The Cold War: A History in Documents / Edition 1

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The cold war--the bitter standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union--lasted for over 50 years and polarized the world. The conflict had its roots in political and ideological disagreements dating back to the Russian Revolution of 1917--disagreements that intensified in the wake of World War II. Allan M. Winkler excerpts speeches by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to demonstrate the growing abyss between the two political systems. President Harry S. Truman's announcement of the existence of a Soviet atomic bomb and his speech to Congress launching the Truman Doctrine testify to the gravity of the situation. The cold war was not always "cold"--armed conflicts were narrowly avoided in the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs, and war did erupt in Korea and Vietnam. The complex politics of the Vietnam War are represented by voices as divergent as Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh, President Lyndon B. Johnson, antiwar protesters, and a participant in the My Lai massacre.

Cold war paranoia permeated American society. The investigations of writer Ring Lardner, Jr., and government official Alger Hiss by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, along with speeches by Senator Joe McCarthy, lay bare the political repression at home generated by the perceived communist threat. Excerpts from Arthur Miller's play The Crucible and the film script of High Noon capture the mood of uncertainty and fear. A picture essay entitled "The Atom Unleashed" collects photographs and cartoons to explore one of the most controversial discoveries of the 20th century. Agreements made in the SALT treaties show the cold war finally coming to an end. In his 1992 State of the Union address, President Bush declared, "By the grace of God, America won the cold war."

Uses contemporary documents to explore the development of the Cold War struggle, the consequences in the 1950s and 1960s, and the lasting effects on American social and cultural patterns.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
At the end of World War II, the bonds that held the victorious Allies together swiftly eroded. Issues of political and ideological dissonance between Western and Marxist worldviews promptly pitted former allies against one another in a five decade-long confrontation. Primarily a face off between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Cold War escalated into a confrontation that took the world to the brink of thermonuclear destruction. Looking back in our era, the fear, distrust, and hatred that the Cold War generated are somewhat difficult to fathom. This volume traces the evolution of the Cold War in a well-written narrative and through ample use of primary source documents. The presentation allows the reader to recreate a time period when Americans truly believed that a "red menace" lurked in their backyard. By addressing the key issues of the Cold War via documents, the author provides a vivid look into a time that set the table for the modern era. Topics such as nuclear proliferation, McCarthyism, censorship, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement are all woven into an insightful tapestry. This is a fine book that will be valuable to both students and teachers of history. Part of the "Pages from History" series. 2000, Oxford University Press, $30.00. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
From the Publisher
"During the Cold War - often referred to as a war of spies - policymakers' public statements could not always be relied upon to determine their governments' intentions. What cannot be argued with are their documents. The Cold War: A History of Documents provides us with these most valuable resources and enables us to get to the bottom of many of the major Cold War developments. See beyond the plausible deniability to the actual motivations of the protagonists in this epic struggle." — Matt Arnold, International Spy Museum

"This substantial, intriguing collection uses primary sources from transcripts, reports, political speeches, and pop culture icons to explain events and policies of the Cold War."—Horn Book Guide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195166378
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/12/2003
  • Series: Pages from History Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan M. Winkler is Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University in Ohio. A prize-winning teacher, he is author of ten books of his own, including "To Everything There Is a Season": Pete Seeger and the Power of Song (OUP, 2010), Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Making of Modern America (2005), and Life Under a Cloud: American Anxiety about the Atom (1993), and coauthor of the college textbook The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society (2011) and the high school textbook America: Pathways to the Present (2002).

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Table of Contents

What Is a Document?
How to Read a Document

Note on Sources and Interpretation

Chapter 1: Early Antagonism
Origin of the Atomic Bomb
Tensions and Strategies
The Truman Doctrine
The Marshall Plan
A Soviet Bomb
The China White Paper
War in Korea

Chapter 2: The Anticommunist Crusade
Hollywood and HUAC
Chambers vs. Hiss
The Rosenbergs on Trial
Senator Joe McCarthy
Cultural Responses
Army vs. McCarthy

Chapter 3: To the Brink
Eisenhower's Inaugural Address
Liberation of Captive Peoples
The Domino Theory
Unstable Peace
Kennedy's Inaugural Address
Bay of Pigs
Standing Up to the Soviets
The Cuban Missile Crisis

Chapter 4: Picture Essay
The Atom Unleashed

Chapter 5: Catastrophe in Vietnam
French Colonial Rule
War in Indochina
The Geneva Conference
Nation Building in Vietnam
Horrors of War
Antiwar Movement

Chapter 6: An End at Last
The Nuclear Test Ban Treat of 1963
SALT Treaties
Reagan's Nuclear Strategy
An End to the Cold War

Further Reading
Text Credits
Picture Credits

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