ON 8 May 1945 the Germans surrendered unconditionally to the Allies and the war in Europe was over. But by the end of 1947 the Allies were engaged in the elusive and intractable conflict that we know as the cold war, a conflict that has dominated contemporary international relations as well as the historiography of the postwar years.
Scholars have long argued over the origins and nature of the cold war. During the 1950s and the early 1960s Western opinion was dominated by the so-called traditionalist view of the cold war, expounded, in many cases, by those who had been active in government during these years. They have left us a prodigious outpouring of memoirs, diaries, and 'inside' accounts of the international politics of the 1940s and early 1950s. According to these traditionalist writers, the Soviet Union's desire to expand her power and influence outside her borders was checked only by the defensive, protective policy of the United States. The cold war was in essence an American response to a Soviet challenge that was posed within an acutely bipolar world setting. 1
Then, during the Vietnam war and the crisis of American selfconfidence that followed, scholars took a fresh look at the 1940s. A new school of thought emerged, a revisionist school, whose members were mostly left-wing or marxist in their orientation____________________