Cover image for The Cold War : a history in documents
The Cold War : a history in documents
Winkler, Allan M., 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
159 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm.
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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D842 .W56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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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 ofWorld 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 toCongress 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 representedby 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 communistthreat. 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 madein 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."

Author Notes

Allan M. Winkler is Professor of History and former Chair of the History Department at Miami University, Oxford, OH. His recent books include America: Pathways to the Present and Life under a Cloud: American Anxiety about the Atom (OUP, 1993).

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The publisher's Pages from History series stresses how historians contextualize and interpret primary sources. The series is useful for student-researchers and recreational readers, especially for subjects pregnant with difficult interpretive issues, as are the Civil War and the Cold War. And interestingly, these volumes reveal their own judgments about what is of greater, and lesser, significance about these nation-shaping events. Seidman's documents bookend the Civil War with the territorial expansion that preceded the conflict and with the Reconstruction that followed it. In this structure the documents, under the guidance of Seidman's linking narrative, all make a powerful impression of immediacy about ordinary people's experience of, and condemnation or defense of, slavery. In the sections of the war proper, Seidman continues the emphasis on the ordinary person's experience, whether a soldier or a "contraband" slave creating pressures on civil and military authorities. The course of actual military events thereby shrinks to secondary status, with relatively few documents presented about battles, campaigns, and leaders (Gettysburg is an exception). Such is Seidman's interpretive decision, and it's a respectable one in the historiography of the war--among others that could have been made--yet making decisions makes historical research interesting. Winkler, a highly reputable historian, decides that the domestic politics of the cold war are the most significant aspect of the US-USSR face-off. He plainly writes that his selection of documents "charts the course of U.S. policy," and he selects none from the Communist camp (save two by Ho Chi Minh). His spotlight--especially in photographic imagery--falls on McCarthyism key official documents such as 1950s NSC-68, which codified containment, and antinuclear and anti-Vietnam protest. For books making the vital point that history must be read actively, not passively, Winkler's and Seidman's interesting volumes themselves embody their message. Gilbert Taylor

Table of Contents

What is a Document?p. 6
How to Read a Documentp. 8
Introductionp. 10
Chapter 1 Early Antagonismp. 17
Origin of the Atomic Bombp. 18
Tensions and Strategiesp. 20
The Truman Doctrinep. 26
The Marshall Planp. 29
A Soviet Bombp. 32
The China White Paperp. 34
NSC-68p. 36
War in Koreap. 39
Chapter 2 The Anticommunist Crusadep. 45
Hollywood and HUACp. 46
Chambers vs. Hissp. 50
The Rosenbergs on Trialp. 56
Senator Joe McCarthyp. 60
Cultural Responsesp. 64
Army vs. McCarthyp. 66
Chapter 3 To the Brinkp. 71
Eisenhower's Inaugural Addressp. 72
Liberation of Captive Peoplesp. 73
The Domino Theoryp. 76
Unstable Peacep. 80
Kennedy's Inaugural Addressp. 85
Bay of Pigsp. 87
Standing Up to the Sovietsp. 89
The Cuban Missile Crisisp. 91
Chapter 4 Picture Essay: The Atom Unleashedp. 97
Chapter 5 Catastrophe in Vietnamp. 107
French Colonial Rulep. 108
War in Indochinap. 110
The Geneva Conferencep. 113
Nation Building in Vietnamp. 115
Horrors of Warp. 122
Antiwar Movementp. 125
Vietnamizationp. 128
Reuinificationp. 130
Chapter 6 An End at Lastp. 133
The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963p. 133
SALT Treatiesp. 136
Reagan's Nuclear Strategyp. 140
An End to the Cold Warp. 143
Timelinep. 146
Further Readingp. 148
Creditsp. 150
Indexp. 155