Who Was To Blame For Cold War – Schools of Thought

This article goes into a bit more detail on the different schools of thought regarding who was truly to blame for the Cold War.


  • Affirms the idea that the USSR was either largely, or wholly, responsible for the development of the Cold War.
  • The main criticism of this school of thought is that, intentionally or as a by-product of the thought, is that it implies the USA is a unequivocally ‘good’. This could be argued against both at the beginning of the Cold War, e.g, aggressive policies adopted by Truman in the aftermath of WWII, and even that the USA is to blame for frosty relations between the USA and Russia.

Revisionist and Post-Revisionist

  • Revisionist ideas grew largely in the 1960s, due to disillusionment with the ongoing Vietnam War.
  • Revisionists used the Domino Theory, which is usually used by apologists for US actions, to show how the USA was, at least in part, responsible for the Cold War. Apologists said the fall of Vietnam to communism would lead to the fall of Laos and the fall of Japan etc. Revisionists contend that Domino Theory was largely economics based, if Vietnam fell so would the US economy.
  • This in of itself was largely due to the military-industrial complex that gripped the USA, meaning it needed conflict to help it’d economy.
  • Post-revisionists largely argue the Cold War was due to miscommunication and overreaction story each other’s wants and needs. The USA overreacting to Soviet desire for safety for their regime, and the Soviets overreacting to the USA wanting to expand their markets and influence.

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