A Distant Front in the Cold War reveals West Africa as a significant site of Cold War conflict in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although the region voided the extreme tensions of the standoff in Eastern Europe or in the Cuban missile crisis, it nevertheless offers a vivid example of political, economic, and propagandistic rivalry between the US and the USSR. Mazov presents evidence from previously inaccessible or unknown documents in Russian and US archives, as well as an international sampling of recent scholarly works.

Sergey Mazov is a professor and chief research fellow at the Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, in Moscow.


Series Preface
James G. Hershberg



1. Building Bridges, 1956–1959

2. Achievements and Failures in the “Year of Africa,” 1960

3. Seeking More Pragmatic Approaches, 1961–1962

4. The Struggle for the Soul of the West African Elite,1963–1964



“The reader interested in a balanced and well-grounded history of the early days of the Soviet-U.S. competition for presence and influence in Africa will find Mazov’s treatment of the issue illuminating. A Distant Front in the Cold War is likely to remain the definitive work on Soviet policy in the early years of that competition until the day when the key Soviet archives that have never been opened to researchers (e.g., those of the Soviet Politburo, the Soviet state security organs and the Soviet military intelligence agency) are finally accessible.”—Roger E. Kanet, Journal of Cold War Studies

“This book addresses a subject on which almost nothing is available on the Russian side, and so it covers a very important ‘blank spot of history’.”—Svetlana Savranskaya, George Washington University

“For the first time, this book uncovers flaws in Soviet policy toward Africa, inherent weaknesses relating to the lack of resources and imagination, bureaucratic impediments and ignorance, which led eventually to failure to compete with the United States for the ‘hearts and minds’ of Africans.”—Ilya Gaiduk, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences