in: Journal of Cold War studies, Volume 6, Issue 2, p. 64-68
ISSN: 1520-3972 (print), 1531-3298 (electronic)
Using a recent book by Jeffrey Record as a point of departure, this essay considers the role of historical analogies in decisions by U.S. leaders to use force during the Cold War. The analogies considered by Record those of Munich and Vietnam may have had a bearing on some decisions, but it is often difficult to assess their relative weight compared to other critical variables. Moreover, several analogies not considered by Record Pearl Harbor, for example may have been far more salient during certain crises than the analogies he examines. In any case, we need a more systematic analysis of historical analogies than Record provides if we are to gauge the real influence and impact of historical analogies on the Cold War.