The 1980s was a period of almost unprecedented rivalry and tension between the two main actors in the East-West conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union. Why and how that conflict first escalated and thereafter, in an amazingly swift process, was reversed and brought to its peaceful conclusion at the end of the decade is the topic of this volume.
With individual contributions by eighteen well-known scholars of international relations and history from various countries, the book addresses the role of the United States, the former Soviet Union, and the countries of western and eastern Europe in that remarkable last decade of the Cold War, and discusses how particular events as well as underlying political, ideological, social, and economic factors may have contributed to the remarkable transformation that took place.
Part 1: The 1980s in Historical Context 1. The 1980s Revisited or the Cold War as History - Again 2. The Beginning and the End: Time, context and the Cold War 3. The European Role in the Beginning and Particularly the End of the Cold War Part 2: Explaining the Shift in Soviet Thinking and Policy 4. Economic Constraints and the Turn toward Superpower Cooperation in the 1980s 5. Explaining the End of the Cold War: Turning points in Soviet security policy 6. The Sources of 'New Thinking' in Soviet Politics 7. The Messianic Character of Gorbachev's 'New Thinking': Why and what for? Part 3: The United States and the Ending of the Cold War 8. The US Role in Winding Down the Cold War, 1980-90 9. The Carter Legacy: Entering the second era of the Cold War 10. The US and the Transformation of the Cold War 11. Reagan's Anti-revolutionary Offensive in the Third World Part 4: Europe in the Last Decade of the Cold War 12. Germany in the Last Decade of the Cold War 13. Before the Wall: French diplomacy and the last decade of the Cold War, 1979-89 14. Helping to Open the Door?: Britain in the last decade of the Cold War 15. Italy and the Battle of the Euromissiles 16. NATO's Northern Frontline in the 1980s 17. Playground of Superpowers: Poland 1980-89 - A view from inside 18. Did Gorbachev Liberate Eastern Europe?