The Cold War in retrospect: a continuous international conflict or a world war?

Arie Geronik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This essay aims to offer a new perspective on the world wars of the twentieth century and its international systems. In this context I argue that the bipolar system, in contrast to its predecessors, was not ended by a world war because this very system–or more precisely, the mode of operation derived from it, namely the Cold War–was in itself a world war. In this sense it differs from the two preceding international systems. In order to confirm this hypothesis, I will first survey the three international systems with which we are familiar from twentieth-century history, including their characteristics and legacies. I will then examine the familiar definitions of war in political- historical scholarship, propose a definition of the term ‘world war’ and finally attempt to demonstrate that the Cold War indeed falls into this category.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300527
JournalCogent Social Sciences
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Cold War
  • Comparative Politics
  • Cristina Elena Popa Tache, Law, Andrei Şaguna University, Bucharest, Romania
  • history
  • International Politics
  • International relations
  • International Relations
  • international systems
  • Military Studies
  • world order
  • world war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences

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