Why and how the Cold Warended became the question of the day after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. To people whose lives had long been circumscribed, if not terrified, by Cold War-related events, the remarkable disintegration of the Soviet Union, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and the reunification of Germany signified the end of one era and the beginning of another. Any explanations for the demise of the Cold War depended, of course, upon answers to another fundamental question: Why and how did the Cold Warbegin? People had to fathom the past—what the Cold Warhad been—before they could sensibly interpret the end of a "war" that had bedeviled world history for nearly a half century.
Like a huge glacier, the Cold War had imposed a distinct topography on international relations; its re-