Review: Volume 11 - Cold War

Review: Volume 11 - Cold War

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Based on recently released archival sources, this book is the first systematic analysis of the German-Soviet negotiations leading to the conclusion of the Moscow Treaty of August 1970. This treaty was the linchpin of the 'New Ostpolitik' launched by Chancellor Willy Brandt's government as a policy of reconciliation and an attempt to normalize relations with the countries of the Eastern bloc. Focusing on the decision-making processes, both within the German domestic political system as well as within the international context, this study offers a new interpretation of the shift from confrontational to detente politics at this time, arguing that the Moscow Treaty was the product of various interrelated domestic and external factors. As Dannenberg shows, the change of government to a Social-Liberal coalition was the first important precondition for Ostpolitik, while the speedy conclusion of the Moscow Treaty owed much to the high degree of secrecy and centralization that characterized Brandt's policy-making and that of his small coterie of advisors. However, Brandt's predominance in the decision-making process does not mean that he alone determined the direction of policy. His room for manoeuvre was, amongst other things, constrained by his coalition's narrow parliamentary majority as well as the Western Allies' special rights. On the other hand, German-Soviet trade expansion, public opinion, and the emerging international interest in detente in the mid-1960s were crucial factors favouring Ostpolitik. It was in this configuration of circumstances that Brandt placed himself at the forefront of the movement towards detente between East and West by introducing his bold diplomatic design - one that had the reunification of Germany as its ultimate goal.

How Did the Cold War End?

Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik in 1986 (Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library)

O nce upon a time, one could determine someone’s political position from his view of how the Cold War ended. A person was on the right if he attributed its ending to President Ronald Reagan’s shifting American foreign policy away from détente to the idea that the Cold War could actually be won. The person was a liberal, of the anti-Communist variety, if he argued that the Soviet implosion in 1989–90 was traceable to the containment policies crafted by an earlier anti-Communist liberal, President Harry S. Truman, in 1947 (another shift, this time toward confrontation and away from Franklin Roosevelt’s “soft” approach to Stalin) the continuation of these policies by both Democratic and Republican presidents led to the Soviet Union’s eventual collapse.

There was a flip side to this, however. The non-liberal Left claimed either that (a) its collapse was due to the visionary premier Mikhail Gorbachev, who was willing to risk his country’s demise in the interests of peace (equally attractive to this spectrum of thought was Gorbachev’s stated goal of rescuing Communism by democratizing it) or that (b) the American Left’s counterparts in the Soviet Union — the purer Communists — hastened its demise.

During the War on Terror, and particularly the U.S. effort in Iraq, some Democrats even dared to praise Reagan. A case in point was 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, who, to bash the “trigger-happy” President George W. Bush, noted that Reagan won the Cold War “without firing a shot.”

Few have looked beyond the political necessities of the moment and discerned the necessary interplay between Reagan and Gorbachev that ended the Cold War. Historian Robert Service is one of the few.

Drawing on material at the Hudson Institute, minutes of the summits, and interviews with George Shultz, Service has produced a work, The End of the Cold War, that will not endear him to the Left. He counters the Gorbachev-as-visionary thesis to show the premier as less an iconoclast and more a realist. For by 1985, when Gorbachev became the head of the Soviet Communist Party, it was apparent not just to him but also to the usually hard-line Politburo and Presidium that the Soviet economy was collapsing. Aware that there was no way the Soviet Union could compete with Reagan’s free-market-powered accelerated arms race, let alone feed its people at the same time (Service notes that a Soviet grocery store he visited didn’t even have milk), the Politburo allowed Gorbachev to attempt to correct these problems through joint U.S.–Soviet missile reduction.

Service’s Reagan runs counter to the depiction of him by the academic Left. Rather than characterize him as an “out-to-lunch hard-liner,” Service regards him as the kind of visionary the Left saw in Gorbachev. Using the costly arms race to destroy the Soviet Union by pitting free-market capitalism against the Communist economic system was an idea Reagan had formulated as early as the 1950s. When he predicted in his first term that the Soviet economy was on the verge of collapse, he was truly a lone voice. Liberal partisans such as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. disagreed, asserting that on a recent trip to the Soviet Union he saw a “bustling economy.”

When Reagan predicted in his first term that the Soviet economy was on the verge of collapse, he was truly a lone voice.

Not only was Reagan a prophet, but Service lauds him as a “brilliant negotiator.” Echoing Reagan himself, Service traces this effectiveness back to when Reagan fought against Communist control of a Hollywood union in the mid-1940s. One of Reagan’s dreams ever since then was that he would someday get the chance, as president, to tell a Soviet premier that America “would not let you win.”

The Education of Richard Hofstadter

At his death in 1970, Richard Hofstadter was probably this country’s most renowned historian, best known as the originator of the “consensus” school, whose measured siftings of the American past de-emphasized conflict — whether economic, regional or ideological — and highlighted instead the nation’s long tradition of shared ideas, principles and values.

This school had a limited shelf life, but Hofstadter’s work has outlived it, owing to the clarity and nuance of his thought and his talent for drawing parallels between disparate episodes in our national narrative, almost always bringing the argument around to the concerns of midcentury America. “I know it is risky,” he acknowledged in 1960, “but I still write history out of my engagement with the present.” The gamble, of course, was whether questions so pressing in his time would continue to engage later generations. To a remarkable extent they have, and so Hofstadter remains relevant — in some respects more relevant than ever.

This isn’t to say he was the most enduring historian of his time, but rather the one who came closest to being his generation’s exemplary intellectual. Others, like Bernard Bailyn and C. Vann Woodward, probably left a deeper imprint on the profession or, like Arthur Schlesinger Jr., had greater influence on the important events of the day. But no other historian wrote so penetratingly about the politics of the moment, and at the same time none did more to establish pragmatic liberalism as a kind of unofficial, if constantly imperiled, public doctrine during the peak years of the cold war. Indeed so immersed was Hofstadter in the complications of postwar liberalism that he came finally to dramatize them, not only in his work but also in his life. This is the story David S. Brown tells in “Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography.” Brown, who teaches history at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, describes his intelligent and stimulating book as “an extended conversation with the formal writings of Richard Hofstadter.” That’s too modest. Brown’s interviews with Hofstadter’s colleagues and students and his careful reading of Hofstadter’s copious writings, including unpublished manuscripts and letters, help situate the work in the context of Hofstadter’s short life (he died, at age 54, of leukemia) and also within the larger tumult of his period.

Brown admirably balances respect for his subject with critical distance and persuasively makes the case that the ambiguousness of Hofstadter’s legacy is inseparable from his continuing interest. There is, first, the ambiguity of his professional identity. Though he held a distinguished Ivy League professorship and wrote important books on higher education and on historiography, Hofstadter characterized himself as being “as much, maybe more, of an essayist than a historian.” Some of his most famous formulations, for example on “status politics” and “the paranoid style in American politics,” came in think pieces first published in general interest magazines, and were written in elegant, ironic prose modeled on that of social observers like H. L. Mencken, Thorstein Veblen and Edmund Wilson.

Hofstadter’s books were also long-form essays, and they survive today as bravura performances rather than as instances of high scholarship. His signature works, including his two Pulitzer Prize winners, “The Age of Reform” and “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” are virtually devoid of primary research — drudgery best left, in his view, to “archive rats.” For this reason he remained, to some in the profession, a kind of outlier and his interpretations, for all their originality and force, have proved more vulnerable to revisionism than the closely documented studies of Bailyn and Woodward. Then again, as Brown points out, Hofstadter’s books consciously “reflected the personal interests and ideological concerns of their author.”

And those interests and concerns mirrored, in turn, Hofstadter’s classic odyssey, which took him from the outer precincts of the country’s intellectual life to its hot center. Although routinely identified as a member of the group known as the New York Intellectuals, Hofstadter came from Buffalo, where he was born in 1916, when it was a flourishing city that retained the lingering flavor of an older “Western” Protestantism, even as its population was being transformed into a jumble of immigrant ethnicity. Hofstadter felt directly the collision of these cultures. His father, a furrier, was a Jew born in Poland his mother (who died when he was 10) came from more established German Lutheran stock. Raised in the city’s vibrant German community, Hofstadter was christened in a Lutheran church and sang in a Lutheran choir.

