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The Emerging Post-Revisionist Synthesis on the Origins of the Cold War*


It is no secret that there was once a certain amount of disagreement among American historians about the origins of the Cold War. A decade ago this subject was capable of eliciting torrents of impassioned prose, of inducing normally placid professors to behave like gladiators at scholarly meetings, of provoking calls for the suppression of unpopular points of view, threats of lawsuits, and, most shocking of all, the checking of footnotes. Today, in contrast, the field is very much quieter, its occupants are much more polite to one another, and talk of consensus is heard throughout the land. It may be that we are all getting older and have not the stomach for combat any longer. But I prefer to think that what is happening is the emergence of a genuine synthesis of previously antagonistic viewpoints, based upon an impressive amount of new research. There is no question that this research is taking place. The recent Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Guide to Diplomatic History Since 1700 devotes no less than 42 percent of its pages (514 out of 1213) to the periodgince 1945. One out of every five doctoral dissertations on U.S. foreign relations completed during the past four years dealt with some aspect of the 1945-50 period. The first six volumes of Diplomatic History contained 130 articles, of which 47 (36 percent) focused just on the years between the end of World War I1 and the onset of the Korean War. Despite this volume of work, and despite the array of newly declassified sources upon which most of it is based, the recent literature on Cold War origins has not attracted the same attention New Left historiography was
*This article was originally presented as a paper at the meeting of the Organization of American Historians, 8 April 1983. Richard Dean Bums, ed., Guide to American Foreign Relations Since 1700 (Santa Barbara, 1982); Diplomatic History 1-6 (1977-82). Only two of the twenty-four issues in question contained no articles on the 1945-50 period. The figures on doctoral dissertations are compiled from Calvin L. Christman, Doctoral Dissertations in U.S. Foreign Affairs, ibid. 3 (1979): 231-48; 4(1980): 207-21; 5 (1981); 169-82;6(1982); 20%23. Thissourcelists615 dissertations, of which 132 (21 percent) concentrated on the 1945-50 period.




receiving in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In part, this is because the revisionism of that period coincided with the growth of public opposition to the Vietnam War; no comparable contemporary issue has drawn the interest of nonspecialists to the more recent literature. In part, as well, one must acknowledge that much of the new writing is sober stuff it lacks the pungency of the earlier revisionist accounts; its conclusions, most of the time, are less than spectacular. Nevertheless, the new literature is making some fundamental changes in our understanding of the early Cold War, to such an extent that it is now generally acknowledged that we have reached a third stage, beyond both orthodoxy and revisionism, in the historiography of that period. Various labels have been proposed to characterize this new schoolneoorthodoxy, eclecticism, postrevisionism-the latter term seems to have caught on more than the others and is the one that will be used here. In the best assessment of it we have had to date, J. Samuel Walker describes postrevisionism as a new consensus which draws from both traditional and revisionist interpretations to present a more balanced explanation of the beginning of the cold war. What follows is an attempt to examine some of the elements of that consensus, to indicate where they differ from both orthodox and revisionist accounts, and to suggest some of the implications they may pose for future research. As its name implies, the postrevisionist literature on Cold War origins cannot be understood apart from the revisionism that preceded it. A useful starting point. therefore, might a brief review of the fundamental propositions of New Left historiography, with a view to clarifying how postrevisionism differs from them. It should be emphasized at the outset that the New Left perspective on the origins of the Cold War was never monolithic. No one revisionist would have accepted all lines of argument associated with that school of thought; differences among New Left scholars at times rivaled in intensity those with more orthodox colleagues. Nevertheless, and allowing for these differences, there would appear to have been four interlocking propositions upon which the New Left view rested: 1 ) That postwar American foreign policy approximated the classical Leninist model of imperialism-that is, that an unwillingness or inability to redistribute wealth at home produced an aggressive search for markets and investment opportunities overseas, without which, it was thought, the capitalist system in the United States could not survive. 2) That this internally motivated drive for empire left little room for accommodating the legitimate security interests of the Soviet Union, thereby ensuring the breakdown of wartime cooperation.
J. Samuel Walker. Historians and Cold War Origins: The New Consensus. in Gerald K Haines and J . Samuel Walker. eds., American Foreign Relations: A Historiographical Review (Westport. Connecticut. 1981). pp. 207-36. Other perceptive overviews of postrevisionism We Hardly Know You: Revisionism, Politics and Diplomacy, includeGeoffrey Smith. Harry, 1945-1954. American Political Science Review 70 (1976): 5 W 8 2 ; and the first chapter in Geir Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War. 1945-1949 (New York, 1980).



3) That the United States imposed its empire on a mostly unwilling world, recruiting it into military alliances, forcing it into positions of economic dependency, maintaining its imperial authority against growing opposition by means that included bribery, intimidation, and covert intervention. 4) That all of this took place against the will of the people of the United States, who were tricked by cynical but skillful leaders into supporting this policy of imperialism through the propagation of the myth that monolithic communism threatened the survival of the n a t i ~ n . ~ With regard to the first assertion-that postwar American foreign policy fits the Leninist model of imperialism-postrevisionists have pointed out several problems: 1) If we can accept the testimony, both public and private, of the policymakers themselves, there is little evidence that they saw a crisis of capitalism as the most pressing issue facing the country at the end of World War 11. There was concern about a postwar depression, to be sure, but that concern was only one aspect of a more general preoccupation with what was now coming to be called national security. As Michael Sherry and Daniel Yergin have pointed out, the experience of war had sensitized American leaders to the possibilities of future external threats even before the Soviet Union had emerged as the most obvious postwar adversary. This sense of vulnerability reflected not so much fears of an economic collapse at home as it did a new awareness of the global balance of power and the effect recent developments in the technology of warfare might have on it.4 Although it does not totally dismiss concerns about the future of the domestic economy,
The most influential examples of New Left historiography include William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy o f American Diplomacy, rev. ed. (New York, 1962); Gar Alperovitz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (New York, 1965); Walter LeFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War (New York, 1967); Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945 (New York, 1968); Lloyd C. Gardner, Architects oflllusion: Men and Ideas in American Foreign Policy, 1941-1949 (Chicago, 1970); Barton J. Bernstein, American Foreign Policy and the Origins of the Cold War, in Barton J. Bernstein, ed., Politics and Poficies of the Truman Administration (Chicago, 1970), pp. 15-77; Athan Theoharis, Seeds of Repression: Harry S . Truman and the Origins of McCarthyism (Chicago, 1971); and Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits ofpower: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1945-1954 (New York, 1972). Among the best evaluations of this literature are Robert W. Tucker, The Radical Lefrand American Foreign Policy (Baltimore, 1971); Charles S. Maier, Revisionism and the Interpretation of Cold War Origins, Perspectives in American History 4 (1970): 3 1 3 4 7 ; J . L. Richardson, Cold War Revisionism: A Critique, World Politics 24 (1972): 579-612; and Richard A. Melanson. Revisionism Subdued? Robert James Maddox and the Origins of the Cold War, Political Science Reviewer 7 (1977): 229-71. 4Michael S. Sherry, Preparing for the Next War: American Plans for Postwar Defense, 1 9 4 1 2 5 (New Haven, 1977), pp. viii-ix, 159, 168, 215, 235-35; Daniel Yergin, Shatrered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State (Boston, 1977), pp. 19&201. On the subordination of economic to larger geopolitical concerns, see also Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War, pp. 164-65; David S. McLellan, Dean Acheson: The State Department Years (New York, 1976), pp. 93, 117; and Bruce R. Kuniholm, The Origins o f the Cold War in the Near East: Great Power Conflict and Diplomacy in Iran, Turkey, and Greece (Princeton, 1979), pp. 427-28. Thomas G. Paterson, Soviet-American Confrontation: Postwar



