The Invasion of Afghanistan and UK-Soviet Relations, 1979-1982
Documents on British Policy Overseas, Series III, Volume VIII
Edited by Richard Smith, Patrick Salmon, Stephen Robert Twigge
Routledge – 2012 – 444 pages
Series: Whitehall Histories
This volume examines British policy towards the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.
The documents in this volume, many released into the public realm for the first time, describe the development of British policy towards the Soviet Union during the eventful years 1979-1982. The new Conservative government, under Margaret Thatcher, was determined to strengthen British defences against the perceived Soviet threat and advocated a strong response to the Soviet intervention. East-West relations further deteriorated following the imposition of martial law in Poland in December 1981. The dilemma facing the British government was how to express strong disapproval of Soviet actions while still attempting to maintain a constructive bilateral relationship, and at the same time keep British policy in line with the Western Alliance. The death of President Brezhnev in November 1982, after 18 years in office, brought uncertainty but also new opportunities for relations with the Soviets.
This book will be of much interest to students of British politics and foreign policy, Russian history, US foreign policy, Central Asian politics, and IR in general.
Preface. Abbreviations for Printed Sources. Abbreviated Designations. List of Persons. Document Summaries 1. 7 December 1979- 1 December 1981 2. 17 December 1981-9 December 1982. Appendix JIC(80)(N) 4: Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan-An Interim Assessment, 10 January 1980
Richard Smith is a Senior Historian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Stephen Twigge is a Principal Record Specialist at the National Archives, Kew, and a former Senior Historian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.