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Journal of Cold War Studies 1.3 (1999) 1-2

Editor's Note

This issue completes the first volume of the Journal of Cold War Studies. We look forward to hearing from readers about the journal, and always welcome suggestions for new topics to cover or new books to review. On our website,, we have begun posting commentaries about articles appearing in the journal, along with replies by the authors. We plan to expand this feature in the coming year.

Starting a new journal is never a simple matter. An aspiring editor must first convince a publisher that a new scholarly journal is worth pursuing. I chose MIT Press because I have always been impressed by the quality of its journals, especially International Security and International Organization. After a fairly lengthy review process, the press decided to add the Journal of Cold War Studies to its list. I then had to put together an editorial board, establish an editorial policy, design procedures for peer review, choose editorial personnel, and resolve countless other matters, including such things as font size, cover designs, and citation formats. All of this had to be settled long before the journal ever appeared.

Once the basic groundwork was laid, we began poring through manuscripts, sending them out for peer review, making sure that the reviews came back on time, coordinating any revisions with the authors, sending books out for review, deciding what to include in each issue, preparing everything for publication, and taking care of many other such tasks. None of this was easy, but it would have been impossible if not for the cooperation of the editorial board members, the promptness and efficiency of the other outside reviewers, and the valuable work submitted by our contributors. I would particularly like to thank the journal's managing editor, Ana Siljak, the various people at MIT Press with whom we work, and the Smith Richardson Foundation for its generous financial support.

This latest issue begins with the final segment of my three-part article on Soviet-East European relations during the early post-Stalin era. This third part looks in detail at the combined impact that the East German uprising (discussed in Part 1) and the downfall of Lavrentii Beria (discussed in Part 2) had on Soviet policy in East-Central Europe. The article highlights the linkages between domestic and international developments in the Soviet bloc during [End Page 1] the first four months after Stalin's death, showing how an analysis of that period fits into the broader literature on external-internal linkages.

The next two articles examine responses by Western countries to developments in East-Central Europe. The first of these, by László Borhi, considers why the Eisenhower administration's "rollback" policy, as enunciated in the early and mid-1950s, did not lead to bolder U.S. action during the Hungarian revolution of 1956. Borhi sets the 1956 crisis into historical perspective, tracing how U.S. policy evolved under the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. The basic problem in 1956, he argues, was that U.S. leaders were unwilling to risk a larger war with the Soviet Union for the sake of Hungary. Borhi considers whether U.S. pronouncements and policies before the revolution, as well as a number of statements broadcast by Radio Free Europe during the crisis, may have led ordinary Hungarians to believe--wrongly, as it turned out--that the United States would intervene on their behalf.

The article by John McGinn explores U.S. and West European responses to the crisis in Soviet-Czechoslovak relations in 1968. McGinn highlights certain structural features of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that made it difficult to coordinate a Western response to the crisis. He also discusses the many domestic and foreign issues that were given higher priority than Czechoslovakia in the calculations of most Western governments. The passivity that NATO displayed during the crisis raised serious questions about the alliance's effectiveness in managing crises in Cold War Europe.

The article by Max Holland is the first we have published on the Cuban missile crisis...