Historicizing the Cold War

Akira Iriye

in The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199236961
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Historicizing the Cold War

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  • History
  • Cold War
  • Methods and Historiography



This chapter discusses the process of historicizing the Cold War. It explains that the Cold War had no influence on major world affairs from the late nineteenth century onward and that, under such a view, the Cold War can only be considered as but a fraction of world history. It argues that if the Cold War is to be historicized, it is important to broaden the perspective and relativize the geopolitical story against the background of many other stories which comprise history. The chapter explores the role or contribution the Cold War in the three sub-periods after World War 2: 1945–70, 1970–90, and 1990 to the present.

Keywords: Cold War; world affairs; world history; geopolitical history; World War 2

Article.  8767 words. 

Subjects: History ; Cold War ; Methods and Historiography

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