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Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good attempt at a post-revisionist overview of the Cold War, 16 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Origins of the Cold War, 1941-49 (Seminar Studies In History) (Paperback)
This is the second edition of Martin McCauley's work, revised in light of documents that surfaced after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. McCauley is a political historian, specializing in Slavonic and East European Studies. Like most post-revisionist historians, McCauley tries to avoid apportioning blame, and instead tries to unravel complex issues.
McCauley's approach to the Marshall Plan demonstrates his approach to other aspects of the Cold War. He takes the view that the Marshall Plan was primarily intended to free the German economy, in the long run, relieving the burden on American taxpayers. At the same time it was an attempt to pacify France. France was worried about a strong Germany re-emerging, and by tying the European economies together the view was that France would benefit from any increase in German production. It is his treatment of Germany that really sets McCauley apart. Any anti-communism surrounding the Marshall Plan was merely a sugar coating that would allow the United States to slip this pill down their taxpayer's throats.
Perhaps because of his desire not to apportion blame, the calculation on the American's part does not figure prominently in McCauley's analysis. However, his lofty aspirations do not stop McCauley from suggesting that it was Soviet reaction to the Marshall Plan that led to the polarization of Europe into blocs. Thus, because of his neglect of the American Calculation, McCauley seems to be holding the Soviets responsible for the polarization. This is not surprising since McCauley asserts in the foreword, "Those who favour liberal democracy and capitalism regard the Cold War as having conferred greater benefits than losses." This book is an easy read for anyone interested in the origins of the Cold War. However, I would recommend John Lewis Gaddis' "We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History" over McCauley's effort. McCauley has the gift of brevity, but Gaddis that of being thorough.
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