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Bernd Lemke, Die Allied Mobile Force 1961 bis 2002

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Bernd Lemke, Die Allied Mobile Force 1961 bis 2002
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  B. Lemke: Die Allied Mobile Force 1961 bis 2002 Lemke,   Bernd:   Die    Allied    Mobile   Force   1961   bis   2002 .   Berlin:   de   Gruyter   Oldenbourg   2015.   ISBN:   978-3-11-041087-7;   X,   374   S. Rezensiert   von:   Dionysios   Chourchoulis,   Glyfada , Griechenland The   history   of    NATO   in   the   Cold   War   has    been   quite   well   researched   in   the   last   thirty   years.   A   good   number   of     books   and   articles   on   military   strategy,   political   history,    burden   sharing,   integration   and   solidarity   and   other   special   problems   have    been   published.   Fur-thermore,   historiography   has   pushed   forward   to   the   1970s   and   80s,   dealing   with,   amongst   other   topics,   the   rise   and   fall   of    détente  ,   the   double-track   decision   and   the   so-called   ‘Sec-ond   Cold   War’.   Nevertheless,   there   is   still   much   to    be   done.   Scholars   have,   for   exam-ple,   only   recently    begun   to   utilize   the   NATO   Archives;   an   extremely   valuable   and   easily   ac-cessible   source.As   NATO   has   survived   the   Cold   War   and   is   still   a   major   player   today,   albeit   under   new   strategic   and   political   frameworks,   new   ques-tions   and   interests   emerge.   Historiographical   research   therefore   started   to   develop   new   per-spectives   and   to    build    bridges   across   the   di-vide   of    1990.Bernd   Lemke’s   research   monograph   fills   a   significant   gap   in   the   historiography   of    NATO   and   is   of    great   value   for   NATO   scholars,   strategic   and   defense   studies   experts,   plus   Cold   War   and   military   historians.   It   an-alyzes   the   concept,   development,   structure,   and   operational   history   of    NATO’s   first   im-mediate   reaction   force   from   the   early   1960s   to   the   early   2000s.   The   Allied   Mobile   Force   (AMF)   was   designed   to    be   deployed   to   the   flank   areas   of    the   alliance   in   case   of    provoca-tion   or   limited   aggression    by   members   of    the   Warsaw   Pact   and   consisted   of    six    battalions   and   six   squadrons   of    fighter    bombers   (three   for   each   flank).   Its   main   mission   was   to   im-press   its   military   strength   upon   its   adversary   („Showing   the   Flag“)   and   to   act   as   a   conduit   to   communications,   or   even   as   a   last   warn-ing   if    aggression   extended.   The   force   was   commanded   directly    by   the   Supreme   Allied   Commander   Europe   (SACEUR)   under   the   di-rect   supervision   of    the   NAC.   It   was   not   inte-grated   into   the   territorial   command   structureof NATO.Its establishment began in 1961 and wassoon developed into a small, elite, multina-tional force (a brigade-sized formation com-posed by units of non-Flank members) withheadquarters in Heidelberg (FRG). Its unitscould be deployed rapidly to any part of Al-lied Command Europe (ACE) if necessary.It had seven contingency areas (Finnmark,Zealand, Greek Thrace, Turkish Thrace, Go-rizia Gap in North Eastern Italy, Turkish-Syrian border and Eastern Anatolia towardsthe Soviet Union). The AMF proved its ca-pabilities for over four decades, and under-took more than 100 NATO exercises withinthe ACE area of responsibility. In 2002 theforce was eventually disbanded (and soon re-placed by NATO Response Force – the NRF).Significantly, the AMF’s existence and par-ticipation in NATO exercises reassured pub-lic opinion in the frontline allied countries.However, it should be noted that during ac-tual crises, NATO authorities refrained fromthe deployment of the AMF, fearing that suchinitiative might provoke the Soviets.Bernd Lemke has produced a book basedon exemplary multi-archival research, utiliz-ing sources including the NATO Archives aswell as US-American, British and Germanarchives, and the existing academic litera-ture on relevant issues. It is structured the-matically in three main parts (save the intro-duction and the conclusion). Each part con-tains several chapters (and sometimes sub-chapters). It concentrates on the develop-ment and role of a specific NATO military‘instrument’ – the AMF – within the broaderNATO military strategy and its political role,and offers an institutional history. The roleof the AMF within NATO crisis managementas tested in major war simulations (WINTEXand HILEX) is particularly analyzed in detail.Lemke builds on the results of already exist-ing literature, especially the very importantrole of solidarity, cohesion and unity for thealliance. As NATO gradually began to shiftfrom the strategy of ‘massive retaliation’ and,after a long process, adopted the ‘FlexibleResponse’, the alliance attached much moreimportance to the exposed Flanks: the newdoctrine demanded a quick and commensu-rate (most likely, conventional, in the first in- © H-Net, Clio-online, and the author, all rights reserved.  stance) reaction to deal with local crises or in-cidents. The AMF was a decisive factor in thedeterrence of limited forms of Soviet bloc ag-gression or provocation, and even more im-portant for the reassurance of member states(especially Norway, Denmark, Italy, Greece,and Turkey), should a local crisis erupt.The author integrates the broader interna-tional developments into his study while ex-ploring the – often divergent and conflict-ing – national, regional and global interestsand policies of the NATO members and howthese influenced the internal courses of ac-tion and the dynamics of the alliance. Thesituation was further complicated, particu-larly in regard to the Southern Flank, byendemic Greek-Turkish disputes and crises,Greek withdrawal from the integrated mili-tary structure of the alliance (1974–1980), aswell as the region’s proximity to the volatileMiddle East. At the same time, Lemke dis-cusses how the political, strategic and finan-cial factors shaped the function of the AMFduring the Cold War and early post-ColdWar era. The financial question should in-deed not be underestimated. Even in timesof East-West tension, burden sharing and theprovisionofexpensivetransportation(mainlyairlifts) to the AMF was a source of intra-allied friction and struggle. Essentially, otherNATOmultinationalforces, suchastheNaval„On-Call“ Force Mediterranean, which laterevolved into the STANAVFORMED and thento Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, werealso subjected to similar difficulties.The history of the AMF provides a lotof background points and paradigms forthe challenging security environment today.Rapid reaction forces (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) and crisis management arenow considered major components for NATOto counter the manifold threats. Major geo-graphical and contingency areas of the AMFin the Cold War are also still in critical fo-cus for military operations today (NorthernFlank / Baltic States, Southern and EasternTurkey). The NATO ‘toolbox’ used to copewith such problems was srcinally developedduring the Cold War. Many of its compo-nents, such as the AMF forces, are still im-portant today. They have to address a wholerange of situations and contingencies rang-ing from the protection of NATO and its part-ners essential security interests to avoidingmajor destabilizations and wars. Similarly,many of the patterns of the Cold War alliancestill exist today. These include the issue of  burden sharing, (in)adequate finance, com-plicated administrative and command struc-tures, the contradiction between the pursuitofnationalgoalsandinterestsandthemainte-nance of intra-allied solidarity and cohesion,and even the actual willingness to employsuch combat forces should a real crisis erupt.Dionysios Chourchoulis über Lemke, Bernd: Die Allied Mobile Force 1961 bis 2002 . Berlin2015, in: H-Soz-Kult 11.05.2016. © H-Net, Clio-online, and the author, all rights reserved.
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