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Cold Wars: Asia, the Middle East, Europe

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What was the Cold War that shook world politics for the second half of the twentieth century? Standard narratives focus on Soviet-American rivalry as if the superpowers were the exclusive driving forces of the international system. Lorenz M. Lüthi offers a radically different account, restoring agency to regional powers in Asia, the Middle East and Europe and revealing how regional and national developments shaped the course of the global Cold War. Despite their elevated position in 1945, the United States, Soviet Union and United Kingdom quickly realized that their political, economic, and military power had surprisingly tight limits given the challenges of decolonization, Asian-African internationalism, pan-Arabism, pan-Islamism, Arab–Israeli antagonism, and European economic developments. A series of Cold Wars ebbed and flowed as the three world regions underwent structural changes that weakened or even severed their links to the global ideological clash, leaving the superpower Cold War as the only major conflict that remained by the 1980s.

Proposes a radical reinterpretation of the Cold War from the perspective of middle and smaller powers in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe

Features new archival sources from two dozen archives in four different continents

Analyses long-term economic, intellectual, and religious developments in multiple world regions to help us to comprehend the complexities of current times

Edition Number:
Luthi Lorenz
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Lorenz M. Lüthi is Associate Professor at McGill University, Montréal, and is a leading historian of the Cold War. His first book The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World (2008) won the 2008 Furniss Award and the 2010 Marshall Shulman Book Prize. His publications on the Vietnam war, Asian-African internationalism, and non-alignment have broken new ground in Cold War history.


1. From high imperialism to Cold War division
Part I. Elusive Unities: Introduction to chapters 2 to 4
2. The United Kingdom and the Arab League
3. The Soviet Union and the socialist camp
4. The United States and the free world
Part II. Asia: Introduction to chapters 5 to 7
5. China
6. Vietnam
7. India
Part III. The Middle East: Introduction to chapters 8 to 10
8. Arab-Israeli relations, 1948–64
9. Arab-Israeli relations, 1964–75
10. The Palestinians
Part IV. Alternative World Visions: Introduction to chapters 11 to 13
11. Asian-African internationalism
12. Non-alignment
13. Pan-Islamism
Part V. Europe between the Superpowers: Introduction to chapters 14 to 16
14. Nuclear weapons
15. West European integration
16. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Part VI. European Détente: Introduction to chapters 17 to 19
17. Germany
18. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
19. The Vatican
Part VII. The End of the Regional Cold Wars: Introduction to chapters 20 to 22
20. The Middle East
21. Asia
22. Europe
23. The end of the Superpower Cold War
24. Legacies of the Cold War


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