WebWarrior: The Cold War
The Marshall Plan; the Berlin Wall; the U-2 Incident; the Bay of Pigs; the Cuban Missile Crisis; ?Perestroika’ and ?Glasnost’; the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars). With the death of former United States President Ronald Reagan this month, another war was brought back into the media spotlight: the Cold War. I’d like to do the same here by bringing our readers a look at how the Cold War is represented in cyberspace.
I have visited just over seventy web sites garnered through searches from Google, Yahoo!, and MSN, along with some that I visit on a regular basis, and have gathered a list of twelve that I think are excellent. I based my decisions on the pure quality and quantity of Cold War information found in each site. For the lay and hardcore military historians, these sites are sure to have what you may be looking for. By the way, these are not listed in any favored order.
To begin, may I introduce you to two general info sites that I think do an excellent job. When I come upon a subject that I do not already have a bookmark for, these are where I go to get off on the right track.
1. Questia ? The Online Library of Books and Journals
Houston, Texas based Questia bills itself as ?the world’s largest online library’, and I’ve not seen any other that can match it. However, it does require a subscription to have access to all that’s offered here. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of the price.
Simply typing ?Cold War’ into the search window returned a grand total of 54, 305 results, divided into books, and articles from newspapers, magazines, journals, and encyclopedias. Mind you, these are not web sites that you’ll have to burn your eyeballs out on looking for the ?cold war’ reference on the site; these are top-notch items that stay true to what you are searching for.
An extra special item to note about Questia is the Free Book of the Week, found in the blue READ tabbed section. For my purpose, I was allowed to read We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History by John Lewis Gaddis (Oxford University Press, 1997). The books come complete with footnotes and hyperlinks to related topics. A plethora of other resources are made available once you register.
2. Internet Modern History Sourcebook ? A Bipolar World
Another site I visit often, and the first site I went to for this article, is this one, hosted at New York’s Fordham University. Paul Halsall is the Editor and Designer of the Sourcebooks Project, "collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use".
The Cold War section found here is titled A Bipolar World, and includes excerpts from Churchill’s 1946 ?Iron Curtain’ speech, JFK’s 1962 Address on the Cuban Crisis, the 1961 USA and USSR Exchange of Notes on the Berlin Wall, and many other highly notable pieces.
When you’re done with Modern History, be sure to visit the other sourcebook sections on Medieval and Ancient History.
3. World Wide Web ? Virtual Library: History: United States: VL Cold War Index
For sheer volume and choice of Cold War related subjects, this site is the best on this list. Hosted at the European University Institute, it began in March of 1993 at a whopping 275 KB! Now, however, the VL counts a vast array of topics in its index, from agriculture, computers, humanities, law, and society, to name a few.
Included in its Cold War Index, the VL has arranged the information into headings (timelines, history, organizations, topics), or you can simply click on any year from 1945 to the 1990′s. It looks like everything is here: the 1 March 1945 Report to Congress by Franklin D. Roosevelt on the Crimea Conference (The Yalta Conference); the 1951 recall of General MacArthur by President Truman; documents from the Eisenhower Library concerning the 1 May 1960 U-2 Spy Plane incident. I’d say this should be the first place on the Web to get your Cold War fix.
4. The Cold War Museum
The Web has been a boon to military history propagation, especially for museums. People not physically located nearby a brick-and-mortar museum have given rise to the ?virtual museum’, of which the next site belongs to.
The Cold War Museum was founded in 1996 by John C. Welch and Francis Gary Powers, Jr. The website features reference and research material from the 1940′s through to the 1990′s, including virtual exhibits, a collection of patches, and a ton of photos from the Cold War era. They are also looking for contributions, if you have something you’d like to donate.
5. On the Front Lines of the Cold War: Documents on the Intelligence War in Berlin, 1946 to 1961
This page is brought to us from the Center for the Study of Intelligence, based in Washington, D.C., and was produced from oral histories of the Central Intelligence Agency. This site gets my vote for the best reading and writing, and I doubt you’ll find information of this caliber anywhere else. Of particular interest was Chapter IV: Alltagsgeschichte: Day to Day in the Intelligence War, with .PDF files galore.
6. CNN ? The Cold War Experience
CNN launched this companion site to their award-winning documentary of the same name in September 1998, and the site now has over 1,000 pages included. Highly interactive, with videos, maps, photos, interviews, a message board, even a game, this is a very professional Cold War piece of work.
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