A Very Short Reading Group discussion

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The Cold War > Cold War Review

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message 1: by Nigel (new)

Nigel Bamber | 31 comments Not too many complaints about this one. A good solid very short introduction. It provides a good framework to lead into further study, or to hang existing knowledge on. On the whole, I think it was fairly neutral in it's treatment of the two main sides. It explained well the mutual very real fears, post WWII, that led to the attitudes adopted on both sides. Russia's fear of further invasions having been invaded so many times over the previous two centuries, and their truly horrendous losses in WWII. For America, it was the shock of the realisation that what went on outside their borders could actually result in direct attack on them.
The point was well illustrated that a “Cold War” for the First World, was actually a “Hot War” around less fortunate parts of the world. It was such a tragedy that Eisenhower missed the opportunity for reconciliation after Stalin's death, but human history is all about missed opportunities for things to be better.


message 2: by Stockton (new)

Stockton Libraries | 87 comments I think that was pretty much the group consensus yesterday. It was a very well written short introduction that had something of a page turning quality driven by the events of the Cold War. We talked about the different generational experiences of the Cold War, some with memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis others with only memories of the collapse of the USSR. The preponderance of “hot”wars during the cold war was remarked upon, with an alarming number of conflicts playing out US/USSR policies in the third world. It did seem as if none of the main players ever wanted to commence a nuclear war, with rivals repeatedly stepping to the brink and then backing down. This did however leave generations living with a constant background threat of nuclear annihilation for decades. Whether the threat has passed is open to debate, with states possibly less of a risk than organised groups or individuals gaining access to a nuclear warhead or two.

Placing the period in the context of a response to the Second World War by traumatised nations was an insightful beginning to the book, and helped give a balanced view of both sides. A little more on Gorbachev’s background and the reaction to his polices within soviet Russia would have been useful. But, as ever, it’s a short introduction to a big subject. One delivered in a very accessible and intelligent way.


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