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About this book

Michael Dockrill's concise study of the early years of the Cold War between the Western Powers and Soviet Union has been widely acclaimed as an authoritative guide to the subject. In this second edition, he and Michael Hopkins bring the story up to the events of 1991, and also expand coverage of key topics.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
For nearly half a century after 1945 the Cold War dominated international relations. The Cold War has been defined as a state of extreme tension between the superpowers, stopping short of all-out war but characterised by mutual hostility and involvement in covert warfare and war by proxy as a means of upholding the interests of one against the other. It might not have become a ‘hot’ war but it was a dangerous era. Indeed, it remained ‘cold’ because the development of nuclear weapons had made resort to war a suicidal enterprise: both sides would be totally devastated by such an eventuality. The struggle between the two sides was accordingly pursued by indirect means, very often at considerable risk, and the resulting tensions ensured that both sides maintained a high and continuous state of readiness for war. The massive expenditures by both sides on research and development of nuclear arsenals and delivery vehicles led to a spiralling arms race which could, in turn, as a result of miscalculation by one side or the other, have resulted in a holocaust. There is a huge bibliography seeking to interpret and explain the origins and development of the ‘Cold War’.
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

1. Origins, 1917–1945

Abstract
Antagonism had been inherent in the American-Soviet relationship since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The two great continental states represented totally opposed ideologies: the United States embraced the values of liberal, capitalist democracy, while the Soviet Union was the first ‘socialist republic’, a communist dictatorship dedicated to spreading ‘world revolution’ by overthrowing the existing world order. These ideological differences were starkly revealed as the First World War ended in November 1918 and a peace conference, at which Russia was not represented, was convened in Paris in January 1919. United States war aims, as expressed in Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points speech of the previous year, envisaged a world based on the principle of national self-determination and a League of Nations which would replace the unstable pre-1914 system of alliances and balance of power politics. The Soviets, on the other hand, led by V.I. Lenin, insisted that the worldwide victory of the proletariat was the only basis for a peaceful world.
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

2. The Cold War Emerges, 1946–1952

Abstract
The post-Moscow Conference thaw was short-lived. During 1946 there was a definite hardening of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States. By the following year a ‘Cold War’ had broken out which was to become the characteristic feature of East-West relations for the next two decades. The ‘Cold War’ was a state of continuing hostility and tension between the two world power blocs led by the United States and the Soviet Union. Before the advent of nuclear weapons the outcome of the bitter disputes between East and West, which spread from Europe to the Middle and Far East, would have been a major war. The possession of nuclear weapons of ever increasing and formidable power, and the appalling consequences of their use, did impose some restraint on the leaders of each side in their dealings with the other but, during the many confrontations between the two sides after 1946, the slightest miscalculation or overreaction might well have led to catastrophe. The enormous power of the hydrogen bomb, which both sides developed in the early 1950s, imposed even greater caution on them, but even before 1949, when the United States alone possessed the atomic bomb, Truman was as reluctant to contemplate its use as Stalin was to provoke it.
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

3. Global Stakes, 1953–1961

Abstract
The victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander in Europe during the Second World War, Army Chief of Staff after 1945 and latterly Supreme Commander of NATO, in the November 1952 presidential election — the first Republican to enter the White House since Herbert Hoover in 1929 — was partly attributable to the mounting frustration of the electorate with Truman’s seeming inability to end the long drawn out and inconclusive stalemate in Korea. Armistice talks between the communist and United Nations military commands had begun in the summer of 1951, but progress had been painfully slow, and in 1952 had come to an end altogether when the two sides had been unable to reach agreement on the question of the repatriation of prisoners of war. The communists insisted on their forcible repatriation, while the Americans, for humanitarian reasons and also because they sensed a propaganda victory if large numbers of communist prisoners refused to return to their homelands, demanded voluntary repatriation. Eisenhower had anchored his presidential campaign on a pledge to end the Korean War quickly if elected [76].
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

