A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945-1963 / Edition 1

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"People still think of the Cold War as a simple two-sided conflict, a kind of gigantic arm wrestle on a global scale," writes Marc Trachtenberg, "but this view fails to grasp the essence of what was really going on." America and Russia were both willing to live with the status quo in Europe. What then could have generated the kind of conflict that might have led to a nuclear holocaust? This is the great puzzle of the Cold War, and in this book, the product of nearly twenty years of work, Trachtenberg tries to solve it. The answer, he says, has to do with the German question, especially with the German nuclear question. These issues lay at the heart of the Cold War, and a relatively stable peace took shape only when they were resolved. The book develops this argument by telling a story - a complex story involving many issues of detail, but focusing always on the central question of how a stable international system came into being during the Cold War period. A Constructed Peace will be of interest not just to students of the Cold War, but to people concerned with the problem of war and peace, and in particular with the question of how a stable international order can be constructed, even in our own day.
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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
An authoritative history of the German Question during the first half of the Cold War. . . . [T]he work's originality, and the way its recaptures how issues were linked in the minds of policymakers, makes it the leading general history of the early Cold War in Europe.
Library Journal
The launch of the Euro, the potential deployment of U.S. troops in Kosovo, and NATO's 50th anniversary highlight the stability sweepstakes in Europe. Trachtenberg (history, Univ. of Pennsylvania), a premier U.S. scholar of international relations, tells how Europe, progenitor of global war and incendiary ideology, was tamed by the United States and Russia. Trachtenberg's work is an exhaustive, well-written study of statecraft at the highest levels. Despite the global U.S.-Soviet rivalry, Germany held (and still holds) the key to global peace. Exploiting print and archival sources, Trachtenberg argues that by 1963, at the beginning of the Vietnam War, a stable system of Cold War relations was in place. This system rested on the status quo in Central Europe, particularly in Berlin; nuclear deterrence (read a nonnuclear Germany); and U.S. troops in Europe. De facto d tente existed well before Nixon and Kissinger made it policy. Despite the demise of the Soviet Union and the advent of a New Order, this Germany-centered system endures. We ignore it at our peril. Recommended.--John Raymond Walser, U.S. Dept. of State, Washington, DC
Asserts that the German nuclear question lay at the heart of the Cold War, and develops this argument by looking at how a stable international system came into being during the Cold War period. Examines the division of Europe, the making of the NATO system, Eisenhower and nuclear sharing, the politics of the Berlin crisis, and Kennedy, NATO, and Berlin. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
Kirkus Reviews
An impressive account of what really happened during the Cold War. A happy byproduct of the recent international thaw is the freeing of scholars from ideological assumptions. In this tour-de-force of diplomatic history Trachtenberg (History/Univ. of Pennsylvania) steps outside the Cold War mindset that has often rendered barren discussions of the post-WWII era and explores a seemingly endless stream of primary documents in pursuit of a more subtle and less political explanation of events. What he finds is not a simple, dualistic struggle between capitalism/democracy and communism, but rather a clash over the traditional elements of international relations—sovereignty and security—addressed through the traditional tools of international relations—military power and diplomacy—involving many players, not just a bipolar superpower world. The central theme throughout is the place of Germany in the postwar world. Trachtenberg traces the negotiations between the wartime Allies, the unraveling of the initial agreement, and the twists and turns of American policy in confronting the continuing dilemma of how to balance the need for Germany's strength in establishing a credible NATO security alliance with the fears of a strong Germany present in both the Soviet Union and western Europe. Ultimately, a resolution emerged after the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the critical steps involved working out relations between the major NATO countries as much as or perhaps more than relations between the US and the Soviet Union. The scholarship is first-rate throughout and Trachtenberg backs up his more unorthodox interpretations with reams of evidence. The length, level of detail, andexpository prose of this volume make it unlikely to hold the attention of casual readers, but scholars and those with a serious interest in international affairs or the history of the Cold War will find it a gold mine. The complex dance of foreign policy and international diplomacy is rarely presented with such clarity.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 2000 Paul Birdsall Prize, American Historical Association
Winner of the 2000 George Louis Beer Prize, American Historical Association

"An authoritative history of the German Question during the first half of the Cold War. . . . [T]he work's originality, and the way its recaptures how issues were linked in the minds of policymakers, makes it the leading general history of the early Cold War in Europe."--Foreign Affairs

"An exhaustive, well-written study of statecraft at the highest levels."--Library Journal

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Pt. I The Division of Europe
Ch. 1 A Spheres of Influence Peace? 3
Ch. 2 Toward the Rubicon 34
Ch. 3 The Test of Strength 66
Pt. II The Nato System
Ch. 4 The Making of the NATO System 95
Ch. 5 Eisenhower and Nuclear Sharing 146
Ch. 6 An Alliance in Disarray 201
Pt. III The Cold War Peace
Ch. 7 The Politics of the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1960 251
Ch. 8 Kennedy, NATO, and Berlin 283
Ch. 9 A Settlement Takes Shape 352
Sources and Bibliography 403
Index 419
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