At the University of Buffalo, he gravitated toward both journalism and philosophy and was inflamed by the “progressive” writings of Charles Beard, the era’s regnant historian, whose “Economic Interpretation of the Constitution” — which depicted the framers as would-be oligarchs intent on securing their financial interests — was an epoch-changing work.

After a brief, unhappy time at the New York School of Law, Hofstadter entered the graduate history program at Columbia in 1937. Like so many young intellectuals of the period, he flirted with radicalism, joining the campus unit of the Communist Party. But he was appalled by the movement’s inflexible dogma and by the emerging facts of Stalin’s purges, and lasted only four months. He maintained his leftist sympathies, however, and these informed his early work.

His doctoral thesis, “Social Darwinism in American Thought,” published in 1944 and still in print, was a precociously assured and fluently written discourse on 19th-century social scientists like Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, who had debased the theory of natural selection into high-minded apologetics for Gilded Age rapacity, with help from the racially tinged speculations in Darwin’s own “Descent of Man.” The argument, as Brown notes, is grounded in Beard’s economic determinism, though the study comes most alive when it moves into philosophy, religion and literature, pointing toward Hofstadter’s later explorations of “political culture” and “styles of thought and rhetoric.”

The book was a critical success, and the young author, marooned in a teaching job at the University of Maryland but angling hard to return to Columbia, was brought back to fill a position in intellectual history, edging out another promising candidate, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., whose “Age of Jackson” won the Pulitzer in 1946.

Once resettled at Columbia, Hofstadter completed his next book, “The American Political Tradition,” serial portraits of political leaders from the Constitutional era through the New Deal, each a case study in “the ideology of American statesmanship.” Urged by his publisher, Alfred Knopf, to impose a unifying theme, Hofstadter wrote a brief introduction that challenged the precepts of “conflict history” advanced by the progressive historians, many of them Midwesterners steeped in the romance of the frontier. In narratives pitting “the people” against “the interests,” they had dramatized what they saw as the tensions between the forward-looking Western ethos and the settled prejudices of the East.

To Hofstadter this dynamic evaded the larger truth that “almost the entire span of American history under the present Constitution has coincided with the rise and spread of modern industrial capitalism,” with the result that just about everyone, all across the political spectrum, and up and down the economic ladder, joined the contest for riches. Even the most divisive conflicts unfolded within this “common climate of American opinion,” shaped by a universal “belief in the rights of property, the philosophy of economic individualism, the value of competition.”

Exhibit A was the ideas held by the nation’s leaders, who almost without exception embraced the free-market credo, as Hofstadter showed in satirical profiles of, among others, the agrarian Thomas Jefferson (“The leisure that made possible his great writings on human liberty was supported by the labors of three generations of slaves”) the trust-buster Theodore Roosevelt (whose writings betrayed “the intellectual fiber of a muscular and combative Polonius”) and the reformer Woodrow Wilson (an unrepentant Calvinist who “proposed that the force of the State be used to restore pristine American ideals, not to strike out sharply in a new direction”). Even Abraham Lincoln, “among the world’s great political propagandists,” was captive to the “self-made myth.” But there was one startling exception to the rule, Franklin D. Roosevelt. In previous writings Hofstadter had been scathingly critical of Roosevelt — of the concessions he’d made to his party’s Southern conservatives and of the New Deal’s hedged meliorism. But Hofstadter had since made what Brown calls a “private pilgrimage from the left to the liberal center” and now appreciated that Roosevelt, catapulted into office amid the crisis of the Great Depression, had “allowed neither economic dogmas nor political precedents to inhibit him” as he groped toward relieving economic distress through the improvised regulatory machinery of the New Deal. Roosevelt lacked a mature political philosophy, but he had broken the stranglehold of the free-market doctrine and so was destined to become “the dominant figure in the mythology of any resurgent American liberalism.”

This interpretation — repudiating critiques from both the left (which saw Roosevelt as an unprincipled compromiser) and the right (which despised him as a “traitor to his class”) — placed Roosevelt outside or above familiar ideological quarrels, and neatly distilled the we’re-all-in-this-together exigencies of the early cold war. At 32, Hofstadter succeeded Beard, who died in 1948, as “the most influential and intellectually significant American historian of his time,” Brown writes.

Soon others would draw out the theme of national agreement, giving rise to the school — or “cult,” as one critic put it — of consensus. But Hofstadter himself resisted the consensus label, particularly its overtones of boosterism, and was exasperated when his acidulous critique of American ideology was lumped with the “anti-intellectualist” cheerleading of a book like Daniel Boorstin’s “Genius of American Politics.”

Beyond this, Hofstadter’s liberal vision was as much cultural as political, trained, as he later wrote, “on matters of tone and style.” Thus, he had little use for Harry Truman, though Truman had diligently perpetuated the New Deal legacy, because his “impassioned rhetoric, with its occasional thrusts at ‘Wall Street,’ seemed passé and rather embarrassing.” That is to say, it echoed an outworn hick radicalism rather than Roosevelt’s modern cosmopolitanism.

Or so it appeared to Hofstadter in 1954, when he was mourning the defeat of a more satisfying politician, Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential nominee in 1952. Stevenson looked like a better edition of Roosevelt —more sophisticated, with an intellectual’s fine-tuned detachment. When Stevenson invoked the New Deal he sounded less like a Democratic partisan than a pragmatic administrator in polished tones he stressed the need for “conserving all that is best” in the Roosevelt program, and for “building solidly and safely on these foundations.”

Hofstadter normally shunned political activism — as well he might in a time when professors with Communist histories, however inconsequential, were being subpoenaed by Red-hunters in Congress. But, Brown surmises, he “seemed to believe that the fate of postwar liberalism hinged on” Stevenson’s election, and so was swept up in the campaign. Hofstadter signed (with 30 others) a letter published in The New York Times protesting the paper’s endorsement of Dwight Eisenhower and also drafted a pro-Stevenson advertisement signed by more than 300 Columbia faculty members. It too was published in The Times, to the dismay of Grayson Kirk, the university’s second-ranking administrator and the handpicked successor to Eisenhower, who was still Columbia’s president.

Eisenhower, of course, coasted to victory, to no one’s surprise. But the loss, in its magnitude, stung Hofstadter, who henceforth “retreated altogether from politics,” his student Eric Foner remembered. Looking back on the election a decade later, Hofstadter found it “hard to resist the conclusion that Stevenson’s smashing defeat was . . . a repudiation by plebiscite of American intellectuals and of intellect itself.”

The election also marked a striking transformation in Hofstadter’s interpretations of the American past. The mordant anatomist of the materialist tradition now set off on a new quest: to make sense of the nation’s recurrent outbreaks of irrationality and illiberalism — the “periodical psychic sprees that purport to be moral crusades,” the “revolt against modernity,” the “paranoid style in American politics.”

These were Hofstadter’s subjects in his most productive years, the 1950’s and 60’s, when he nested among a nucleus of thinkers at Columbia that included the social theorists Daniel Bell, Seymour Martin Lipset and Robert K. Merton and the literary critic Lionel Trilling. Together they formed a loose federation of like minds and temperaments. All were secular Jews (or in Hofstadter’s case, half Jewish). Many had weathered chastening experiences on the left. Most were influenced by European social science, in particular by psychoanalysis and depth psychology, which offered more fruitful diagnostic methods than the tired formulas of Marxism and the class struggle. The Columbia group did much to create the vocabulary of midcentury liberal thought in America as it sought to move beyond ideology and toward a kind of broad public doctrine or “orthodoxy,” as Brown puts it.

