October 24, 2012
History As We Know It
Writing about the already written history of the Cold War events have been relatively challenging due to numerous circumstances. Not only are authors biased, but there has also been difficulty in getting primary sources because of national security. Also, Soviet and Chinese documents had previously been cut off, as well as some of the information from their allies. Much of the Cold War history includes different historiographical approaches to the subject, with many historians fitting into a certain school of historiography. In John Gaddis’ We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History, he doesn’t write about the entire overview of the Cold War but instead goes over the struggles through a comparative history stemming from the early beginnings to the Cuban Missile Crisis. He doesn’t necessarily answer new questions, but reinterprets them with the new information that has come out since the war had ended. His approach in his book in explaining the Cold War falls under Post-Détente Historiography. Of course as more information is continuously coming out, Gaddis book doesn’t necessarily have the freshest or newest answers. Dr. Faubion’s lectures in the Cold War also fits in the Post-Détente school, as he covers most of the recent information that has since come out. Post-Détente is historiography that is dated from the 1980s to present day, and usually puts equal blame for the US and the Soviet Union. As stated before, there is a considerable amount of different interpretations when it comes to the Cold War, and Gaddis goes on to take an approach of post-revisionism. Post-revisionists accepted some of the revisionists’ findings but often rejected much of the key claims. Gaddis not only focuses on the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, but also goes into the roles of other countries such as Germany, China, and North Korea. He has new information that wasn’t...