This chapter examines the geopolitical aspect of the Cold War. It discusses the origin of the term “geopolitics,” and investigates how and why relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorated so rapidly after the World War 2. The chapter highlights the incompatibilities between the ideologies of the two superpowers, and explains that communism and free-market capitalism are polar opposites. It also argues against the claims about the extent to which the Cold War was based on ideological as opposed to geopolitical factors that persisted throughout the conflict.
Amy L. Sayward
This chapter explores the role of international institutions during the Cold War. It explains that while international institutions promoted their own agendas for global action, they also provided venues for raising questions about the bipolar power contest and acted as mitigators in international conflicts. The chapter also suggests that the histories of international institutions can provide insights into the complexities of the Cold War. It furthermore discusses the role of the United Nations in creating an era of global expectations and conventions that do fit into the nation-states paradigm, and highlights the emergence of the so-called world society or world culture during the Cold War.
Penny Von Eschen
This chapter examines the role of the transnational in the Cold War. It suggests that Cold War transnationalism must be considered as a highly specific political and ideological formation, and analyzes transnational projects such as those reflected in the memorialization film of actor Bruce Lee and Congolese political leader Patrice Lumumba. The chapter contends that attention to transnational movements and formations raises fundamental questions about who should tell the story of the Cold War and comments on Kamila Shamsie's critically acclaimed 2009 book Burnt Shadows. It also shows that interconnectedness of the Cold War with national and transnational histories that predated the particular policies/crises of the Cold War.