In Hofstadter’s case this meant exploring in a systematic way “the sociological penumbra of political life” — the murky substratum of desires and impulses that underlay the surface pageantry of American politics. He was much impressed by “The Authoritarian Personality” (1950), a survey of contemporary American political attitudes compiled by a team of researchers under the direction of the German émigré Theodore Adorno. Hofstadter adapted Adorno’s “social-psychological categories” in his essay “The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt,” an attempt to uncover the hidden sources of McCarthyism.

Like so many others, Hofstadter had been struggling to decode the signals sent by right-wing anti-Communists as they inveighed against the dangers of global Communism but opposed efforts, including the Marshall Plan, to shore up vulnerable European democracies denounced Truman when he sent troops to Korea and denounced him again when he dismissed Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had pushed for escalating the conflict into a full-scale war with China. Through it all, the right seemed to have less appetite for sensibly meeting the actual threats posed by Communist regimes than for staging a “Great Inquisition” at home.

McCarthyism, Hofstadter argued, was best understood not as a political movement but as a cultural phenomenon. In what would become his most famous formulation, he identified two distinct types of political protest. In dire economic times, for instance the depressions of the 1890’s and the 1930’s, the dispossessed banded together “to reform the inequities in our economic and social system.” This was an example of “interest politics.” But in times of prosperity, when social mobility increased and “the rootlessness and heterogeneity of American life” left many behind, the losers indulged in a different kind of protest, fixated on the search for scapegoats. This was “status politics.”

In the boom years of the 1920’s, for instance, millions of small-town and rural “native stock” Americans, alarmed by the ascendancy of the country’s pluralistic urban culture, had embraced the organized bigotry of the Ku Klux Klan and flocked to the punitive crusades of anti-evolutionism and Prohibition. The pattern was being repeated in the 1950’s, also a boom period, only now it was a curious alliance of upwardly mobile white ethnics (many of them Catholics) and downwardly sinking displaced WASPs, who looked to secure their status as authentic Americans by converging upon “liberals, critics and nonconformists of various sorts, as well as Communists and suspected Communists.”

Moreover, “the growth of the mass media of communication and their use in politics have brought politics closer to the people than ever before and have made politics a form of entertainment in which the spectators feel themselves involved. Thus it has become, more than ever before, an arena into which private emotions and personal problems can be readily projected. Mass communications have made it possible to keep the mass man in an almost constant state of political mobilization.”

Half a century later Hofstadter’s grasp of the relationship between politics and culture, along with his feel for what he later termed the heartland’s “underground revolt,” seems not only prescient but thoroughly up-to-date. And his clinical tone still conveys tremendous authority. But his thesis also avoided large political realities: legitimate strategic differences over how best to prosecute the cold war, lingering questions about Communist espionage under Roosevelt and Truman, not to mention the animosities sharpened by a greatly enlarged federal bureaucracy staffed by policy intellectuals who spoke in terms alien to those of many Americans.

Hofstadter acknowledged all this, but his analysis gave little or no credit to thoughtful conservatives. His most gifted protégé, Christopher Lasch, exaggerated only a little when he later said of the liberal theorists of status politics that “instead of arguing with opponents, they simply dismissed them on psychiatric grounds.” Worse, Hofstadter proceeded axiomatically from suspiciously flexible premises. For instance, he depicted enemies of the New Deal as extremists, even though he himself had made the case that the Roosevelt years represented a defining break with a “tradition” dating back to the founders. If this was the case, didn’t it stand to reason that some should seek to revoke those changes? So too with “status politics.” If its psychological calculus were applied neutrally, the stimuli that propelled the “mass man” toward Joe McCarthy did not differ from those that sent Manhattan intellectuals toward the “egghead” Stevenson. And if, as Hofstadter maintained, political issues now reflected a wider cultural debate over “the capacity of various groups and occupations to command personal deference in society,” then the largely Jewish inhabitants of what Brown calls the “Claremont Avenue ghetto” were, for all their seeming detachment, as deeply embroiled in the struggle as Midwestern rubes or urban Catholics.

In any event, for Hofstadter the lines were now clearly drawn. The fundamental division within America was not between Democrats and Republicans, nor between liberals and conservatives, but between cleareyed intellectuals and benighted philistines, between the rational elite and the impassioned mob.

But this yielded a fresh paradox. Hofstadter remained certain that the New Deal was the starting point of a mature modern politics that transcended ideology. And yet to many liberals — including a formidable historian like Schlesinger — the Roosevelt revolution derived from a populist tradition that enshrined the “mass man” whom Hofstadter distrusted and feared. And true enough, it wasn’t just Truman who had railed against Wall Street. Roosevelt himself had reached into the populist lexicon in his attack on “unscrupulous money-changers.”

In his next major work, “The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R.,” published in 1955, Hofstadter aimed to disprove Schlesinger’s argument by revamping the case he’d made in “The American Political Tradition.” In his new account, Roosevelt was no longer a lucky improviser but rather the conscious inventor of modern government, the first American statesman to realize that the economic and social conditions of a complex society must be centrally organized and administered by intellectuals. This vision had no real basis in turn-of-the-century reform movements — rural populism and urban progressivism — which Hofstadter now depicted as retreats from modernism, retrograde protests on the part of those “bypassed and humiliated by the advance of industrialism.” What appeared to be forward-looking programs were in reality rear-guard campaigns to restore America to the “sacred” conditions of its rural infancy, when it had been “a homogeneous Yankee civilization.”

The crux of Hofstadter’s analysis was his merciless description of the reform era’s dark underside — its hatred of pluralism and modern life, its nativist and anti-Semitic prejudices. The Populist Party’s clamor for economic reform, admirable though it was, had coincided with fears that capital was flowing from the virtuous “yeoman farmer” to the corrupt urban laborer. And the muckrakers’ impressive exposés of urban political corruption masked the progressives’ “genteel” revulsion against “the most exploited sector of the population,” the growing immigrant communities whose urgently practical needs were met far better by city bosses than by the reformers’ agenda of civic virtues (“responsibility, efficiency, good government”). Even the reformers’ laudable efforts to control the predations of the robber barons were raveled up in delusory fears of a “secret conspiratorial plutocracy.”

All this, Hofstadter said, pointed to an ingrained historical cycle of “deconversion from reform to reaction,” wherein liberalizing energies (“popular, democratic, progressive”) coexisted with destructive ones, often expressed as bigotry. This was most glaringly the case with William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential nominee who had begun by assailing the moneyed interests and the “cross of gold” but ended up in the sinister embrace of the Ku Klux Klan and as the courtroom jester in the Scopes trial. In sum, the age of reform appeared, on close inspection, “very strongly to foreshadow the cranky pseudo-conservatism of our time.” Bryan’s authentic heir wasn’t Roosevelt, the Dutchess County squire. It was Joe McCarthy, who even delivered — in Wheeling, W. Va., in 1950 — his own cross of gold speech, a carnal roar against subversives, real and imagined, recipients of “all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has to offer — the finest homes, the finest college education and the finest jobs in government.”

The impact of “The Age of Reform” was tidal. Thirty years later it remained “the most influential book ever published on the history of 20th-century America,” in the judgment of the historian Alan Brinkley. The novelty lay not in Hofstadter’s argument. The malign potential of mass political movements had been clear at least since the demagogic heyday of Father Coughlin and Huey Long in the 1930’s. And the thread connecting McCarthy to popular left-wing dissent had been visible from the outset of his rampage he came, after all, from Wisconsin, the home of the great progressive reformer Robert M. La Follette.

And to be sure, Hofstadter once again overstated his case. In an incisive essay, “The Populist Heritage and the Intellectual,” C. Vann Woodward, whose own work traced the evolution of popular protest, pointed out the narrowness of an analysis limited to the history of the Midwest and Plains states to the exclusion of the South, where populists, far from being bigots, had courageously battled the injustices of Jim Crow (at least at first). Other critics chipped away too — at Hofstadter’s slighting of cooperative associations and the other economic alternatives reformers had offered in a society dominated by big business. In the next generation a small library of counter-interpretations would appear, each undoing another strand of Hofstadter’s argument.

