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Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
(2008)

Esenwein. George Richard
The Cold War and the Spanish Civil War: the impact of politics on historiography,   pp. 175-189 ff.


Page 175

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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