4. From Crisis to Détente, 1961–1968

Abstract
As Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1960 Kennedy had campaigned vigorously on the issue of American defence unpreparedness and on the dangers of the ‘missile gap’. He had distanced himself from Eisenhower by stressing his youth and vigour (he was 43 in 1960: Eisenhower was nearly 70). He contrasted his bold programmes for a reinvigorated United States (‘getting the United States moving again’) with Eisenhower’s feeble and lacklustre policies. Domestically this meant economic expansion and full employment, while in foreign policy terms his ‘New Frontier’ rhetoric insisted that in future the United States would ally itself with the progressive forces in the world. Nationalism would no longer, as in Dulles’s day, be regarded as a potential threat to the free world — indeed, the United States would encourage and assist Third World aspirations. In his inaugural speech the new president declared that ‘we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty’ [46: 205]. This high-flown language presaged a more active policy, as universalist and anti-communist as Eisenhower’s had been, but under Kennedy and Johnson, armed with sufficient military strength to enable the United States to act more decisively in situations where Eisenhower would probably have been more cautious [46].
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

5. The Cold War Declines, 1969–1976

Abstract
When Richard M. Nixon won the November 1968 presidential election, he appointed Henry Kissinger as his National Security Adviser. This unlikely partnership was to dominate US foreign policy between 1969 and 1974. Yet they came from such different backgrounds. Nixon was a poor Quaker from California who paid his way through college. After qualifying as a lawyer and service in the navy during the war, he was elected to Congress in 1946 and then to the Senate in 1950 where he made a name for himself as an ardent anti-communist. He served as Eisenhower’s Vice-President from 1953 to 1961 but lost the 1961 election to John Kennedy. Kissinger was a Jewish refugee from Germany. After wartime service in the US army, he enjoyed a brilliant academic career at Harvard: a summa cum laude degree was followed by a PhD on the ‘congress system’ after the Napoleonic wars and rapid promotion to full professor by 1960. He gained international recognition with his book, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957), and established a network of political connexions while serving as director of the Harvard international seminar.
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

6. The Demise of Détente and the New Cold War, 1977–1985

Abstract
James Earl (he preferred Jimmy) Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election largely because of a popular revulsion against the excesses of government in Washington. Watergate and claims about CIA involvement in Chile gave government an unsavoury image. Carter campaigned as an outsider who would restore morality to politics. An Evangelical Christian who promised ‘I’ll never lie to you’, he had served for a term as Governor of Georgia but had no experience of Washington either as an elected politician or as an official. An honest, intelligent, knowledgeable, well meaning individual whose outlook was influenced by liberal and Christian ideals, he could become preoccupied with details and find it difficult to delegate. He never established effective relations with Congress. Garthoff feels he was naïve about bureaucratic and global politics. Worse, there were divisions among his advisers. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance and Secretary of Defense Harold Brown both possessed considerable experience in foreign and defence matters while Assistant for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski brought a talent for conceptualising foreign policy ideas. However, they did not share a common outlook. Since Carter did not offer a sense of overall direction, the outcome was ‘a policy that zigzagged’ [49: 623].
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

7. Renewed Détente and the End of the Cold War, 1985–1991

Abstract
The appointment, in March 1985, of Mikhail Gorbachev as the new General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union marked the beginning of a dramatic era in US-Soviet relations, although this was not immediately evident. Born in southern Russia in 1931, he is a man of high intelligence whose career had advanced under Brezhnev and Andropov. During the latter part of Chernenko’s term of office Gorbachev had emerged as the dominant figure in the Politburo. He was an adept dissembler. In March 1985 he secured Gromyko’s endorsement of his candidacy as General Secretary to succeed Chernenko. Yet four months later he would replace him as Foreign Minister. Gorbachev was not only younger and more vigorous than his immediate predecessors, he had a better, if limited, grasp of the West from his travels in Belgium, France, Italy and West Germany. He had established a reputation for action and he was going to need such a talent, given the condition of the Soviet Union in 1985.
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins

Conclusion

Abstract
A number of factors were responsible for the Cold War: the ideological differences between the Soviet Union and the West, the nuclear arms race, misperceptions of each other’s intentions and the overestimation of each other’s capabilities. Initial American post-Second World War plans did not go much beyond maintaining peace through the United Nations and encouraging free trade. Churchill was, however, more anxious than Roosevelt about Soviet aims in post-war Europe and the Mediterranean. For his part Stalin felt that the grand alliance of the war years and Soviet victories over Germany had enhanced the Soviet Union’s status as a great power and entitled it to secure and consolidate a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Given the huge Soviet wartime sacrifices, Britain and the United States felt bound, during the wartime conferences in Teheran and Yalta, to acknowledge Moscow’s hegemony in the countries ‘liberated’ by the Red Army. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Soviet sphere of influence expanded from Central Europe, to Northern Europe and to the Far East, to include Manchuria, North Korea and Sakhalin.
Michael L. Dockrill, Michael F. Hopkins
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