Near and Distant Neighbours

Near and Distant Neighbours : A New History of Soviet Intelligence

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Near and Distant Neighbours is the first ever substantiated and complete history of Soviet intelligence. Based on a mass of newly declassified Russian secret intelligence documentation, it reveals the true story of Soviet intelligence from its very beginnings in 1917 right through to the end of the Cold War. Covering both main branches of Soviet espionage - civilian and military - Jonathan Haslam charts the full range of the Soviet intelligence effort and the story of its development: in cryptography, disinformation, special forces, and counter-intelligence. In a tragic irony, an organization that so casually disposed of others critically depended upon the human factor. Due to their lack of expertise and technological know-how, from early on the Soviets were forced to rely heavily on secret agents instead of the more sophisticated code-breaking techniques of other intelligence agencies. But in this they were highly successful, recruiting spy rings such as the infamous 'Cambridge Five' in the 1930s.
Had it not been for Soviet espionage against Britain's code-breaking effort during the Second World War, Stalin might never have won the victory that later enabled him to dominate half of Europe. Similarly, espionage directed at his allies enabled the Soviets to build an atomic bomb earlier than expected and to take calculated risks in post-war diplomacy, such as his audacious blockade of Berlin which led to the Berlin Airlift. Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin in 1956 alienated many of the foreign 'friends' so valued by the Soviet intelligence services. It also made new recruitment of foreign agents much more difficult, as the USSR rapidly lost its glamour and ideological appeal to potential supporters in the West during the 1950s. However, the gap was finally bridged through exploiting greedy and disloyal Western intelligence officers, using blackmail and bribery - and with great success. In fact, it was the ultimate irony that the KGB and GRU had never been more effective than when the Soviet Union began to collapse from within.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 169 x 240 x 27mm | 718g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 20 black and white illustrations
  • 0198708491
  • 9780198708490
  • 359,086

Review quote

This is an impressive book that has the merit of making the history of Soviet intelligence accessible to a wider scholarly audience. * SEER * ... he publication of [Haslam's] wide-ranging research ... should be warmly welcomed. * Oleg Gordievsky, Literary Review * A detailed appraisal of how the Soviet Union handled undercover operations from the communist revolution in 1917 until the end of the cold war. The most gripping chapters focus on the chaos that was unleashed by Josef Stalin. * Books of the Year 2015, The Economist *
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About Jonathan Haslam

Jonathan Haslam is the George F. Kennan Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Professor Emeritus in the History of International Relations at Cambridge University. He is the author of many books on the history of Soviet foreign policy, a biography of E.H. Carr and a history of realist thought in international relations
since Machiavelli. He was educated at the London School of Economics and Trinity College, Cambridge. He has been Visiting Professor at several US universities, including Harvard, Yale and Stanford. He is married with one son.
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Table of contents

Preface ; 1. Starting from Scratch ; 2. But Who Was the Enemy? ; 3. Signals Intelligence: a Poor But Demanding Stepchild ; 4. What German Threat? ; 5. Tested in War ; 6. Cold War Advantage ; 7. Black Out ; 8. Holding the Lead in Germany ; 9. Loss of Faith ; 10. The Computer Gap ; 11. Pride Before the Fall ; Conclusions: Aftermath
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Rating details

108 ratings
3.26 out of 5 stars
5 16% (17)
4 27% (29)
3 30% (32)
2 24% (26)
1 4% (4)
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