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Visions of the End of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-1990

Visions of the End of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-1990

Frédéric Bozo
Marie-Pierre Rey
Bernd Rother
N. Piers Ludlow
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 366
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  • Book Info
    Visions of the End of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-1990
    Book Description:

    Exploring the visions of the end of the Cold War that have been put forth since its inception until its actual ending, this volume brings to the fore the reflections, programmes, and strategies that were intended to call into question the bipolar system and replace it with alternative approaches or concepts. These visions were associated not only with prominent individuals, organized groups and civil societies, but were also connected to specific historical processes or events. They ranged from actual, thoroughly conceived programmes, to more blurred, utopian aspirations - or simply the belief that the Cold War had already, in effect, come to an end. Such visions reveal much about the contexts in which they were developed and shed light on crucial moments and phases of the Cold War.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-370-9
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Frédéric Bozo, Marie-Pierre Rey, Bernd Rother and N. Piers Ludlow

    The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 quickly came to symbolize the end of the Cold War as a whole, including the liberation of Eastern Europe from Soviet rule in 1989, the unification of Germany in 1990 and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its twentieth anniversary in autumn 2009 was therefore an opportunity to celebrate not just that particular event – however meaningful – but an extraordinary period that in barely two years led from the dismantling of the Iron Curtain to the liquidation of the whole ‘Yalta’ order. Yet the celebrations were not only a...

  4. I. Crystallizing the Cold War

    • Chapter 1 George Kennan’s Course, 1947–1949: A Gaullist before de Gaulle
      (pp. 17-29)
      John L. Harper

      In February 1994, the Council on Foreign Relations held a dinner to mark the ninetieth birthday of its most distinguished member. In his remarks, the guest of honour took no credit for recent developments. Instead, George F. Kennan rebuked the triumphalism of contemporaries who believed that the United States had been correct to pursue a policy that amounted to seeking the ‘unconditional surrender’ of the Soviet Union in Europe and who thought victory in the Cold War had been costless. Following the initial phase of containment, Kennan argued, the United States should have entered into serious negotiations with Moscow. Echoing...

    • Chapter 2 The Bilderberg Group and the End of the Cold War: The Disengagement Debates of the 1950s
      (pp. 30-44)
      Thomas W. Gijswijt

      In November and December 1957, George F. Kennan gave the prestigious Reith Lectures, broadcast live on BBC Radio.¹ These lectures contained little that was new for those familiar with Kennan’s thinking, but they triggered an intense public debate on the nature of the Cold War in Europe and the question whether a military disengagement of the United States and the Soviet Union was either feasible or desirable. One of the primary transatlantic venues for this disengagement debate was the Bilderberg group, a network bringing together leading members of the foreign policy elite from virtually the whole political spectrum in Western...

  5. II. Stalin’s Death and After:: A Missed Opportunity?

    • Chapter 3 Moscow’s Campaign against the Cold War, 1948–1955
      (pp. 47-60)
      Geoffrey Roberts

      The Soviet Union began to campaign against the Cold War almost as soon as the conflict began. In the late 1940s, the Soviets sponsored a broad-based peace movement, alongside which ran a sustained diplomatic effort to reopen the negotiations on the German question. In March 1952 the two prongs of the Soviet campaign came together in the so-called ‘Stalin Note’ – a proposal for a peace treaty that would reunify Germany on condition that the country remained disarmed and neutral in the Cold War. In 1954 the Soviet campaign against the Cold War took a new turn with a proposal to...

    • Chapter 4 Stalin’s Death and Anglo-American Visions of Ending the Cold War, 1953
      (pp. 61-73)
      Jaclyn Stanke

      Now that the Cold War is over, historians have questioned whether there were missed opportunities to bring it to an earlier conclusion, Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953 being one such moment. At the time several American and British government officials believed his passing provided an opening to either end the Cold War or bring about some kind of reversal in its course. In fact, three visions were articulated to this effect in 1953. All depicted what an end to the Cold War would look like as well as when and how it could be brought about, but they diverged, sometimes...

