Despite the many books and articles written about the end of the Cold War, scholars have not produced a truly international history of this seminal event. This article shows how some of the most important monographs on the end of the Cold War can be synthesized to yield a preliminary account. In particular, the article outlines an interpretation that connects the immediate crisis of the early 1980s, long-term ideological and institutional trends, and transformational choices made from 1985 to 1991. No single decision or variable brought the Cold War to an end. Personalities, trends, and institutions interacted to create an outcome that few predicted.