But in the end, these defects mattered little. Long after the wave of revisionism crested and crashed, “The Age of Reform” endures, thanks to the vitality of Hofstadter’s narrative, its fluency, its wit, its seamless weave of examples and sources (from apocalyptic novels to muckraking journals) — anticipating the cultural studies of a later era — its demythologizing power, above all its feel for “the emotional and symbolic side of political life.”

And yet there is something claustrophobic in “The Age of Reform,” as indeed there is in nearly all of Hofstadter’s later work. It emerges in the prose, the relentless assertiveness of its arguments and also in its sweeping descriptions (“the progressive movement is the complaint of the unorganized”) and caustic epithets (the “pathetic proletarianism” of the 30’s the “rural-evangelical virus”). Hofstadter records not only his subjects’ delusions but also his own disillusionment. He accuses the populists and progressives of a “destructive alienation” from America and “its essential values,” but his own alienation seems even more severe. For Hofstadter, increasingly, all American politics incline toward pathology. They are a continual eruption of “hostility” “grievances,” “resentments,” “anxieties.” His horror of “mass man” borders, in places, on a loathing of democracy itself. In his many writings, there are very few moments — apart from his accounts of the New Deal — when political energy springs from inspiring, or even honorable, sources.

Hofstadter openly aired his own grievances and anxieties in “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” published in 1963. His most personal book and also his most idiosyncratic, it is a wide-ranging meditation on philistinism in American religion, politics, business and education. America had always distrusted original minds, Hofstadter wrote, but in the post-Sputnik moment, “the national distaste for the intellectual appeared to be not just a disgrace but a hazard to survival.”

Coming from one who deplored ideological overstatement, this alarmism was disingenuous, at the very least. Equally disingenuous, and faintly ludicrous, is the spectacle of a much-honored public eminence warning against the dangers of American philistinism at the height of the Kennedy years, when a conveyor belt ran from Harvard Yard to the White House, and a major historian, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., served as a presidential adviser. Then again, Hofstadter, who “was directly afraid of power,” as his close friend Alfred Kazin once remarked, was skeptical of cozy transactions between thinkers and doers and later rebuffed an invitation to join an advisory group in the Johnson administration. However much “deference” intellectuals were being accorded in the early 1960’s, Hofstadter seemed to be saying, their only safe habitat was on the social margins.

The very title “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” verging on operatic self-parody, might have been invented by one of Saul Bellow’s comic narcissists. Indeed there seems a satirical hint of Hofstadter in Bellow’s “Herzog” (1964). Herzog too is an intellectual historian, the author of a study embraced by a new generation, who “accepted it as a model of the new sort of history, ‘history that interests us’ — personal, engagée — and looks at the past with an intense need for contemporary relevance.” Herzog too registers the distance in America between the intellectual and the man of action. The letters he feverishly drafts but doesn’t send include a rambling lecture addressed to Hofstadter’s bête noire, the ur-philistine Dwight Eisenhower. (“Intelligent people without influence,” Herzog explains to Ike, “feel a certain self-contempt, reflecting the contempt of those who hold real political or social power, or think they do.”)

Not that Hofstadter doesn’t have a case to make. “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” includes many brilliant pages. There is a discussion of early American evangelism and its attack on learned clergy, the eggheads of their day. And there are justly celebrated passages on “the revolt against modernity” that occurred in the early 1900’s — “the emergence of a religious style shaped by a desire to strike back against everything modern — the higher criticism, evolutionism, the social gospel, rational criticism of every kind.”

But Hofstadter’s repetitions seem obsessive. The familiar cast reappears: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William Jennings Bryan (“a layman who combined in his person the two basic ancestral pieties of the people — evangelical faith and populistic democracy”). And he rehashes the election martyrdom of Adlai Stevenson (“the victim of the accumulated grievances against intellectuals and brain trusters”). Only now he concedes what was obvious to others in 1952, that Stevenson had been “hopelessly overmatched” against Eisenhower, “a national hero of irresistible magnetism.” Also, “after 20 years of Democratic rule, the time for a change in the parties was overdue, if the two-party system was to have any meaning.”

Hofstadter had reason to think more charitably of Eisenhower, who, in the end, had proved a moderate caretaker of New Deal gains, as many observers had expected he would be (including Eisenhower’s fierce opponents on the right). Since then a new tribune had emerged on the right, Barry Goldwater, a sworn enemy of Roosevelt’s welfare state. Goldwater’s presidential nomination in 1964 was “a vital blow at the American political order,” in Hofstadter’s view. His subsequent thrashing in the general election was “the most satisfying political experience of Richard Hofstadter’s life,” according to Brown. But even as others predicted the demise of Goldwaterism, Hofstadter, in the many pages he wrote on the phenomenon, gathered in “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” (1965), understood that the movement represented a “permanent force.” Unlike McCarthy, who had been a one-man and one-issue show, Goldwater represented a more disciplined extremism. He too beheld a government conspiracy directed by an all-powerful few (hence his “paranoia”) and like the McCarthyites was guilty of “heated exaggeration” and “suspiciousness.” But his politics grew organically out of public frustration with a world proving resistant to American ambitions. “The American frame of mind was created by a long history that encouraged our belief that we have an almost magical capacity to have our way in the world, that the national will can be made entirely effective, as against other peoples, at a relatively small price,” Hofstadter observed. No wonder Goldwater, and before him John F. Kennedy in 1960, had insisted the cold war could be won outright if only America were tougher in its dealings with the Soviets.

Goldwater had the further advantage, unlike McCarthy, of being an organization man who attracted “dedicated enthusiasts” easily “mobilized” in the service of the cause. And he was ideologically pure. His proximate goal was not to win elections — in fact he had been the most reluctant of presidential candidates — “but to propagandize for a set of attitudes.” All this implied future success if only right-wing Republicanism could overcome “its inability to rear and sustain national leaders.” Within a generation Ronald Reagan would solve this problem.

Of course Reagan had help from the left. Little did Hofstadter suspect that a year after the publication of “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” attacks on autonomous liberals far more damaging than any inflicted by the right would come, as Brown writes, “from the children of the liberal class itself.” University-based militants of the New Left began echoing the criticisms of the liberal establishment the right had been making for years. The wave of campus protests, which started at Berkeley in 1964, reached Hofstadter’s Columbia in 1968, when student radicals occupied buildings and intimidated faculty. The administration summoned the police, and a violent battle ensued. Hofstadter, respected on all sides — not least because he was an early opponent of the Vietnam War and had joined one of Martin Luther King’s voting-rights marches — acted as a conciliator. When Grayson Kirk declined to appear before outraged students on commencement day, Hofstadter took his place, offering a ringing defense of academic freedom. He spoke with the authority of one who in 1950 had turned down a teaching offer from Berkeley because the state of California enforced a loyalty oath. But to members of Columbia’s Students for a Democratic Society, his speech reeked of mandarin “privilege,” precisely the charge Joe McCarthy had leveled against liberals in 1950.

Hofstadter was forced now to examine the liberalism he had hitherto exempted from the hard scrutiny he had trained on the right. As early as the mid-1950’s, some had detected “neo-conservative” strains in Hofstadter’s critique of the populist tradition. In the last years of his life he adopted views very similar to those of disillusioned intellectuals who felt “mugged by reality.” Like them he grew convinced, Brown writes, “that the prevalent style of liberalism was not liberal at all. It was soft, weak and ideologically inconsistent. Rather than serve as a kind of consensual middle ground for the majority of Americans — like the Johnson constituency of 1964 — liberals were tilting toward the left, in a sense abandoning their liberalism. If, he concluded, a group of right-wing students had occupied buildings at Columbia, the faculty would have demanded that the administration throw them out.”

In 1969 Hofstadter fled the “Claremont Avenue ghetto” for a Park Avenue apartment. He continued to write prolifically and at times brilliantly. In his book “The Progressive Historians,” an elegant reconsideration of Beard and company, he at last admitted ownership of the consensus theory, and of the ideal of “a vital kind of moral consensus that I would call comity.” Shaken by the riots that swept through the nation’s great cities, he was also a co-editor of an anthology of documents on “American Violence,” from a fatal dispute between the Puritans and the Pilgrims through the murders of Malcolm X and Robert F. Kennedy. “Today we are not only aware of our own violence we are frightened of it,” he wrote in the introduction. “We are now quite ready to see that there is far more violence in our national heritage than our proud, sometimes smug, national self-image admits of.”

