The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

Robert J. McMahon
Pub date
Mar 2003
Very Short Introductions
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  • A genuinely international history of the Cold War
  • Devotes much attention to the Cold War's domestic as well as international dimensions
  • Covers the entirety of the Cold War era, highlighting key players, such as Stalin, de Gaulle, and Reagan
  • Written by a major American authority on the post-war period
  • Gives equal attention to the impact of the conflict on the Third World, as well as on the West and on Asia
  • Highlights key developments, such as the Berlin Wall and the 'Star Wars' missile defense strategy

The massive disorder and economic ruin following the Second World War inevitably predetermined the scope and intensity of the Cold War. But why did it last so long? And what impact did it have on the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, and the Third World? Finally, how did it affect the broader history of the second half of the twentieth century - what were the human and financial costs? This Very Short Introduction provides a clear and stimulating interpretive overview of the Cold War, one that will both invite debate and encourage deeper investigation. 
"Small but impressive" - Soldier Magazine


1: The Setting: World War II and the destruction of the Old
2: Origins of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-1950
3: Toward hot war in Asia, 1945-1950
4: A global Cold War, 1950-1963
5: The rise and fall of detente, 1963-1978
6: Cold wars at home
7: Nuclear weapons and arms control
8: The final phase, 1978-1989
9: The aftermath

About the author: 

Robert J. McMahon is Professor of History at the University of Florida, and President of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. Among his many acclaimed books are The Cold War on the Periphery: the United States, India, and Pakistan (1994), and The Limits of Empire: the US and Southeast Asia since World War II (1999). He has held visiting professorships in Britain and Ireland as well as in Asia and around the US. He received the Bernath Robert J. McMahon is Professor of History at the Universityp of Florida

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