The Origins of Sdi, 1944-1983 by Donald R. Baucom
(Modern War Studies)

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Synopsis

Most people think Star Wars began with the ideas of Ronald Reagan, but its roots reach decades further back. In this first scholarly account of the origins of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), historian Don Baucom traces these roots back to the dawn of the missile age in 1944. He finds SDI emerging after a period of nearly 40 years from forces generated by technological developments, changing strategic conditions, and the collapse of the SALT arms control negotiations of the 1970s. These forces converged in the early 1980s on a President Reagan who came to office determined to use missile defences to end the nation's dependence on the concept of mutual assured destruction. He soon found that his revulsion with MAD was matched by a growing uneasiness with offensive nuclear deterrence among the American people. "The Origins of SDI" is not an evaluation of the Star Wars programme. Instead, it is both the history of a policy and a case study of a presidential decision. Baucom bases his conclusions on historical research as well as interviews with participants in the decision-making proces. As a result, he provides both the broad historical context for the emergence of the Star Wars program and an insider's account, unique in its level of detail, of presidential decision making and the search for consensus.
 

About Donald R. Baucom

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Published June 1, 1992 by Univ Pr of Kansas. 256 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction