David Hoffman, Dr. Arne Hofmann (Chair)
Monday 7 February 2011, 7:00pm, Room B212
Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist David Hoffman discussed Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, and Soviet responses to it as well as the development of the illicit Soviet bioweapons program in the 1980s. His talk illuminatedGorbachev's decision-making process and sought to explain how he fit into the 'new thinking' or conflicted with it. The talk also examined the role of the United Kingdom in these decisions with a specific emphasis on the part of Margaret Thatcher in these events.
The Dead Hand
The Dead Hand is critically a acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative history of Reagan, Gorbachev and the dying days of the Cold War – and the dangerous inheritance the USSR left behind. This suspense-laden story captures the startling inside story in both the USA and the Soviet Union, unmasking the cover up of a Soviet biological warfare machine ready to produce bacteria and viruses to kill millions, and the refusal of Gorbachev in 1985 to compete in Reagan's massive "Star Wars" weaponry programme. Hoffman also tells the little-known story of the Soviet semi-automatic retaliatory system known as the Dead Hand, a Doomsday Device that would leave the fate of Earth in the hands of three surviving duty officers buried deep underground in a concrete, globe-shaped bunker.
Read David's blog for Foreign Policy
David E Hoffman served for 27 years as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post. He covered the White House during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and was subsequently diplomatic correspondent and Jerusalem correspondent. From 1995 to 2001, he was Moscow bureau chief, and later foreign editor and assistant managing editor for foreign news.
Arne Hofmann is Head of the Cold War Studies Programme at LSE IDEAS: Diplomacy and Strategy