History 472: Studies in the Cold War
Few if any “moments” within America’s historical experience have generated the intensely competitive and emotionally charged debates as the “Cold War.” And few if any have generated the volume of literature. This literature is uncommonly broad in scope. It encompasses changing political leaders and systems; nations and regions; mass and elite cultures; economics and ideology; men (and occasionally women), machines, and technology; the very rich and the very poor; and much in addition. Historians ask questions about when the Cold War began, who or what was responsible, and how and why it enveloped the globe. They assess the instruments used, and the consequences for both the principals and the “innocents.” They don’t agree on much. Indeed, they even disagree about whether there was a winner or everyone lost, and about whether the Cold War was “good” or “bad.”
Because of the lack of consensus on virtually all the fundamental questions pertaining to the Cold War, historians were as surprised by its abrupt and peaceful conclusion as were policymakers. And they are no more of a single mind as to the causes of termination as to the causes of conception. Many, as a result, have felt compelled to revisit the historical landscape and reexamine premises and arguments, including their own. In doing so they have benefited from the release of archives once considered forever out of reach: from the CIA, from Moscow and Beijing; from throughout Eastern Europe. Indeed, the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) in Washington exists exclusively for the purpose of locating and disseminating such documents (selective as they may be—and problem we will discuss). Whether the end of the Cold War will allow for achieving a "new orthodoxy" on its history is a question to be answered by future generations of scholars. Let the record show that I doubt it. Regardless, the effort should prove very exciting.
The purpose of this course is to identify the questions that have bedeviled historians of the Cold War, and by reading competing interpretations, evaluate the strategies by which they have been addressed. Hence I have assigned a spectrum of scholarship covering a range of issues. For obvious reasons our coverage cannot be exhaustive. I am confident, nevertheless, that through the readings and the discussions of them, we will touch on most of the salient issues. Moreover, to the extent practicable I have incorporated into the syllabus the most recent literature. I have, however, taken care not to sacrifice older works that remain essential. In history as in life, the danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water is omnipresent.
My method for achieving my (our) goals is as simple as it is complex. Next week (January 23) we will discuss the essays in Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (and the additional articles I will distribute to accommodate class size). Collectively, they represent neither a manual or recipe book. (FYI, overtaken by events, a revised addition is currently in preparation.) They should, however, stimulate your own thinking--and imagination--about what has, should, can, and will be written. This evening each of you will select, or I will assign, one of these "think pieces," about which you will prepare a five (no more than five) minute oral presentation at our next--January 23, to repeat--meeting. You should evaluate what you consider the pros and cons of the author’s diagnoses and prescriptions, and if possible, suggest what (if any) subject areas you believe might lend themselves to the type of approach s/he recommends. I will expect any in the class who have taken other courses with me or are otherwise familiar with the field’s methodology or historiography to expand the scope of our discussion.
Our collective adventure in the Cold War begins “for real” on January 30. Commencing with this class and extending to the semester's end, two or three (and perhaps on occasion four) of you (depending on class size) will read, in addition to the book assigned to everyone, another one listed on the syllabus. In other words, for that week the "chosen" few will read two books. S/he will in 750 words (about three double-spaced pages) review critically (consult the guide to writing a book review available on this course's website; it and materials for many history courses are readily accessible on the department's web page: http://www.temple.edu/histdept) the selection (comparing it, when appropriate, to the one we all read and any other works that come to mind). Please be sure to check the library for the book you will review in ample time for me, should it not be available (a not uncommon occurrence at Temple) and I not own a copy, to provide you with a substitute title.
These reviews will be the basis for an approximately fifteen minute oral presentation in which each presenter will have the opportunity to supplement his/her review by providing illustrations from the book as well as to clarify or expand upon criticisms and arguments. The hand-out on writing a book review is a general guide--nothing more. Feel free to follow your own instincts, as long as you don't end up writing a book report. The only other proscriptions are misspellings, mistakes in grammar, and use of the passive voice. Copies of this and all future reviews should be made for each class member. I have arranged to open a file at the circulation desk in the TUCC library, where copies of the review should be deposited no later than 6:30 p.m. the evening the class meets.
The distribution and deadline are particularly critical for the week's designated "commentators." What this means is that, similar to the convention at scholarly meetings, commentators will take about 10 minutes to analyze critically the review, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses (of both the review and the book) and posing questions about the subject matter, arguments, sources, methodology, etc. Commentators will decide among themselves which book each will critique. Because s/he probably has not read the works under review, I will, if and when necessary, inject points of information and clarification.
Further information and clarification will be provided during the "audience participation" portion of the "panel" that will follow the presentations. The "audience" (class) will be well informed because you all will have read the generally assigned book and written a one-page review of it (those reviewing the week's supplementary books must read but need not write a review of the generally assigned one). I will grade all reviews "excellent," "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" ("check +," check," or "check -"). Needless to say, failure to submit reviews on time will adversely affect the quality of the commentaries and general discussion; thus I will not take kindly to such behavior. Everyone in the class should be primed to refer to the assigned book early and often.