This appeared in 1970, the year Hofstadter died. He had been working on a projected three-volume study, “the big narrative history that was his greatest dream as a writer,” in the words of Alfred Kazin. In 1971 the first volume, “America in 1750: A Social Portrait,” was published in its unfinished state, and the roughness shows. But even had Hofstadter seen the project through, it seems unlikely he would have succeeded on the grand terms he envisioned, because — as always — he relied on synthesis and argument rather than original research. Narrative history ultimately belongs to “archive rats,” whose tedious hours spent with documents bring them closer to the events they write about, enabling them to touch the human pulse of the past.

But there is one magnificent section in this last book, an impassioned, indignant account of “white servitude” in the colonies. In pages written in the throes of mortal illness, Hofstadter described, with a directness new to his prose, the fates of indentured servants who braved the Atlantic crossing only to meet hardships as brutal as those they had escaped in the Old World. For the first time the patented irony is enriched by human sympathy. “For a great many the journey across the Atlantic proved to have been only an epitome of their journey through life,” he wrote. “And yet there must have seemed to be little at risk because there was so little at stake. They had so often left a scene of turbulence, crime, exploitation and misery that there could not have been much hope in most of them and as they lay in their narrow bedsteads listening to the wash of the rank bilge water below them, sometimes racked with fever or lying in their own vomit, few could have expected very much from American life, and those who did were too often disappointed.”

In the end, disappointment was Hofstadter’s great overarching theme, which may partly explain why, as Brown points out, “there is no Hofstadter school” today. His account of the American past was finally tragic, and tragedy lies outside the comfortable boundaries of American thought. Still, writers survive through their own work, not that of their disciples. And at his best, Hofstadter remains vitally alive and endlessly instructive. “To look back upon Hofstadter’s lost world of liberalism today — from the vista, that is, of a conservative age — is to recall its surprising fragility,” Brown writes.

At this moment, when so many seek to recover that lost world or to invent an updated version of it — a post 9/11 cold-war liberalism or a reconstituted “vital center” — Hofstadter’s case deserves a fresh look, for he knew very well just how fragile liberalism is, even if he sometimes mistook its prejudices for principles and its illusions for ideals.

VC-8 Edit

VC-8 was established on 3 December 1951 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. A small group of officers collected from various other squadrons of the Heavy Attack Wing at NAS Patuxent River assembled in the Fleet Aircraft Support Squadron 52 Ready Room to hear Commander Eugene P. Rankin, [2] one of the pilots of the famed P2V-1, the "Truculent Turtle," read the orders establishing VC-8. Approximately one minute after Commander Rankin finished, VC-8's first scheduled flight became airborne. Personnel from VC-5, VC-6, and VC-7 were pooled to form a nucleus for VC-8 as the first squadron equipped with the AN/ASB-1 radar bombing system that would later be incorporated into the AJ Savage and the A3D (later A-3B) Skywarrior. Unlike other VC squadrons previously formed, VC-8's first aircraft were not AJ-1 Savages, but P2V-3C Neptunes, later redesignated as P2V-3Bs. [3] These aircraft would serve as training platforms until production AJ-1s became available for VC-8. [4]

VC-8 later transitioned to and eventually operated both the AJ-1 and AJ-2 Savage. In 1955, VC-8 relocated to Naval Auxiliary Air Station Sanford, Florida, and on 1 November 1955, was redesignated as Heavy Attack Squadron Eleven (VAH-11), also known as Hatron Eleven.

VAH-11 / Cold War (pre-Vietnam) Edit

VAH-11 continued to fly the AJ-1 and AJ-2 until reequipped with the A3D-2 Skywarrior in November 1957. With the replacement of the AJ-1 and AJ-2 with the new A3D, Naval Air Auxiliary Station Sanford was the focus of extensive military construction during the mid and late 1950s, all intended to upgrade the installation to full naval air station status as a Master Jet Base and resulting in its redesignation as Naval Air Station Sanford. [5] Remaining homeported at NAS Sanford throughout its existence as VAH-11, the squadron made seven Mediterranean deployments, five aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt and once each aboard the USS Independence and the USS Forrestal.

Given the size and complexity of the A3D as a carrier-based aircraft, mishaps plagued the VAH community during its early years Navy-wide. VAH-11 was not immune to this, and one fifteen-month period from March 1961 to June 1962 proved particularly costly:

  • On 21 March 1961, while operating from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, a VAH-11 A3D-2, BuNo 138976, was lost at sea with all crewmembers. During a nuclear weapon loft maneuver demonstration abeam the carrier, the aircraft exceeded breakaway limits and the nose of the jet came down in a 70 degree dive. The dive flattened, but the aircraft struck the water in a nose high attitude.
  • On 7 May 1961, another VAH-11 A3D-2, BuNo 142245, sustained a ramp strike on its initial pass aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. Four more attempts to land were unsuccessful and the crew successfully bailed out just south of Souda Bay, Crete.
  • On 6 October 1961, while at Naval Air Station Sanford, A3D-2 BuNo 142637 was conducting training over the Lake George bombing target, part of the Navy Pinecastle Impact Range [6] in the Ocala National Forest. During a bomb run on the target, the crew executed an inert bomb release, rolled the aircraft in excess of 90 degrees and disappeared into the clouds. Per range observers, the aircraft was next seen in a steep dive followed by an uncontrolled crash into Lake George with a loss of the entire crew.
  • On 12 October 1961, only six days after the preceding mishap over Lake George, an A3D-2 assigned to VAH-11, BuNo 142648, collided in mid-air with another A3D-2, BuNo 142663, assigned to VAH-5 while both aircraft were on approach to landing at Naval Air Station Sanford. All eight crewmen, four in the VAH-5 aircraft and four in the VAH-11 aircraft, were killed.
  • On 25 June 1962, while VAH-11 was again embarked aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, A3D-2 BuNo 138962 experienced a dual-engine flameout. All crew except the pilot bailed out. The bombardier/navigator and an observer from the Roosevelt's ships company were rescued, but the pilot and 3rd crewmember were never recovered. [7]

In September 1962, the Department of Defense instituted a new aircraft designation system, discarding the legacy USN / USMC / USCG designation system and effectively transitioning all branches of the U.S. armed forces to the USAF aircraft designation system. As a result, the A3D-2 was redesignated as the A-3B Skywarrior.

Between August 1962 and January 1965, VAH-11 was divided into two units: one with six Skywarriors performing all the normal duties of a heavy attack squadron deploying aboard Fleet aircraft carriers, and the other taking up an operational readiness posture from other heavy attack squadrons while they converted from A-3Bs to the North American A-5A or RA-5C Vigilante. In turn, VAH-11 transitioned to the RA-5C Vigilante in April 1966 and was redesignated Reconnaissance Attack Squadron Eleven (RVAH-11), also known as RECONATKRON ELEVEN, in July 1966. [8] [9]

Cold War/Vietnam Edit

With the increasing U.S. military involvement in Vietnam after 1964, RVAH-11 added to the mix of RVAH squadrons participating in combat operations in Southeast Asia, although its first such deployment would be a watershed event in terms of shipboard and aviation safety for the U.S. Navy in general and Naval Aviation in particular:

  • From 6 June - 15 September 1967, RVAH-11 was embarked aboard USS Forrestal for an Atlantic and Indian Ocean transit en route to its first Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and Vietnam deployment. [10]
    • On 29 July 1967, three of the squadron's RA-5Cs, BuNo 148932, BuNo 149284 and BuNo 149305 were destroyed in the disastrous 1967 flight deck fire aboard USS Forrestal of the same date. None of the 134 men lost that day were RVAH-11 personnel. After a damage assessment and brief refit at Naval Station Subic Bay in the Philippines, the ship and air wing returned to their home stations and homeport on the east coast of the United States. [11][12]

    Subsequent deployments were as follows:

    • 18 November 1967 – 29 June 1968, RVAH-11 was embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk for a WESTPAC and Vietnam deployment. [10]
      • On 18 May 1968, an RVAH-11 RA-5C, BuNo 149283, was shot down in combat over North Vietnam. [11] The pilot, RVAH-11 Executive Officer CDR Charlie James, [13] ejected successfully, was captured by the North Vietnamese and was repatriated to the United States on 14 March 1973. The remains of the navigator, LCDR Vince Monroe, were returned in August 1978. [14][15]
      • The simultaneous budgetary pressures of the Vietnam War and President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs forced the Department of Defense to close several stateside U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy air installations, to include Naval Air Station Sanford, as part of an economy move in the late 1960s. Upon return from their 1967-1968 deployment, RVAH-1 shifted its home station from NAS Sanford to the former Turner Air Force Base, renamed Naval Air Station Albany, Georgia, effective June 1968.

