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Overview & List of Documents

This collection of documents on the Cold War continues the Ashbrook Center’s extended series of document collections covering major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. The volume begins with George Kennan’s “long telegram” (1946) laying out the containment policy that the United States would follow in various forms throughout the struggle with the Soviet Union. It ends with the transcript of a phone call between President George H. W. Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989 in which the two leaders discussed how to deal with the changes transforming Russia and bringing the Cold War to an end. It covers American aid to Europe in the early years of the Cold War and American intervention in subsequent years in conflicts around the world to contain the spread of Soviet power. Its documents also explore the domestic effects of the Cold War, chronicling how national security concerns affected relations between American citizens and between Americans and their government. This collection and its companion volumes — World War I and the Twenties, The Depression and New Deal, and World War II — comprise a detailed account of the major events of America’s 20th century.

  • George Kennan, The Long Telegram, February 22, 1946
  • President Harry S. Truman, Special Message to the Congress on Greece and Turkey (The Truman Doctrine), March 12, 1947
  • George C. Marshall, “European Initiative Essential to Economic Recovery” (The Marshall Plan), June 5, 1947
  • Dean Acheson, “Crisis in Asia – An Examination of U.S. Policy,” January 12, 1950
  • Joseph McCarthy, Address to the League of Women Voters, Wheeling, West Virginia, February 9, 1950
  • National Security Council, United States Objectives and Programs for National Security (NSC 68), April 7, 1950
  • Margaret Chase Smith, Declaration of Conscience, June 1, 1950
  • President Harry S. Truman, Report to the American People on Korea, April 11, 1951
  • Douglas D. MacArthur, Address to Congress, April 19, 1951
  • Irving Kaufman, Sentencing of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, April 5, 1951
  • U.S. State Department, The Negro in American Life (Guidance for the Voice of America), February 5, 1952
  • John Foster Dulles, “A Policy of Boldness,” May 19, 1952
  • Federal Civil Defense Administration, Organized Evacuation of Civilian Populations in Civil Defense, June 12, 1952
  • President Harry S. Truman, Farewell Address, January 15, 1953
  • Robert E. Treuhaft, Testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, December 3, 1953
  • National Security Council Directive, NSC 5412/2, Covert Operations, December 28, 1955
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Developments in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, October 31, 1956
  • Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev, The Kitchen Debate, July 25, 1959
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961
  • President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961
  • Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara, Report to President Kennedy on South Vietnam, November 11, 1961
  • Students for a Democratic Society, The Port Huron Statement, 1962
  • President John F. Kennedy, Statement on Cuba, September 4, 1962
  • Minutes of the Meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) on Operation MONGOOSE, October 4, 1962
  • Central Intelligence Agency, Soviet Reactions to Certain U.S. Courses of Action on Cuba, October 19, 1962
  • President John F. Kennedy, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba, October 22, 1962
  • President John F. Kennedy, Remarks in the Rudolph Wilde Platz, Berlin, June 26, 1963
  • Limited Test Ban Treaty, August 5, 1963
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson, Special Message to the Congress on U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia, August 5, 1964
  • Joint Resolution of Congress, H.J. RES 1145, August 7, 1964
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson, “Peace Without Conquest, ” April 7, 1965
  • George Ball, Compromise Solution For South Vietnam, 1965
  • Statement by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on the War in Vietnam, January 6, 1966
  • President Richard M. Nixon, Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam, November 3, 1969
  • Henry Kissinger and William Rogers, Telephone Conversation about Chile, September 14, 1970
  • Joint Statement Following Discussions with Leaders of thePeople’s Republic of China (Shanghai Communiqué), February 27, 1972
  • President Richard M. Nixon, Address to the Nation Announcing Conclusion of an Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, January 23, 1973
  • President Richard M. Nixon and Henry Kissinger, Telephone Conversation about Chile, September 16, 1973
  • Washington Special Actions Group, Meeting on Cuba, March 24, 1976
  • President Jimmy Carter, Address at Commencement Exercises at the University of Notre Dame, May 22, 1977
  • President Jimmy Carter, Address to the Nation on the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, January 4, 1980
  • President Ronald Reagan, Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security, March 23, 1983
  • President Ronald Reagan, Remarks on East-West Relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, June 12, 1987
  • National Security Council, National Security Directive 23, “United States Relations with the Soviet Union,” September 22, 1989
  • President George H.W. Bush and Helmut Kohl, Telephone Conversation, November 10, 1989