In This Review

Divided Together: The United States and the Soviet Union in the United Nations, 1945-1965
Divided Together: The United States and the Soviet Union in the United Nations, 1945-1965
By Ilya V. Gaiduk
288 pp, Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013
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Gaiduk, one of Russia’s most talented young historians of the Cold War, died before this book was published. It is a fitting tribute to the care and balance that he and others of his generation bring to their work. Hardly any of the numerous published histories of the UN focus on the critical U.S.-Soviet interaction within the organization, and none of them exploits the recently opened Soviet archives as Gaiduk’s does. Gaiduk focuses on the formative first 20 years of the UN, the period during which high hopes for the organization dissolved into the pedestrian maneuvering of Cold War politics. The most striking thing that emerges from his account is the mechanical and small-bore approaches of both Moscow and Washington. His bottom-line conclusion is fairly predictable: the UN failed in its primary objective of sparing the world from the clash that became the Cold War, or at least easing the burden of the conflict, but many underestimate the UN’s role in mitigating the Cold War’s worst outcomes and in vastly expanding humanitarian aid and economic development.