And with that we are right back to ! Given this, the temptation is to end the review here, for what is the point? The problem is that Ferrell's demeanor throughout the book is so condescending that no self-respecting reviewer could let it go without pointing out some of the book's flaws.
Surely the revisionists could not have been as misguided as Ferrell contends as when he says, in introducing the revisionists in the opening line of the preface, that "every now and then a notion or idea arises that is radically wrong" and still have had successful academic careers p. Unfortunately, Ferrell makes the task of assessing revisionist positions next to impossible because he rarely cites sources for his claims about the revisionists.
The revisionists are guilty of this or that despicable fallacy of historical interpretation, but do not expect to be able to return to the original sources to test Ferrell's assessment. In most cases he does not provide them. Examples abound. For instance, he writes that "Alperovitz, Williams, and Gardner interpreted the sudden cutting off of lend-lease on May 12, , as the use of crude pressure by the Truman administration" p.
Or, in another example, "the revisionists believed that the wartime effort to keep a secret from the Russians was itself almost enough to ensure the postwar breakup of the grand alliance and that only an immediate postwar offer to discuss the problem could have atoned for it" p. Again, footnotes are nowhere to be found. Thus, one must just take Ferrell at his word when he makes a claim about revisionism.
Harry Truman: Advancing the Revolution | Mises Institute
And, since he informs us that he "found it difficult to believe any of their [the revisionists] arguments," some of us might be excused if we do not let Ferrell serve as our guide for understanding a school of history that has so influenced the way we write and teach about U. In addition, he makes sloppy mistakes that, if committed by the revisionists, would be certain to prove their lack of professionalism.
For instance, at one point Ferrell writes and here he agrees with the revisionists that "the Greek guerillas were not receiving help from Stalin" p. And yet, in another, in referring to the Turkish situation, he writes: "The Turkish foreign situation differed from that in Greece in that the Russians were not employing guerillas" in Turkey p.
So, which is it?
He also makes great hay in pointing out that some of the earlier revisionist works were making their claims without the benefit of the archives, since in the early s the State Department records were only open through It is an interesting point and one would like to have seen a specific instance referenced, which he does not offer. But what Ferrell does not get is that, if this is true of the revisionists, so was it true of the traditionalists.
Ferrell nonetheless quotes it approvingly throughout his essay. Ferrell also claims that revisionism ended with the northern victory in Vietnam, implying that politics, not honest historical inquiry, was the engine driving revisionist accounts of the Cold War's origins p. Nor does it do justice to many of the new scholars of the Cold War who were influenced by the revisionists. Getting down to specifics, Ferrell chastises the revisionists for their positions on the Truman "reverse course," the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy, the division of Germany, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, and, to a lesser extent, NATO and Korea.
Those interested can read for themselves how Ferrell treats these subjects but one example will suffice to demonstrate the level of his scholarship. Ferrell claims that the revisionists were wrong to blame the United States for dividing Germany, noting that "it is clear that in any fair election East Germany would have voted to unite with the West" p. But here he fails to recognize that the issue was not free elections, certainly not those alone. As Carolyn Eisenberg has detailed in her book Drawing the Line , a work that does not make it into Ferrell's bibliography, the issue was violation by the United States of the Allied Control Council and four-power control over Germany bolstering Soviet suspicions and fears leading to the breakdown of U.
This because U. One more word about the book's flaws. Just how truly hollow this book is emerges in chapter 3, which is entitled "Diplomacy without Armaments. The point of the chapter is to remind readers just how weakened U. Armed forces personnel had been greatly reduced. According to Alperovitz, the bombs were used not against an already-defeated Japan to win the war, but to intimidate the Soviets by signaling that the United States would use nuclear weapons to stop Soviet expansion, though they failed to do so.
Foreign Policy, — has also received considerable attention in the historiography on the Cold War. The Kolkos argued American policy was both reflexively anticommunist and counterrevolutionary. The United States was fighting not necessarily Soviet influence, but also any form of challenge to the American economic and political prerogatives through covert or military means.
The revisionist interpretation produced a critical reaction of its own. In a variety of ways, "post-revisionist" scholarship before the fall of Communism challenged earlier works on the origins and course of the Cold War. During the period, "post-revisionism" challenged the "revisionists" by accepting some of their findings, but rejecting most of their key claims. Paterson in Soviet-American Confrontation viewed Soviet hostility and United States efforts to dominate the postwar world as equally responsible for the Cold War.
The account was immediately hailed as the beginning of a new school of thought on the Cold War claiming to synthesize a variety of interpretations. Leffler ,  who "demonstrated that it was not so much the actions of the Kremlin as it was fears about socioeconomic dislocation, revolutionary nationalism, British weakness, and Eurasian vacuums of power that triggered US initiatives to mold an international system to comport with its concept of security".
Out of the "post-revisionist" literature emerged a new area of inquiry that was more sensitive to nuance and interested less in the question of who started the conflict than in offering insight into United States and Soviet actions and perspectives. For example, Ernest May wrote in a essay:.
From that view of "post-revisionism" emerged a line of inquiry that examines how Cold War actors perceived various events and the degree of misperception involved in the failure of the two sides to reach common understandings of their wartime alliance and their disputes. After the opening of the Soviet archives , John Lewis Gaddis began to argue that the Soviets should be held more accountable for conflict. According to Gaddis, Stalin was in a much better position to compromise than his Western counterparts, given his much broader power within his own regime than Truman, who was often undermined by vociferous political opposition at home.
Asking if it would have been possible to predict that the wartime alliance would fall apart within a matter of months, leaving in its place nearly a half century of cold war, Gaddis wrote in his book We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History the following:. Geography, demography, and tradition contributed to this outcome but did not determine it. It took men, responding unpredictably to circumstances, to forge the chain of causation; and it took [Stalin] in particular, responding predictably to his own authoritarian, paranoid, and narcissistic predisposition, to lock it into place.
According to Leffler, the most distinctive feature of We Now Know is the extent to which Gaddis "abandons post-revisionism and returns to a more traditional interpretation of the Cold War". Cumings urged post-revisionists to employ modern geopolitical approaches like world-systems theory in their work. Other post-revisionist accounts focus on the importance of the settlement of the German Question in the scheme of geopolitical relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Very few of our contributors believe that a "definitive" history of the Cold War is possible or indeed that it should be possible.
But a heterogeneous approach creates a strong need for contextualization First and foremost we need to situate the Cold War within the wider history of the twentieth century in a global perspective. We need to indicate how Cold War conflicts connect to broader trends in social, economic, and intellectual history as well as to the political and military developments of the longer term of which it forms a part. After s new memoirs and archival materials have opened up the study of espionage and intelligence during the Cold War.
Scholars are reviewing how its origins, its course, and its outcome were shaped by the intelligence activities of the United States, the Soviet Union, and other key countries. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Further information: History of espionage. Baron, and Nancy W.
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In the s it was natural enough for him to add to that outlook Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The party and its tradition, as he interpreted it, provided a powerful core of support and an effective platform from which he could advocate foreign and domestic policies that possessed persuasive claims to the legacies of Wilson and FDR. Party regulars at least those outside the South responded enthusiastically to his personality and the appeal it embodied.
As a county executive, he was the favorite Democratic office holder of the Kansas City Republican business establishment, which supported his efforts at honest, efficient administration. As president, he achieved most of his foreign policy successes with GOP support, most memorably symbolized by Senator Arthur H.
Vandenberg of Michigan. Partisan politics, he liked to say, stopped at the nation's shores. Among the most partisan of presidents, Truman nonetheless grasped the limitations of partisanship.