How could the USA remain the strongest military power of the post WW2 era, when its military budget was smaller than the Soviet?

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,384
Kansas
I've read a number of articles by intelligence specialists from the Cold War spell that out very specifically. It was somewhat of a hidden process for the very reason that to do so would have made it's probability distinctly less. It became an accelerated process during the Reagan administration as he for the first time was a president who fully bought into the concept. You can see this clearly when you look at the explosion of new equipment plans and build up during the Reagan administration.
Yes the whole Star Wars program was part of this narrative. Create the concept for the most expensive weapon conceived by man. First sell it as a game changer, then sell the fact you really are trying build it.

Funny thing was no one seemed to notice that the whole program looked suspiciously like one of the plots from a Battlestar Galactica episode.
 
Jan 2019
215
Finland
I've read a number of articles by intelligence specialists from the Cold War spell that out very specifically. It was somewhat of a hidden process for the very reason that to do so would have made it's probability distinctly less. It became an accelerated process during the Reagan administration as he for the first time was a president who fully bought into the concept. You can see this clearly when you look at the explosion of new equipment plans and build up during the Reagan administration.
Can you give a quote or a source then that isn't after the fact? Or point to a document from the 80s that says that Reagan in the 80s increased military spending so that the Soviets will match it and bankcrupt themselves, rather than Reagan increasing spending to match what they thought was Soviet military superiority? IIRC a group of analysts called "Team B" factored heavily in the American military build up in the 80s.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,692
Was it? Or is that an after the fact narrative? Like are there quotes from officials of American government in the 50s, 60s, 70s, to that effect? I'm under the impression that no one in the West had any idea just how decrepit the USSR was, how bad its economy etc, so that when it fell it was incredible and that the American military build up in the 80s was because of genuine fear of Soviet military capabilites. The narrative that the US deliberately spent money to bring down the USSR seems more like Americans wanting to have a more active part in the demise of the Soviet Union when really it was a deck of cards rotten with corruption that was brought down from within.

I agree. Everything was presented as defense against the Soviet threat, never as an attempt to defeat or destroy the Soviet Union.
 
Dec 2013
389
Arkansas
It couldn't really. If for no other reason than there was approximately zero support in the U.S. for the country maintaining a large peacetime military. Americans as usual wanted to "win and go home" which they largely did.
 
Nov 2019
338
United States
Can you give a quote or a source then that isn't after the fact? Or point to a document from the 80s that says that Reagan in the 80s increased military spending so that the Soviets will match it and bankcrupt themselves, rather than Reagan increasing spending to match what they thought was Soviet military superiority? IIRC a group of analysts called "Team B" factored heavily in the American military build up in the 80s.
Reagan directed his national security team to come up with the necessary tactics to implement his victory strategy. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives (NSDDs).

  • NSDD-32 declared that the United States would seek to "neutralize" Soviet control over Eastern and Central Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region, especially in Poland.
  • NSDD-66 stated that it would be U.S. policy to disrupt the Soviet economy by attacking a "strategic triad" of critical resources--financial credits, high technology, and natural gas. The directive was tantamount to a "secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union."
  • NSDD-75 stated that the U.S. would no longer coexist with the Soviet system but would seek to change it fundamentally. America intended to roll back Soviet influence at every opportunity.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,863
Florania
The Soviet Union system was extremely low in efficiency as well. Thomas Sowell reveals quite of this.
Darn, I feel like I am a Thomas Sowell fan!
 
Nov 2019
338
United States
Reagan directed his national security team to come up with the necessary tactics to implement his victory strategy. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives (NSDDs).

  • NSDD-32 declared that the United States would seek to "neutralize" Soviet control over Eastern and Central Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region, especially in Poland.
  • NSDD-66 stated that it would be U.S. policy to disrupt the Soviet economy by attacking a "strategic triad" of critical resources--financial credits, high technology, and natural gas. The directive was tantamount to a "secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union."
  • NSDD-75 stated that the U.S. would no longer coexist with the Soviet system but would seek to change it fundamentally. America intended to roll back Soviet influence at every opportunity.