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The Long Détente: Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s–1980s

346 pages8 hours


At defining the framework for a history of East-West relations between 1945 and 1991, mainstream historiography has habitually been resorting to “the Cold War”, often reducing it to the confrontation between two superpowers. This book challenges the pertinence of the Cold War concept and substitutes the framework of a “long détente” - energetically rehabilitated - for the years from 1953 to 1991. The authors of the essays – an impressive group of young European historians of diverse backgrounds and perspectives - take the Old Continent as the heart of the analysis, making it not a passive instrument in the hands of the two superpowers, but rather a fully-fledged actor in East-West relations. Studying détente in its many facets (strategic, geopolitical, economic and social), the authors of the essays in the volume also refine the chronology and stress the interaction between foreign policies and domestic priorities, with implications for contemporary diplomacy as well.

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