Cold War Studies at Harvard University

Cold War Studies at Harvard University

The stated function of the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies (HPWCS) is to further the progress of, and actively encourage the ongoing primary research of archival, Cold War documents in the former Eastern-bloc nations. These documents have only become available since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and rapidly increase in numbers year by year. This function, or focus, is then combined with the intent to build on and apply the knowledge gained from this process. The project also encourages scholars and students to apply insights gained from research to current discourses pertaining to areas of international and domestic politics.



Another component of this focus is helping to sort through these documents with the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), and the National Security Archive, which have the lead sorting through these documents. Therefore, the Harvard project adds the resources of a its large and distinguished university to this substantial task.[1][2][3]

Furthermore, this process allows the project to derive knowledge and lessons that are relevant to current policy, from the Cold War archives. The overarching theme of these lessons is realizing that direct military confrontation was avoided, despite the occurrence of critical situations and dilemmas. The results are recommendations for managing or avoiding post–Cold War conflicts, and for dealing with the poliferation of post war nuclear weapons. Deriving such lessons then becomes applicable to enhancing what is known about Cold War events and themes.

Scholars and student researchers are able to communicate their applicable insights through scholarly publications which this project sponsors. These publications include the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series and the peer-reviewed Journal of Cold War Studies.[1][2][3]

Disseminating knowledge

Conduits for disseminating knowledge derived from these efforts are accessible declassified documents via the internet, the Ethnic Conflict and Nationalist Unrest project, the nuclear weapons history exhibit (also available online), highlighting cold war subject areas (also available online), and the aforementioned Journal of Cold War Studies. Another conduit is the aforementioned Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series consisting of eight volumes as of 2006, while several more are being edited or are in production (2006).[1][2][3]

Book Series

The book series is in keeping with the goals of this project by disseminating knowledge gained from studying primary documents, including first hand accounts, and reviewing cold war events and themes from different perspectives, including hindsight. With the book series archival evidence is brought forward to the post-cold-war perspective. The evidence is applied to determine the validity of theoretical concepts composed during the cold war as a result of events during that time period. Rowman & Littlefield publishes the books of this series.

A two stage review process resulted in contents consisting of original monogaraphs, and edited selected collections. An editing board consisting of 32 scholars, who are consisdered to be distinguished, were consulted when selecting books for this series. Board membership is international in scope with members from colleges and uinversities in Budapest, Moscow, Prague, Rome, Fontainebleau (France), Warsaw, and various universities throughout the United States.[4][5][6]

In the following sections some of the books are given a brief overview:

Redrawing nations

Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948

World War II had ended. Forced migrations for millions occurred as they were forced to leave their homes, and be repatriated to their supposed countries of origins. This affected 12 million Germans, 3 million Poles and Ukrainians, and tens of thousands of Hungarians. The book "...explores ways ethnic cleansing helped sustain Communist rule and was sustained by it. It demonstrates how ethnic cleansing figured in the Cold War." ... "But the forced transfers occurred with the consent of the US and British governments." [7][8]


  1. ^ a b c "About the Project". Harvard Project on Cold War Studies. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  2. ^ a b c "Harvard Project on Cold War Studies scholarly works". MIT press. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  3. ^ a b c "Profile of the Project". Harvard Project on Cold War Studies. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  4. ^ "The Cold War Studies Book Series and Other Book Projects". Harvard Cold War Studies Project. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  5. ^ "Editorial Board". Harvard Cold War Studies Project. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  6. ^ Connelly, John; (University of California, Berkeley) (2006). "Bradley F. Abrams The Struggle for the Soul of the Nation: Czech Culture and the Rise of Communism. (The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series). Rowman & Littlefield. 2004" (Book Review). Austrian History Yearbook (Cambridge University Press) 37: 246–247. doi:10.1017/S0067237800017094. ""In his masterful re-creation of Czech intellectual politics in the years 1945-48, Bradley Abrams makes a simple argument: with the exception of Roman Catholics, political forces to the right of the Communists failed to craft a distinct vocabulary and were therefore unable to counter the Communist challenge."" This book is online at Google Books here.
  7. ^ "Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948". Book overview, including TOC. Harvard Project on Cold War Studies. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  8. ^ Mackensen, Rainer (March 2003). "Book Reviews (pages 121–133)". Population and Development Review (John Wiley & Sons) 29 (01): 121 (4 pages). doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2003.00121.x. "There are many authenticated reports about the experiences of refugees and expeilees, but there have been few historical investigations, and those available are mostly narrowly focused. This volume is the first attempt at an overview. It makes use of recently declassified archival materials from Germany, Poland, and Russia." Book at Google Books here

External links

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