The Cold War began in Europe in the mid-1940s and ended there in 1989. Notions of a “global Cold War” are useful in describing the wide impact and scope of the East-West divide after World War II, but first and foremost the Cold War was about the standoff in Europe. The Soviet Union established a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe in the mid-1940s that later became institutionalized in the Warsaw Pact, an organization that was offset by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led by the United States. ...
The Cold War began in Europe in the mid-1940s and ended there in 1989. Notions of a “global Cold War” are useful in describing the wide impact and scope of the East-West divide after World War II, but first and foremost the Cold War was about the standoff in Europe. The Soviet Union established a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe in the mid-1940s that later became institutionalized in the Warsaw Pact, an organization that was offset by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led by the United States. The fundamental division of Europe persisted for forty years, coming to an end only when Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe dissolved. Imposing, Maintaining, and Tearing Open the Iron Curtain: The Cold War and East-Central Europe, 1945–1989, edited by Mark Kramer and Vít Smetana, consists of cutting-edge essays by distinguished experts who discuss the Cold War in Europe from beginning to end, with a particular focus on the countries that were behind the “Iron Curtain.” The contributors take account of structural conditions that helped generate the Cold War schism in Europe, but they also ascribe agency to local actors as well as to the superpowers. The chapters dealing with the end of the Cold War in Europe explain not only why it ended but also why the events leading to that outcome occurred almost entirely peacefully.
The twenty-four articles here . . . do provide impressive coverage of a wide variety of topics. The reader will find studies of great-power relations, accounts of machinations within the Soviet Bloc, old-fashioned foreign policy reviews, and big-picture essays, from many of the leading scholars in the field. . . .The idea underpinning the book is a good one, and the volume will certainly have value as a reference on the Soviet Bloc and its disintegration.
Central Europe and the Onset of the Iron Curtain, contains excellent contributions by Laszlo Borhi on Hungary and Smetana on Czechoslovakia, both of which show that Sovietization was a top-down process, undertaken locally but with the pace and timing determined by Moscow’s wider strategic interests. . . .a reexamination of a global conflict in a specific, nonglobal setting, the collection succeeds admirably.
Melvyn P. Leffler
In this collection of essays, some of the world's most distinguished scholars reflect on the most recently opened archival documents and provide penetrating assessments of the Cold War in Europe—from start to finish.
This impressive volume of essays explores the rise and fall of the Soviet bloc in light of the newest archival evidence from around the world. Expertly edited by Mark Kramer and Vit Smetana, the book should be read by anyone interested in the history of the East-West confrontation and its dynamic relationship to the emergence of communism in East Central Europe and its precipitous collapse in 1989.
Mark Kramer is director of Cold War Studies at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, where he is also a Senior Fellow.
Vit Smetana is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History of the Czech Republic’s Academy of Sciences and teaches modern international history at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague.
By Mark Kramer and Vít Smetana
Part 1. Central Europe and the Onset of the Iron Curtain
Chapter 1. Stalin, Soviet Policy, and the Establishment of a Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe, 1941–1949
By Mark Kramer
Chapter 2. The United States and Eastern Europe, 1943–1948
By Michael F. Hopkins
Chapter 3. Concessions or Conviction? Czechoslovakia's Road to the Cold War and the Soviet Bloc
By Vít Smetana
Chapter 4. Hungary's Role in the Soviet Bloc, 1945–1956
By László Borhi
Chapter 5. Stalin, the Split with Yugoslavia, and Soviet-East European Efforts to Reassert Control, 1948–1953
By Mark Kramer
Chapter 6. Austria, Germany, and the Cold War, 1945–1955
By Rolf Steininger
Chapter 7. Neutrality for Germany or Stabilizing the Eastern Bloc? New Evidence on the Decision-Making Process of the Stalin Note
By Peter Ruggenthaler
Part 2. The German Question and Intra-Bloc Politics in the Post-Stalin Era
Chapter 8. The Berlin Wall: Looking Back on the History of the Wall Twenty Years after Its Fall
By Hope M. Harrison
Chapter 9. The German Problem and Security in Europe: Hindrance or Catalyst on the Path to 1989–1990?
By Oliver Bange
Chapter 10. Germany and East-Central Europe, 1945–1990: The View from London
By Anne Deighton
Chapter 11. The German Question as Seen from Paris
By Georges-Henri Soutou
Chapter 12. Cold War, Détente and the Soviet Bloc: The Evolution of Intra-bloc Foreign Policy Coordination, 1953–1975
By Csaba Békés
Part 3. The Role of East-Central Europe in Ending the Cold War
Chapter 13. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and the Revolutions of 1989: U.S. Myths versus the Primary Sources
By Thomas Blanton
Chapter 14. Moscow and Eastern Europe 1988–1989: A Policy of Optimism and Caution
By Alex Pravda
Chapter 15. The Opening of the Wall, Eastern Europe, and Gorbachev's Vision of Europe after the Cold War
By Svetlana Savranskaya
Chapter 16. Pulling the Rug: East-Central Europe and the Implosion of East Germany
By Bernd Schaefer
Chapter 17. The Demise of the Soviet Bloc
By Mark Kramer
Part 4. Long-Term Perspectives on the Cold War and Its End
Chapter 18. Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War in Europe
By David Holloway
Chapter 19. Why Did the Cold War Last So Long?
By Mark Kramer
Chapter 20. The End of the Cold War as a Non-Linear Confluence
By Richard Ned Lebow
Chapter 21. Conspicuous Connections: 1968 and 1989
By Oldrich Tuma
Chapter 22. 1989 in Historical Perspectives: The Problem of Legitimation
By Silvio Pons
Chapter 23. The End of the Cold War and the Transformation of Cold War History: A Tale of Two Conferences, 1988–1989
By James G. Hershberg