      Cold War (post-Vietnam) Edit

      With the end of the Vietnam War, RVAH-11 returned to stateside training and forward deployed operations aboard Fleet aircraft carriers. Subsequent deployments were as follows:

      • 16 April 1973 - 1 December 1973, RVAH-11 was embarked aboard USS John F. Kennedy for a Mediterranean deployment. [9]
      • 27 September 1973 - 19 March 1974, RVAH-11 was embarked aboard USS Saratoga for a Mediterranean deployment. [9]
        • Budgetary pressures and force reductions following the end of the Vietnam War forced the Department of Defense to once again close several stateside U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy air bases, to include Naval Air Station Albany, Georgia, as an economy move. In late 1974, RVAH-11 executed a shift of home station from NAS Albany to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida. [16]

        Attrition of airframes and the increasing maintenance and flight hour costs of the RA-5C in a constrained defense budget environment forced the Navy to incrementally retire the RA-5C and the RVAH community beginning in mid-1974. Carrier-based reconnaissance was concurrently conducted by the active duty VFP community with one squadron at Naval Air Station Miramar and the Naval Reserve VFP community with two squadrons at Andrews Air Force Base / NAF Washington with the RF-8G Crusader until 29 March 1987, when the last RF-8G was retired and the mission was fully transferred to the active duty and Naval Reserve VF community at Naval Air Station Miramar, Naval Air Station Oceana, Naval Air Station Dallas and NAS JRB Fort Worth as a secondary role with those F-14 Tomcat squadrons equipped with the Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System.

        Following its return from its final Mediterranean deployment in 1974 and subsequent relocation to Naval Air Station Key West, RVAH-11 was disestablished at NAS Key West on 1 June 1975 following nearly 24 years of active naval service. [17]

        Apollo 11: A giant leap for mankind and Cold War rivalry

        The Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle lifts off 16 July 1969 with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin aboard. For the United States, the mission, which would see Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon, was a Cold War maneuver, a bid to fulfil the vow made by president John F. Kennedy that NASA could overtake the pioneering Russian space program

        At 9:32 am on July 16, 1969 a 2,900-tonne Saturn V rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida carrying the Columbia command module and the dreams of a generation.

        The mission was Apollo 11, the commander was 38-year-old former navy pilot Neil Armstrong and the destination was the Sea of Tranquility, on the moon.

        For the United States, the mission was a Cold War maneuver, a bid to fulfil the vow made by President John F. Kennedy that NASA could overtake the pioneering Russian space program and put a man on the moon.

        But for spellbound audiences around the world, it was also an extraordinary and optimistic voyage of discovery and engineering.

        The huge rocket carried Columbia and its crew—Armstrong and fellow NASA astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins—into Earth's orbit before the third and final booster stage catapulted them toward the moon.

        Columbia was docked with the Eagle lunar landing module, and three days later, the combined Apollo 11 craft found itself in orbit around the moon. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin uncoupled the Eagle and began their descent.

        As they descended, monitored by NASA mission control in Houston and watched by an audience of millions around the world in an unprecedented live broadcast, a computer error in the navigation computer caused two alarms to sound.

        The computer recognized it was receiving spurious data and corrected itself, maintaining its descent. Propellant was also sloshing around Eagle's tanks more than had been expected, triggering a premature low-fuel warning.

        With co-pilot Aldrin calling out flight data, Armstrong guided the craft, touching down at 2017 GMT in a 300-meter wide crater with only 25 seconds of fuel left. He and Aldrin began to work through their landing checklist.

        "We copy you down, Eagle," called out ground commander Charles Duke. Armstrong confirmed his engine was off before responding with the now legendary phrase: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

        The commander, who died on Saturday aged 82, had another now famous remark prepared for the moment more than two hours later when he jumped from a short ladder onto the lunar surface, the first human ever on an alien world.

        "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," he said.

        This undated image obtained from NASA shows Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander for the Apollo 11 Moon-landing mission, training for the historic event in a Lunar Module simulator in the Flight Crew Training Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

        Twenty minutes later, he was joined by Aldrin and the pair spent 21 hours on the moon's rocky and powdery surface, marveling at a view of Earth that no one had seen before, and gathering rocks as samples for study.

        The journey home was no less complicated from a technical standpoint, the Eagle lander having to launch itself from the surface and rendezvous with Collins on Columbia before setting off to Earth.

        On July 24, the crew capsule ditched in the Pacific Ocean, with the triumphant trio onboard, braced for a heroes' welcome. Left behind them, planted firmly in the lunar dust, the Stars and Stripes symbolized America's victory.

        For, if Apollo 11's mission had lasted just eight days, the moonwalk was also the culmination of a wager that had been made eight years earlier, when a young Kennedy had decided to challenge Moscow's lead in the space race.

        The Soviet Union had put a satellite into orbit in 1957 and in 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Moscow trumpeted its advance as a sign of Communism's superiority over the Western model of liberal capitalism.

        With the Cold War foes locked in a nuclear standoff, the United States could not afford this slight to its technical expertise and economic strength.

        "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth," Kennedy declared.

        Thanks to NASA, its astronauts and $25 billion—an estimated $115 billion in today's dollars—he got his wish, and around 500 million television viewers around the world saw the star-spangled banner fly on the moon.

        In 1970, a few months after the lunar landing, Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov wrote in an open letter to the Kremlin that America's ability to put a man on the moon proved the superiority of a democracy.

        There were six more Apollo missions and 12 more humans have walked on the surface of the Earth's lone mysterious satellite that has fueled dreams and imaginations since the earliest humans walked the planet.

        But the last moonwalk was in 1972, and NASA's manned space program has been limited since the space shuttle program was taken out of service last year.

        Extra-terrestrial exploration continues, however. Earlier this month, NASA landed the Curiosity rover, an unmanned buggy carrying scientific instruments, in the Gale Crater on Mars.

        Cold War Gamer

        Brian has been very busy over at the Hobby den building out the range of models stocked as well as making some fairly serious purchases including the BW Models range. Personally having only just discovered the BW range I was sad to see it go but it now looks like Hobby den will be resurrecting a number of its models.

        Brian has also become the European distributor for the modelcollect range which has got to be a good thing as they clearly are offering a very useful set of tank models which is rapidly becoming the definitive collection of Soviet Cold era tanks.

        In addition a number World of War 1/72 Building Sets are now available from the shop covering a range of European town buildings and an impresivly large bridge.

        Eagle Moss



        Underfire have been a little less prolific but have recently extended the RAR range.


        An early Unimog (I think) suitable for various African as well as central European scenarios

        and a conversion kit for a die cast series 1 or 2 land rover for a bit of 50's para action suitable for suez I would have thought.

        Wargames Illustrated

        The Cold War Hot version of war-games illustrated provided some interesting coverage of Cold War and Modern gaming which hopefully will be the start of an increasing amount of coverage of the Post War Modern period in the mainstream War Games press.

