History and Strategy
Marc Trachtenberg


This work is a powerful demonstration of how historical analysis can be brought to bear on the study of strategic issues, and, conversely, how strategic thinking can help drive historical research. Based largely on newly released American archives, History and Strategy focuses on the twenty years following World War II. By bridging the sizable gap between the intellectual world of historians and that of strategists and political scientists, the essays here present a fresh and unified view of how to explore international politics in the nuclear era. The book begins with an overview of strategic thought in America from 1952 through 1966 and ends with a discussion of "making sense" of the nuclear age. Trachtenberg reevaluates the immediate causes of World War I, studies the impact of the shifting nuclear balance on American strategy in the early 1950s, examines the relationship between the nuclearization of NATO and U.S.-West European relations, and looks at the Berlin and the Cuban crises. He shows throughout that there are startling discoveries to be made about events that seem to have been thoroughly investigated.

First published in 1991.