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Cold War



  • The Book That Stopped an Outbreak of Nuclear War

    Serhii Plokhy adds new insight to the Cuban Missile Crisis by examining the domestic political context of the Soviet Union and the political incentives toward nuclear brinksmanship. 


  • 60 Years Later: The Enduring Legacy of the Bay of Pigs Fiasco

    by Stephen F. Knott

    The failed invasion of Cuba by CIA-trained operatives at the Bay of Pigs set the Kennedy administration on a path of increasingly abusive covert operations against the communist regime, with consequences for US-Cuban relations and American foreign policy that still reverberate. 



  • Back to the Future at the Pentagon

    by William Astore

    The Pentagon's shift away from planning for asymmetrical warfare toward "near-peer" conventional conflict is reviving the defense contracting gravy train for big-ticket weapons systems, with a revival of Cold War nuclear danger as a side effect. 



  • The 1954 US-Backed Coup in Guatemala

    by Ben Tumin

    Ben Tumin's "Skipped History" video series returns with a discussion of the 1954 Guatemala Coup, drawing on the work of Greg Grandin, Stephen Kinzer and Steven Schleshinger, and Vincent Bevins.



  • The Mythical War Scare of 1983

    by Simon Miles

    "Nuclear weapons are not without danger, to be sure. An overinflation of the risk of Able Archer should not be necessary to remind policymakers of that point."


  • George Shultz: The Last Progressive

    by Ron Schatz

    "A steadfast Republican committed to union-management cooperation, peace through treaties, competitive capitalism, and empowerment of African-Americans, George Shultz was the last old-fashioned Progressive."



  • What the FBI Had on Grandpa

    by Molly Jong-Fast

    "I never considered my grandfather to be a danger to the republic, but J. Edgar Hoover disagreed." The FBI surveilled writer Howard Fast extensively, though, as he wrote in his autobiography, "the eleven hundred pages detailed every—or almost every—decent act I had performed in my life."



  • The American Century Ends Early

    by Tom Engelhardt

    The American empire is now visibly in a state of rapid decay, the product of three decades of wasting the "peace dividend" of the end of the Cold War. 



  • Apocalypse Averted

    "Newly declassified documents reveal that in November 1983, at the height of Cold War tensions, the United States and the Soviet Union came closer to nuclear war than historians—and even many officials at the time—have known until now."



  • For Generations, African Americans Have Led Global Antiracist Movements

    by Brenda Gayle Plummer

    International organizations in the 20th century provided space for people from the developing world and African American activists to come together in movements that merged opposition to colonialism with demands for domestic civil rights. 



  • First-Person Shooter Ideology​: The Cultural Contradictions of Call of Duty

    by Daniel Bessner

    "Right now, this one game is teaching millions of young Americans about the epic struggle between their government and the Soviet Union, a century-defining cataclysm that resulted in tens of millions of deaths, reshaped world history, and engendered the ideological struggles that presently bedevil the public sphere." But the lesson is one of cynical resignation to today's state of endless war. 



  • What Should Drive Biden’s Foreign Policy?

    Columnist and Humphrey biographer James Traub says the former Senator and VP's interventionist liberalism in foreign policy is a model for Joe Biden's administration to reestablish American preeminence in world affairs. 


  • The Audacious Escape of George Blake

    by Steve Vogel

    George Blake was the most notorious double agent in Cold War Britain, which makes the story of his amateurish (but successful) escape from prison all the more remarkable. 



  • Legacies of Cold War Liberalism

    by Michael Brenes and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins

    Two historians interrogate the origins of liberal intervention after World War II. 



  • Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine

    Facebook isn't exactly like they hypothetical "Doomsday Machine" theorized by Cold War nuclear deterrence experts. But its vast scope and capacity to distribute misinformation faster than in can be detected and corrected mean that lessons from the philosophy of nuclear annihilation are apt for understandign the danger of the social media giants.