        As far as models and figures go we now have good coverage of the period in 6mm, 15mm, 20mm, and 28mm with growing amounts of ultra modern and near future starting to feature within the manufacturing base. The recent run of kits out of china from both model collect and S Models has started to fill the major gaps in the 20mm Cold War Soviet inventory which together with the improvements in ACE kits means that much of whats needed is easily obtained and built, as ever the stalwarts of the resin manufactures continue to fill the gaps. Is it a little early to speculate that Flames of War might kick off something for the Cold War, I would imagine that will provide a fairly significant boost to interest in the period and production of 15mm models. All this coupled with the number of new rule sets being released covering the Cold War and Modern period are all signs of growing interest and point to a good year for the period in 2015. As a complete Cold War aholic I can only say its good to see.

        Model Collect

        From their face book posts modelcollect seem to have both a Scud, a T80B and a BMP 3 in the planning pipeline all of which look like great additions to their range. The box art work for the T-64BV has also appeared which is at the top of my must have list so one I am looking forward to seeing land. To be fair I have my eye on a scud as well.


        Red Star Militaria I found the Red Star Militaria site a month or so ago whilst looking for some reference material around Sun Bunnies and the Soviet Jack Boot. This is a very handy re-enactment site with a lot of useful and detailed information around a variety of Soviet Cold War Weapons and equipment. It looks like the web site might be undergoing reconstruction at the moment, but when back in action a very useful site.


        If you have not seen it South Africas Border War by Willem Steenkamp has just been re pubished and there are some reasonable deals on Amazon at the moment, I picked up a copy for 㾻 new which is a steel for a book that has been out of print for a number of years and was selling for 𧷋 a copy. Its a great book on the border war and covers the conflict from 1966 -1989 well worth a look.

        So what will be appearing in Cold War Gamer over the next quarter, The bulk of the research work on Soviet Breakthrough is completed written up and posted and the force is getting to a point where it could do with an outing so task one for the new year will probably be a game with attendant AARs and Scenarios. That of course means moving the British forward.

        I have yet to really settle on the main theme for next years efforts so will be giving that some thought over the next few months. The biggest component on the Soviet side will probably be turning out a BTR regiment along with some divisional Air Defence and some Non Divisional engineering assets that would enable a reasonably serious river crossing exercise to be conducted.

        That operation would pretty much pull together elements of Air Assault, Forward Detachments and Breakthrough. On the NATO side I think the time has come to move the Canadians forward and I have pretty much got all the bits for the first of the Company Groups the other option is 6 or 24 Air Mobile Brigade which would follow on in the series on NATO Reinforcement Units and then there are the Americans but that I suspect will require a deal of reasarch, reading and purchasing before anything material pops out.

        Whilst its a little Early for Christmas this is the last news post before the great event so here's wishing you all a dark and productive winter period along with a great mid winter festival of what ever type best suits your religious persuasion.


        Hi! I haven't commented yet, but I've been enjoying this blog for several months. I lead more towards micro-armor and 1/35 scale display models, and your work here is just as interesting and inspirational to me, even though I don't do the 1/72 stuff.

        I'm hoping Meng follows up their recent Cold War releases with a newly-tooled Chieftain, I love the look of your models, but to fix up the ancient Tamiya kit is more trouble than I'm ready for. Anyway, congrats on the good job here, I can't wait to see more.

        Oh - not to overload you, I can't wait to see your Canadians! I'd love to do the force from "First Clash" in micro armor, and I'm planning a 1/35 Leopard C1. :)

        It is an interesting force and a great book with lots of gaming scope, glad your enjoying the blog and thanks for the comments.

        Another great post!
        You can't get better than an M60A2 starship 'mental'.

        I am with you there, it will be interesting to see how many cold war US armies start popping up.

        Cold War history for left-wing dummies

        I think that just about everything President Obama “knows” about American history comes from left-wing academics like American University professor Peter Kuznick, the co-author with Oliver Stone of The Untold History of the United States. The book is a companion to Stone’s Showtime series.

        At American University, incidentally, Kuznick teaches the “path-breaking course Oliver Stone’s America.” On Showtime, Stone presents Peter Kuznick’s America. They have got a circle of love kind of thing going between them.

        Last week Kuznick and Stone touted the book and the series on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where the worshipful hosts failed to notice that their guests are whackjobs. Maybe they were impressed by Mikhail Gorbachev’s book blurb: “There is much here to reflect upon. Such a perspective is indispensable.” In any event, cultural artifacts such as the book and the series have done a lot of damage. It is a mistake to ignore them.

        The title of the book notwithstanding, historian Ronald Radosh notes that it serves up “A story told before.” Radosh writes: “An examination of the first four episodes and the accompanying 750-page book—The Untold History of the United States (Gallery Books), obviously written by Kuznick, although Stone’s name appears first—reveals them to offer not an untold story, but the all-too-familiar Communist and Soviet line on America’s past as it developed in the early years of the Cold War.” Twice-Told Tales would be more like it:

        [H]alf a century ago, when I was in high school, the late Carl Marzani told this very story in We Can Be Friends. A secret member of the American Communist party who had worked during the war in the OSS, Marzani later was proved by evidence from Soviet archives and Venona decryptions to have been a KGB (then the NKVD) operative. His book was published privately by his own Soviet-subsidized firm. It was the first example of what came to be called “Cold War revisionism.” Quoting the memoirs of figures from the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, as well as newspaper stories and magazine articles, Marzani aimed to show that the Cold War had been started by the Truman administration with the intent of destroying a peaceful alliance with the Soviet Union and gaining American hegemony throughout the world.

        As it happens, Marzani could have provided Stone’s interpretation of how the Cold War began. Over and over, Stone uses the same quotations, the same arrangements of material, and the same arguments as Marzani. This is not to accuse Stone of plagiarism, only to point out that the case he now offers as new was argued in exactly the same terms by an American Communist and Soviet agent in 1952.

        Radosh focuses his review on the series’ treatment of Henry Wallace:

        The main hero of the first four episodes is FDR’s secretary of agriculture, then vice president, Henry A. Wallace, whom the book describes as a New Deal “visionary” on domestic policy and a farsighted, anti-imperialist representative of the “common man” on foreign policy.

        Hosannas to Wallace are nothing new. In the past decade, scores of books have celebrated his life and record, all in the same mold. They include leftist journalist Richard J. Walton’s Henry Wallace, Harry Truman and the Cold War, Communist historian Norman D. Markowitz’s The Rise and Fall of the People’s Century: Henry A. Wallace and American Liberalism, 1941-1948, a biography by Edward and Frederick Schapsmeier, Prophet in Politics: Henry A. Wallace and the War Years, Allen Yarnell’s Democrats and Progressives: The 1948 Presidential Election as a Test of Postwar Liberalism, and John C. Culver and John Hyde’s American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace.

        All these books have something in common: They are hagiographic treatments of Wallace as the man who could have brought the United States into permanent peace with the USSR, avoided the Cold War, and created a social democracy at home. For Stone, Wallace was the “nerve center of the New Deal.” At the Department of Agriculture, he used his power to develop new methods of plant fertilization. He opposed racist theories and stood up to party bosses. He was also a great athlete, a reader, and a “spiritual” man. In reality, Wallace was a disciple of the Russian émigré theosophist Nicholas Roerich, whom he addressed as “Dear Guru” in letters published after Roerich’s death, revealing him to be a cheap hustler and a phony who conned a gullible Wallace.

        Viewers do not learn that, at the Agriculture Department, Wallace supported what historians call “the purge of the liberals.” Nor was he a radical as Roosevelt’s vice president. Stone omits facts that interfere with his depiction of Wallace as the embodiment of the left wing of the New Deal.

        If Wallace was no radical on domestic issues, he did prove to be Stalin’s dupe in foreign affairs. The liberalism he came to espouse was that of the Popular Front, the call for an alliance between Democrats and American Communists and Socialists as the vehicle through which to advance the agenda of FDR’s expanding welfare state. As early as 1943, Wallace warned of “fascist interests motivated largely by anti-Russian bias” who were trying to “get control of our government.” These views are what endear Wallace to Stone.