this emphasis on national security does assign them a considerably lower priority than was characteristic of most New Left accounts. 2) Even if the fate of capitalism had been primary in the minds of American leaders at the time, the policies they actually followed did less than one might think to advance it. The concept of multilateralism, upon which postwar economic security was thought to rest, quickly took a back seat to ccontainment, which to a considerable extent involving preserving rather than breaking down regional economic blocs. It also is becoming clear that the United States made no systematic effort to suppress socialism within its sphere of influence, despite the fact that one might have expected a militantly capitalist nation to promote free enterprise wherever possible. We are coming to understand as well that domestic economic interests themselves were not monolithic and hardly could have provided precise guidance to policymakers had they been inclined to give primacy to them. 3) All of which is not to say that the United States was bashful about using the very considerable economic power that it did possess. Here, postrevisionists generally have accepted revisionist arguments that the United
Reconstruction and the Origins of the Cold War (Baltimore, 19731, also stresses the diverse roots of postwar American security concerns but gives somewhat more weight to economic considerations than Sherry or Yergin. For a thoughtful critique of the argument that economic imperatives are decisive in shaping American foreign policy. see Frank Ninkovich. Ideology, the Open Door; and Foreign Policy. Diplomatic Histon 6 (1982): 185-208. Alfred E. Eckes, Jr., A Search for Solvency: Bretton Woods and the International Monetan System. 1941-1971 (Austin. 1975). pp. 21 1-19. See also Paterson. Soviet-American Confrontation. pp. 14-16, 57-74. On this point see Lundestad, America, Scandinavia. and the Cold War, pp. I1&17, 125-26. 140. 163-64; Hadley Arkes, Bureaucracy, the Marshall Plan, and the National Interest (Princeton. 1972). pp. 15, 133.222.300,325; andRobert M. Hathaway.AmbiguousPartnership: Britain and America. 1944-1947 (New York, 1981), p. 200. One area where U.S. officials appear to have resisted cooperation with non-Communist socialists was Greece. See Lawrence S . Wittner. American Intervention in Greece, 1943-1949 (New York, 1982). pp. 132-35. American attitudes toward socialism in occupied Germany have not received much attention from American historians, but are the subject of vigorious debate among their German counterparts. Doerte Winkler, Die amerikanische Sozialisierungspolitik in Deutschland 1945-1948, in Heinrich August Winkler, ed.. Polirische Weinchenstellungen im Nachkriegsdeutschland 1945-1949 (Goettingen. 1979). pp. 88-1 10; and Werner Link, Der Marshall-Plan und Deutschland, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte: Beilage zur Wochenzeitung Das Parlament, B 50/80. 13 December 1980, pp, 3-18. make the argument for American toleration of socialism; the opposite viewpoint is siated in Hans-Juergen Schroeder, Socialization as a Problem of American Policy Towards Germany. 1945-1948 (Paper presented at a symposium on The United States and European Recovery After Two World Wars, University of California, Berkeley, 21-23 July 1982). On this poini see William Steinert Hill, Jr.. The Busirass Community and National Defense: Corporate Leaders and the Military. 1943-1950 (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1980). The fate of the wartime Petroleum Reserves Corporation and the unratified Anglo-American Oil Agreement of 1944 provide an interesting illustration of how official and corporate interests could diverge. See Kuniholm, Origins of the Cold War in the Near East, pp. 182-85; also Michael B . Stoff, Oil. War, and National Security: The Search for a National Policy on Foreign Oil, 1941-1947 (New Haven, 1980). pp. 207-8; Aaron David Miller, Search for SecuriQ: Saudi Arabian Oil and American Foreign P o k y , 1939-1949 (Chapel Hill, 1980). pp. 105-6, 21 1-12; and Irvine H. Anderson, Jr., Aramco. the Unired States. and Saudi Arabia: A Study in the Dvnamics of Foreign Poliqv. 1933-1950 (Princeton, 1980).



States did in fact employ Lend Lease, prospects of reparations shipments from Germany, postwar credits, and Marshall Plan aid to achieve certain political objectives.* But that is just the point: economic instruments were used to serve political ends, not the other way around as the Leninist model of imperialism would seem to imply. American economic strength was a potent weapon that could be used-and indeed, in the early days of the Cold War, was the primary weapon used-to help redress the political-military balance of power.9 But that is very different from saying that U.S. politicalmilitary power was used to stave off what was seen as an otherwise inevitable collapse of the capitalist order. The second major proposition upon which the New Left account of the origins of the Cold War rested was that the American drive for world empire, motivated primarily by the requirements of capitalism, left no room for accommodating the legitimate security interests of the Soviet Union and therefore made the Cold War unavoidable. The main point to note about this argument is that it was based upon faith, not research. However great their energies in mining the American archives, not one of the New Left revisionists was a Soviet specialist; few, if any, knew Russian. They simply assumed a willingness to cooperate on the part of Stalins Russia that was frustrated by American intransigence. Soviet specialists in the United States and elsewhere were skeptical of this argument, but few of them had mastered the American archives, so their efforts to refute the revisionists were not very convincing. lo We now have, though, a comprehensive account of Soviet policy regarding the origins of the Cold War, written not only from American and British records but also from the admittedly fragmentary Soviet and East European sources that are available. This is Vojtech Mastnys Russias Road to the Cold War, and in it he makes several points that deserve attention: 1) Stalin at no point was willing to entrust Soviet postwar security primarily to a policy of cooperation with the West. Rather, he was determined from the start to seek security by unilateral means. 2) The Soviet leader was never clear in his own mind as to the limits of his countrys security needs. Not content with imposing boundary changes at the expense of his Western neighbors, he insisted as well on surrounding himself with subservient states, giving no clear indication as to where this policy of building spheres of influence would stop. 3) The failure of the West was not a failure to accommodate Stalin,
Paterson, Soviet-American Reconstruction, pp. 33-56; Lundestad, American Non-Policy Towards Eastern Europe (Oslo: 1978), pp. 180-82, 223; George C. Herring, Jr., Aid fo Russia. 1941-1946: Strategy, Diplomacy, the Origins ofthe Cold War (New York,1973), pp. 180-236. Such is the argument in Robert A. Pollard, Economic Security and the Origins of the Cold War: The Strategic Ends of U S . Foreign Economic Policy, 1945-1950, (Ph.D. diss., f North Carolina, 1983). University o See, for example, Adam B. Ulam, On Modem History: Re-reading the Cold War, Interplay 2 (1969): 51-57. Vojtech Mastny, Russias Road to the Cold War: Diplomacy, Warfare, and the Politics of Communism, 1941-1945 (New York: 1979). esp. pp. 224, 265, 283, 305, 311.



