Origins of the Cold War

Essay by hockykicks66High School, 11th grade April 2006

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A) Plan of the investigation

Subject of the investigation:

To investigate historical controversy over the origins of the Cold War.


a.Research of bibliography about the origins of the

Cold Wax. Instrument: Internet. Three main sites

were particularly helpful: CNN the Cold War, Cold

War Policies, Cold War History Project. The main

criteria used for selection were: reliability of the

sources and the most recent.

b.Writing of an annotated bibliography about the


c.Selection and reading of a book about the origins of

the Cold War. Criteria: the most comprehensive and


d.Search, selection + of the authors which represent

the main currents of thought.

e.Analysis of their main postulates and arguments.

B) Summary of evidence

The origins of the Cold War is one of the most controversial historiographic issues. However, among the multiple interpretations and assessments about the topic it is clear or rather clear that some main currents of thought can be identified: the orthodox or traditional, the revisionist and the post-revisionist.

The orthodox or traditional interpretation argued that the origins of the Cold War was due to the aggressive Soviet policy of expansion in the immediate post war years. Two of the proponents of this theory are: Thomas Bailey (1950) and Arthur Schlesinger (1967). Willaim Appleman Williams (1959) and Walter LaFeber (1997) are revisionist historians who support the thesis that the United States had been primarily to blame for the Cold War. The post-revisionist scholarship have searched for a balance and argue that the Cold War was caused by misperceptions of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Melvyn Leffler (1991) and John Lewis Gaddis (1997) are exponents of this


C) Evaluation of sources

Two of the sources selected for evaluation are Walter LaFeber's America, Russia, and the Cold...