        So enamored of the Soviet Union was the vice president that in May 1944 he traveled to 22 cities in Soviet Siberia. There, the NKVD played Wallace for a fool. He described the slave labor colony of Magadan, which the Soviet secret police had transformed into a Potemkin village staffed by actors and NKVD personnel, as a “combination TVA and Hudson’s Bay Company.”

        According to his own testimony, if he had become president, Wallace would have made Harry Dexter White his secretary of the Treasury and given a position in government to Laurence Duggan. Both men were Soviet agents. As a KGB cable found in the Venona archives shows, the Soviets hoped that Duggan would aid them “by using his friendship” with Wallace for “extracting . . . interesting information.”

        Instead, of course, Roosevelt replaced Wallace with Harry Truman on the Democratic ticket in 1944, and named Wallace secretary of commerce. FDR died on April 12, 1945, and in September 1946, President Truman fired Wallace. The provocation was a speech Wallace gave at a Madison Square Garden rally in which, contrary to administration policy, he called for recognizing Soviet spheres of influence—in effect, occupation zones—as just and necessary. Stone endorses Wallace’s support for turning the nations of Eastern Europe into Soviet pawns, arguing that what Wallace favored was no different from the Russians’ recognition of American influence in the Western hemisphere. Failing to distinguish between democracies and totalitarian regimes, Stone consistently portrays the Soviet Union as the victim of American imperialism, while regarding the monster Stalin as a peaceful leader who sought only to gain valid security guarantees on his borders.

        Wallace not only opposed Truman’s decision to block Stalin’s expansionist ambitions, he also spoke of Stalin as a man of peace and Truman as a dangerous militarist. This is the view Stone endorses. But as Notre Dame historian Wilson D. Miscamble demonstrated in From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima and the Cold War, Truman opted for a changed policy only after Stalin showed that his grip on Eastern Europe was nonnegotiable. Historian Fraser Harbutt of Emory University concurred, writing: “Truman genuinely tried to follow Roosevelt’s seemingly conciliatory line toward a Soviet Union whose policies, in the end, left him little alternative but a turn to resistance and thus to the Cold War.”

        Two early Cold War episodes illustrate the mendacious method of Stone’s film…

        Henry Wallace! I have long thought that Roosevelt’s replacement of Wallace with Truman on the Democratic ticket in 1944 provided irrefutable proof that God looks out for the United States. Wallace was a fool who would have altered the course of history very much for the worse if he had succeeded Roosevelt to the presidency in 1945 instead of Truman. Among other evidence of Wallace’s foolishness, one thinks of Wallace’s 1948 campaign that led him into an alliance with the Communists who, as Radosh notes, were the backbone of the Progressive Party.

        In his review of the biography of Wallace by John Culver and John Hyde, cited by Radosh above, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., quoted Wallace’s comment on Roosevelt’s replacement of Wallace on the ticket in 1944:

        Wallace was, not unreasonably, bitter about the dissembling manner in which Roosevelt had handled his dismissal. He felt betrayed and, in a remarkable lapse for a man not given to earthy language, wrote in his diary about one of FDR’s explanations, “I did not even think the word ‘bullshit.'”

        And so it might be said of Kuznick and Stone’s handiwork, but it probably deserves worse.

        Cliff May writes about Stone’s series and Radosh’s review in “Oliver Stone’s party line” and Michael Moynihan takes a critical look at the book from a liberal or libertarian perspective in “Oliver Stone’s junk history of the United States debunked.” Moynihan documents the seriousness with which the book has been treated by the mainstream media. Kuznick and Stone are exploiting the ignorance of many who should know better and many who don’t care to.

        Mr. Rebollo's U.S. History Class

        Unit Overview: After World War II, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union lead to a war without direct military confrontation - a Cold War. Postwar America sees a huge economic boom fueled by consumer spending that is spurred by the mass media, especially television. But many find themselves mired in poverty and stifled by discrimination.

        Standard 8: Students will understand the United States' domestic and international position in the Cold War era.
        Objective: 1. Investigate how the postwar goals and action of the United States and the Soviet Union were manifested throughout the world.
        2. Analyze the Cold War ideology of the United States’ involvement in Asia.
        3. Summarize the political, social, and economic reactions to the Cold War in the United States.
        4. Investigate the end of the Cold War and examine America’s role in the changing world.

        Lesson 1: Origins of the Cold War & The Cold War Heats Up

        -Current Event
        -Review Previous Lesson
        -Introduce Daily Learning Targets
        -Origin & The Cold War Notes Click Here!
        -U.S. Involvement Debate
        -Review Learning Targets

        Lesson 2: The Cold War at Home & Two Nations Live on the Edge

        -Current Event
        -Review Previous Lesson
        -Introduce Daily Learning Targets
        -War at Home & Escalation Notes Click Here!
        -assignment / activity
        -Review Learning Targets

        Lesson 3: Postwar America & The American Dream in the Fifties

        -Current Event
        -Review Previous Lesson
        -Introduce Daily Learning Targets
        -Postwar America Notes Click Here!
        -assignment / activity
        -Review Learning Targets

        Lesson 4: Popular Culture, The Other America & Review

        -Current Event
        -Review Previous Lesson
        -Introduce Daily Learning Targets
        -Pop Culture & Other America Notes Click Here!
        -America: Superpower Video
        -Unit 11 Checklist & Study Guide
        -Review Learning Targets

        Kerry References Beaches of Normandy, 9/11, the Cold War in Push for Syria Authorization

        Towards the end of a four-hour hearing, John Kerry invoked American soldiers who died on the beaches of Normandy in World War II, suggesting that America has a similar responsibility to intervene in Syria.

        “Have you ever been to the cemetery in France above those beaches?” Kerry asked the House Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon, in an attempt to convince members to approve military action. “Why’d those guys have to go do that? Because we were standing up with people for a set of values and fighting for freedom.”

        The secretary of state regretted that the world was not as simple as it was in the days of the Cold War when he was growing up, saying that “when the Berlin Wall fell, so did all of the things that tampened down a lot of sectarian, religious and other kinds of conflict in the world.” He attributed 9/11 to the unleashing of these forces, saying that the attacks “happened because there were ungoverned spaces in which people who wanted to fight the West” were able to do so.

        Kerry assured the committee that the U.S. does have “direct interests” in Syria, namely the country’s credibility in response to chemical attacks.

        “No country has liberated as much land or fought as many battles as the United States of America and turned around and given it back to the people who live there and who can own it and run it,” he said. “We are the indispensable nation.”

        Cold war literature review essay

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        Review: Volume 11 - Cold War - History

        Forging an Early Black Politics

        The pre-Civil War North was a landscape not of unremitting white supremacy but of persistent struggles over racial justice by both Blacks and whites.

        Southern Baptists’ Losing Faith

        Hardliners want to take over the convention and impose their ultra-conservative values—but they’re fighting over a shrinking franchise. Prosperity gospel megachurches are winning market share.

        Susan Te Kahurangi King’s art presents a visual, psychological, and expressive upside-down world.

        The Broken Promise of Retirement

        If the US does nothing to fix its retirement system, 2.6 million formerly middle-class workers will be plunged into poverty by 2022.

        Through their art collecting wealthy Jews staked a claim to being French, but the nation they loved savagely betrayed them.

        From the late eighteenth century onward, the British justified their empire with a continually updated ideology of moral purpose and historical necessity.

        Our navigational ability as a species is closely connected to our ability to tell stories about ourselves that unfold both backward and forward in time.

        A new edition of Emily Dickinson’s Master letters highlights what remains blazingly intense and mysterious in her work.

        Dostoevsky and His Demons

        Three biographers take different approaches to the great writer’s life, which often resembled his most fantastic tales.

        Blue Bloods and Brownshirts

        The relationship between German nobles and the Nazis was a misalliance in which attraction prevailed over repulsion.

        Watch the video: How Bad is Call of Duty: Vanguard? Beta FIRUIN Review