Mastny argues; here he appears to share the view of Geir Lundestad that the United States probably facilitated more than it resisted the expansion of Soviet control over Eastern Europe. The Wests failure, rather, was its passivity. For only the West could have defined the limits of Stalins ambition; Stalin himself was incapable of doing so. Had the West acted more firmly at an earlier point, the Cold War would not necessarily have been more intense; just the reverse, for as Adam Ulam has suggested, Stalin tended to show reason and restraint when opposed, irrationality and excess when given a free hand. 4) Mastny concludes then-and his analysis has now been reinforced by William Taubmans recent treatment of the same subject and by several other more specialized works as well-that the primary cause of the Cold War was Stalins own ill-defined ambition, his determination to seek security in such a way as to leave little or none for other actors in the international arena.I4 A secondary cause was the Wests failure to act soon enough to stop him. This is a striking and powerful new interpretation. Admittedly, it is based on less in the way of source material than one would like to have-until the Russians institute their own version of a Freedom of Information Act, anything written in the West on Soviet policy must be. But this is an interpretation future students of the Cold War are going to have to take seriously. It should. at the very least, go far toward correcting the curious American habit of writing about the Cold War as if only the United States had a major role in bringing it about. The third New Left argument was that the United States imposed its empire on unwilling clients, forcing them into military alliances and into positions of economic dependency against their will. This, too, was an argument derived more from intuition than research: familiarity with the concerns of third parties in the Cold War was no more a strong point of revisionist literature than was consideration of the Soviet Unions role in that conflict. Postrevisionist scholarship, to some extent, has corrected that deficiency by giving attention to the domestic background of decisions that caused countries in Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East to align themselves with the United States after World War 11.

Lundesiad. Ameriran Non-Policr Toward Easrern Europe, p. 42. AdamB. Ulam,Stalin:TheManandHisEra(NewYork: 1973), pp. 466,683,719. William Taubrnan, Stalins American Policy: From Entente to Detente to Cold War (New York: 1982). pp. 8-9, 74, 78, 94, 129. See also Kuniholrn, Origins of the Cold War in the Near EaSr, pp. 70, 151, 301-3, 379,426-27; Terry H . Anderson, The United States. Great Britain, and the Cold War, 1944-1947 (Columbia, MO: 1981). pp. 14243, 180; Russell D. Buhite. Soviet-American Relations in Asia. 1945-1954 (Norman: 1981). pp. 1-2, 219-20. Two works that would assign the Russian substantial. I f not primary, responsibility for the Cold War are Robert L. Messer, The End of an Alliance: James F. Byrnes. Roosevelr, Truman. and the Origins of the Cold War (Chapel Hill: 1982). pp. 184-85; and Thomas G . Paterson. On Every Front: The Making o f the Cold War (New York: 1979). pp. 138-68.



Two fine regional studies, Lundestads America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War and Bruce Kuniholms The Origins of the Cold War in the Near East, show that as far as those parts of the world were concerned, the American sphere of influence arose as much by invitation as by imposition. In Greece, Turkey, and even Iran, Kuniholm shows, American influence was welcomed after the war as a counterweight to the Russians. To be sure, there was U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of those countries. But Kuniholm suggests that that was what leaders in those countries wanted: American intervention against the Left was preferable, from their point of view, to Soviet intervention on behalf of it.5Similarly, Lundestad has shown that the alignment of Norway and Denmark with NATO could not have happened without significant support inside those countries; that the United States did not use all means available to it to recruit members-witness Washingtons eventual acceptance of Swedens decision to stay out; and that the United States probably would have gone along with a less formal security arrangement had the Scandinavians been able to agree on one.6 This same pattern of invitation rather than imposition shows up in the recently opened records of the British Foreign Office, as the work of Terry Anderson and Robert Hathaway makes clear. In London, the concern was not that the United States would be too aggressive but that it would be too passive. The fear was not of American expansionism but of American isolationism, and much time was spent considering how such expansionist tendencies could be reinforced. What these postrevisionist arguments seem to show, then, is that the United States was not alone in perceiving the Soviet Union as a threat after World War 11. Other countries shared this impression and sought to bring in the United States to redress the balance. It remains to be seen whether this same pattern will hold up in parts of the world that have not yet been studied in the same detail as Britain, Scandinavia, or the Near East-or whether these generalizations can be projected forward into the 1950s, when the American presence became far more overbearing than it was in the late 1940s. Revisionists might legitimately ask, as well, who was doing the inviting in each of these cases-the governing elite, or the masses? Still, enough work has been done to make it clear that the revisionist view of an American empire imposed upon unwilling subjects is in some need of revision itself. The fourth argument made by the New Left was that the policy of

15Kuniholm,Origins of the Cold War in the Near East. esp. pp. 205, 345, 382. I6Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War, pp. 32, 62, 170, 194, 26143, f Interests: NATO and the 296302, 324-28. See also Lawrence S. Kaplan, A Communily o Military Assistance Program, 1948-1951 (Washington, 1980), p. 3. Hathaway, Ambiguous Partnership, pp. 2, 50-53, 305; Anderson, The United States, Great Britain, and the Cold War, pp. 8 5 , 108, 141-43, 176-84. See also Peter G . Boyle, The British Foreign Office View of Soviet-American Relations, 1945-46, Diplomaric History 3 (1979): 307-20; and Lawrence S. Kaplan, Western Europe in the American Century: A Retrospective View, ibid., pp. 1 1 1-24, esp. pp. 120-21.



containment evolved against the will of the American people, who had to be tricked into supporting imperialism by the government, using the imaginary threat of an international Communist monolith. Postrevisionists have not dealt extensively with the interaction between domestic influences and foreign policy, although the logic of their analysis, which stresses the extent to which Soviet policies alarmed other countries, would seem to suggest that policymakers would not have had to work very hard to convince the public to support containment. Indeed, some postrevisionists have suggested that public and congressional opinion moved in this direction before the policymakers did. * Other postrevisionists have stressed the capacity of policymakers to shape public opinion in predetermined directions. The two viewpoints may not be as contradictory as they might seem: it is possible that policymakers sought to move public opinion in anti-Soviet directions at a time when it was shifting in that direction of its own accord. Still, this is one area where postrevisionists remain divided. Furnishing the means to support a get tough policy was something else again. Here revisionist charges that the government found it necessary to manipulate public opinion have found support among postrevisionists, whether one is looking at the effort to sell aid to Greece and Turkey, the Marshall Plan, the Military Assistance Program, or, had the Korean War not intervened, the massive increases in the defense budget called for in NSC-68.2 Perhaps the explanation for this campaign is consistent with what we know to be true of human nature-people find it easy to view with alarm, but more difficult to accept without some persuasion the sacrifices necessary to do something about it. Two variations of this argument about administrations manipulating public opinion should be mentioned here. One is the assertion that something like a military-industrial complex came to dominate the making of foreign policy during the early Cold War years. It is true that World War I1 had brought about close cooperation between defense contractors and the government. It is true, as Yergin has pointed out, that expenditures for research and development in the military sphere increased impressively during the early

John Lewis Caddis, The United Stares and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (New York, 1972). pp. 282-315. Such also apparently was the view of the British Foreign Office. See Boyle. The British Foreign Office View of Soviet-American Relations, p. 311. Paterson. Soviet-American Reconstruction. p. 42; Paterson, On Every Front, pp. 1 13-37; Messer. End of an Alliance, pp. 190-91; Ralph B . Levering, American Opinion and the Russian Alliance, 1939-1945 (Chapel Hill, 1976). pp. 202-9. Levering since seems to have modified his view somewhat. See his TheCold War, 1945-1972 (Arlington Heights, IL, 1982). pp. 27-29. For an attempt to reconcile these conflicting points of view, see Michael Leigh, Mobilizing Consent: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy. 1937-1947 (Westport. CT, 1976). On this point see Hathaway, Ambiguous Partnership, p. 303; Kuniholm, Origins of the Cold War in the Near East, pp. 415-17; McLellan. Dean Acheson, pp. 133-34; Timothy P. Ireland, Creating the Entangling Alliance: The Origins of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Westport. CT, 1981). p. 120; and John Lewis Caddis, Strategies o f Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (New York, 1982), pp. 107-9.



