Monday, July 10, 2006

A very short introduction to Cold War

(Updated edition) Although the East-West Cold War that started in 1946 had ended in 1991 with the final implosion of the Soviet Union, its origin and twists and turns are still being studied. There are, of course, many thick monographs but there are also some handy and conscise introductory booklets on the subject like Professor J. McMahon's The Cold War - A Very Short Introduction (New York, Oxford University Press, 2003) that cater for laymen or non-specialists.

After reading the first and third chapter, I think it is likely to be a balanced and fair-minded account with many facts and figures organised in a coherent framework of discourse.

Three sentences in Chapter 3 deserve deeper reflection:

" The epic struggles for national freedom and independence mounted by Asian and other Third World peoples in the aftermath of World War II rank among the most powerful historical forces of the 20th century. Those struggles, it bears emphasizing, were quite distinct from the temporally overlapping contest for power and influence being waged by the United States and the Soviet Union, and doubtless would have transpired with or without a Cold War. Yet the latter conflict did occur, and its totalizing character inevitably shaped the temper, pace, and ultimate outcome of the former. Decolonization and the Cold War were fated to become inextricably linked, each shaping and being shaped by the other, in Asia as elsewhere." (p.36)

So, this OUP booklet may help younger friends to comprehend with greater depth the global backgrounds of Alias Chin Peng: My Side Of History and other memoirs of the veterans of the Communist Party of Malaya like Abdullah CD, Rashid Maidin, Suriani Abdullah, Ibrahim Chik and Abu Samah. It may also help you to understand the problems now in the Korean Peninsula better in a historical perspective.



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