For forty-five years the Cold War was the central factor in world politics. It dominated the foreign policies of the United States and the Soviet Union and affected the diplomacy and domestic politics of most other nations. Understanding the origins of the Cold War is central to understanding the international history of the last half of the twentieth century. Focusing on the international system and on events in all parts of the globe, this pathbreaking volume provides a fresh and comprehensive analysis of the origins of the Cold War. Moving beyond earlier controversies over responsibility for the Cold War adn avoiding myopic preoccupation with Soviet-American relations, the editors have brought together articles that deal with geopolitics and threat perception, technology and strategy, ideology adn social reconstruction, national ecomic reform and patterns of international trade, decolonisation and national liberation. The essays demonstrate how tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union spawned anarms race, polarised domestic and international politics, and split the world into military as well as political blocs. This volume explains how and why the Cold War spread from the industrialised core of Europe and Japan to the Third World periphery, eventually engulfing the whole world. It also shows how groups, classes and elites used the Cold War to further their own interest. Finally, by highlighting the systemic factors that contributed to the onset of the Cold War, this volume provides new insights into the Cold War's unexpected and precipitous end.