In This Review

The Third World War: August 1985
The Third World War: August 1985
By General Sir John Hackett and others
Macmillan, 1979, 368 pp.

Fanciful-or farsighted? Certainly thought-provoking, as intended. Writing in 1987 so as to put on record as quickly as possible the details of the war of two years earlier, a group of British strategists give a step-by-step account of what happened. Spurred by a combination of success in expanding their military influence abroad and failure to resolve political differences at home, a new Soviet leadership, less cautious than that of the 1970s, starts a conventional war in Europe. When the tide is turned without nuclear recourse through a massive reinforcement by sea from America, Moscow devastates Birmingham with a "demonstrative" nuclear strike, which in turn leads to the annihilation of Minsk, the disintegration of the Soviet leadership, and the termination of World War III. A "happy ending" with chilling afterthoughts about the "limits" of limited war.