Undermining the Kremlin
America's Strategy to Subvert the Soviet Bloc, 1947–1956
Winner of the 2001 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize (Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations)
Following the Allied victory in World War II, the United States turned its efforts to preventing the spread of Communism beyond Eastern Europe. Gregory Mitrovich argues, however, that the policy of containment was only the first step in a clandestine campaign to destroy Soviet power. Drawing on recently declassified U.S. documents, Mitrovich reveals a range of previously unknown covert actions launched during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Through the aggressive use of psychological warfare, officials sought to provoke political crisis among key Soviet leaders, to incite nationalist tensions within the USSR, and to foment unrest across Eastern Europe.
Mitrovich demonstrates that inspiration for these efforts did not originate within the intelligence community, but with individuals at the highest levels of policymaking in the U.S. government. National security advisors, Mitrovich asserts, were adamant that the Soviet threat must be eliminated so the United States could create a stable, prosperous international system. Only the shifting balance of power caused by the development of Soviet nuclear weapons forced U.S. leaders to abandon their goal of subverting the Soviet system and accept a world order with two rival superpowers.