The Cold War was a period of intense competition and the geo-strategic struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies in the Western and Eastern blocs following World War II. At times it threatened to turn hot — potential battles between combatants armed with thousands of nuclear weapons — but always featured political, economic, ideological, and military confrontation. The post-Cold War era saw the Russian Federation and the United States work together on bilateral and global issues, a spirit of cooperation. That has evolved into the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, the extensive support of Kyiv by the United States and its allies, the expansion of NATO in reaction to Russian aggression, and a disruption in global stability and international norms.
Is the war in Ukraine a new “Cold War” or is it something else? Join Vanderbilt Distinguished Historian Professor Thomas Schwartz (1989 ACG Young Leader) for a discussion about the Cold War, the conflict in Ukraine, and the ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow and their allies.
This is discussion is part of the series In Focus: Russia’s War in Ukraine, organized by the ACG and the Tennessee World Affairs Council, which provides continued updates on and insights into the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine that has rocked the world order.
Professor Thomas Alan Schwartz is a historian of the foreign relations of the United States, with related interests in American politics, the history of international relations, Modern European history, and biography. His most recent book is Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography (Hill and Wang, 2020). The book has received considerable notice and acclaim. Harvard University’s Charles Maier has written: “Thomas Schwartz’s superbly researched political biography reveals the brilliance, self-serving ego, and vulnerability of America’s most remarkable diplomat in the twentieth century, even as it provides a history of U.S. engagement in global politics as it moved beyond bipolarity.” Earlier in his career, Schwartz was the author of America’s Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany (Harvard, 1991), which was translated into German, Die Atlantik Brücke (Ullstein, 1992). This book received the Stuart Bernath Book Prize of the Society of American Foreign Relations, and the Harry S. Truman Book Award, given by the Truman Presidential Library. He is also the author of Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam (Harvard, 2003), which examined the Johnson Administration’s policy toward Europe and assessed the impact of the war in Vietnam on its other foreign policy objectives. He is the co-editor with Matthias Schulz of The Strained Alliance: U.S.-European Relations from Nixon to Carter (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Professor Schwartz has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the German Historical Society, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Center for the Study of European Integration. He has served as President of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. He served on the United States Department of State’s Historical Advisory Committee as the representative of the Organization of American Historians from 2005-2008. Professor Schwartz received The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching on April 3, 2013, at the Spring Faculty Assembly, Vanderbilt University. In 2008 Professor Schwartz received the Annual Alumni Education Award from the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. Schwartz is the recipient of the 2008 Book Award by Chi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order. This award is given to a faculty member who has been particularly influential in the lives and education of members of KAO. Professor Schwartz presented, “The Arab Spring: Revolution in the Middle East,” on April 19, 2011, as part of the Samuel L. Shannon Distinguished Lecture Series at Tennessee State University. Professor Schwartz has also presented lectures for the OAH Distinguished Lecturers Program.