Catalogue


US intelligence perceptions of Soviet power, 1921-1946 /
Leonard Leshuk.
imprint
London ; Portland, OR : Frank Cass, 2003.
description
xii, 284 p.
ISBN
0714653063 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London ; Portland, OR : Frank Cass, 2003.
isbn
0714653063 (cloth)
catalogue key
4747314
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Leonard Leshuk is researcher and independent intelligence analyst in Washington DC. He has a PhD from the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, and a Master of Public and International Affairs degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent several years helping the Afghan resistance in the war with the Soviet Union, and has travelled extensively in the successor states of the USSR.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-06-01:
Mining original sources, Leshuk makes disturbing claims that intelligence on the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1946 was developed largely on incorrect estimates of military, economic, industrial, and even societal realities. US intelligence failures were "pervasive, continual, and cumulative." Leshuk finds, as did David Alvarez (Secret Messages: Codebreaking and American Diplomacy, 1930-1945, CH, Oct'00), that the bulk of intelligence on the USSR did not reach the highest levels in FDR's administration. Leshuk warns that current intelligence estimates, despite a plethora of sources, may still rest in part on US intelligence assessment errors, including the collapse of the Soviet Union. He clearly delineates the problem of intelligence coordination, which in the war years involved the Military Intelligence Division, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Office of Strategic Services. In the postwar era, and not only for the Soviet Union, problems with US intelligence have not been corrected and continue to this day. The bibliography does not include several of the newest relevant works, such as Dennis J. Dunn's Caught between Roosevelt & Stalin: America's Ambassadors to Moscow (CH, Jul'98) and Charles J. Weeks's An American Naval Diplomat in Revolutionary Russia, (CH, Dec'93). In light of recent pressures on US intelligence, the book reveals past pitfalls and lessons. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. C. W. Haury Piedmont Virginia Community College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2003
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Summaries
Main Description
This is a comprehensive study of the US government's knowledge and perceptions of the Soviet Union before the Cold War. It is also an in-depth investigation into how US intelligence operations were carried out in the decades before World War II. The book examines in detail US intelligence-gathering and analysis on the Soviet Union in the period 1921-46. Presenting a wealth of documentary evidence, Leonard Leshuk challenges some of the generally held assumptions about US-Soviet relations and associated events in the period. The book begins by tracing the question of how a state perceived to be hopelessly weak and backward before World War II could emerge from that terrible and resource-consuming conflict strong enough to challenge the United States on a global basis in the Cold War. Presenting extensive documentary evidence, principally from previously classified US intelligence files, the author shows how pre-Cold War perceptions of Soviet power were both wrong and in conflict with actual intelligencedata. The author explains this anomaly as being due to the prejudice, ignorance and gross incompetence within US intelligence during this period, which led to dangerous mistakes being made by US policy-makers. The author concludes that, despite the massive expansion of intelligence operations since 1946, many of the same serious problems continue to beset US policy-making, as evidenced by the lack of preparedness for the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. There are also worryingly close parallels with recent US intelligence and policy failures concerning China.
Long Description
This is a comprehensive study of the US government's knowledge and perceptions of the Soviet Union before the Cold War. It is also an in-depth investigation into how US intelligence operations were carried out in the decades before World War II. The book examines in detail US intelligence-gathering and analysis on the Soviet Union in the period 1921-46. Presenting a wealth of documentary evidence, Leonard Leshuk challenges some of the generally held assumptions about US-Soviet relations and associated events in the period. The book begins by tracing the question of how a state perceived to be hopelessly weak and backward before World War II could emerge from that terrible and resource-consuming conflict strong enough to challenge the United States on a global basis in the Cold War. Presenting extensive documentary evidence, principally from previously classified US intelligence files, the author shows how pre-Cold War perceptions of Soviet power were both wrong and in conflict with actual intelligence data. The author explains this anomaly as being due to the prejudice, ignorance and gross incompetence within US intelligence during this period, which led to dangerous mistakes being made by US policy-makers. The author concludes that, despite the massive expansion of intelligence operations since 1946, many of the same serious problems continue to beset US policy-making, as evidenced by the lack of preparedness for the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. There are also worryingly close parallels with recent US intelligence and policy failures concerning China.
Back Cover Copy
Leonard Leshuk begins this study by commenting on the unusual situation whereby a nation as seemingly weak and backward before World War II as the Soviet Union could, in the space of a few years, challenge the USA militarily on a global scale.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgementsp. vii
Note on Transliteration, Usage, and Spellingp. ix
List of Abbreviationsp. x
Introductionp. 1
The Background to US Perceptions of the New Soviet Statep. 21
Observing the Soviet Consolidation of Power, 1921-27p. 30
Searching for the Meaning of Life in the USSR, 1928-33p. 55
A Closer but No Clearer View, 1934-38p. 86
Assessing the USSR's Role in the Expanding European Crisis, 1939-40p. 117
A Changing View through the Fog of War, 1941-42p. 137
Recognizing Strength, Denying Implications, 1943-44p. 177
Reluctantly Facing Reality, 1945-46p. 213
Conclusionp. 245
References and Sourcesp. 263
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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