    • Chapter 5 Soviet Intellectuals after Stalin’s Death and Their Visions of the Cold War’s End
      (pp. 74-88)
      Vladislav Zubok

      There was no public discussion in Soviet society in the 1950s and 1960s on the strategies and possible outcomes of the Cold War. Such a discussion was precluded by the nature of the Soviet regime, and also by its ideology, which ‘scientifically’ predicted the inevitability of the triumph of socialism (and the Soviet Union) over capitalism. The Soviet leadership banned discussion of nuclear war. Nikita Khrushchev boasted about an inevitable triumph of the Soviet way of life over American capitalism while threatening the West with Soviet nuclear missiles.¹ Surprisingly, beneath the collective denial of nuclear threat, some Soviet intellectuals became...

  6. III. Alternative Visions of the 1960s

    • Chapter 6 Towards a New Concert of Europe: De Gaulle’s Vision of a Post–Cold War Europe
      (pp. 91-104)
      Garret Martin

      Forty years after his death, former French President General Charles de Gaulle remains a towering and divisive figure in the history of the Cold War. During his time as French leader between 1958 and 1969, his bold and fiercely independent policies often won him praise throughout the world, but also strong criticism from France’s Western allies. Moreover, what he meant by the expressions ‘European Europe’, or a ‘Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals’, was never clearly spelt out. Vagueness and a certain blurring of categories might have suited de Gaulle’s purposes, but his allies greatly resented his resort to...

    • Chapter 7 Franz Josef Strauß and the End of the Cold War
      (pp. 105-118)
      Ronald J. Granieri

      It may appear paradoxical to discuss the end of Cold War in relation to someone who died before the Cold War ended, having last occupied a cabinet-level position forty years ago. Franz Josef Strauß, however, was a paradoxical personality. He was at the same time populist and intellectual, traditionalist and modernizer, regional politician and European statesman. He enjoyed great success but ultimately failed to reach the highest office he sought. Perhaps most paradoxical of all, his vision for Europe’s global role, a political non-starter when he first developed it, remains important both for our understanding of his era and for...

  7. IV. A Helsinki Vision?

    • Chapter 8 A Very British Vision of Détente: The United Kingdom’s Foreign Policy during the Helsinki Process, 1969–1975
      (pp. 121-133)
      Martin D. Brown

      In late July 1975, delegations from thirty-three European counties, plus the United States and Canada, arrived in Helsinki to sign the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The culmination of nearly six years of consultations, this moment proved to be the apogee of East-West détente. Over the thirty years since then, numerous commentators have argued that the act marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet bloc, the result of the inclusion of clauses legitimizing human rights as a subject for international negotiations. However, an examination of Britain’s involvement undermines this ‘visionary’ interpretation...

    • Chapter 9 The EC Nine’s Vision and Attempts at Ending the Cold War
      (pp. 134-146)
      Angela Romano

      Among those who attempted to promote visions of the end of the Cold War, the European Community (EC) Nine deserve a due place and a detailed analysis of their rationales and efforts.¹ This chapter will consider the EC Nine as a collective actor expressing a common vision on the issue.² It first describes the birth, nature and aims of such an actor, arguing that it emerged in the early 1970s from the interplay of European integration and East-West détente. The chapter then analyses the EC Nine’s vision of overcoming the Cold War, exploring both its rationale and aims. The topic...

  8. V. Visions and Dissent in the 1970s

    • Chapter 10 ‘The Transformation of the Other Side’: Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik and the Liberal Peace Concept
      (pp. 149-162)
      Gottfried Niedhart

      When the Cold War led to dangerous confrontation over Berlin and Cuba between 1958 and 1962, Willy Brandt was mayor of West Berlin and experienced the crises first-hand. Looking for an interim solution in Berlin, he initiated a policy of ‘small steps’.¹ By negotiating with the authorities in East Berlin he tried to ameliorate the life of the Berliners. Simultaneously he developed a vision of how to permeate the Iron Curtain and induce change in the East. Confronted with the Cold War, he conceived a long-term process of transforming it by increasing communication with the East.

