The distinguished historian Melvyn P. Leffler homes in on four crucial episodes when American and Soviet leaders considered modulating, avoiding, or ending hostilities and asks why they failed: Stalin and Truman devising new policies after 1945; Malenkov and Eisenhower exploring the chance for peace after Stalin's death in 1953; Kennedy, Khrushchev, and LBJ trying to reduce tensions after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962; and Brezhnev and Carter aiming to sustain détente after the Helsinki Conference of 1975. All these leaders glimpsed possibilities for peace, yet they allowed ideologies, political pressures, the expectations of allies and clients, the dynamics of the international system, and their own fearful memories to trap them in a cycle of hostility that seemed to have no end.
For the Soul of Mankind illuminates how Reagan, Bush, and, above all, Gorbachev finally extricated themselves from the policies and mind-sets that had imprisoned their predecessors, and were able to reconfigure Soviet-American relations after decades of confrontation.
The fourth edition is revised, updated and expanded to include new material on topics such as the culture wars and Stalin’s view of Marxism. The introduction looks at the various approaches which have been adopted to analyse the Cold War and the challenges to arrive at a theory which can explain it. The book explores questions such as:
- Who was responsible for the Cold War?
- Was it inevitable or could it have been avoided?
- Was Stalin genuinely interested in a post-war agreement?
Illustrated with maps and figures and containing a chronology and who’s who of key individuals, Origins of the Cold War 1941-1949 incorporates the most recent scholarship, theories and information to provide students with an invaluable introduction to a fascinating period that shaped today's world.