The Martial Muses: Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter and the Cold World They Made Together*

Ron Robin (New York University)

Thu, 1/7/2016, 6:00 pm
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Hauptgebäude, Hörsaal 1072
Unter den Linden 6
10117 Berlin


Admission is free. Registration is not necessary.

Prof. Dr. Gabriele Metzler
Friedrichstraße 191/193, Raum 5005
Tel. +49 (0)30 2093-70595

This lecture is part of the series "New Research on the Cold War".
Chair: Bernd Greiner (Berlin Center for Cold War Studies / Hamburg Institute for Social Research)

Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter were the power couple of strategic studies during the Cold War period and its immediate aftermath. Both produced seminal texts that have entered the cannon of strategic studies, such as Roberta's "Surprise at Pearl Harbor" or Albert's "Delicate Balance of Terror".  It was Roberta, rather than the flamboyant Albert, who provided the foundations for the Wohlstetter doctrine with her study of the Pearl Harbor intelligence failure. Albert's formidable contributions were provocative and innovative, but his intellectual debt to Roberta was quite profound. As a close reading of the Wohlstetter studies reveals, domestic challenges in the United States informed and at times eclipsed their preoccupation with the nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union. Moreover, they fostered a cadre of acolytes who implemented their mentors' doctrine during the George W. Bush administration. These include Zalmay Khalilzad, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, to mention but a few – their insistence on constructing a nuclear threat in Iraq was directly linked to the work of the Wohlstetters.

Ron Robin, Dr., is Professor of History, Media, Culture and Communication (New York University).

The lecture series "New Research on the Cold War" is a joint project of the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies.

*The lecture is in English.