      Brandt was well aware...

    • Chapter 11 Neither in One Bloc, Nor in the Other: Berlinguer’s Vision of the End of the Cold War
      (pp. 163-176)
      Laura Fasanaro

      Historical debate on the political course envisaged by Enrico Berlinguer between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s has ranged from the enthusiastic to the hypercritical or, more recently, simply the sceptical. Berlinguer foresaw the democratic reform of Western European communist parties aiming to improve their role in capitalist countries and become the lever of a deeper socialist transformation. This chapter argues that Berlinguer, while seizing the chances offered by domestic political change, believed also in a broader, long-term transformation of the international system from rigid bipolarity to a world of many actors. The leader of the Italian Communist Party (PCI)...

    • Chapter 12 Overcoming Bloc Division from Below: Jiří Hájek and the CSCE Appeal of Charter 77
      (pp. 177-190)
      Christian Domnitz

      ‘This use of power is unjustifiable’ – in these terms Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiří Steinich Hájek condemned the invasion of his country by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968 to the United Nations Security Council.¹ These were harsh words coming from an understated functionary who was generally cautious in the choice of language. It is not widely known that this man had developed plans for European security structures to transcend the world’s division into military blocs.

      The diplomat and later dissident Hájek assessed world politics from an East-Central European perspective. As foreign minister of the Prague Spring government, he proposed closer...

  9. VI. Vision or Status Quo in the 1970s

    • Chapter 13 Henry Kissinger: Vision or Status Quo?
      (pp. 193-207)
      Jussi Hanhimäki

      In January 1989, as George H.W. Bush was about to take office, Henry Kissinger met with Mikhail Gorbachev. The former national security advisor and secretary of state proposed a tacit Soviet-American understanding: if the USSR would allow liberalization to proceed in Eastern Europe, the U.S. would not attempt to exploit this to its advantage by luring countries away from the Warsaw Pact.

      The news of the ‘backchannel’ meeting leaked and caused a furore amongst commentators. Such luminaries as Zbigniew Brzezinski were quick to talk about ‘Yalta II’ or a ‘new Yalta’, drawing a parallel with the 1945 American-British-Soviet summit in...

    • Chapter 14 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and His Vision of the End of the Cold War
      (pp. 208-222)
      Georges-Henri Soutou

      In 1995, on the twentieth anniversary of the Helsinki Accords, President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing stated his views about the end of the Cold War and its causes. Several factors were involved, he maintained, particularly the rampant decline of the Soviet economy under the pressure of arms and space competition with the United States. But the main factor, ‘the beginning of everything’, was the Helsinki Final Act, because ‘it accelerated the fall and disruption of the Soviet Empire’. Helsinki gave more autonomy to the states of Eastern Europe vis-à-vis Moscow, and gave their opposition movements an internationally acknowledged legitimacy. Thus Helsinki...

  10. VII. Evolutionary Visions and Unexpected Results in the 1980s

    • Chapter 15 Ending the Cold War, Unintentionally
      (pp. 225-238)
      Gregory F. Domber

      It is impossible to write about the end of the Cold War without discussing the democratic revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in 1989. While large-scale geopolitical and economic shifts in the superpower relationship, in East-West relations and within the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc all shaped the events of 1989, local populations and local conditions played the significant role in the course and outcomes of the revolutions. Whether it was coal miners striking in Silesia, citizens reburying a national hero, young workers fleeing to the West or protesters gathering in Wenceslas Square, people mobilized en masse to shape their own...