Cold War period.2Z But, significantly, overall military spending did not. The era of budgetary plenty for the military did not come until the Korean War had legitimized the conclusions of NSC-68. Prior to that time, defense spending was kept under such tight control that the Joint Chiefs of Staff despaired of meeting the obligations to which political leaders had committed them. 23 There was, as well, as Lawrence S. Kaplan has pointed out, a curious passivity among military leaders of that day, who seemed content to leave key decisions, even on significant military matters, up to civilians in the State Department. This is hardly the pattern one would expect if a military-industrial complex had been operating at that time. Another argument relating to internal developments and foreign policy has to do with the origins of McCarthyism. It has been strongly suggested by several New Left scholars that that phenomenon was a logical outgrowth of the Truman administrations efforts to remove suspected disloyal elements from the government, beginning in 1947. Truman, according to this interpretation, created a climate of suspicion without which McCarthyism could not have f l o u r i ~ h e dPostrevisionists .~~ make no particular effort to defend the presidents loyalty program, which clearly had its excesses, but, as Richard Fried has pointed out, the habit of red-baiting did predate, by a considerable extent, implementation of those procedures. Similarly, Alonzo Hamby has suggested that McCarthyism might have developed sooner than it did had the administration not initiated those investigations.26 The trend now seems to be toward exculpating Truman and his advisers from any direct responsibility for the rise of McCarthyism and toward viewing that development much as it was seen originally-as a combination of hysteria bred by the shocks of the Cold War, together with the efforts of certain highly placed Republicans to find an issue with which to assault the Dem~crats.~

22Yergin,Shattered Peace, pp. 3 6 0 4 2 . See also Sherry, Preparing for the Next War, p. 236. 23Theclassic discussion is still Warner R. Schilling, The Politics of National Defense: Fiscal 1950, in Warner R. Schilling, Paul Y. Hammond, and Glenn H. Snyder, Strategy, Politics, and Defense Budgets (New York, 1962), pp. 1-266; but see also Samuel F. Wells, Jr., Sounding the Tocsin: NSC 68 and the Soviet Threat, International Security 4 (1979): 116-38. For a recent assessment of the effects of budgetary stringency on defense policy prior to Korea, see Robert J. Donovan, Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1949-1953 (New York, 1982). pp. 54-59. f Interests, p. 12 24Kaplan,A Community o 2s See, for example, Theoharis, Seeds of Repression; and Richard M. Freeland, The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism (New York, 1972). A more recent account following the same line of argument is David Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower (New York, 1978). z6RichardM. Fried, Men Against McCarrhy (New York, 1976), p. x; Alonzo L. Hamby, Beyond the New Deal: Harry S. Truman and American Liberalism (New York, 1973), pp. 401, 507. See also Francis H. Thompson, The Politics of Frustration: Truman, Congress, and the Loyalty Issue, 1945-1923 (Rutherford, NJ, 1979); and Richard M. Fried, Communism and Anti-Communism: A Review Essay, Wisconsin Magazine of History 63 (1980): 309-21. See, for example, Donovan, Tumultuous Years, pp. 163-64; and McLellan, Dean Acheson, p. 22411. The debate on the origins of McCarthyism is well surveyed in Thomas C. f History 60 Reeves, McCarthyism: Interpretations Since Hofstadter, Wisconsin Magazine o (1976): 42-54. A trend also seems to be developing toward somewhat less sympathy than has



More work clearly needs to be done on this whole matter of the relationship between public opinion and foreign policy, but it would seem that enough has been done to call into question the revisionist view of cynical national administrations imposing their cold-blooded geopolitical visions upon an unsuspecting public. One might well ask, at this stage, just how postrevisionism differs from traditional accounts of the origins of the Cold War written before New Left revisionism came into fashion. What is new, after all, about the view that American officials womed more about the Soviet Union than about the fate of capitalism in designing the policy of containment, about the assertion that Soviet expansionism was the primary cause of the Cold War, about the argument that American allies welcomed the expansion of U.S. influence as a counterweight to the Russians, about the charge that the government responded to as well as manipulated public opinion? Were not all of these things said years ago? The answer is yes, but they were said more on the basis of political conviction or personal experience than systematic archival research. What the postrevisionists have done is to confirm, on the basis of the documents, several of the key arguments of the old orthodox position, and that in itself is a significant development. But postrevisionism should not be thought of as simply orthodoxy plus archives. On several major points, revisionism has had a significant impact on postrevisionist historiography. This coincidence of viewpoints between the revisionists and their successors needs to be emphasized, if only to make the point that postrevisionism is something new, not merely a return to old arguments. 1) Postrevisionist accounts pay full attention to the use by the United States of economic instruments to achieve political ends. This dimension of American diplomacy was given short shrift in orthodox accounts; it was as if to mention economics was to call into question the aura of innocence and naivete that somehow was supposed to distinguish Washingtons policies from those of other countries. The revisionists have made it emphatically clear that when it came to the use of economic power, the United States was neither naive nor innocent. It was, as Truman once said, the economic giant of the world, and most postrevisionists now accept that it was determined to make thorough use of this unique strength to promote specific political ends.28 2 ) Postrevisionism tends to stress the absence of any ideological blueprint for world revolution in Stalins mind; this is another point at which

been shown in the past for some of the left-wing victims of McCarthyism. See William L. ONeill, A Bertar World: The Great Schism: Stalinism and the American Intellectuuls (New York, 1982). The most complete postrevisionist discussion of the American use of economic instruments for political purposes is Pollard, Economic Security and the Origins of the Cold War. On the inadequacy of the American innocence interpretation. see Paterson. Soviet-Arnericun Confroniation, pp. 8-14; and Herring, Aid to Russia. p. xx.



