Cold War - Post-Revisionists

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  • Cold War - Post-Revisionists
    • Some historians were dissatisfied with the extremities of both perspectives
    • The new approach pioneered by John Lewis Gaddis was dubbed Post-Revisionism began during the 1970s
      • Looked for a middle ground between Orthodox and Revisionist
      • Academics synthesised ideas and conclusions from both types of historians
        • They also had the advantage of time, hindsight, the cooling passions of detente and later declassified documents from both sides
    • Sometimes referred to as "Eclecticism" because it borrowed heavily from existing research
      • They called it "New Orthodoxy" because they believed in pushed responsibility for the Cold War back onto the Soviet Union
    • A significant Post-Revisionist account was Gaddis' 1972 book The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947
      • He considered explanations for the cold war but widened his focus by examining external and internal influences
        • He acknowledged the limitations of not having access to the Soviet archives
      • He identified several factors that contributed to the outbreak of the cold war
        • lack of communication or formal recognition
        • the delay in opening a second front in Europe, leaving the soviets unaided in battle for 3 years
        • Washington's refusal to recognise a Soviet sphere of influence in eastern Europe
        • Trumans 'atomic diplomacy' and the refusal to share nuclear technology with the Soviets
      • Other historians to embrace this new approach were Ernest May, Melvyn Leffler and Marc Trachtenberg
    • Contains a diversity of perspectives and arguments, though there are identifiable trends
      • Most suggest that Stalin was an opportunist and a pragmatist rather than an international revolutionary who is hell-bent on exporting communism around the world
      • They also accept that American foreign policy often involved overreach and was driven partly by economic imperatives
      • They tend to focus on domestic systems and factors when examining Cold War policies, internal and party policies, domestic economic conditions, bureaucracies and security agencies


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