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Rethinking International History: The Cold War and Cultural History

Great power diplomacy and geopolitical conflicts have long dominated the history of international relations. The traditional history of the Cold War was no different, with such topics as the battles over Berlin, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1970s détente, the NATO Double-Track Decision, and Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative dominating the historical narration of the Cold War. Yet the rise of the cultural turn in historiography has begun to broaden the meaning of international relations in general and the Cold War in particular. This project explores the ways in which a cultural approach alters our understanding of the Cold War. It focuses on seven ways in which people and processes outside the realm of high-power politics influenced the way the Cold War unfolded and analyzes the cultural context that is crucial to understand the extent and limits of the Cold War in international history.


Petra Goedde