Before 1948, the Cold War was largely confined to Europe and the Middle East, areas that both U.S. and Soviet leaders considered vital to their nations’ core foreign policy objectives after the Second World War. By 1950, however, the Cold War had spread to Asia.
Historians won’t be giving up their visits to archives or their days picking notebooks and letters out of boxes any time soon. But the path to those boxes has changed dramatically as institutions and history enthusiasts have been digitalizing and posting their treasures online.
Bulgaria became one of the most important points of entry for Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and other US tobacco companies to penetrate the Iron Curtain into a growing and untapped market. While the direct imports of cigarettes into the Bloc remained limited, Bloc states signed licensing agreements with US companies in the mid-1970s that resulted in the production of Marlboro (Phillip Morris) and Winston (RJ Reynolds) in local factories.
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College freshmen have no personal knowledge of the Cold War. Born after the Berlin Wall’s fall and the Soviet Union’s collapse, the threat of nuclear Armageddon seems far removed from their experiences, a relic of a bygone age. Yet, today, more countries than ever hold weapons whose scale of destruction can dwarf that of every bomb used in World War II.
In a recent Wikileaks revelation, a secret U.S. cable revealed that Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman promised to provide Muammar Gaddafi with military hardware in 2009. McCain and Lieberman were among the last high-level teams to have made such a promise, but they certainly weren’t the first.
Democratic governments often have a hard time changing their minds, as recent U.S. decision-making about Iraq and Afghanistan has made clear. Even when the United States encountered monumental frustrations and setbacks, Washington kept fighting, adjusting its strategy and tactics but not its overall goals or the assumptions that underpinned them.
Why did the United States choose to fight a major war in Vietnam? The question has bedeviled scholars almost since President Lyndon Johnson made the decision in 1965.