THE SPIRIT OF GENEVA: A NEW ROUND AFTER STALIN 1954-1956
The year 1955 was a turning point in both the style and content of Soviet postwar disarmament diplomacy, following a frigid -- and occasionally superheated -- spell since 1946. In the 1954-1956 period, and particularly in the spring of 1955, the Soviet Union astonished not a few observers by announcing a series of apparent concessions: these in several important instances represented a clear acceptance, at least verbally, of positions that for some years had been vainly advocated by the Western powers.
The 1955 Soviet disarmament concessions were of course not made in a vacuum; they took place in the period of Soviet glacial thaw that followed Stalin's death. The atmosphere in which they were advanced reflected the process of internal "de-Stalinization" that came to a peak at the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956. It reflected revised notions about the relations of "fraternal" states within the Communist bloc. And it reflected a basic reappraisal of the hard external line that since the end of the war had helped sustain an unprecedented state of international tension. The