The Cycles Of American History By Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr

1142 words - 5 pages

The Cycles of American History by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

The book The Cycles of American History by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. is a very interesting book about the history of America. The book was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. The author Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., graduate and professor of history from Harvard College class of 1938, is the son of the famous historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. Arthur Jr. is known for his books about U.S. presidents and their policies. He served as Special Assistant to the President in John F. Kennedy's administration and He coined the term Imperial Presidency during the Nixon administration . Schlesinger was known to be a harsh critic of ...view middle of the document...

” He goes on to say that “It is useful to remember that, on the whole, past exercises in revisionism have failed to stick.” Though the he attacks revisions and notes its failures he then says that “But this does not mean that one should deplore the rise of Cold War revisionism. For revisionism an essential part of the process by which history, through the posing of new problems and the investigation of new possibilities, enlarges its perspectives and enriches its insights.”
Schlesinger then contrasts the views of the revisionist with several other views on the origins of the Cold War. The geopoliticians traced the Cold War back to the days of Imperial Russia’s strategic ambitions in the 19th century which lead to the Crimean War. Ideologists say that it started with the Communist Manifesto of 1848. While many observers concluded that classical Russian imperialism and Pan-Slavism, compounded after 1917 by Leninist messianism, confronted with the west at the end of the Second World War with an inexorable drive for domination. The revisionist view is completely different. They view that after the Second World War, the United States deliberately abandoned the wartime policy of collaboration and, happy about having the atomic bomb, undertook a course of aggression against the Soviet Union to expel all their influence from Eastern Europe and to make democratic-capitalist countries at the borders of the Soviet Union. The only thing the Soviets could do was defend themselves against these aggressive anti-communist American policies by building their own nuclear weapons and making a buffer zone of communist countries between it and the capitalist countries.
The author says that one of the underlying reasons of the Cold War was that there was an unquestionably a failure of communication between the United States and Russia and as the misperception of signals went on both sides had a tendency to ascribe ominous motives to the other side. Then he says that there is one big omission from the revisionist about the fundamental explanation of the speed at which the Cold War escalated. It lies exactly in the fact that the Soviet Union was not a traditional state. But Schlesinger considers that fact a classical revisionist fallacy. He bases it on the assumption of the rationality of states where ideology and social...

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