Essay on America, Russia, And The Cold War

Essay on America, Russia, And The Cold War

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Walter LaFeber’s book, America, Russia, and the Cold War 1945-2006, is a unique book as it focuses on both sides of the Cold War issue. Many books before this time focused solely on the American viewpoint of the Cold War, but by allowing a glimpse into the ideologies of the Soviet’s plans, LaFeber provides a comprehensive look at the Cold War. His work includes three main ideas that serve to drive the developments in his book. First, he concludes that the conflict with Russia truly started in the late nineteenth century. Second, he argues that it was the conflicting ideas on economics and political expansion that led to an increase in the tension of the Cold War. Finally, he shows how fighting with the Soviet Union, and more importantly the idea of communism, was accomplished not by direct attacks, but by using proxy wars. LaFeber remembers these points throughout his book, and does an incredible job pacing his work accordingly.
LaFeber’s first point is an important one when considering that many people had been taught that the Cold War began with the conclusion of World War Two. He claims that the conflict between America and Russia started in the late nineteenth century over land in China, specifically Manchuria, and who would get to control this valuable asset. LaFeber describes that even before the Russian government fell in late 1917, and a Soviet Union was formed, the United States conflicted with the country for many of the same reasons it later would during the Cold War. LaFeber stresses the point that both the United States and Russia were expansionist countries that believed more land was necessary for the benefit of the government and the people. The main conflict arrived in how the countries controlled the...


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America, Russia, and the Cold War is an essential read for people studying this time period of history. It looks at and analyzes both fields of thought and traces the conflict back to its roots in the nineteenth century. Walter LaFeber has used the forty-one years between the first and last edition to better polish his points to get his message across. The time has allowed him to better show the use of economics and ideologies to drive the conflict between the two super powers, and his descriptions of the policies and reactions to the many conflicts work directly towards his message. His work does an amazing job of staying focused and not wandering off from the idea it is trying to express. The work is fairly lengthy and the information dense, but this allows it to be an invaluable tool for someone who knows how to access the information properly.

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