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New History
What Was the Cold War?

Odd Arne Westad’s near-definitive account of the Cold War gets the big things right.

Published on: December 21, 2017
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  • Paul Lies

    “The diversification of power did more to shape the course of the cold war than did the balancing of power.” John Lewis Gaddis
    The cold war effectively and pretty much officially started during the Yalta conference, February, 1945. It spread to Asia (went global) later that year as the US and USSR acted as mediators between the Chinese Communist Party ( CCP ) and the nationalist Guomindang ( GMD ). Sorry for being a nitpicker.

    • CheckYourself

      Mostly that was all Stalin too. He was the one paranoid about who would take Berlin and what would become of it.

    • KremlinKryptonite

      You might say that it officially started at that time, but effectively it started earlier. The US and USSR had various envoys and emissaries present in China for a very long time. Sometimes they agreed on what should happen in China, and other times they did not. The point is, they were both there and both were trying to influence the outcomes in China well before 1945.

      An example of agreement: despite a tenuous truce between the CCP and GMD to present a united front against the Japanese, it was still very much in the GMDs interests to hurt and sabotage the CCP wherever possible. In fact, the united front concept was more farce than reality, with the CCP being much weaker and mostly confined in north western China. In early 1941 the CCP‘s “New Fourth Army” was moving its headquarters when it was wiped out in a surprise attack by the GMD forces. An all out civik war very nearly broke out at that time, if not for Soviet and American pressure on the respective sides (sides they were backing in a great power struggle is the point) to keep calm and forget about it for the time.

  • Fat_Man

    Another anti-American screed from an America hating Jew hating Harvard professor (I hate being redundant) .

    Yawn.

  • Marathon-Youth

    The Cold War did not end with a complete success nor was it “bloodless”. It was in fact brutal. During the “cold war” era many “hot wars” sprang from it. They include the Korean war, the Vietnam war and due to that war the rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, to the wars in sub continent, the Iranian revolution, to a long list.

    Communism was one of the major Victors of World War 2 and due to that spread to China. In China Communism caused the death of over 100 million due to the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Under Mao Tibet was annexed and Buddhism was snuffed out of China and Tibet. The annexation of Tibet resulted in the destruction of 6,000 monasteries which held the sum total of Tibet’s faith, literature, and the arts, Her monasteries also acted as the seat of government and religious power.

    Communism expands using a few methods. Revolution is the chosen method. If not then invasion. Finally subterfuge is used in the presence or absence of revolutions or wars. This is where we failed and Communism succeeded. While America saw the collapse of the Soviet Empire we were already under heavy assault from within.

    The Frankfurt school of Cultural Marxism is Communism method of subterfuge. Its aim is to infiltrate a society and undermine her institutions. Cultural Marxism has been exemplary in destroying American and Christian traditions including the American family, Christian traditions, and introducing massive social upheavals seen during the 60s such as the “counter culture” movement, the pro drug culture, Feminism, to alternative lifestyles including the deliberate death of Christianity. We lost that aspect of the Cold War. Russia won

    • FriendlyGoat

      I’d upvote you on your observations in top two paragraphs, but can’t because of the unnecessary propaganda in your concluding paragraph. Christianity’s job is to stand up for human rights unequivocally and everywhere, including a strict separation of church and state so that neither church or state are compromised. There is nothing about the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s which asked Christianity to stop doing that job. What it actually asked was for Christians to start doing that job. Many of them refused and are still refusing.

      • Jim__L

        Christianity’s “job”, if such a formulation makes sense, is to bring people the Good News that Christ’s death and resurrection have made us right with God, despite all of us being sinners. “Human rights” have little or nothing to do with it, unless you’re a Lefty looking to co-opt and subvert the Gospel.

        It is also to remind people that both that Gospel, and the Law that it fulfills, are *both* examples of God’s love — the Law (which is full of good advice for the health and wellbeing of human society) as well as the grace that makes such a high standard liveable.

        • Tom

          I would point out that part of Christianity is trying to make things better for people while we hang around here–however, it is certainly not the *main* purpose of the faith.

      • Marathon-Youth

        The counter culture aka counter establishment movement mainly took place in West and East coasts and encapsulated the entire hippie-flower children-summer of love-LSD- Drugs-Pot-alternative lifestyles-alternative faiths-anything goes life that also produced people like Charles Manson.
        If you are referring to the civil rights anti segregation movement, that is a separate chapter that goes back to the war of 1861 (also called a “civil war”) and further back to slavery and to our founding documents. I was not referring to that part of Amaerica but the destruction of American values through the counter culture movement.

