The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History

The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History

The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History

The Cold War: A Post-Cold War History

Synopsis

This latest edition of our classic text draws on analysis of new material released from archives in Moscow, Beijing, Hanoi, and other capitals of communist-bloc nations-helping to develop a truly international history of the Cold War, a complex and dynamic conflict that lasted more than forty years and continues to shape the foreign policy of the United States and other nations. Another important recent trend considered is the intensive study of the role of ideology in influencing policy on both sides of the conflict. Dr. Levering holds that the liberal internationalism espoused by leading Democrats and Republicans during World War II, plus most Americans' profound dislike of communism and communists, contributed greatly to America's decision to oppose postwar Soviet foreign policy.

Many recent studies of the Cold War emphasize the role of Marxist-Leninist ideology in postwar Soviet and Chinese foreign policy. Although these new directions in scholarship are important, the basic emphases of the original edition remains the same-U. S. actions and public opinion and relations between the two leading actors in the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union. Enhanced as well is coverage of the two large-scale but limited wars that grew out of the conflict, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and of the most dangerous confrontation of the nuclear age thus far, the Cuban missile crisis.

Excerpt

Preparing a new edition of a book permits the author to take a fresh look at what the work tends to focus on and what it tends to discuss briefly or omit entirely. Such a reevaluation is especially important in the case of a topic as large as the Cold War, which involved many nations and lasted for more than forty years. It also is important be- cause recently released documents from archives in Moscow, Beijing, Hanoi, and other capitals of communist bloc nations have enabled scholars to write more authoritatively about these nations' policies during the Cold War. Several of the books published since the mid- 1990s that are helping to develop a truly international history of the Cold War are included in the Bibliographical Essay.

Another important recent emphasis—again based partly on newly available sources—is the intensive study of the role of ideology in influencing policy on both sides of the conflict. As one of the authors of a recent textbook, Debating the Origins of the Cold War: American and Russian Perspectives (2002), I argued that the liberal internation- alism espoused by leading Democrats and Republicans during World War II, plus most Americans' profound dislike of communism and communists, contributed greatly to America's decision to oppose post- war Soviet foreign policy. Following the lead of other scholars, I noted that President Woodrow Wilson was the most influential advocate of liberal internationalism. Wilson's ideas about how to achieve a peace- ful and prosperous world greatly influenced the thinking of America's leaders in the 1940s. Similarly, many recent scholars have empha- sized the role of Marxist-Leninist ideology in postwar Soviet and Chinese foreign policy.

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