Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Committee Member

Joseph A. Fry, Chair

Second Committee Member

Thomas C. Wright

Third Committee Member

David S. Tanenhaus

Graduate Faculty Representative

Joseph B. McCullough

Number of Pages



A series of otherwise unrelated events culminated to make 1983 the most dangerous year the world has ever known, with the United States and the Soviet Union even closer to war than during the much more well-known events of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis of 1983 arose from a sequence of accidents, misunderstandings, and mistakes. From highly publicized events such as President Ronald Reagan‘s application of morality to foreign policy to the Soviet Union‘s attempt to discover NATO‘s secret attack plans, an extraordinary confluence of events brought the two superpowers closer to nuclear exchange than is commonly believed. More than ten separate events drove the United States and Soviet Union on a collision course in a battle of wills, the outcome of which provided a de facto end of the Cold War nearly a decade before it was considered officially over. Due to the lack of open communication between the two superpowers, the world was largely unaware of the significance of these events as they unfolded.


Able Archer; Andropov; I︠U︡. V. (I︠U︡riĭ Vladimirovich); 1914-1984; Cold War; International relations; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Nuclear missiles; Nuclear warfare;Nuclear weapons; Reagan; Ronald; Soviet Union; United States; War games; Yuri Andropov


American Politics | Diplomatic History | International Relations | Political History | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies | United States History

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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