Following the Allied victory in World War II, the USA 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 declassified US documents, Mitrovich reveals a range of 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 demonstrtes that inspiration for these efforts did not originate within the intelligence community, but with individuals at the highest levels of policy-making in the US government. National security advisers, Mitrovich asserts, were adamant that the Soviet threat must be eliminated so the USA could create a stable, prosperous international system.
Only the shifting balance of power caused by the development of Soviet nuclear weapons forced US leaders to abandon their goal of subverting the Soviet system and to accept a world order with two rival superpowers.