In This Review

Iran and the Cold War: The Azerbaijan Crisis of 1946
Iran and the Cold War: The Azerbaijan Crisis of 1946
By Louise Fawcett
227 pp, Cambridge University Press, 1992

Historians of the Cold War now readily acknowledge the importance of the Azerbaijan crisis in fixing U.S. and Soviet attitudes and stances. This able case study relies on newly available archival material to broaden the picture of the crisis, placing needed emphasis on its Iranian dimensions and the three-way rivalry among the United States, the U.S.S.R and Britain. Still, one is left with questions about why the Soviets decided to back down-was it Truman's "blunt message," or was there ever such a message? And what would Truman have done if Stalin had called his bluff? Without access to Russian archives, the author can only conclude that Moscow handled the crisis badly. That may well be, but such a bland explanation does not quite satisfy. Important questions remain unanswered, but this still stands as the best study on the topic to date.