell, and the USSR disbanded. In Oceans Ventured, John Lehman reveals for the first time the untold story of the naval operations that played a major role in winning the Cold War.

ISBN: 9780393254259
Format: Hardback
Author(s): John Lehman
First Publishment Date: 5 June 2018

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  1. This book does have some flaws – for example in some places I’d have liked to have seen more details and explanations of the policies put in place, but Lehman has over sixty years of Cold War to narrate and those of us who lived through it will remember. review by PB on 07/03/2019

    To many young people it seems so long ago, but for those of us who lived through it The Cold War was a daily reminder of how hostile our relations were with the East. At sea there were deadly encounters both above and below the waves as East and West probed each other’s defences to see where soft targets could be found. The Cold War was won not by diplomacy but through spending - a lot of spending by the West. If you want to truly understand and comprehend the enormity of the undertaking to beat Russia then it is probably important to listen to the words spoken by some of the architects of the policy that made it possible. As Navy Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, John Lehman was at the forefront of a new approach to facing off the ‘Beast from the East’. This excellent book tells the story how, upon entering office in 1980, Reagan transformed the thinking of the American Administration which had for so long been content with keeping the status quo with the Russians. Reagan adopted a more gung-ho approach that many traditionalists in the US Senate and US Congress feared. Ultimately, as this book explains, Reagan’s policy of rebuilding the US military after dreadful cuts throughout the Carter Administration saw the country simply outspend their Russian counterparts whose economy simply could not compete with America’s. This book does have some flaws – for example in some places I’d have liked to have seen more details and explanations of the policies put in place, but Lehman has over sixty years of Cold War to narrate and those of us who lived through it will remember it was an extremely complex and interesting time to be alive. Highly recommended.

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