revisionism and postrevisionism are closer to each other than to orthodoxy. Stalin is now seen as a cagey but insecure opportunist, taking advantage of such tactical openings as arose to expand Soviet influence, but without any long-term strategy for or even very much interest in promoting the spread of communism beyond the Soviet ~phere.~ 3) Postrevisionist analyses differ from their orthodox predecessors in confirming revisionist assertions that the government, from time to time, did exaggerate external dangers for the purpose of achieving certain internal goals. Attempts to manage public and congressional opinion were not wholly products of a later generation.30 4) But the aspect of New Left historiography that postrevisionists are likely to find most useful-and the point upon which their work will depart most noticeably from orthodox accoynts-is the argument that there was in fact an American empire. I should like to develop this line of thought at greater length because it not only illustrates the most important line of continuity between revisionist and postrevisionist scholarship; it also provides some interesting opportunities for future research. One curiosity of New Left scholarship on the Cold War is that although it assumed the existence of an American empire, it made no effort to compare that empire with those that have existed at other times and in other places. And yet, Washingtons experience in projecting first its interests and then its power on a global scale does bear a striking resemblance to the experiences of other great imperial powers in history; from these resemblances, it would seem, revealing comparative insights might be derived. For example, the New Left seemed to find it difficult to understand how an empire could arise for what its leaders perceived to be defensive reasons. Surely, they insisted, there must have been sinister forces-for which read economic forces, because they always seem more sinister than othersoperating behind the scenes. Policymakers either refused to acknowledge them or were unaware of their e~istence.~ But the history of other empires suggests that they can as often arise from perceptions of external as well as from internal insecurity: it is one of the characteristics of great powers that they often do offensive things for defensive reasons. Empires can arise at the invitation of those seeking security as well as by the impositions of those who would deny it. They can develop as
Compare, for example, the discussion of Soviet priorities in Kolko, Limits o f Power, pp. 53-58, a militantly revisionist work, with general line of argument in such postrevisionist works as Mastny, Russias Road to the Cold War, Taubman, Stalins American Policy. and two other works that do not fit clearly into either revisionist or postrevisionist categories: Ulam, Stalin, and William 0 .McCagg, Jr., Stalin Embattled, 1943-1948 (Detroit. 1978). The weakness of earlier revisionist accounts was their failure to appreciate how Stalins nonideologically motivated goals, however defensive they may have been. nonetheless posed, or appeared to pose, security problems for the West. On this point, see the citations in note 21 above; also Donovan, Tumultuous Years, pp, 2627. The clearest example of this argument occurs in Kolko, Politics of War, pp, 8-9.



unexpected responses to unforeseen circumstances as well as by crafty and farsighted design. They can vary considerably in the extent to which they tolerate diversity within their boundaries. What the postrevisionists are showing, it would seem, is that the American empire fits more closely the model of defensive rather than offensive expansion, of invitation rather than imposition, of improvisation rather than careful planning. That it was an empire, subject to patterns of development and decay that have affected other empires in the past, can hardly be denied. That it expanded more rapidly and more widely than its Soviet counterpart must be admitted, though that is not too surprising given the facts of geography and the extent of American power in the postwar era. But, as Lundestad has pointed out, this was expansion with limitations; it was an empire operated, at least initially, along defensive lines, and with some sense of restraint.3g One can argue at length about the reasons for this restraint: did it reflect the basic decency and good will of the American people, or did the Americans hold back simply because they lacked the manpower and the expertise to remake other societies in their image? Answering this question should provide broad opportunities for future research, as will the question, discussed earlier, of how and by whom the Americans were invited to expand their influence in the first place. It seems beyond argument, though, that there was an American empire, and that a surprising number of governments around the world wanted to be associated with it, given the alternative. The imperial framework of analysis also should prove useful in explaining what happened to Washingtons Cold War policies later on. As had been the case with other empires in history, distinctions began to be lost between vital and peripheral interests, between threatening and nonthreatening adversaries; the result was overcommitment and, as a consequence, the exposure of vulnerable flanks. Local insurgencies arose, calling forth disproportionate but ineffectual responses; these in turn exhausted patience at home. It is
?:The literature on imperialism i s far too vast to be adequately discussed here, but the following books provide a useful general introduction to the subject: Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War. trans. Rex Warner (New York. 1975). esp. pp. 80, 161. 213-15, 404-5, 421; Joseph Sfhumpeter. Imperialism and Social Classes. trans. Heinz Norden (New York, 1951); Earle M. Winslow, The Panern of Imperialism: A Study in the Theories of Power (New York, 1948); A . P. Thornton. Doctrrnesoflmperialism (New York. 1965): and Wolfgang J . Mommsen, Theories oflmperialism. trans. P. S . Falla (New York, 1980). Valuable treatments of specific imperialisms include: Edward N. Luttwak, The Grand Strutegy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century A.D. to the Third (Baltimore, 1976); William L. Langer, The Diplomacy o f Imperialism, 1890-1902, 2d ed. (New York, 1965); Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher, with Alice Denny, Africa and the Victorians: The Climax of Imperialism (New York. 1961); D. K . Fieldhouse. Economics and Empire. 1830-1914 (Ithaca, 1973); William Roger Louis, ed., Imperiabsm: The Robinson and Gallugher Controversy (New York, 1976); A. P. Thornton, Imperialism in the Twentieth Cenrury (Minneapolis, 1977); George Liska, Career of Empire: America and Imperial Expansion Over Land and Sea (Baltimore, 1978); and Tony Smith, The Patiern o f Imperialism: The Unired States, Great Britain. and the Late-industrializing World Since 1815 (Cambridge, MA, 1981). See also Michael H. Hunt, Resistance and Collaboration in the AmericanEmpire, 1898-1903: An0verview;PacificHistoricalReview 48 (1979): 467-72. Lundestad, America, Scandinavia. and the Cold Wur, pp. 329-58.



all an old story, played out many times before. Your empire is now like a tyranny, Thucydides has Pericles telling the Athenians in the year 430 B.C.; it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it But it is precisely an awareness of these earlier analogies that has been missing from accounts of the American imperial experience in the Cold War, and that could provide those accounts with a degree of depth and resonance they have so far lacked. There would be another advantage as well to using this imperial analogue: it should enable us better to understand, make comparisons with, and even to some extent anticipate the policies of the Soviet Union. Few today would deny that Moscows foreign policy is showing some of the same imperial tendencies that influenced Washingtons approach to the world during much of the Cold War. Crane Brinton suggested long ago that revolutions go through certain predictable stages of de~elopment.~~ If, as seems likely, imperialisms go through similar phases of growth, maturity, and decline, whatever the ideological complexion of the nations in which they are rootedand here one must depart from the Leninist view of imperialism as particular to ~apitalism~~-then the study of imperialisms might not only generate useful insights about Soviet policy in the Cold War; it also might provide the basis as well for a less a1,armist official view of the present danger. For if the American experience, and the experience of other imperialisms in the past, is any guide, then the Russian flirtation with that doctrine will bring Moscow neither profit, nor power, nor the security it no doubt seeks by expanding its influence with so little regard for the security of other^.^' We owe a considerable debt to the New Left for forcing us to think about the Cold War in these imperial terms. To the extent that we can move beyond revisionisms dependence on the inadequate Leninist explanation of imperialism, and beyond the parochialism that sees only the American experience as relevant, then we may in fact be approaching a basis upon which the long sought-after synthesis of orthodox and revisionist viewpoints can be constructed. Apart from this imperial paradigm, there are several other points that postrevisionist scholarship might profitably address in the future: 1) We need more work on Washingtons perception of the adversary in the Cold War. For how long, and on what basis, did the United States see international communism as a monolith? How early, and with what results, did strategies exist for exploiting differences within that movement? The archives offer tantalizing evidence that, despite their rhetoric, American officials never really regarded communism as a unified force directed from Moscow; and that, in both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, efforts
Qucydides, Peloponnesian War, p. 161. Crane Brinton, The Anatomy of Revolution, rev. ed. (New York, 1952). For a recent updating of Brinton, see Theda Skocpol, Stares and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis o f France, Russia and China (Cambridge, MA, 1979). V. I . Lenin, Imperialism (New York, 1933). On this point, see Mastny, Russias Road to the Cold War, pp. 308-9.



