Monday, November 13, 2006

On the Uses of Fear

"The Myasishchev-4 (M-4) went into serial production in 1954 but was a huge disappointment. It lacked the range to hit American targets because Myasishchev could not devise a reliable method to refuel the plane.
The Kremlin watched with Glee as a very helpful discussion of Soviet Bomber technology subsequently broke into the open in the United States. Led by Missouri Senator Stuart Symington, a former secretary of the Air Force under Truman with presidential ambitions, some congressman began decrying a strategic “bomber gap” between the United States and the Soviet Union. “It is now clear,” said Symington, “that the United States, along with the rest of the free world, may have lost control of the air.” Despite assurances from the Eisenhower administration that the U.S. Air Force remained ahead of the Soviets, some journalists and legislators began throwing around extravagant assumptions about the capabilities of the M-4
[...]Bulganin and Zhukov were given the task of preparing a major air show for Soviet aviation day on July 13. The country’s entire fleet of three or four M-4’s was to be flown in wide circles around Tushino Airport to convey the impression that the Soviet Union had at least 28 of them."

Kruschev’s Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary by Aleksander Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, p 41-41

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