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military history

The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945–1953

Robert Dallek.
Publisher Harper  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.3 inches
ISBN 9780061628665
Pages/Publication Date 420/2010
Daedalus Item Code 20173
This item is not available.
Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Dallek, author of Nixon & Kissinger, here offers a penetrating look at misjudgments that caused international strife and suffering during the critical period from 1945 to 1953—from the closing months of World War II through the early years of the Cold War. He examines what drove the world's great leaders—Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Mao, de Gaulle, and Truman—to rely on traditional power politics despite the catastrophic violence their nations had just endured. Dallek's history is also a cautionary tale that considers what might have been done differently to avoid conflicts with China, Korea, in the Middle East, and around the globe.

"After WWII, the most destructive war in history, everyone yearned for a better world. Veteran historian Dallek delivers a shrewd analysis of why world leaders failed to deliver it. Reviewing postwar crises—Soviet occupation of eastern Europe, the creation of Israel, India's independence, France's occupation of Indochina, China's civil war, the Korean War—Dallek sadly concludes that the Allies misread history, eschewing anything that smacked of appeasement, treating opponents, mostly the U.S.S.R., as they should have treated Hitler. Without attempting to rehabilitate Stalin, Dallek asserts that Western leaders managed to push all his paranoid buttons. Notwithstanding their conviction that he aimed to conquer the world, Stalin was no apostle of world revolution but a conventional nationalist obsessed with protecting Russia's borders and maintaining his own power. Despite repeated painful experiences and immense expense, traditional, pugnacious power politics proved irresistible (except, ironically, to WWII's losers, Germany and Japan), Dallek concludes in this perceptive work."—Publishers Weekly

"Events in 1945 and 1946 constitute the bulk of Dallek's text, which has the Americans puzzling over Soviet actions in Poland, Germany, and Iran and Stalin's historically significant speech of February 1946. Diplomat George Kennan's explanation of Soviet behavior, in the similarly significant 'Long Telegram,' galvanized Washington's distrust and fear, helping congeal the cold war. Dallek's explicit purpose in reflecting on this exhaustively researched history is finding leadership mistakes that worsened international tensions in the late 1940s. Conceding Stalin's centrality as a cold war instigator, Dallek nevertheless disparages many of Truman's decisions as irrational overreactions to the Soviet adversary. Bound to provoke debate, Dallek's tome should engage the readership for world politics."—Booklist

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