Witnesses to the Origins of the Cold War

In This Review

Witnesses to the Origins of the Cold War

Edited by Thomas T. Hammond
University of Washington Press, 1982
328 pp. $22.50

There is little comfort for the revisionist school in these recollections of American diplomats, George Kennan and others, who were witnesses to the events in Eastern Europe signaling the onset of the cold war. They confirm what was essentially a no-win situation for the West. The Soviets were there; they had vital security interests at stake, which they saw as requiring not just preponderant influence but domination. The United States did not regard the area as vital; its aims were vague and idealistic, its power position weak and its diplomacy ineffectual. Thomas Hammond, in his concluding piece, summarizes it all admirably. The experience in Eastern Europe, futile and humiliating, determined America to act resolutely elsewhere and thus made the cold war inevitable.

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