Cover image for Cold War triumphalism : the misuse of history after the fall of communism
Cold War triumphalism : the misuse of history after the fall of communism
Schrecker, Ellen.
Publication Information:
New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co., [2004]

Physical Description:
vi, 359 pages ; 24 cm
Moral judgments and the Cold War: reflections on Reinhold Niebuhr, William Appleman Williams, and John Lewis Gaddis / Leo P. Ribuffo -- Time of illusion: post-Cold War visions of the world / Bruce Cumings -- Market triumphalism and the wishful liberals / Nelson Lichtenstein -- Cold War triumphalism and the deformation of the American economy / Michael A. Bernstein -- "Papers of a dangerous tendency": from Major Andre's Boot to the VENONA files / Maurice Isserman and Ellen Schrecker -- The myth of the Berlin blockade and the early Cold War / Carolyn Eisenberg -- The United States, the United Nations, and the other post-Cold War world order: internationalism and unilateralism in the American century / Jessica Wang -- The three cold wars / Chalmers Johnson -- Still stuck in the big muddy / Marilyn B. Young -- Remembrance of empires past: 9/11 and the end of the Cold War / Corey Robin.
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Call Number
Material Type
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E840 .C646 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This title concerns a counterattack on right-wing triumphalist propaganda, by the nation's leading historians of the Cold War period.

Author Notes

Ellen Schrecker is Professor of History at Yeshiva University

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

The contributors to this collection are after big game: the American sense of triumphalism that followed the end of Soviet communism. Coming from the political left, they attack the claims of those who believe America's military might, market economy and its values explain and justify its pre-eminence. They succeed in rendering more complex the origins and costs of U.S. dominance in the world. Two of the most successful essays, by Leo Ribuffo and Bruce Cumings, take on the intellectual difficulties with the right's historical explanations for the collapse of Soviet communism. Two other sparkling essays, by Jessica Wang and Chalmers Johnson, respectively, clarify how cooperative internationalism has long been a powerful theme of American foreign relations and how the Cold War has never ended in East Asia and Latin America. Yet too many of the authors have yielded to ideological temptations, which distort understanding of the past. Carolyn Eisenberg, for instance, argues that the U.S. caused Germany's division and the Berlin crisis in the late 1940s. Her case is plausible as a prosecutor's brief but inadequate as history, which requires acknowledgment of other positions and what strengths they may possess. Yet despite imbalance, this collection performs a valuable service. No one interested in the origins, costs and benefits of American hegemony can overlook it. Agent, Ronald Goldfarb. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Schrecker (history, Yeshiva Univ.) collects 11 essays countering what the authors see as conservative ideological distortions of communism's collapse, here shown to result more from internal rot than from Western offensive actions (although these were certainly helpful). No smooth argumentative flow is apparent; instead, the book offers revisionist interpretations of the generally accepted history of the period, focusing on certain events and issues. Contributions examine, among other things, the deformation of the U.S. economy owing to Cold War militarization, differing global visions and illusions, the espionage activities of American Communists, unstated goals during the Berlin Blockade, and the impact of 9/11 on public attitudes. The collective message is that we should not believe everything we hear or ignore the manipulative wizard behind the curtain. Some 41 pages of reference notes round out the text. A spirited alternative reader; suitable for all libraries.-Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The point of departure for these essays is the claim by political conservatives that the US won the Cold War, and their use of this "triumphalism" to discredit critics of US foreign policy during that conflict and to justify measures taken in the current war on terrorism. The revisionist authors here seek to correct this "misuse of history" by reconsidering various aspects of the Cold War to provide what they see as a more accurate version of the nature of the conflict and its costs. Topics include the moral issues raised by the Cold War; connection between democracy and free markets; rise and fall of the Cold War economy; extent of Soviet espionage in the US; relationship between the US and the internationalism of the United Nations; and use of Cold War rhetoric since September 11. Specialists will find the basic points about the US quest for hegemony and profit familiar, but the articles provide a needed balance and alternative perspective to historical debates about the Cold War and the future direction of US policy. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels and libraries. L. M. Lees Old Dominion University

Table of Contents

Ellen SchreckerLeo P. RibuffoBruce CumingsNelson LichtensteinMichael A. BernsteinMaurice Isserman and Ellen SchreckerCarolyn EisenbergJessica WangChalmers JohnsonMarilyn B. YoungCorey Robin
Introduction: Cold War Triumphalism and the Real Cold Warp. 1
Part I Intellectuals
1 Moral Judgments and the Cold War: Reflections on Reinhold Niebuhr, William Appleman Williams, and John Lewis Gaddisp. 27
2 Time of Illusion: Post-Cold War Visions of the Worldp. 71
Part II Economics
3 Market Triumphalism and the Wishful Liberalsp. 103
4 Cold War Triumphalism and the Deformation of the American Economyp. 126
Part III The Past
5 "Papers of a Dangerous Tendency": From Major Andre's Boot to the VENONA Filesp. 149
6 The Myth of the Berlin Blockade and the Early Cold Warp. 174
7 The United States, the United Nations, and the Other Post-Cold War World Order: Internationalism and Unilateralism in the American Centuryp. 201
Part IV The Present
8 The Three Cold Warsp. 237
9 Still Stuck in the Big Muddyp. 262
10 Remembrance of Empires Past: 9/11 and the End of the Cold Warp. 274
Notesp. 299
Contributorsp. 341
Acknowledgmentsp. 345
Indexp. 347