The essay argues that the story of 1989 can be told either as a narrow or a wide story. The narrow story focuses on the end of communism, the unification of Germany, and the subsequent integration of former communist states into the European Union. It works especially well for Central and Eastern Europe, although it also has implications for regimes in Africa that relied on Soviet support. However, it also requires considerable qualification, given the survival of communist regimes in China, Vietnam, Cuba, and elsewhere. In the second, wide version of the story, 1989 brings to visibility processes that had been at work for several decades, undermining the power blocs of the Cold War era and the territorially defined polities on which the system of international relations rested. In this story 1989 is of as much relevance to the West as to the former Eastern Bloc. The essay looks at both stories in relation to Gorbachev and perestroika, the US role in the end of the Cold War, German unification, the singing revolution in the Baltic, and 1989 in China and Cuba.
This chapter examines the impact of the Cold War on Africa. It explains that while Africa is the least-known Cold War battleground, the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba became embroiled in the internal affairs of countless African countries. The chapter analyzes the ideologies, practices, and interests of these main external actors and describes the four major arenas of conflict that are representative of broad trends in Cold War intervention in Africa. It also discusses how the Cold War altered the dynamics of local struggles, created unprecedented levels of destruction and widespread instability, and contributed to many of the problems that plague Africa today.
Helen Graham and Alejandro Quiroga
What Spain, Greece, and Portugal have in common in the twentieth century is the manner in which their internal processes of change – rural to urban, agrarian to industrial – were intervened in and inflected at crucial moments and with enduring effect by the force of international political agendas. By the 1960s, in all three countries, the fearful imaginaries of traditionalists still saw a disguised form of communism in the ‘godlessness’ of Americanisation, social liberalisation, and anti-puritanism. This article adopts a tripartite structure (1945: survival; 1970s: transition; after 1989: memory) in order to explore why, how, and with what consequences Southern European political establishments with clear Nazi links or empathies not only survived the collapse of Adolf Hitler's new order, but were also able to persist as dictatorial and authoritarian regimes into the 1970s. It then interrogates the nature of the subsequent transitions to parliamentary democracy, paying particular attention to the continuities. It is remarkable, even today, how few Western European or North American commentators understand the brutality beneath the burlesque of dictatorship in Southern Europe.
This chapter examines the role of Great Britain in the Cold War. It describes the condition and experiences of Britain from 1945 to 1990 and explores how Britain managed to maintain its global influence during the Cold War, despite its decline. The chapter argues that although Britain was forced to operate within structure of the Cold War, the British state and its leaders were able to make their own political decisions. Examples of these include the war resolution against Argentina to recapture the Falklands Islands in 1982, the decision not to participate in the Schuman Plan negotiations of 1950, and the determination to develop a nuclear bomb shortly after the end of World War 2.
In the forty-five years after World War II that Communist Yugoslavia existed, judgements as to the success of the experiment differed widely. Unlike the first royalist Yugoslav state, which had been dominated by the Serbian Karadjordjević Dynasty, the new country eventually gave recognition to all nationalities within the limits of its own authoritarian ideology. The creation of the second Yugoslavia united Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Croats, and Slovenes with significant Hungarian, Roma, Italian, and Turkish minorities into a single, nominally Leninist state. What united it was the charismatic authority of its wartime leader Josip Broz Tito and a very large and politically significant army. After the break with the Soviet Union in 1948, the Yugoslav Communists veered on an uneasy path between centralisation and republican autonomy. The Communists showed little respect for traditional culture and religion when they came to power. This article focuses on ethno-nationalism and the demise of Communist Yugoslavia.
This chapter examines the role of China in the Cold War. It describes the origins of Cold War in China and the participation of nationalist China in World War 2 and the Cold War, and suggests that China played a pivotal role as the third (albeit shorter) leg of a cold war tripod. The chapter contends that the Cold War era in China is inseparable from the political supremacy Mao Zedong, and highlights the impact of the split between China and the Soviet Union on the role of China in the Cold War. It also argues that the 1972 Sino-United States rapprochement contributed to the fading of China from the Cold War narrative.
