From World War to Cold War
This review examines some of the recent British, American, and Russian scholarship on a series of important international transitions that occurred in the years around 1945. One is the shift of global leadership from Great Britain to the United States, in which, it is argued, the decisive moment was the fall of France in 1940. Another transition is the emergence of a wartime alliance between Britain and America, on the one hand, and the Soviet Union, on the other, followed by its disintegration into the Cold War. Here the opening of Soviet sources during the 1990s has provided new evidence, though not clear answers. To understand both of these transitions, however, it is necessary to move beyond diplomacy and strategy to look at the social, cultural, and economic dimensions of the Second World War. In particular, recent studies of American and Soviet soldiers during and after the conflict re-open the debate about Cold War ideology from the bottom up.