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About this book

A lively and accessible new introduction to the origins and emergence of the Cold War. Caroline Kennedy-Pipe brings to life the clashes of ideas and personalities that led Russia and America into decades of conflict and draws out important lessons for policy and analysis in today's equally formative period in world affairs.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
This book is an attempt to accomplish two things. First, I want to reflect on the origins, evolution and initial character of the early years of the Cold War and to provide a clear account for students and the general reader of how the struggle between Russia and the United States erupted after the end of World War II. A second task (see Chapter 7) is to examine how these Cold War years, the events, the personalities and the crises might inform our understanding of international relations more generally. Many scholars, from different academic areas, have offered insights into the origins of the Cold War. Some are referred to and discussed in the following chapters. There are quite literally thousands of books and articles exploring the very many different dimensions of international politics between 1945 and 1962.
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

1. Cold Wars: Themes and Trajectories

Abstract
The Cold War seems to have receded from our memories much more quickly than we might have expected. For many, it is now almost impossible to understand how the Cold War framed practically every aspect of life for over four decades from 1945. With scholars and practitioners now concentrating on the threat from Islamic extremism and the apparent multiple threats posed by radical terrorism, the significance and character of globalization, or the multifarious threats posed by global environmental change, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its alleged threat to dominate the Western world through the spread of Soviet-style Communism (a threat which never successfully materialized) has a quaint, almost fusty air about it - like meeting a dimly remembered yet once very formidable maiden aunt.
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

2. Casting Long Shadows: Revolution to War

Abstract
The roots of the Cold War lie in the events of 1917 and the long shadows they cast on the politics - both material and ideational - of the 1920s and 1930s. At the same time as World War I continued to unfold with its unremitting sacrifice of human life, its multiple personal tragedies, the ineptitude of the generals and the inability of any one side to decisively prevail, a new sentiment was expressed - a new vision of human life and of global politics. In Russia, the Bolsheviks seized power and in a clear challenge to liberal democracies encouraged workers everywhere to overthrow the shackles of their bourgeois states. This was a startling turnaround for Russia. In August 1914, thousands of Russians had gathered in St Petersburg to welcome the outbreak of World War I in the expectation that war would bring about a rapid Russian victory. Political elites were convinced that a successful war in Europe would solidify Russian imperial power abroad and at home. But by 1917, millions of Russians had been killed and wounded, the Russian Imperial Army was near defeat and enthusiasm for war waned. The Russian economy faltered, prices rose and the cities were short of food. People gathered in the streets of the capital to protest against Tsar Nicholas II. He was forced to abdicate and a provisional government was established but was then overthrown by the Bolsheviks.
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

3. Wars and Empire

Abstract
So Stalin had got it wrong. The man revered as a prophet and a genius had failed to read Hitler correctly. The German attack of 22 June 1941 seemed to prove this beyond any doubt. Hitler had in strategic terms got the better of his Communist ‘ally’. Stalin had, in the short term at least, apparently miscalculated. This, in spite of all the evidence warning of a German attack, both from his own intelligence services and from diplomats in the West trying to help him (and of course themselves). Even those individuals around Stalin brave enough to tell the Soviet dictator what the Nazi tyrant planned were seemingly not believed. This blindness, combined with the effects of the purges carried out on the Red armed forces, meant that Russia was ill-prepared for the German onslaught. Historian and analyst Dmitri Volkogonov has written that Stalin’s miscalculation was of such vast, catastrophic proportions that it is hard to find anything comparable in history (Volkogonov, 1998: 119).
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

4. Far From Hegemony? Uncertainties and Constraints in the Early Cold War

Abstract
The use of the word hegemony in relation to the United States has now become a commonplace of the analysis of international relations. Pundits, such as Charles Krauthammer, talk blithely of a ‘unipolar moment’ politicians such as Madeleine Albright spoke of America as the ‘indispensable nation’; myriad books outline how the US became a hegemon and might yet decline. The widespread use of the term hegemony - or even, in some contexts, its close cousin ‘empire’ - are in the public discourse over the place of the US in the international system. Much of this is traceable to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the implosion of the Soviet Empire. The US is generally perceived to have emerged from that particular conflict as the victor, its values victorious, its strategies and tactics seemingly vindicated (Buzan, 2004).
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

5. The Shape of the Cold War

Abstract
Certainly by the time of his death in March 1953, Stalin had left his successors a complex legacy. On the one hand, there were undoubted achievements: the extension of Soviet frontiers into East and Central Europe and the defeat and subjection of Germany. In addition to this, the victory of Mao in China gave at least a veneer to the idea of a legacy of Communist strength. Yet, the Stalinist legacy was not all that it seemed to be. Soviet successes, such as they were, had been achieved at costs which would return to haunt the men in the Kremlin. The occupation of the states of Eastern and Central Europe had resulted in a forcible and coherent American response and, as we will see within the bloc itself, occupation inspired unruly subjects to rebel.
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

6. Reflections on the Origins of the Cold War

Abstract
The preceding chapters have outlined in some detail the general trajectory that led to the Cold War. The two remaining chapters provide respectively a summary and assessment of the story of the origins of the Cold War as I have recounted it and, in Chapter 7, some more general conclusions about the implications for international politics more generally. If we were to caricature the two main accounts about the origins of the Cold War we would find diametrically opposed interpretations of Soviet and American behaviour. The first, which we could enlarge from the traditionalist version, has Stalin master-minding the subjugation of Europe and Asia, prevented only by robust American actions.
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe

1. The Cold War Then and Now: Landscapes and Shadows

Abstract
This book has sought to offer an account of the origins of the Cold War that does two things. First, to provide a relatively straightforward account of the Cold War and its origins; one that is not simply a narrative but which emphasizes certain key themes. Second, to highlight the importance of the history of the early years of the Cold War for understanding the pattern of international relations after 1945. In this final chapter the focus shifts to the resonances of the origins and eventual shape of the Cold War for international politics more broadly. My central aim here is to illuminate the shadows those events cast over the world today and contemporary conflicts - not merely the current ‘war on terror’ (though certainly also that) but the ideational and geopolitical challenges that the twenty-first century seems likely to throw up in general. However, before I do this, I need to clarify what can and cannot be expected from such parallels and in particular to draw out my understanding of what international history and international relations from the past might tell us about our present.
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe
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