International Politics since World War II: A Short History

International Politics since World War II: A Short History

International Politics since World War II: A Short History

International Politics since World War II: A Short History


The past half-century has seen many hopes raised and some dashed, a succession of fears and false alarms, and both triumphs and calamities that were almost entirely unexpected.

This book offers a short but sweeping history of world politics since 1945: America's postwar preeminence and the hopes that attended the creation of the United Nations; the Cold War and the emergence of a volatile Third World; economic transformations and the twin threat of nuclear and cal disaster; the crumbling of the Soviet system and the short-lived promise of a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic new world.

Charles L. Robertson describes these momentous changes concisely but evocatively, in an effort to show how we got here from there and what we might have learned along the way. His use of both documents and memoirs as well as scholarly sources and his avoidance of trendy theories gives this survey solid grounding. The inclusion of maps and annotated reading lists makes the book fully accessible to students andgeneral readers.


World leaders have recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II -- not without pain and soul-searching. So much has happened since then, so much that was unimaginable at the time, when so many hopes were pinned on a new world that would emerge from the wreckage of the old. This book is a summary and a synthesis of the broad sweep of international history of these fifty years, chronicling successes as well as failures. It is intended primarily as supplementary reading for students of international politics or world history, but it may also be of interest to other people who have lived through these times. It tries to describe as objectively as possible both the great changes across the half century since the end of the war and many of the specific events that brought about the changes. It tries, in other words, to see what happened as we got from there to here, and why it happened.

To do all this in a single volume requires extreme compression and selectivity. Controversy abounds over the events of the period, and readers will inevitably disagree with both what has been selected and how it has been interpreted. An early version of this book was published thirty years ago, and people or events that seemed of capital importance then have simply disappeared from this version. The second edition appeared twenty years ago, shortly after President Richard M. Nixon engineered détente with Leonid Brezhnev's Soviet Union. Since that time, the whole interpretation of the accords and what they meant has shifted radically. This time, the book appears seven years after the euphoria that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall and the "liberation" of Eastern Europe; those seven years have dashed many hopes and expectations, yet much that is positive has happened. The outcomes of these and many other events remain uncertain -- "only time will tell," but different people will interpret what it tells quite differently. Many peoples, events, and places that were of supreme importance to the people directly involved are hardly mentioned in this book. I have had to . . .

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