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Cold war closure

New research on the origins of the cold war is confirming the realist view that the Soviets were responsible for the conflict. Philip Gordon is impressed, but the revisionists have not had their last word

By Philip Gordon   May 1997

Historians’ internecine quarrels can often appear as brutal as the political and ideological confrontations that they chronicle in their work. (In the social sciences, only economists’ fights rival those of historians.) And among all the disputes, the debate over the origins of the cold war and the US role in its evolution, is one of the most highly contested.

The first US commentators on the cold war, self-proclaimed “realists” such as Hans Morgenthau, Walter Lippmann and George F Kennan, placed most of the blame for the conflict on the Soviet Union. Soviet insecurity and Stalin’s hunger for power made co-operation…

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