This chapter examines the role of the imperialism of nation-states in the Cold War. It suggests that the Cold War rivalry provided the “frame of reference” in which the historical forces of imperialism and nationalism interacted with developments such as decolonization, multiculturalism, and new ideologies and modes of identity formation. The chapter also argues that while the equilibrium of Cold War rivalry generated an entrenched political and ideological hegemony limiting the realization of political, economic, and imaginative possibilities in much of the world, the developing world represented significant weak links and played an equally important role in its collapse.
This chapter, which examines the history of the Cold War in the Middle East. It explains that the Cold War in the Middle East was never a contest between equals and explains that Western powers always enjoyed a decisive advantage. Despite this, they were not able to retain outright control over the oil reserves and strategic positions of the region, and only succeeded in maintaining access to them through cooperative local regimes. This chapter also describes how the Cold War accentuated existing patterns in Middle Eastern geopolitics and how the great powers enhanced the ability of local actors to pursue rivalries.
Ang Cheng Guan
This chapter examines the history of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. It explains that the onset of the Cold War coincided with nationalist struggles and decolonization, and explains why Southeast Asians should appreciate that the Cold War is a historical event which has significantly affected the development of their countries, particularly in terms of the role of the Cold War in shaping the political development of the nation-states and interstate relations in the region, and the growing interest in rewriting the history of the Cold War.
This chapter examines the role of intelligence operations in the history of the Cold War. The analysis reveals that Cold War intelligence agencies played important roles in foreign policy in the way they conditioned the perceptions of leaders and catalyzed events. One of the best examples of this is the direct influence of intelligence operations upon diplomacy in the U-2 Affair. The chapter, which suggests that intelligence activities in the Cold War produced diplomatic and military consequences and influenced international agreements, also discusses the role of espionage and technical data collection in providing diplomats with vital information for negotiations with their counterparts.
This chapter examines the root motives behind the Soviet struggle against the West and the paradigm of Soviet international behavior related to the Cold War. It suggests that decolonization contributed to the Cold War because the decline of European colonial empires in the 1950s created irresistible temptations for Soviet leaders to intervene in parts of the globe previously beyond their reach. The chapter also suggests that the Soviet Cold War consensus began to crumble when the key tenets of the revolutionary-imperial paradigm became suspect in the 1960s and 1970s. These tenets held that the West was determined to destroy the Soviet Union and its “socialist empire” by force.
A Continent Bristling With Arms: Continuity and Change In Western European Security Policies After the Second World War
Since the end of World War II, Europe has known an unprecedented period of peace that has profoundly altered the political landscape of the continent. Yet at the same time, for much of the postwar period, this peace has been accompanied by frightening preparations for a global nuclear war – in the 1960s, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) planned to deploy in Western Europe 7,000 tactical atomic warheads of different yields – and by a number of recurrent crises that repeatedly threatened the stability of the postwar order. Nor should one neglect the fact that two European powers – France and Britain – still field the third and fifth largest nuclear arsenals in the whole world respectively. This article explores the post World War II evolution of defence and security policies in Western Europe, as well as the role of nuclear weapons in European security and the shifting perceptions of war in European public opinion and mentality. After considering colonial empires, decolonisation and nuclear issues, it discusses the last years of the Cold War.
This chapter examines decolonization during the Cold War. It suggests that decolonization can be considered both as a response to the globalization of European influence and as a process of globalization which paved the way for the dismantling of the North Atlantic-centered international system. The chapter contends that decolonization during the Cold War was about the rethinking of the nature of the global order and the role of race and citizenship therein. It also argues that decolonization is the proof and constant reminder that the bipolar order pursued by the superpowers and their allies after the war was never a stable framework for the management of international relations.
Andrew I. Port
The ‘long 1950s’ was a decade of conspicuous contrasts: a time of dismantling and reconstruction, economic and political, as well as cultural and moral; a time of Americanization and Sovietization; a time of upheaval amid a desperate search for stability. But above all, it was a time for both forgetting and coming to terms with the recent past. This article focuses on the two forms of government that controlled Germany, democracy, and dictatorship. The Cold War was without doubt the main reason for the rapid rehabilitation and integration of the two German states, which more or less took place within a decade following the end of the Second World War. This article further elaborates upon the political conditions under dictatorship and its effect on the social life. East Germany, under the Soviet control underwent as much political upheaval. It was not until the second half of the twentieth century that Germany became a democracy.
