The 1980s witnessed one of the most dramatic and far-reaching transformations of world politics in modern times. Not only did the Cold War end with the unexpected collapse of one-party communist rule in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but the early 1980s was also 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 18 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.
Like the previous books in the Cass series on Cold War History, this work will be essential reading for students of international relations and contemporary history, and will also appeal to political commentators and the informed general reader.