origins of the cold war: this page has links to the emergence of the cold war in postwar europe  

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   1947 Soviet propaganda poster: "Young warrior, be worthy of military glory!", by P.A. Krivonogov  casahistoria - web site for students of modern history!

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Browse down the page or just click one of these sections.... 
1. Background
Wartime meetings/Agreements
2. The Roots of Disagreement
Historiography: How historians interpret the Cold War | Collapse of the Wartime Alliance | The position of Truman | Ideological differences | The issue of the Second Front | US postwar dominance | Allied friction over Germany
3. The Soviets & Eastern Europe
Controlling eastern Europe | Czech Coup | ones that got away
4. The West & Containment
Kennan | Churchill & Iron Curtain | Truman Doctrine | Marshall Plan
5. Weapons of the Cold War
Atomic Bomb | Espionage | Propaganda
6. General Sites & Resources
Other core casahistoria Cold War pages:

Divided Germany, 1945-49
Korean War
Thaw to Cuban Missile Crisis

Space Race
Vietnam War
Prague'68, Ostpolitik, Detente & China
The End of the Cold War
Related casahistoria sites
Decolonisation · Arab-Israeli Conflict 1947-79 ·
Iraq & West


casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:




1. Background
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See this casahistoria site for further background:
Collapse of the Reich:  for links to the final months of Nazi Germany


War Time meetings/Agreements

Alliance - a casahistoria *** recommended book. Click here for our review

Potsdam Go to the casahistoria site on postwar Germany for details and consequences of Potsdam





2. The Roots of Disagreement

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Historiography: How historians interpret the Cold War
(but don't get too tied up in this. I have seen too many students get more involved in the theories rather than the history itself....).
  • Historiography Very well written account of how historians interpret the responsibility for the outbreak of the Cold War. By the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association & Australasian High School teachers.
  • Why did the USA and USSR become rivals in the period 1945 to 1949? Useful straightforward examination of the historiography of the Cold war: Looks at the key ideas of Traditionalists, Revisionists, Post-Revisionists, and Post-1991 writers  From johnclare schools site.
Collapse of the Wartime Alliance
  • Roosevelt-Stalin Correspondence Useful review by W Jones of The Complete Correspondence of FDR & Stalin by Susan Butler which provides an important insight into Roosevelt's wartime shaping of his personal relationship with the Soviet leader.
  • Churchill and Stalin Brief but useful essay by British Foreign & Commonwealth Office on relations between the two as shown by Documents held at the FCO.   §
  • Cracks in the Grand Alliance 1996 Review of Oleg Rzheshevsky's The substance of War and Diplomacy which consists of 130 documents, more than half drawn from cypher telegram traffic.
    What emerges is that the very reshaping of the "grand alliance" provided many of the grounds on which it first faltered and finally failed: a temporary compromise over frontiers, a smothered Polish question, failure to launch the second front in 1942 (or 1943), divergences of strategies and interests. By J Erickson, Centre for Defence Studies, Univ of Edinburgh.
  • Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War 1939-1953 Useful 2008 review article by R F Baumann looking at three books which examine Stalin's foreign policy at the time and his relations with the western allies. No longer fully free access, but a free trial period will let it be read.
The position of Truman Ideological differences
Political Ideologies Go to this casahistoria page for in depth details of communism
The issue of the Second Front US postwar dominance
  • The postwar dominance of the USA Sources and documents which highlight the supreme position of the USA in 1945. Extracts, images, speeches, press items & photos on the A-bomb monopoly, Bretton Woods and the US stance towards eastern Europe. European Navigator site.
  • Atomic Bomb: Decision - Truman Tells Stalin, July 24, 1945 A small site which interestingly shows how Truman's announcement to Stalin can be seen from the accounts of the different observers present. Each describes the same event, but the event appears in a different light to each observer.
  • John Lewis Gaddis on: The Soviet Response to Hiroshima  Brief but interesting item from the PBS American Experience series. See also:
  • Soviet Reactions to Hiroshima David Holloway Q&A session on how Stalin saw Hiroshima as aimed at the USSR. PBS American Experience site.
  • Atomic Diplomacy  Outline article of the role of the atomic bomb in postwar  US foreign policy from the official US Office of the Historian site
  • The atomic bomb, the cold war, and the Soviet threat 1988 New Monthly article by Alan G. Nasser argues that the U.S.'s atomic threats and breaking of the Yalta agreements must have stricken terror in the Soviet leadership and made them feel that they had no alternative but to impose a tighter hold on the states within their security zone. No longer fully free access, but a free trial period will let it be read.
  • America's Atomic Monopoly Essay examines the four years following the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when the USA enjoyed an atomic monopoly. Looks at how the two Superpowers found themselves in the arms race of the Cold War and asks why even America's atomic monopoly could not 'make Russia more manageable'. By David Clensy winner of an essay competition for American Studies students at the John Moores University in conjunction with the American Studies Section of the JMU
  • See also Section 5 below
Allied friction over Germany