    • Chapter 16 Common Security as a Way to Overcome the (Second) Cold War? Willy Brandt’s Strategy for Peace in the 1980s
      (pp. 239-252)
      Bernd Rother

      When Willy Brandt was elected president of the Socialist International (SI) at the end of 1976, two years after having resigned as German chancellor, he was aware that détente, which he had helped to promote, was stagnating. In his acceptance speech, delivered to the SI congress in Geneva on 26 November 1976, he called for the continuation of détente without illusions. Brandt asked for the end of the arms race, which he called ‘a marathon of irrationalism’. The Vienna talks on arms reductions in Europe should lead to ‘a situation in which a military surprise attack will be impossible’.¹


    • Chapter 17 Which Socialism after the Cold War? Gorbachev’s Vision and Its Impact on the French Left
      (pp. 253-265)
      Marie-Pierre Rey

      When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in March 1985, he aimed on the one hand to reform the Marxist-Leninist economic system to make it more efficient and better adapted to modernity, and on the other hand to promote a new foreign policy, less aggressive and less expensive, mainly in order to give back to the civil sphere the resources previously devoted to the military-industrial complex. But gradually, and in particular from 1988 onwards, his perspective became more ambitious and larger: for the new general secretary, glasnost was henceforth to be combined with perestroika and ‘New Political Thinking’, and his conception...

    • Chapter 18 Thatcher’s Double-track Road to the End of the Cold War: The Irreconcilability of Liberalization and Preservation
      (pp. 266-279)
      Ilaria Poggiolini

      Margaret Thatcher’s policy towards Eastern Europe was inspired by a vision of communism’s end – a unique blend of liberalization and preservation, facilitating the progressive liberalization of Iron Curtain states. As her leadership came to an end in 1990, her post-détente Ostpolitik revealed its main contradictory assumption: that communism’s defeat could live inside the Cold War’s geopolitical architecture. This chapter is a first attempt at an interpretation of Thatcher’s Eastern policy, relying on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, published and online sources, memoirs and protagonists’ voices.¹

      The central argument of the chapter is that Thatcher was the most significant political...

    • Chapter 19 Mitterrand’s Vision and the End of the Cold War
      (pp. 280-293)
      Frédéric Bozo

      France’s role and President François Mitterrand’s personal record at the end of the Cold War have been widely debated since the events of 1989–91. It is often affirmed in the dominant literature that the part France played in that period was limited in comparison with that of other key actors, foremost the United States, the USSR and Germany. Most accounts maintain that the French president essentially failed to anticipate the chain of events that led to the overcoming of the East-West conflict, namely the peaceful liberation of Eastern Europe, the unification of Germany and the breakup of the Soviet...

    • Chapter 20 Visions of Ending the Cold War: Triumphalism and U.S. Soviet Policy in the 1980s
      (pp. 294-308)
      Beth A. Fischer

      Just as there are many explanations about why the Cold War began, there are various points of view about why the Cold War ended. Some have argued that Washington was largely irrelevant, as Mikhail Gorbachev drove the process of ending the conflict. Others maintain that the United States was an impediment, slowing down the process through hard-line policies, the Strategic Defense Initiative and a flat-footed response to Gorbachev’s initiatives.¹ In the United States the dominant view is that the Reagan administration brought about the end of the Cold War by forcing the Soviet Union to surrender and, ultimately, collapse. This...

    • Chapter 21 The Power of Imagination: How Reagan’s SDI Inadvertently Contributed to the End of the Cold War
      (pp. 309-322)
      Marilena Gala

      The literature of the last decades has tended to characterize the Reagan administration as, above all else, the clear manifestation of a new era in American public discourse.¹ Reaganism has thus been interpreted as marking the beginning of a discontinuous but progressive emancipation from the traditional path the U.S. government had followed since the end of the Second World War on both domestic and international issues. According to most of the recent international historiography, those eight years of Republican dominance remain momentous in American and global history as, on the one hand, they led to the end of the Cold...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 323-343)
  12. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 344-349)
  13. Index
    (pp. 350-358)