were being made behind the scenes to take advantage of the differences that existed within it.* We will need more research, though, before we can gauge the extent and success of these maneuvers-or why both administrations felt obliged to portray international communism in public as more unified than they knew it to be. 2) We need more work on the American perception of the balance of power during the early Cold War years. One of the fundamental arguments of the revisionist school was that, because the power of the United States far outstripped that of the Soviet Union, it therefore bore a greater share of the responsibility for the way in which the Cold War de~eloped.~ But that was a retrospective judgment, not one made by policymakers at the time. Recent research strongly suggests that American officials did not see themselves as enjoying a clear predominance of power over the Soviet Union in the late 1940s. Soviet conventional forces were obviously superior to those of the West throughout this period, and the pioneering work of David A. Rosenberg has now confirmed, in a striking way, the small size and limited capabilities of the American atomic arsenal during the first five years of the Cold War.+ These liabilities, combined with the Truman administrations self-imposed budgetary ceilings through the middle of 1950, raise questions as to how expansive Washingtons perception of its own power actually was. 3) We need more sophisticated work than we have had so far on the role of bureaucracies and those who inhabit them. The view that was fashionable in the early 1970s4hat where you stand depends on where you sitbecomes less and less adequate the more one looks into such matter^.^' How was it, for example, that the State Department had to convince the Defense Department in 1950 that it would be a good idea to triple the defense budget? How is it, as Richard K. Betts has shown, that civilian officials generally

PPS 35, The Attitude of This Government Toward Events in Yugoslavia, 30 June 1948, U.S., Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the Unitedstates, 1948 4:1079-81 (hereafter cited as FRUS, followed by appropriate year and volume number); NSC 5812, United States Policy Toward the Soviet Satellite States in Eastern Europe, 8 December 1949, FRUS, 1949, 5:42-54; NSC 48/1, The Position of the United States with Respect to Asia, 23 December 1949, U.S. Department of Defense, United Stares-Viefnam Relanons. 1945-1967, (Washington: 1971) 8:225-64; NSC 166/1, U.S. Policy Toward Communist China, 6 November 1953, Modern Military Records Division, National Archives; Minutes, Eisenhower-Churchill-Bidault meeting, Bermuda, 7 December 1953, FRUS. 1952-54, 3:710-13. The argument is best stated in Gardner, Architects of Illusion, pp. x-xi, but see also Paterson, Soviet-American Confrontation, pp. 8-1 I . aDavid A . Rosenberg, American Atomic Strategy and the Hydrogen Bomb Decision, Journal of American History 66 (1979): 62-87; David A. Rosenberg, The Origins of Overkill: Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945-1960 International Security 7 (1983), 3-71, See also Herken, Winning Weapon, pp. 197-98, 220, 237, 241, 259-60, 29S95; and Harry R. Borowski, A Hollow Threat; Strategic Air Power and Containmenf Before Korea (Westport, CT. 1982). The most influential statement of this viewpoint occurs in Graham T. Allison, Essence o f Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Boston, 1971). pp. 176, 180-81,



have been more willing to use force than their military counterparts (except for Chiefs of Naval Operations)?*We clearly need organizational histories grounded not only in the records of the agency in question but also in the larger context within which they operated; histories sensitive not only to organizational procedures and prejudices but also to the ability of distinctive personalities from time to time to transcend them.43 4) We need more work on the internal determinants of foreign policy. The whole field of domestic politics in relation to diplomacy has been curiously neglected in our narrower preoccupation with whether administrations manipulated the public, or the other way around.MThe role of Congress in foreign affairs has been treated only superficially in this period.45Little work has been done on the role of domestic interest groups, whether academic, economic, ethnic, or religious.&The idea of corporatism, that has proven so fruitful a framework for analysis of the 1920s and the 1950s, needs to be tested out for the late 1940s as well.47The relationship between culture and diplomacy,
42Ri~hard K. Betts, Soldiers, Statesmen, and Cold War Crises (Cambridge, MA, 1977), p. 4. 43Fora good example of how this can be done, see Wilson D. Miscamble, George F. Kennan, the Policy Planning Staff and American Foreign Policy, 1947-1950 (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 1979). Despite its age, H. Bradford Westerfield, Foreign Policy and Party Politics: Pearl Harbor to Korea (New Haven, 1955), still provides the best comprehensive interpretive account. More recent works dealing with aspects of this subject include Hamby, Beyond the New Deal; Donovan, Conjlict and Crisis and Tumultuous Years; Ronald J. Caridi, The Korean War and American Politics: The Republic Parry as a Test Case (Philadelphia, 1968); Norman D. Markowitz, The Rise and Fall of the Peoples Century: Henry A . Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948 (New York, 1973), Robert A. Divine, Foreign Policy and Presidential Elections: 19404960, 2 vols. (New York, 1974); Mary Sperling McAuliffe, Crisis on the Left: Cold War Politics and American Liberals, 1947-1954 (Amherst, 1978); and Justus D. Doenecke, Not to the Swif: The Old Isolationists in the Cold War Era (Lewisburg, PA, 1979). 4 s B ~see t Walter Goodman, The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (New York, 1968); Robert Griffith, The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate (Lexington, 1970); and James T. Patterson, Mr. Republican: f Robert A. Taji (Boston, 1972). A Biography o 46Amongthe few useful books in this area are: Louis L. Gerson, The Hyphenate in Recent American Politics and Diplomacy (Lawrence, 1944); Alfred 0. Hero, Jr., The Southerner in World Affairs (Baton Rouge, 1965); Lawrence S.Witmer, Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960 (New York. 1969); Ronald Radosh, American Labor and United States Foreign Policy (New York, 1970); Alfred 0. Hero, Jr., American Religious Groups View Foreign Policy: Trends in Rank-and-File Opinion, 1937-1969 (Durham, 1973); John N. Thomas, The Institute of Pacific Relations: Asian Scholars and American Politics (Seattle, 1974); John Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote, and the Creation of Israel (Stanford, 1974); Lawrence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (New York, 1977); and Charles DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History (Bloomington, 1980). 47 See, for example, Joan Hoff Wilson, Ideology and Economics: U S .Relations with the Soviet Union, 1918-1933 (Columbia, MO, 1974); Michael Hogan, Informal Entente: The Private Structure of Cooperation in Anglo-American Economic Diplomacy, 1918-1 928 (Columbia, MO, 1977); Melvyn P. Leffler, The Elusive Quest: Americas Pursuit of European Stability and French Security, 1919-1933 (Chapel Hill, 1979); Charles S. Maier, The Two Postwar Eras



