Imposing, Maintaining, and Tearing Open the Iron Curtain

Imposing, Maintaining, and Tearing Open the Iron Curtain : The Cold War and East-Central Europe, 1945-1989

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The Cold War began in Europe in the mid-1940s and ended there in 1989. Notions of a "global Cold War" are useful in describing the wide impact and scope of the East-West divide after World War II, but first and foremost the Cold War was about the standoff in Europe. The Soviet Union established a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe in the mid-1940s that later became institutionalized in the Warsaw Pact, an organization that was offset by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led by the United States. The fundamental division of Europe persisted for forty years, coming to an end only when Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe dissolved. Imposing, Maintaining, and Tearing Open the Iron Curtain: The Cold War and East-Central Europe, 1945-1989, edited by Mark Kramer and Vit Smetana, consists of cutting-edge essays by distinguished experts who discuss the Cold War in Europe from beginning to end, with a particular focus on the countries that were behind the iron curtain. The contributors take account of structural conditions that helped generate the Cold War schism in Europe, but they also ascribe agency to local actors as well as to the superpowers.
The chapters dealing with the end of the Cold War in Europe explain not only why it ended but also why the events leading to that outcome occurred almost entirely peacefully.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 582 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 40mm | 1,156.65g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 1 Graphs; 2 Halftones, black and white
  • 0739181858
  • 9780739181850
  • 2,279,006

Table of contents

Introduction By Mark Kramer and Vit Smetana Part 1. Central Europe and the Onset of the Iron Curtain Chapter 1. Stalin, Soviet Policy, and the Establishment of a Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe, 1941-1949 By Mark Kramer Chapter 2. The United States and Eastern Europe, 1943-1948 By Michael F. Hopkins Chapter 3. Concessions or Conviction? Czechoslovakia's Road to the Cold War and the Soviet Bloc By Vit Smetana Chapter 4. Hungary's Role in the Soviet Bloc, 1945-1956 By Laszlo Borhi Chapter 5. Stalin, the Split with Yugoslavia, and Soviet-East European Efforts to Reassert Control, 1948-1953 By Mark Kramer Chapter 6. Austria, Germany, and the Cold War, 1945-1955 By Rolf Steininger Chapter 7. Neutrality for Germany or Stabilizing the Eastern Bloc? New Evidence on the Decision-Making Process of the Stalin Note By Peter Ruggenthaler Part 2. The German Question and Intra-Bloc Politics in the Post-Stalin Era Chapter 8. The Berlin Wall: Looking Back on the History of the Wall Twenty Years after Its Fall By Hope M. Harrison Chapter 9. The German Problem and Security in Europe: Hindrance or Catalyst on the Path to 1989-1990? By Oliver Bange Chapter 10. Germany and East-Central Europe, 1945-1990: The View from London By Anne Deighton Chapter 11. The German Question as Seen from Paris By Georges-Henri Soutou Chapter 12. Cold War, Detente and the Soviet Bloc: The Evolution of Intra-bloc Foreign Policy Coordination, 1953-1975 By Csaba Bekes Part 3. The Role of East-Central Europe in Ending the Cold War Chapter 13. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and the Revolutions of 1989: U.S. Myths versus the Primary Sources By Thomas Blanton Chapter 14. Moscow and Eastern Europe 1988-1989: A Policy of Optimism and Caution By Alex Pravda Chapter 15. The Opening of the Wall, Eastern Europe, and Gorbachev's Vision of Europe after the Cold War By Svetlana Savranskaya Chapter 16. Pulling the Rug: East-Central Europe and the Implosion of East Germany By Bernd Schaefer Chapter 17. The Demise of the Soviet Bloc By Mark Kramer Part 4. Long-Term Perspectives on the Cold War and Its End Chapter 18. Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War in Europe By David Holloway Chapter 19. Why Did the Cold War Last So Long? By Mark Kramer Chapter 20. The End of the Cold War as a Non-Linear Confluence By Richard Ned Lebow Chapter 21. Conspicuous Connections: 1968 and 1989 By Oldrich Tuma Chapter 22. 1989 in Historical Perspectives: The Problem of Legitimation By Silvio Pons Chapter 23. The End of the Cold War and the Transformation of Cold War History: A Tale of Two Conferences, 1988-1989 By James G. Hershberg
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Review quote

The twenty-four articles here ... do provide impressive coverage of a wide variety of topics. The reader will find studies of great-power relations, accounts of machinations within the Soviet Bloc, old-fashioned foreign policy reviews, and big-picture essays, from many of the leading scholars in the field...The idea underpinning the book is a good one, and the volume will certainly have value as a reference on the Soviet Bloc and its disintegration. The Russian Review Central Europe and the Onset of the Iron Curtain, contains excellent contributions by Laszlo Borhi on Hungary and Smetana on Czechoslovakia, both of which show that Sovietization was a top-down process, undertaken locally but with the pace and timing determined by Moscow's wider strategic interests...a reexamination of a global conflict in a specific, nonglobal setting, the collection succeeds admirably. Slavic Review The international group of authors has enriched the secondary literature on the history of the Cold War with an impressive collection of essays that bears testimony to thorough research and impressive knowledge. Hungarian Historical Review In this collection of essays, some of the world's most distinguished scholars reflect on the most recently opened archival documents and provide penetrating assessments of the Cold War in Europe-from start to finish. -- Melvyn P. Leffler, University of Virginia This impressive volume of essays explores the rise and fall of the Soviet bloc in light of the newest archival evidence from around the world. Expertly edited by Mark Kramer and Vit Smetana, the book should be read by anyone interested in the history of the East-West confrontation and its dynamic relationship to the emergence of communism in East Central Europe and its precipitous collapse in 1989. -- Norman Naimark, Stanford University
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About Mark Kramer

Mark Kramer is director of Cold War Studies at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, where he is also a Senior Fellow. Vit Smetana is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History of the Czech Republic's Academy of Sciences and teaches modern international history at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague.
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