        • FriendlyGoat

          There was no “separate chapter”. Jim Crow continued until a bunch of liberals at the federal level decided to overrule it with both legislation and Court decisions. We decided to take care of elderly people with Medicare. We decided to not let the government lie to us about war matters. We set the groundwork for environmentalism. We set the groundwork for worker safety and OSHA. We set the groundwork for pension reform with ERISA. We celebrated the collective bargaining we had and should still have. We even had a real Christian rock song, Spirit in the Sky, written and released by a Jewish guy, Norman Greenbaum, in 1969. It actually does contain the real gospel message—-short version.
          https://www.bing.com/search?q=spirit+in+the+sky+youtube&form=EDNTHT&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&refig=e6b3d8a9bbc146609dacb1593234f99c&sp=2&qs=LS&pq=spirit+in+the&sk=LS1&sc=8-13&cvid=e6b3d8a9bbc146609dacb1593234f99c&cc=US&setlang=en-US

          • Marathon-Youth

            Each time Confederate monuments are desecrated or removed I am reminded that the war of 1861 was more a war fought between two nations and less a civil war. The Confederacy had its own government, its own President, its own currency, its own Capital, its own flag, and its own military. The Confederacy also had allies in Europe with England on her side, including British Enfield rifles being supplied.

            The victory by the Union was the defeat of a nation and not a movement to form a nation. That victory also shattered a Union formed by agreement, an agreement which any state had the right to dissolve. The victory enforced a union by force and at the point of a gun. In that sense the Confederate monuments are not only unique but integral to the history of America.

            In 1865 the North won. The Union army was 10% black. the blacks won. The Confederacy lost a nation and the war. In the following 152 years the blacks lost again and again. Most ended up in Ghettos and projects. Due to government policies that rewarded each child than the father, black men as fathers became obsolete and often referred to as “sperm donors”. black women had multiple partners and were often referred to as simply “sperm banks”. Whatever dignity the black community had after 1865 was systematically stripped. Drugs, disease and violence became a way of life for this community. their neighborhoods became “killing fields”. They did not trade slavery for this. They did not even get “40 acres and a mule” not even one acre. The north won, DC ruled and the blacks keep on losing even with a black President who could have given an acre per person but he chose not to keep that promise. this is the short version.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Would you like me to hum a rendition of Dixie for you? The states which seceded could have instead abolished slavery at the statehouse level and skipped both their phony-baloney attempt at a nation and the war which destroyed it.

            We might as well stop corresponding here. If the Christian values you worry about losing in America are represented in this off-subject diversion of a call to bring back the stars and bars, I won’t be able to address your concerns. Please call Jesus. I can’t help you.

          • Marathon-Youth

            The Confederacy was already a nation with Richmond as its Capital. Maybe you are one of those iconoclasts too eager to destroy our monuments while feverishly finding some moral excuse to destroy. Count me out of your revisionist history. The Founding Fathers would have stood by the side of the Confederacy and against President Lincoln for his massive use of force that resulted in 625 thousand soldiers killed and around 300 thousand civilians in a genocidal carnage carried out on the soil of the south and why? to deny 11 states their new formed nation .
            In the Declaration of Independence it is stated that the union of states is done by consent and if a state wants to dissolve this union the state has that right. This most Christian agreement was violated in the most savage manner.
            By 1865 the union was held by force and at the point of a gun. NO founding father would agree to that.
            The power of DC is so much and so corrupt it surpasses the kings and despots of Europe. I doubt our founding fathers would like that.

          • Tom

            “Genocidal carnage”–what is it with supporters of the Confederacy and their tendency to descend into ludicrous hyperbole? Probably to mask the fact that the people they support acted in such a manner that they made the Democrats of 2017 look like responsible, functional adults.

          • Marathon-Youth

            General Sherman’s March to the Sea created a 200 mile long 70 to 80 mile wide swath of utter destruction. Nothing was spared. Every city, town and dwelling was burned This scorched Earth policy included the burning of Atlanta among many cities. The 4 year war included the use of trench warfare, Gatlin gun, repeating rifle, prison camps worse than anything known till then, refugees by the millions (9 million pop of the Confederacy), wholescale destruction of the Confederate economy
            When the war was over then came the Carpet Baggers to pick the bones of what was left No “Marshal plan” for the defeated but more misery. I do not know what you Puritan Northerners call this kind of treatment but this is an act of genocide where over 300 thousand civilians were killed. and the war took place in the South.

          • Tom

            Sorry, I’m a Southerner, chuckles.
            Sherman’s march didn’t involve the wholesale slaughter of civilians, trench warfare occurred around Petersburg and Atlanta (and was started by the South, and is also not genocidal) the Gatling gun was a curiosity, using repeating rifles doesn’t make a war a genocide unless you’re using them on civilians, Southern prison camps had a worse mortality rate than Northern ones (Although this was not deliberate–the Confederacy couldn’t feed its own troops, hardly), there were not “millions of refugees,” and destroying someone’s economy is not genocide.
            If the Civil War was an act of genocide, it was the most incompetently managed one ever, seeing as the South had more people in 1870 than in 1860, not fewer.

