There is no single explanation of any important event, let alone of a long historical period such as that covered in this book. There will always be differences of view and emphasis, and history is a controversial matter, and interpretations of history are often used as tools in political contestation. What I have sought to do in this book is to provide an assessment of Soviet Communism and an examination of the rise of fall of the USSR and its impact on world politics, by focusing on the roles of ideology, power, and the state, and where these all interplay with and have been determined to an extent by the forces of nationalism, whilst trying to avoid any political biases. The previous chapters have shown how events coming out of the Revolution of October 1917 and the rise of Soviet Communism went on to shape the international politics of the twentieth century, whilst leaving a legacy that well into the twenty-first century was still being played out in Ukraine. Without the challenge of Soviet Communism there would have been no Cold War, that tense, dangerous ideological and balance of power contestation that brought the world so close to nuclear war in October 1962. In this final chapter I will highlight the main findings from the study and suggest any lessons that might be drawn, whilst also returning to the question of how academics failed to foresee the collapse of Soviet Communism and the subsequent radical impact this had on the international system. In rethinking the international politics of the twentieth century it is necessary to highlight the power of ideological challenges to the international order, as well as the more traditional notions of the balance of power defined in material terms. This book has shown how the Soviet communist state was central to both.
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