Essay The Cold War : What Do We Now Know

Essay The Cold War : What Do We Now Know

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In the article, “The Cold War: What Do We Now Know”, author Melvyn P. Leffler examined the recent scholarships of the Cold War era. These new writings shared new insight into ideologies, which aided decisions made by both Eastern European citizens and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The author also included decisions Stalin made and the effects of his decisions, the different Cold War views between revisionists and John Lewis Gaddis, why there was support to escape from Communism during the 20th century, and why democratic capitalism was not always favored. Though there has been much written on this topic, the topic of the Cold War itself is still unclear, and many questions are still unanswered.
The ideology of Joseph Stalin included both consequences and realization. Unlike many revisionists, who made the claim that the United States was to blame for the Cold War, John Lewis Gaddis, a supporter of post-revisionism, believed that the blame fell primarily on the Soviet Union. According to him, Stalin, who based his communist regime on both communism and authoritarianism, helped the Cold War become inevitable. He hoped to continue the Marxist revolution by what Leffler called “an expansion of influence emanating from the Soviet Union itself” (Leffler, 503). Though Stalin did not want the Soviet Union involved in the Cold War, it would have been impossible for him to avoid it, due to what Vojtech Mastny called extreme paranoia. This same paranoia, contributed to Stalin’s early failure to defend the Soviet people from the Nazi invasion during World War II. Because the Nazis had killed off many of the livestock in Soviet Russia, many people died of starvation. Even though Stalin was paranoid, authors argued that his need to protect ...


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...Europe. The author used other scholar’s works on the subject, archival letters, autobiographies, and testimonies from senate hearings. The author used historical examples from other writer’s works in order to back up his thesis. However, I do feel that the article needed to include more on the United States and a little more on Mao Zedong. While he did include both subjects in his work, they were at times,only mentioned briefly. Even though his work was centered more on understanding the communist side, it still would have been a good idea to incorporate more discussion between both the Western World and the Soviet bloc nations. This article was well-argued and it did reinforce the fact that we now do know more about the mindset of Stalin, and why he and Eastern Europeans made certain decisions. It is for this reason why I would recommend this book to other students.

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