1932

Abstract

The fall of Soviet Communism led to the release of top secret documents vital to our understanding of the Cold War. This material is, however, available to research only to a limited extent. The best access is to be obtained in the archives of the Warsaw Pact countries, including those in Berlin. In Moscow itself, secrecy still forestalls access to the most important documents, above all those relating to the origins of the Cold War under Stalin. It is therefore not surprising that the debate about Cold War origins is still with us, and without any notable improvement in the quality of evidence adduced in the debate. It is by no means clear, as historians such as Gaddis have asserted, that the origins can be laid merely at the door of one unreasonable and unreasoning man: Stalin. It is, however, equally unconvincing to hear from Trachtenberg that Stalin was merely doing what all statesmen do and did so entirely rationally. The complementary argument from Leffler that, given the rational nature of Russian decisions, the answer lies more with U.S. than with Russian policy makers begs as many questions as it seeks to answer. The wary reader is well advised that the jury is still out until both the prosecution and the defense actually have adequate access to the evidence.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.polisci.6.121901.085556
2003-06-01
2024-06-22
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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