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American Foreign PolicyStudies in Intellectual History$
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Jean-Francois Drolet and James Dunkerley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526116505

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526116505.001.0001

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The social and political construction of the Cold War

The social and political construction of the Cold War

Chapter:
(p.116) 5 The social and political construction of the Cold War
Source:
American Foreign Policy
Author(s):

Tracy B. Strong

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526116505.003.0006

In this chapter, the political theorist Tracy B. Strong revisits intellectual debates over the origins of the Cold War. Strong sketches out the political and conceptual dimensions of the main domestic and international factors that are deemed to have led to the emergence of the Cold War, providing a fresh account of how the different pieces interact with one another, and emphasising the key moments of indeterminacy and uncertainty that are often ignored in the mainstream literature. Through a close analysis of debates and developments within the American Left during the early to mid 1940s, he shows that the dynamics in American society during this tumultuous period were much more complex than is usually assumed; it was also sufficiently diverse to have made other geopolitical outcomes highly conceivable. In the end, the policy path chosen by the United States was determined in great part by the ideational frameworks that were on offer at the time to make sense of an otherwise highly confusing set of events. Herein lies the historical importance of ‘strategist-intellectuals’ like Henry Luce, Henry Wallace, George Kennan and Paul Nitze.

Keywords:   Origins of the Cold War, Ideology, American Left, George Kennan, Henry Luce, Henry Wallace, Paul Nitze

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