Cold War Legacies | Wilson Center

Cold War Legacies

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In the various analyses of the end of the Cold War, lessons can be gleaned about defining threats, designing goals, setting priorities, and making tradeoffs. According to Melvyn Leffler, what proved most important in the Cold War was not superior military capabilities, not artful foreign policies, and not sophisticated public diplomacy, but rather the capacity of the West to stabilize, adjust, and calibrate its political economy in ways that it had not done in the first half of the twentieth century.

Melvyn P. Leffler is the Edward Stettinius Professor of American History at the University of Virginia and currently a Wilson Center Fellow. He is the author of A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (1992), and For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (2008). Most recently, he co-edited (with Odd Arne Westad) the three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War (2010).


  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center