          • Marathon-Youth

            “Sherman’s march didn’t involve the wholesale slaughter of civilians,”- How many civilians died?
            ‘trench warfare occurred around Petersburg and Atlanta (and was started by the South, and is also not genocidal)’ – It took place and the act is trench warfare that kills “a large group of people” more efficiently
            -Weapons of war of that kind were used and they were meant to be killing machines.
            -Prison camps in the north were deliberately vicious. both increased death and suffering needlessly
            -there were not “millions of refugees,”- How many refugees by your calculation?
            -620 thousand soldiers died and anywhere from 300 thousand to 500 thousand civilians are now estimated to have died. Some put the figure as high as 800 thousand.
            I come from the South too and live in a historic building that served as part of the Confederate Academy and later as a Triage center during the war. Occupied by both Confederate and Union armies. I do not know what that has to do with anything no more than your claim of coming from the south. chuckles or not.

          • Marathon-Youth

            Tom
            What was the purpose of using so much force to keep the Union in the 1860’s? America had no external threat that demanded Lincoln to violate the agreement to form unions (as stated in the Declaration of Independence and in the Articles of Confederation)
            What was the urgency that validated the slaughter of a million Americans? Why couldn’t the Confederacy keep their new formed nation with Richmond as their Capital?

          • Tom

            Because we were no longer under the Articles of Confederation, and the Declaration of Independence was not binding law.
            Oh, and because there would have been war in North America eventually.

          • Marathon-Youth

            The principles held or the states would never have agreed to a Union. Texas was a nation before joining the Union. If the states realized the Union is permanently binding most would not have joined.

            “there would have been war in North America eventually” not if the Confederacy continued as a nation. If anything both the Confederacy and the USA would have common Founding documents and formed an alliance similar to what we have with Canada.

          • Marathon-Youth

            At 770 Thousand square miles the Confederacy would be one of the largest nations in the world, strategic and with massive natural resources.

          • Tom

            Yep.

          • Marathon-Youth

            Nothing wrong with that right?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Like I said, it’s probably best we don’t try to carry this on. Sorry I bothered you.

          • Fred

            “I’m not a sinner. I never sin
            I got a friend in Jesus”

            Directly contradicts the central tenet of Christianity that we are all sinners standing in need of God’s mercy and that Christ has earned that mercy for us. Bless his heart, Greenbaum meant well, but his ignorance of Christianity shows in that song.

          • FriendlyGoat

            See metrolyrics here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/spirit-in-the-sky-lyrics-norman-greenbaum.html
            (slight different from the way you are quoting it)

            Never been a sinner. I’ve never sinned

            You could also look up the wiki entry on the history of the song itself where Greenbaum is said to have written the lyrics in 15 minutes after seeing country singer Porter Waggoner doing a gospel song and saying “I think I could do something like that”.
            The gist of this is, that, for a Christian, Jesus wipes away the sin. The forgiveness makes it as though the sin did not occur. Made white as snow by the blood of Jesus.

            I don’t think Greenbaum missed it at all. Whether he might have secretly been making fun of that concept from Jewish background could be an open question. I doubt it when riffing and modeling off someone else’s gospel performance. My personal opinion is that he was a rocker who had an inspired writing moment, maybe even accidental. At any rate, I was a church kid in those days. I remember hearing that song, those lyrics in secular rock of all things, and thinking “Wow, how did THAT happen on my car radio?” We can decide to be touched by something—–or not—–as we choose.
            I saw it as a net positive then and I still do.

          • Fred

            I suppose your interpretation is plausible, but I’d argue mine fits more with the literal sense of the words, even as you more accurately quoted them.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I always liked the song. I was 18 when it came out. It mixed pure rock of the era and what I then thought was a strikingly candid description of the whole gospel theme. In those days “Christian Rock” was unheard of, even though a whole genre of such grew up later in the so-called Contemporary Christian music scene. But Spirit in the Sky was not purported as being for the Church audience at all. It was for everyone. I had no idea at the time that the artist was a Jewish guy.

            Anyway, personal note: Merry Christmas, Fred.

          • Fred

            I actually like the song too. We can certainly agree on that. A little late, but Merry Christmas to you too FG. And Happy New year.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks, Fred. May 2018 be a good year for you.

    • Jim__L

      I’m not sure Russia “won” on anti-religion. I mean, aren’t they firmly Orthodox now?

      • Marathon-Youth

        True. The Russian Orthodox Church did far better. She emerged out of the collapse of the Soviet Empire while Christianity in America is still taking a severe beating from the effects of Cultural Marxism which is firmly embedded in our Universities and other institutes.

      • Marathon-Youth

        Russian Communism simply silenced her church. Cultural Marxism destroyed Christian values reaching deep into the Christian family using methods such as the media and entertainment.

  • Psalms13626

    Why is this guy hating on Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s? Hundreds of thousands of young Muslim men were killed. How is that not an unqualified success? Right now, the best thing that could happen is a large scale conventional war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It will get rid of at least some of excess population of young Muslim men. Entire world, and especially the Middle East, would benefit tremendously.

    • BOO.BOO.DOLL

      The entire middle east including Israel is disgusting. You’d fit right in

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