Divided Germany Go to the casahistoria site on postwar Germany and the Cold War





3. The Soviets & Eastern Europe

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Soviet control of eastern Europe The Czech Coup: and ones that got away....




4. The West & Containment
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  • George Kennan Useful bio and intro to the Telegram with extracts from Spartacus Educational
  • George Kennan NPR podcast to the architect of the U.S. Cold War policy of communist "containment,". Senior news analyst Daniel Schorr reflects on Kennan's remarkable - and initially anonymous - contribution to US foreign policy.
  • George Kennan UK Guardian obituary on the veteran diplomat and historian who shaped US policy towards the Soviet Union for more than 40 years. Good on placing the Telegram in context.
  • Kennan Telegram The essence of Kennan's 1946 Long Telegram was published in Foreign Affairs in 1947 as The Sources of Soviet Conduct and circulated everywhere. The article was signed by "X" although everyone in the know knew that authorship was Kennan's. For Kennan, the Cold War gave the United States its historic opportunity to assume leadership of what would eventually be described as the "free world." This is the full 1947 article.
Churchill & Iron Curtain Truman Doctrine Marshall Plan


Divided Germany For the effect that containment had on the reconstruction of the western zones of Germany and its consequences for relations with Stalin over Berlin, go to this casahistoria site.



5. Weapons of the Cold War: A-Bomb, Espionage & Propaganda

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The Atomic Bomb     Living with the atomic threat
  • CONELRAD Cold War Pop Culture Site Quirky, but scroll down the page for interesting nuclear ephemera!!! see also:
    • Atomic interesting site with links to popular songs with anti-bomb themes from the 1940's & 1950's
1949, USSR explodes atomic bomb Go to the casahistoria page on the Korean War for extensive links and context.


Nuclear testing and the 1963 Test Ban Treaty Go to the casahistoria page on the Thaw for extensive links and context.


Detente and controlling the Arms Race Go to the casahistoria page for extensive links and context.



     Methods     Technology     Agents




6. General Sites & Resources

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  • Cold War Basic outlines of key events from Spartacus Educational. Good place to make a start and includes
  • Cold War Figures - biographies of major figures from this time period.
  • Cold War Excellent school resource for students beginning to look at the Cold War
  • NATO Declassified Interesting site by NATO itself. Includes timelines, straightforward accounts of key stages in the NATO & the Cold War, documents, videos
  • The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Useful site presenting new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources from the former Communist world.
  • Vint Hill Cold War MuseumUseful online museum that is easy to use with links to virtual exhibits, overview articles, photo galleries, documents, newsletters and many other collections of cold war related material set out clearly by decade.
  • BBC - History: Cold War a series of articles on key aspects of the Cold War from the BBC educational site.
  • The Cold War Files Very good site produced by Wilson Center for Peace for interpreting history of the Cold War through Documents. Includes clear overview items on events and bios on key figures.
  • European Navigator Useful topic documents (speeches/actual agreements/ newspaper articles & images on the post 1945 period from a west European perspective. Use the " historical  events" folder on the left to find your area of study. Well produced by the European Community.
  • Avalon Project at Yale Excellent range of documents from the 20th Century Documents : 1900 - 1999 list
  • The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers This thorough collection of declassified analytic monographs and reference aids, designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO series, highlights the CIA's efforts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations. The documents reflect the views of seasoned analysts who had followed closely their special areas of research and whose views were shaped in often heated debate.
  • Presidential Nuclear Policies & Events Useful selected documents on US Presidential policy towards nuclear weapons from Nuclear power Peace Foundation:

the casahistoria Cold War sites:  
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Origins of the Cold War
Divided Germany, 1945-49
Korean War
Thaw to Cuban Missile Crisis

Space Race
Vietnam War
SALT, Detente and Collapse




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