The final assignment will be a comparative review of four books (excluding those already reviewed in class). It should run eight to twelve double-spaced pages. The selections should, of course, be related to one another in some manner, and I encourage you to base your choices on a theme, topic, or even individual that is of interest to you and/or is valuable for your respective areas of research. As part of the assignment I want you to develop a list of six books that you consider potentially appropriate for your comparative review, using the library, on-line data bases, bibliographies, historiographic essays, footnotes from related works, or my “Big Ol’” bibliography that appears on this course’s website. Of course, feel free to use any other means as well--just as you would if I asked you to prepare a research paper. I will evaluate your list after you have compiled it and together we will pare it down to four books. For this reason let's agree that you will bounce your proposals off me. Because the papers will be due (and I mean it) by 3:00 on Monday, April 30 (plan to celebrate at my house, probably the evening of the following Sunday, May 6), you should make an appointment with me, either at TUCC or the Main Campus, no later than April 10. When we meet we can also discuss your performance and progress.
On a more mundane level, as a normative guideline I will base your course
grade on an even division between your written and oral work. I may reward
exceptional performance in one area by giving it extra weight in my calculations,
but don't count on it. Hence never rest on your laurels. And FYI,
I am a fanatic when it comes to class participation. The success of any
graduate course is contingent on the collective contributions of everyone.
If you are uncomfortable speaking out, or for that matter encounter any
other problems, see me sooner rather than later. Under any circumstances,
feel free to check with me whenever the spirit moves you.
Required Reading (available at the TUCC Bookstore)
Hogan/Paterson, Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations
Gaddis, John, Strategies of Containment
Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace
Zubok, Vladislav, & Constantine Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War
Foot, Practice of Power
Stueck, William, The Korean War
Immerman/Bowie, Waging Peace
Holloway, David, Stalin and the Bomb
Hixson, Walter, Parting the Curtain
Naftali, Tim, and Alexandr Fursenko, “One Hell of a Gamble”
LaFeber, Walter, Inevitable Revolutions
Rotter, Comrades at Odds: The United States and India, 1947-1964
McMahon, Robert, Limits of Empire
Schedule of Sessions
January 16 Introduction
Class Reading: Hogan/Paterson, Explaining U.S. Foreign Relations
Class Reading: Gaddis, Strategies
Reviews: Chace, James, Acheson
Hogan, Michael, Marshall Plan
Leffler, Melvyn, Preponderance of Power
Woods, Randall, and Howard Jones, Dawning of the Cold War
Class Reading: Trachtenberg, Constructed Peace
Reviews: Gienow-Hecht, Jessica, Transmission Impossible
Eisenberg, Carolyn, Drawing the Line
Hitchcock, William, France Restored
Naimark, Norman, The Russians in Germany
Class Reading: Zubok & Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin
Leffler/Macdonald articles (on reserve)
Reviews: Gaddis, John, We Now Know
Garthoff, Raymond, Detente and Confrontation
Larson, Deborah, Anatomy of Mistrust
Mastny, Vojtech, Cold War and Soviet Insecurity
Class Reading: Foot, Practice of Power
Reviews: Christensen, Thomas, Useful Adversaries
LaFeber, Walter, The Clash
Sheng, Michael, Battling Western Imperialism
Tucker, Nancy, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the U.S.
Class Reading: Stueck, Korean War
Weathersby article (on reserve)
Reviews: Cumings, Bruce, Origins of the Korean War, vol.
Foot, Rosemary, The Wrong War
Goncharov, S., J. Lewis, & Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners
Zhang, Shu Guang, Mao’s Military Romanticism
March 6 SPRING RECESS
Class Reading: Bowie/Immerman, Waging Peace
Reviews: Grose, Peter, Gentleman Spy
McDougall, Walter, The Heavens and The Earth
Mitrovich, Gregory, Undermining the Kremlin
Roman, Peter, Eisenhower and the Missile Gap
Class Reading: Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb
Reviews: Bundy, Danger and Survival
Craig, Campbell, Destroying the Village
Kissinger, Henry, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy
Quester, George, Nuclear Monopoly
Class Reading: Hixson, Parting the Curtain
Reviews: Hoffman, Elizabeth Cobbs, All We Need is Love
Kuisel, Seducing the French
Pells, Richard, Not Like Us
Wagnleitner, Reinhold, Coca-Colonization
Class Reading: Naftali & Fursenko, Hell of a Gamble
Reviews: Allison, Graham and P. Zelikow, Essence of Decision,
Garthoff, Raymond, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2nd ed.
May, Ernest and P. Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes
Nash, Philip, The Other Missiles of October
Class Reading: LaFeber, Revolutions
Reviews: Gleijeses, Piero, Dominican Crisis
Morley, Morris, Imperial State and Revolution
Paterson, Thomas, Contesting Castro
Rabe, Steven, Most Dangerous Area
Class Reading: Rotter, Comrades at Odds
Reviews: Ben-Zvi, Abraham, Decade of Transition
Borstelmann, Thomas, Apartheid's Reluctant Uncle
Gasiorowski, Mark, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah
Kunz, Diane, The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis
Class Reading: McMahon, Limits of Empire
Reviews: Buzzanco, Robert, Masters of War
Kimball, Jeffrey, Nixon's Vietnam War
Lind, Michael, Necessary War
Logevall, Frederik, Choosing War