Debating The Origins Of The Cold War / Edition 2


Debating the Origins of the Cold War examines the coming of the Cold War through Americans' and Russians' contrasting perspectives and actions. In two engaging essays, the authors demonstrate that a huge gap existed between the democratic, capitalist, and global vision of the post-World War II peace that most Americans believed in and the dictatorial, xenophobic, and regional approach that characterized Soviet policies. The authors argue that repeated failures to find mutually acceptable solutions to concrete problems led to the rapid development of the Cold War, and they conclude that, given the respective concerns and perspectives of the time, both superpowers were largely justified in their courses of action. Supplemented by primary sources, including documents detailing Soviet espionage in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s and correspondence between Premier Josef Stalin and Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov during postwar meetings, this is the first book to give equal attention to the U.S. and Soviet policies and perspectives.

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Editorial Reviews

Four historians, three in the US and one in Russia, co-author two essays on the Cold War, one giving the American and the other the Russian perspective. Each essay is followed by a selection of primary documents. Some b&w plates and a selected bibliography are provided. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
David Mayers
The interpretative essays are thoughtful. They are judicious. They possess analytical elegance. The selection of Soviet and U.S. documents is exactly right, giving both a flavor of the times and a revealing glimpse into the quality of thought in Moscow and Washington. This first-rate book will appeal to university students and to specialists in Cold War history.
Gary R. Hess
Brings fresh perspectives to an important question. It is genuinely and uniquely bi-national in its approach. The co-authored essays provide insight into the complex issues in Soviet-American relations, and the documents are well-chosen. Especially valuable are those documents from the Soviet side, which help immensely in understanding Moscow's strategic concerns and objectives.
John Lewis Gaddis
Based on recently released Soviet as well as American documentation, Debating the Origins of the Cold War is an excellent introduction to a contentious subject, filled with fresh insights and sure to be of interest both to first-time students and to experienced historians.
Robert E. Herzstein
Debating the Origins of the Cold War is a highly original synthesis of recent discoveries and scholarship. The book casts new light on Stalin's motivations and strategies, and examines the early Cold War through the eyes of both Western and Soviet leaders. Debating the Origins of the Cold War will be useful to instructors teaching this controversial and important subject.
Abbott Gleason
An intelligent, judicious, and cautious narrative. It focuses as much on the quality of American leadership and the relevant aspects of American society and culture as on the international situation.
Political Studies Review
A very useful book.
History Teacher
Combining American and Russian scholarship in each essay, this unique approach provides an insightful and intriguing look at American and Soviet perceptions by using a framework of combinations. Through both perspectives, the authors create a balanced, thorough, and thoughtful synthesis that offers students a clear and concise picture of the various factors that contributed to the beginning of this long, odd, and potentially catastrophic conflict.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ralph B. Levering teaches U.S. diplomatic history at Davidson College in North Carolina. Vladimir O. Pechatnov is chair of the Department of European and American Studies at Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Verena Botzenhart-Viehe teaches at the Hotchkiss school. C. Earl Edmondson is chair of the Department of History at Davidson College in North Carolina.

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Table of Contents

The American Perspective 1
1 The Atlantic Charter, August 14, 1941 65
2 "Comment on the Results of the Decisions Made at the Yalta Conference" 67
3 George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram," February 1946 69
4 Secretary of State James Byrnes's Speech in Stuttgart on Germany's Future, September 6, 1946 74
5 Speech by J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, at the Annual Convention of the American Legion in San Francisco, September 30, 1946 76
6 Henry A. Wallace's Speech in New York City, September 12, 1946 78
7 President Harry S. Truman's Speech to Congress, March 12, 1947 81
The Russian Perspective 85
1 Stalin to "Politburo Four" ([Vyacheslav] Molotov, [Lavrenti] Beria, [Anastas] Mikoyan, and [Georgy] Malenkov), Ciphered [Coded] Telegram, December 9, 1945 155
2 A Compilation of [Written] Comments on Draft Treaties Regarding Demilitarization and Disarmament of Germany and Japan Proposed by [U.S. Secretary of State James] Byrnes, June 8, 1946 157
3 The [Nikolai] Novikov Report ["Telegram"] 160
4 The Minister of State Security Appeals for Measures to Close Down British Propaganda in the U.S.S.R. 165
5 Instructions for the Soviet Delegation to the Meeting of Foreign Ministers in Paris, June 25, 1947 167
6 Record of I[osef] V[issarionivich] Stalin's Conversation with the Czechoslovak Government Delegation on the Issue of Their Position Regarding the Marshall Plan and the Prospects for Economic Cooperation with the U.S.S.R. 169
7 Record of the Meeting of Comrade I[osef] V[issarionivich] Stalin with the Secretary of the Central Committee of the French Communist Party [Maurice] Thorez 173
8 Report by L. P. Beria and I. V. Kurchatov to I. V. Stalin on Preliminary Data Received during the Atomic Bomb Test 176
Acknowledgments 179
Selected Readings 183
Index 187
About the Authors 199
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