Historiography Of Cold War

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Historiography of Cold War

Historiography of Cold War


Cold war was one of the most controversial issues for the world, from 1945 to 1991. Cold war influenced the international relations in the last half of 20th century, leaving several controversies behind. This classic war between the two countries i.e. United States of America and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, divided the world into two super powers. Both countries spent trillions of money to present themselves as superior in front of its counterpart. Amazingly, there was no physical and direct battle between United States and Union of Soviet Socialists republic, even with the presence of much hatred between the two countries. This was all due to the nuclear balance of power between the super powers that prevent both countries to attack each other directly.

Different Historians interpreted the origin of the cold war differently. They disagreed on the description of who caused the war and whether the breakdown of down of war was inevitable or not. There were several scholars who interpreted the origins of the cold war; however the end of the cold war has brought more different perspective in this area of controversy. This was so because, after the cold war the historians got deep insight of the origins and causes of the Cold war. Different documents and evidences appeared to them at the end of the war, so they rejected the foregoing interpretations and came up with new perspectives.


The term Cold war first used by historians in 1940's, in order to explain what caused the great alliance between US, Soviet and Britain to collapse.

There are three kinds of explanations presented on the origin of the cold war. These three categories gave different perspectives on who was responsible for the onset of war. Early Historians categorized as Traditionalist/Orthodox. They were the one who have put the blame on the Soviet Union.

After mid 1960's, another perspective came who questioned USA for the outbreak of war. In 1970's, historians came out from blaming the 2 countries. They blamed the misperceptions and misunderstanding between USA and Soviet Union for the outbreak of war. This perspective labeled to be as post-revisionism. These interpretations held preserve till the coming out of soviet records. These records changed the interpretations, and by then, the cause of the cold war attributed to the expansion from the USSR.


Initially, some of the western historians such as Winston Churchill, harry Truemen and other were presented the perspective known to be the traditionalist/orthodox perspective. However, the first perspective and interpretation about the origin of the cold war did not come from a historian, rather a policy maker, George Kennan. He characterized the Soviet Union as a paranoid. He explained that Soviet Union was domestically unsettled and, Soviet Union justified its expansion and internal anxiety by uplifting its vulnerability to external threats.

According to Kennan, communism considers capitalism as a threat and would do anything to end its influence from the world. He gave the example of 1917 Bolshevik's revolution to highlight ...
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