it has been suggested, may provide revealing insights.48 In short, postrevisionism has only begun to scratch the surface in dealing with the domestic setting of foreign policy-much more needs to be done. 5) We need more comparative history. For too long American students of the Cold War-orthodox and revisionist-have followed the false doctrine of exceptionalism-the belief that the American experience in the Cold War bears little resemblance to what has happened at other times and in other places. Postrevisionism has made a start toward breaking down that parochialism with regional comparative studies like those of Kuniholm and Lundestad, but we will need more of them before sharp conclusions about the nature of the Amencan empire will begin to emerge.49We could benefit from comparative historical studies across time; two provocative examples of what can be done are Richard Smokes study of how deterrence worked before the advent of nuclear weapons and Michael Mandelbaums examination of international politics both before and after Hiroshima. We could use as well comparative biographical studies, especially of the second-level career diplomats whose influence was so pervasive in the period with which we are
and the Conditions for Stability in Twentieth-Century Western Europe, American Historical Review 86 (1981): 327-52; and Robert Griffith. Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Corporate Commonwealth. ibid. 87(1982): 87-122. Thomas J . McCormick, Drift or Mastery? A Corporatist Synthesis for American Diplomatic History. Reviews in American Histop 10 (December 1982): 318-30, professes to find in corporatism rather than postrevisionism the basis for a genuine synthesis of traditional and revisionist interpretations of Cold War origins. Postrevisionism, he avers, is simply a series of patch-jobs on traditionalist retreads. The postrevisionists may duly note materialist factors, but they then hide them away in an undifferentiated and unconnected shopping list of variables. The operative premise is that multiplicity, rather than articulation, is equivalent to sophistication. There may be something in that, but the use of corporatism as an alternative synthesis seems to me not to advance things very far. Corporatism in American foreign policy, McCormick tells us, is Wilsonian multilateralism. an attempt to adjourn national conflict abroad just as productionism adjourns class warfare at home--by forging a collaborative consensus on the imperatives of growth. It is rooted within domestic class relationships, which substitute marketplace expansion overseas for income redistribution at home. Washingtons approach to the Cold War. then, becomes one of promoting, protecting, and legitimizing productionism both globally and on the home front. My question is: Whos is patching whose retreads? However useful the corporatist thesis may be in advancing our understanding of the relationship between government and the national economy, I fail to see how, applied to the early Cold W a r years, it gets us any closer to an overall synthesis than what the revisionists were saying a decade or more ago. On this point see Morrell Heald and Lawrence S . Kaplan, Culrure and Diplomacy: The American Experience (Westport, CT. 1977); Akira Iriye. Culture and Power: International Relations as Intercultural Relations, Diplomatic Hisfop 3 (1979): 115-28; and, for two specific applications of this approach, Akira Iriye, Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War, 1941-IY45 (Cambridge, MA, 1981); and Frank A. Ninkovich, The Diplomacy o f Ideas: U . S . Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations. 1938-1950 (Cambridge. MA, 1981). 4vSeealso the articles in Joseph M. Siracusa and Glen St. John Barclay, eds., The Impacr o f the Cold War: Reconsideratiom (Port Washington, NY, 1977). %chard Smoke, War: Controlling Escalation (Cambridge, MA, 1977); Michael Mandelbaum, The Nuclear Revolution: International Politics Before and Afrer Hiroshima (Cambridge, MA, 1981).



dealing: Hugh DeSantis, in his study of the State Departments early Soviet speciali~ts,~ has provided not only an excellent model to follow in this regard, but also a valuable antidote to a recent susceptibility within the profession to interpretive pigeonholes named for Russian cities. 52 6 ) We need to begin to consider, more than we have, the impact of U.S. policies on foreign societies. The American empire, like other empires in history, brought about profound changes in countries that came into contact with it. What the American proconsuls did in occupied Germany and Japan are only the most obvious examples: Americans were also on the scene, and attempting in one way or another to change the status quo, in places as diverse as Iran, India, Indonesia, Italy, and Iceland. Whether for good or ill is a question we should begin to wrestle with, just as we have had to consider it for other empires stretching back from Britains to Romes. A start has been made by works as varied as Lundestads on Scandinavia, Kuniholms on the Near East, Lawrence Wittners on Greece, Robert McMahons on Indonesia, Bruce Cumingss on Korea, and Michael Grows on Paraguay,53but much remains to be done. Despite detailed work on specific aspects of occupation policies in Germany and Japan, we still have no comprehensive assessments of how those policies related to the overall context of postwar foreign policy.54
Hugh DeSantis, The Diplomacy of Silence: The American Foreign Service, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, 1933-1947 (Chicago, 1980) See also the original accounts of some of these officials in Thomas T. Hammond, ed., Witnesses to the Origins of the Cold War (Seattle, 1982). Two less scholarly attempts at collective biography of Foreign Service officers are E. J. Kahn, Jr., The China Hands: Americas Foreign Service Officers and What Befell Them (New York, 1972); and Martin Weil, A Pretty Good Club: The Founding Fathers of the United States Foreign Service (New York, 1978). There also has been a trend recently toward biographical studies that seek to place their subjects within specific ideological, political, or bureaucratic contexts. Examples would include Messer, End of an Alliance, on James F. Bymes; Ronald W. Pruessen, John Foster Dulles: The Road to Power (New York, 1982); and Warren I. Cohen, Acheson, His Advisers, and China, 1949-1950, in Dorothy Borg and Waldo Heinrichs, eds., Uncertain Years: Chinese-American Relations, 1947-1950 (New York, 1980), pp. 13-52. >*SeeYergin, Shuttered Peace, pp. 17-68. For a critique, see Daniel F. Harrington, Kennan, Bohlen, and the Riga Axioms, Diplomatic History 2 (1978): 423-37. Lundestad, America, Scandinavia, and the Cold War; Kuniholm, Origins of the Cold War in the Near East; Wittner, American Intervention in Greece; Roben McMahon, Colonialism and the Cold War: The United States and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 194549 (Ithaca, 1981); Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War: Liberation and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947 (Princeton, 1981); Michael Grow, The Good Neighbor Policy and Authoritarianism in Paraguay: United States Economic Expansion and Great-Power Rivalry in Latin America During World War I1 (Lawrence, 1981). On Korea see also William Whitney Stueck, Jr., The Road to Confrontation: American Policy Toward China and Korea, 1947-1950 (Chapel Hill, 1981); and Charles M. Dobbs, The Unwanted Symbol: American Foreign Policy. the Cold War, and Korea, 1945-1950 (Kent, OH, 1981). *For Germany see John Gimbel, The American Occupation of Germany: Politics and the Military, 194549 (Stanford, 1968); John H. Backer, The Decision to Divide Germany: American Foreign Policy in Transition (Durham, 1978); Edward N. Peterson, The American Occupation of Germany: Retreat to Victory (Detroit, 1978); James F. Tent, Mission on the Rhine: Reeducation and Denazification in American-Occupied Germany (Chicago, 1982); and Hans A. Schmitt, ed., US Occupation in Europe After World War 1 1 (Lawrence, 1978). Two books that do relate the German question to the Marshall Plan and NATO, respectively, are John Gimbel,