Catherine Lee and Robert Bideleux
Western Europe has not only met but also married Eastern Europe, even if there are rumours that it was a marriage of convenience, consummated in ‘EU Europe’. Nevertheless, a significant outcome of the cohabitation has been the resurgence of debates about the status, location, and distinctiveness of ‘Central Europe’; the changing nature of borders and borderlands; and the emergence of ‘new’ East/West divides. Because World War II was predominantly fought on the Eastern Front, almost 95 per cent of Europe's fatalities of war and genocide were in Central and Eastern Europe (including Germany and Austria). These mass killings, combined with the paramount role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of the Third Reich, led to substantial reconfigurations of the borders and ethnic compositions of European states. This article examines the reconfigurations of European territories at the close of World War II, the drastic redrawing of European borders during 1945–1948 and again in the late 1980s and 1990s, the impact on European borders of the European Union and its ‘deepening’ and ‘widening’, and Europe's new East/West divide.
This chapter examines the role and experience of Eastern Europe in the Cold War. It explains that the history of East Central Europe's Cold War began with the gradual dissolution of the anti-Hitler coalition at the end of World War 2 and that the transition to the officially declared Cold War was accompanied by various official statements. The chapter describes how the Cold War escalated with the Eastern bloc uprisings between 1953 and 1956, and argues that the construction of the Berlin Wall represented the main watershed in the history of the Eastern bloc as well as in the evolution of the Cold War.
This chapter explores the economic aspect of the Cold War. It analyzes historiographic debates on the role of economic factors in the Cold War and discusses the nature and scope of the conflict between the rival economic systems of Western capitalism and Soviet communism. The chapter describes the structures of the Western and Soviet-led economic orders and the interaction between the two blocs during the Cold War. It also examines contemporary research concerning the effectiveness of the strategic embargo employed by the Western states against the communist nations and highlights the role of economic issues in the ending of the Cold War.
This chapter discusses the history of the end of the Cold War. It describes different versions of what signified the end of the Cold War, which include the demolition of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev's declaration that the Soviet Union would no longer use its military to subdue the satellite states of the Warsaw Pact in 1988, and the reunification of Germany in October 1990. The chapter also considers the consequences of the end of the Cold War, which include a renewed search for international order and cooperation.
Jussi M. Hanhimäki
In 1945, much of Europe was in rubble, following an orgy of violence and genocide unprecedented in recorded history. This alone provides one explanation for the phenomenal rise of Soviet and American power in Europe after World War II. And given the ideological differences, material capabilities, security interests, and contrasting personalities of those in power, it was no wonder that any possibility of cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States vanished after the common objective of defeating the Axis powers had been achieved. While the Cold War may not have been inevitable, it would have been difficult to avoid. This article explores the evolution of transatlantic relations during the Cold War, with particular emphasis on Geir Lundestad's thesis about ‘empire by invitation’. It then turns to the other side of the Cold War divide and evaluates the supposed omnipotence of the Soviet Union over its client states. The article also examines the cracks in the Iron Curtain – the evolution of relations between, beneath, and beyond the two blocs in Europe.
Rejecting claims that European integration has been inimical or antithetical to nations, states, and ‘national’ interests, Alan Milward's The European Rescue of the Nation-State (1992) argues that the relationship between European integration and the nation-state has been mutually beneficial and supportive. This article discusses the European Union's ‘rescues’ of small and sub-state nations, languages, cultures, and minorities; EU state-building and ‘rescues of the nation-state’ in the post-Communist East Central European, Baltic, and Balkan regions; transformations of the states in need of ‘rescue’, focusing on ‘embedded neoliberalism’; the EU and ‘the nation-state’ after the Lisbon Treaty of 2009; the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008–2009 and the eurozone crises of 2010–2012; and the decade-long ‘money illusion’ of economic prosperity in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain.