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A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement 1945-1963 [Paperback]

Marc Trachtenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 8, 1999 0691002738 978-0691002736

People still think of the Cold War as a simple two-sided conflict, a kind of gigantic arm wrestle on a global scale," writes Marc Trachtenberg, "but this view fails to grasp the essence of what was really going on." America and Russia were both willing to live with the status quo in Europe. What then could have generated the kind of conflict that might have led to a nuclear holocaust? This is the great puzzle of the Cold War, and in this book, the product of nearly twenty years of work, Trachtenberg tries to solve it.

The answer, he says, has to do with the German question, especially with the German nuclear question. These issues lay at the heart of the Cold War, and a relatively stable peace took shape only when they were resolved. The book develops this argument by telling a story--a complex story involving many issues of detail, but focusing always on the central question of how a stable international system came into being during the Cold War period. A Constructed Peace will be of interest not just to students of the Cold War, but to people concerned with the problem of war and peace, and in particular with the question of how a stable international order can be constructed, even in our own day.


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A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement 1945-1963 + Going to War with Japan, 1937-1941: With a new introduction (World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension) + The Origins of The Second World War
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The launch of the Euro, the potential deployment of U.S. troops in Kosovo, and NATO's 50th anniversary highlight the stability sweepstakes in Europe. Trachtenberg (history, Univ. of Pennsylvania), a premier U.S. scholar of international relations, tells how Europe, progenitor of global war and incendiary ideology, was tamed by the United States and Russia. Trachtenberg's work is an exhaustive, well-written study of statecraft at the highest levels. Despite the global U.S.-Soviet rivalry, Germany held (and still holds) the key to global peace. Exploiting print and archival sources, Trachtenberg argues that by 1963, at the beginning of the Vietnam War, a stable system of Cold War relations was in place. This system rested on the status quo in Central Europe, particularly in Berlin; nuclear deterrence (read a nonnuclear Germany); and U.S. troops in Europe. De facto d?tente existed well before Nixon and Kissinger made it policy. Despite the demise of the Soviet Union and the advent of a New Order, this Germany-centered system endures. We ignore it at our peril. Recommended.AJohn Raymond Walser, U.S. Dept. of State, Washington, DC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

paper 0-691-00273-8 An impressive account of what really happened during the Cold War. A happy byproduct of the recent international thaw is the freeing of scholars from ideological assumptions. In this tour-de-force of diplomatic history Trachtenberg (History/Univ. of Pennsylvania) steps outside the Cold War mindset that has often rendered barren discussions of the post-WWII era and explores a seemingly endless stream of primary documents in pursuit of a more subtle and less political explanation of events. What he finds is not a simple, dualistic struggle between capitalism/democracy and communism, but rather a clash over the traditional elements of international relationssovereignty and securityaddressed through the traditional tools of international relationsmilitary power and diplomacyinvolving many players, not just a bipolar superpower world. The central theme throughout is the place of Germany in the postwar world. Trachtenberg traces the negotiations between the wartime Allies, the unraveling of the initial agreement, and the twists and turns of American policy in confronting the continuing dilemma of how to balance the need for Germany's strength in establishing a credible NATO security alliance with the fears of a strong Germany present in both the Soviet Union and western Europe. Ultimately, a resolution emerged after the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the critical steps involved working out relations between the major NATO countries as much as or perhaps more than relations between the US and the Soviet Union. The scholarship is first-rate throughout and Trachtenberg backs up his more unorthodox interpretations with reams of evidence. The length, level of detail, and expository prose of this volume make it unlikely to hold the attention of casual readers, but scholars and those with a serious interest in international affairs or the history of the Cold War will find it a gold mine. The complex dance of foreign policy and international diplomacy is rarely presented with such clarity. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691002738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691002736
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Speedy Delivery! Impressive! January 11, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wasn't expecting my package for a week or more and they got it to me within just a few days! Wow! Thank you!!!
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3 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive, well-researched book. February 25, 2000
Format:Paperback
I read this book because a friend recommended it to me. There is painstaking detail about the diplomatic moves made by Secretary of State James Byrnes about the formation of NATO in 1945-1947, when he was replaced by Dean Acheson. This book does fail to give adequate coverage to events happening in Korea during the Korean War, leaving the reader to wonder if this author felt Europe was the center of the world during the first decade of the Cold War.
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