The end of the Soviet Union was not inevitable, says Norman Stone
Ten years before President Ronald Reagan stood in Berlin to demand,"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" communism's demise was in no way assured. Decades of proxy wars saw communist and capitalist powers bargaining and competing for footholds around the world. British historian and former Oxford University professor Norman Stone's book The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War begins just as World War II allies become Cold War competitors. He follows the successes and failures on both sides of the Iron Curtain until communism finally falls, along with the Berlin Wall. Stone, who lives in Oxford and Istanbul, recently talked with U.S. News about the Cold War and its lessons for today. Excerpts:
Why did you decide to write this now?
If you were writing in the 1990s, you could write the most awful romantic guff about the emergence of free nations. The formula for bringing capitalism and free markets to the ex-Communist countries didn't go as planned, so that perspective saved me from writing a lot of cheesy propaganda.
What surprised you in writing about the Cold War period?
I was impressed by the resilience of the Anglo-American world, its propensity for change.
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