Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
Esenwein. George Richard
The Cold War and the Spanish Civil War: the impact of politics on historiography, pp. 175-189 ff.
CHAPTER 11 The Cold War and the Spanish Civil War: The Impact of Politics on Historiography GEORGE ESENWEIN IF hen, in November 1989, Berliners began the extraordinary task of tearing down the infamous Berlin Wall (or Wall of Shame as it was known to its crit ics over its twenty-eight-year history), their daring act was widely interpreted by the outside world as signaling the beginning of the end of the Cold War, a multifaceted rivalry between Communist and liberal capitalist systems that had dominated global affairs since 1945. The next two years saw the rapid dissolution of Communism in East Central Europe as countries, one by one, in that region declared an end to Communist rule. With the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union in 1991, the consensus among most political pundits was that the epitaph of the Cold War could at last be written. The end of the Cold War presented historians with the opportunity to begin reflect- ing on the impact that the long-lasting conflict had on their profession, particularly in fields which inevitably had been shaped and colored by the political climate of the era. And while it seemed reasonable to assume at the time that the ending of the Cold War would serve as an impetus for generating an outpouring of revisionist scholarly monographs and articles in areas like international Communism and Soviet studies, the fact is that the process of re- assessing the ways in which the Cold War had influenced our historical understanding of these and related subjects had begun some five to ten years earlier.' Significantly, these revi- sionist efforts took place against the background of renewed ideological tensions between East and West. In Central America, the Nicaragua Revolution raised the specter of another Cuba close to the U.S. border, and in Central Asia, the Soviets were hopelessly bogged down in their efforts to defend a "sovietized" Afghani government from the onslaught of Islamic fundamentalists (mujahedeen). In this country the veteran anti-Communist Ronald Reagan was President, and the newly appointed head of the Soviet regime, Mikhail Gorbachev, was still an inscrutable figure to the West. Indeed, in view of all the uncertainties and brewing 175
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