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(p. xxiii) Introduction: Understanding the Cold War 

(p. xxiii) Introduction: Understanding the Cold War

John W. Young

and John Kent

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date: 26 January 2021

This introduction examines the history, development, and sudden end of the Cold War. Whatever the role of geopolitics and ideology, the timing of the Cold War was intertwined with radical changes in the global power balance produced by the Second World War and with a new sense of ideological rivalry. In this introduction, the antecedents of the post-war international system that emerged in 1945 are discussed, along with the origins of the Cold War; the decline of Europe and global economic relations; the notion that the Cold War was defined not by bipolarity but by the attempts to preserve or terminate US hegemony; the role of armaments and the concept of security in a Cold War context; and the use of terminology in Western accounts of the Cold War. The phases of the Cold War are also described.

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