It is remarkable that we still have no full accounts based on archival research of postwar U.S. relations with France, Italy, and Spain, and the whole of Africa and Latin Ame~ica.~ Nor has the special relationship with the Philippines received the attention it deserves.% It is even more surprising that postrevisionist historians have almost totally neglected the debate over dependency theory that has been under way for some years now among Third World area s p e c i a l i ~ t s . ~ ~ 7) We need more work on the nature of international systems. What are the elements that make for stability and instability in international relations?
The Origins ofthe Marshall Plan (Stanford. 1976);and Ireland. Creafing fhe Entangling Alliance. On Japan see Akira Iriye. Continuities in U.S.-Japanese Relations, 194149, in Yonosuke Nagai and Akira Iriye. eds., The Origins of fhe Cold War in Asia (New York, 1977), pp. 378407; Michael Schaller, Securing the Great Crescent: Occupied Japan and the Origins of Containment in Southeast Asia, Journal o f American Hisrory 69 (1982): 392414; and, for a sampling of Japanese scholarship on this subject. the first issue of The Japanese Journal of American Studies 1 (l981), which is devoted to United States Policy Toward East Asia. 19451950. But see on France, Italy, and Spain, Ronald E. M. Irving, The First Indochina War: French and American Polic!. 1945-1954 (London, 1975); Steven P. Sapp, The United States, France. and the Cold War: Jefferson Caffery and American-French Relations, 19441949 (Ph.D. diss.. Kent State University, 1978): William A. Loveland. Deliverance from Dictatorship: American Policy Towards France During the 1940s (Ph.D. diss, Rutgers University, 1979); Alan A. Platt and Robert Leonardi, American Foreign Policy and the Postwar Italian Left, Political Science Quarferly 93 (1978): 197-215; James E. Miller. Taking off the Gloves: The United States and the Italian Elections of 1948, Diplomatic History 7 (1983): 35-56; Eric S. Edelman, Incremental Involvement: Italy and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1948 (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1981); John L. Harper, The United States and the Italian Economy, 1945-1948 fPh.D. diss., John Hopkins University, 1981); Emory T. Smith, The United States, Italy, and NATO: American Policy Toward Italy, 1948-1952 (Ph.D. diss., Kent StateUniversity, 1981); and Juan Dura, The United States Policy Toward Dictatorship and Democracy in Spain, 1939-1953: A Case Study in the Realities of Policy Formulation (Ph.D. diss., University of California. Berkeley. 1979). On Latin America see John Child, UnequafAfliance: The Inter-American Military System, 1938-1978 (Boulder, 1980); Roger R. Trask, The Impact of the Cold War on United States-Latin American Relations, 1945-1949. Diptomuric Hisron 1 (1977): 271-84; Stephen G. Rabe, The Elusive Conference: United States Economic Relations with Latin America, 1945-1953, ibid. 2 (1978): 279-94: Stanley E. Hilton, The United States, Brazil, and the Cold War, 1945-1950, Journal qf American Hisror)?68 (1981): 599-624; Chester I. Pach, Jr., The Containment of U.S. Military Aid to Latin America. Diplomuric History 6 (1982): 2 2 5 4 ; also Billy G . Hinson, Plans of the United States for Postwar Military Assistance to Latin America, 1945-1951 (Ph.D. diss., University of Mississippi, 1977); Albert P. Vannucci. United States-Argentine Relations, 1943-1948: A Case Study in Confused Policy-Making (Ph.D. diss., New School for Social Research, 1978); and Max J. Smedley, Mexican-American Relations and the Cold War, 19451954 (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1981). For Africa see Jean-Donald Miller, The United States and Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa. 1939-1945 (Ph.D. diss.. University of Connecticut, 1981). See Milton W. Meyer. A Diplomatic Histop of rhe Philippine Republic (Honolulu, 1965); Orlando M. Hernando, The United States and the Philippines, 19461975: A Study of a Small Power in an Alliance 1Ph.D. diss.. University of Oklahoma. 1976). See. for example, James D. Cockcroft. ed.. Dependence and Underdevelopment; Lalin Americas PulificafEconomy (New York, 1972). For an effective critique of dependency theory. see Smith. Parrern of Imperialism, pp. 51-84.



What are the constituents of power? To political scientists these are old, if unsolved, problems, but historians of the Cold War are only beginning to grapple with them.58Were we to give more attention to this area, we might make progress toward unraveling such mysteries as why the post-World War I1 international order, which no one designed, has proven more durable than its much more carefully structured World War I counterpart; why, contrary to most expectations, a divided Germany has proven to be a less disruptive force in European politics than a unified Germany was; why the Cold War, at one level a period of unprecedented tension, has at another level turned out to be a period of unusual order and stability.59 8) Finally, we might give more thought than we do to the impact of what we write on the making of history itself. Historians like to think they have the luxury of the last word, but that is not really true. What we write will affect historical consciousness in the future, and that in turn can and probably will affect history itself in ways that are impossible to foresee. That prospect imposes on us an obligation to get our history as straight as we can in the beginning-to avoid the temptation to turn history into an instrument of politics, whether of the right or the left. Revisionism in one form or another always will be with us, and that is no bad thing, because the writing of history would be much less interesting without it. But our revisionism should be the kind that reflects new ideas and new sources, not the kind that simply responds, as if by reflex, to the changing ideological fashions of the day. The field of early Cold War studies is a good bit quieter, perhaps more prosaic, but certainly no less active than it was at the height of our controversies over this subject a decade ago. It is also more mature: we have at last begun, so to speak, to put away childish things. Possibly we required a certain dimming of the public spotlight in order to accomplish this-in an age when fewer people outside the profession care much one way or another about the origins of the Cold War, the temptation either to pontificate or provoke is thereby diminished. It may be as well that the progression we have seen from truculent orthodoxy through militant revisionism to what some critics regard as the toothless stagew-postrevisionism-is the way history usually gets written in any event, regardless of the topic. By this logic there may be predictable stages of historical interpretation, just as Walt Rostow once suggested there were stages of economic growth. Whether we have reached

S 8 T ~who o have are Paterson, On Every Front, pp. 19-32; and Akira Iriye, The Cold War in Asia: A Historical Introduction (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1974). See also Robert Jervis, Systems Theories and Diplomatic History, in Paul Gordon Lauren, ed., Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory, and Policy (New York, 1979), pp. 212-44. 59Amongthe few attempts to grapple with these questions are A. W . DePorte, Europe Between the Super-Powers: The Enduring Balance (New Haven, 1979); and Jonathan Knight, The Great Power Peace: The United States and the Soviet Union Since 1945, Diplomatic History 6 ( 1982): 169-85. Carolyn Eisenberg, Reflections on a Toothless Revisionism, Diplomatic History 2 (1978) : 295-306.



the necessary "take-off point" for genuine synthesis is difficult to say: one of the more interesting issues in the profession right now is what constitutes a synthesis in the first place, with believers in multicausal explanations contending against those who demand sweeping integrative frameworks." What is clear, though, is that the field remains a fruitful one, that those who toil in it are doing promising work that ought to be more widely known, but that-as has been said more than once in this article-there is still a lot that remains to be done.

"On this point see McCormick, "Drift or Mastery?" Reviews in American Hisrory 10 (1982): esp. pp. 31119.