“If you want Peace…”: Orwellian Detours on the Path to a Politics of Peace in the early Cold War | Wilson Center
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“If you want Peace…”: Orwellian Detours on the Path to a Politics of Peace in the early Cold War

Cold war history is replete with moments of international crises and confrontations.  But when looking closely at the archival record, one cannot help but notice how ubiquitous the talk of peace was in international relations.  By shining the archival spotlight on peace rather than war, Petra Goedde shows that a transnational politics of peace emerged that involved both high level diplomats and grassroots activists; was full of Orwellian contradictions and absurdities; and ultimately lay at the core of the international transformations of the 1960s, most prominently the rise of détente.

Petra Goedde is a specialist in transnational, culture, gender history, and the history of cultural globalization. She is Associate Professor of History at Temple University and co-editor of the Journal Diplomatic History.  Among her publications are GIs and Germans: Culture, Gender, and Foreign Relations, 1945-1949 (Yale 2003); The Politics of Peace: A Global Cold War History (Oxford 2019).  She has co-edited The Human Rights Revolution (Oxford, 2012) and the Oxford Handbook of the Cold War (2013).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support.



  • 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
  • Eric Arnesen

    Professor of History, The George Washington University