The Cold War after Stalin's Death: A Missed Opportunity for Peace?

Overview

After Stalin's death in March 1953, the Cold War changed almost overnight. The Soviet Union embarked on a course of reconciliation and greater openness. However, despite an end to the Korean War and progress on many other outstanding East-West questions, the Western world remained mistrustful of Soviet motives and policies and Soviet leaders remained suspicious of Western intentions. Less than a decade after Stalin's death the Berlin Wall was erected and the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world close to nuclear...

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Overview

After Stalin's death in March 1953, the Cold War changed almost overnight. The Soviet Union embarked on a course of reconciliation and greater openness. However, despite an end to the Korean War and progress on many other outstanding East-West questions, the Western world remained mistrustful of Soviet motives and policies and Soviet leaders remained suspicious of Western intentions. Less than a decade after Stalin's death the Berlin Wall was erected and the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world close to nuclear annihilation. Was this development unavoidable? Was an opportunity missed to overcome and terminate the Cold War? Was there a possibility for the creation of a more stable, less threatening, and less costly world in both human and material terms? It is only now, after the end of the Cold War and based on recently declassified western documents and revelations from once-closed archives in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China, that new light can be shed on the nature of international Cold War policies in the years after Stalin's death. The essays in this book offer a historical understanding of this crucial period of the Cold War, assessing both the possibilities for change and the obstacles to détente. The book draws on the collective talents of an international group of scholars with a wide range of historical, geographical, and linguistic expertise. All of the essays are based on original research, many of them drawing from previously inaccessible archival documents from both the East and West. This book should be read by everyone interested in the final stage of the defining conflict that was the Cold War.

Contributions by: Csaba Békés, Günter Bischof, Jeffrey Brooks, Ira Chernus, Jerald A. Combs, Lloyd Gardner, Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Hope M. Harrison, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Mark Kramer, Klaus Larres, Vojtech Mastny, Kenneth 'sgood, Kathryn C. Statler, and Qiang Zhai

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Editorial Reviews

Robert McMahon
This exemplary collection of original essays sheds much new light on the evolution of the Cold War during one of its most dangerous and fluid phases. A model of broadly focused international history, The Cold War after Stalin's Death imaginatively probes paths taken—and not taken—by the Soviets, the Americans, and other key actors during a crucial period. Highly recommended for scholars and general readers alike.
Fredrik Logevall
A richly varied collection of original essays addressing a question of enduring fascination and historical importance: what was the meaning of Stalin’s death for the international system? Editors Larres and 'sgood have assembled a stellar group of contributors, and together they produce a highly informative, authoritative volume.
Robert J. McMahon
This exemplary collection of original essays sheds much new light on the evolution of the Cold War during one of its most dangerous and fluid phases. A model of broadly focused international history, The Cold War after Stalin's Death imaginatively probes paths taken—and not taken—by the Soviets, the Americans, and other key actors during a crucial period. Highly recommended for scholars and general readers alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742554511
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/12/2006
  • Series: Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Klaus Larres is professor of history and international affairs at the University of Ulster. He is also a Distinguished Scholar with the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Kenneth 'sgood is assistant professor in the Department of History at Florida Atlantic University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: International Politics in the Early Post-Stalin Era: A Lost Opportunity, a Turning Point, or More of the Same?
Part I: The Soviet Union and the United States after Stalin
Chapter 1: The Elusive Détente: Stalin's Successors and the West
Chapter 2: The Perils of Coexistence: Peace and Propaganda in Eisenhower's Foreign Policy
Chapter 3: A Missed Chance for Peace?: Opportunities for Détente in Europe
Chapter 4: Poisoned Apples: John Foster Dulles and the Peace Offensive
Part II: The Peace Offensives in Cultural Context
Chapter 5: Meanings of Peace: The Rhetorical Cold War after Stalin
Chapter 6: Stalin's Ghost: Cold War Culture and U.S.-Soviet Relations
Part III: Fragile Coalitions, East and West
Chapter 7: The Road to Geneva 1955: Churchill's Summit Diplomacy and Anglo-American Tension after Stalin's Death
Chapter 8: Alliance Politics after Stalin's Death: Franco-American Conflict in Europe and Asia
Chapter 9: Coexistence and Confrontation: Sino-Soviet Relations after Stalin
Chapter 10: The New Course: Soviet Policy Toward Germany and the Uprising in the GDR
Part IV: Assessing Peaceful Coexistence
Chapter 11: Cold War, Détente, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
Chapter 12: The Robust Assertion of Austrianism: Peaceful Coexistence in Austria after Stalin's Death
Chapter 13: The Lure of Neutrality: Finland and the Cold War
Chapter 14: Treacherous Ground: Soviet-Japanese Relations and the United States

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