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Journal of Cold War Studies 1.2 (1999) 1-2



Editor's Note


This issue of the Journal contains four main articles: three dealing with events in the first decade of the Cold War and one discussing the role of the Cold War in theories of international relations. The issue begins with the second part of my three-part article on Soviet-East European relations during the early post-Stalin era. This second part looks briefly at the period right after the East German uprising, and then provides a detailed account of the secret plot to arrest Lavrentii Beria, the powerful head of the Soviet internal affairs ministry. The final part of the article, to be published in the next issue of the journal, discusses the combined impact of Beria's downfall and the East German uprising on Soviet policy in East-Central Europe. That part also considers how the linkages between domestic and international developments in the Soviet bloc during the first four months after Stalin's death fit into the broader theoretical literature on external-internal linkages.

The next article, by William Wohlforth, considers why scholars of international relations (IR) have not been more eager to explore new archival evidence from the former Eastern bloc to see whether it alters our understanding of Cold War politics. This should be an exciting time for IR specialists, who now have the opportunity to obtain solid evidence for conclusions that formerly had to be based mainly on guesswork. Wohlforth finds, however, that many scholars have greeted the latest findings and research with little more than indifference. This reaction is a potentially troubling sign for the field. Careful use of the new archival evidence will be essential to test some of the assumptions that we have long taken for granted.

The third and fourth articles deal with different aspects of a topic that we plan to feature regularly in the Journal: the role of sub-national groups and ethnic politics in the Cold War. The article by James Carafano explores an aborted U.S. proposal in the 1940s and 1950s to form an anti-Communist army in Western Europe out of refugees and "displaced persons." These plans, Carafano shows, were first devised shortly after World War II, but it was not until the Eisenhower administration that the idea was taken seriously. The proposal was never implemented, but the very fact that senior U.S. officials promoted it is an indication of the way Cold War politics could gloss over complex ethnic and national issues. [End Page 1]

The final article, by Timothy Snyder, explores one of the crucial but often forgotten episodes of the early Cold War period, an episode that eerily presages tragic events in the 1990s. Snyder explores the dynamics of forced population transfers just after World War II along the Ukrainian-Polish border, a border that was shifted westward at the close of the war. Countless Ukrainians and Poles were forced to move either westward or eastward in two of the largest reciprocal expulsions of populations in this century. The bloodshed and suffering that accompanied the whole process were quickly forgotten outside the immediate region, as the Cold War loomed ever larger. In Poland and western Ukraine, however, memories of those grisly events remained acute all through the Cold War. Snyder shows that the failure of the two nations to come to terms with the mass expulsions has continued to affect their relations today.

In addition to these four articles, we have included a larger number of book reviews in this issue, and we plan to continue expanding the book review section in subsequent issues.

This issue appears somewhat belatedly for reasons beyond our control. We apologize for that, but we are pleased to say that the publication schedule will return to normal with the next issue. From then on, the Journal will appear three times a year as scheduled. We have already planned out most of the issues for next year and have acquired a large number of book reviews. We also plan on starting a series of longer review essays that will assess the state...

Additional Information

ISSN
1531-3298
Print ISSN
1520-3972
Pages
pp. 1-2
Launched on MUSE
1999-05-01
Open Access
No
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