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Containing Coexistence: America, Russia and the Finnish Solution, 1945-56 (American Diplomatic History) Hardcover – 31 May 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: The Kent State University Press (31 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873385586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873385589
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,651,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Jussi M. Hanhimaki is Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. An editor of the journal Cold War History, he is the author or co-author of six books, including The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign
Policy. He won the 2002 Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

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Format: Hardcover
Finland, after being defeated in World War II by the Soviet Union, managed to avoid the grim fate of becoming a Soviet satellite-state like many Eastern European states such as Poland and Hungary. Was this an American political triumph of containing Communism in the early years of the Cold War? Could it be that the USSR was driven by security issues along it's Northwestern border with Finland rather than ideological issues of Communist world domination? Through extensive research of Finnish and American sources, Jussi Hanhimaki demonstrates the different views of the Soviet Union held by the Finnish and the U.S. policy makers.
This study sheds light into the economic issues of East-West trade practised by Finland throughout the Cold War period. The study also touches on the Finnish neutrality and how it was viewed by the Americans and the Soviet Union. Hanhimaki explains the difficulties encountered by the Finnish Presidents J.K. Paasikivi and U.K. Kekkonen as they were balancing between the East and the West.
The neutral Nordic zone of Finland and Sweden was a sore point for the Americans as it demonstrated the possibility of coexistence between communism and the 'free-world' countries. The Soviet Union, according to Hanhimaki, was in fact promoting the peaceful coexistence between the East and the West. The American response to this policy was rather suspicious as they believed it to be a strategy of the Soviet Union to create a false sense of security among the western European states. The Americans believed, as Hanhimaki argues, that the Soviet Union's goal was to achieve communist world domination and they used the promotion of neutrality and non-alignment as a tool to attain this goal.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to a fascinating question 29 Jun. 2005
By Thomas Veil - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Containing Coexistence studies what has to be one of the most interesting and least addressed questions related to the early years of the Cold War: how Finland managed to remain neutral and unoccupied. Jussi Hanhimaki has written a detailed, cogent account of the interactions of Finland, the United States and the Soviet Union, with particular emphasis to the changing American assessment of Finland's position in the Cold War.

Probably the part of the book most relevant to students of the Cold War is the first section, which explains how Finland became the sole success story of Yalta. Soviet foreign policy toward Finland is assessed as having been primarily driven by security concerns.

I personally wonder if Hanhimaki gives Finland's leadership too much credit for avoiding absorption into the Soviet bloc. It would seem that the weakness of Finland's communists, the Soviet choice not to advance into Finland in 1944, and the consolidation of Cold War tensions in Central Europe probably did more to shape Moscow's policy than did President Paasikivi's prudent policy. Clearly Helsinki played its cards very carefully and with real success, but I wonder to what extent the outcome was already determined by external events.

In any case, this is an excellent book by a capable and eloquent scholar. It might have benefited from more evidence on the Soviet side, but this is understandly harder to secure.
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