Foreign Affairs

Cold War International History Conference: Introduction

September 25-26, 1998
National Archives at College Park, Maryland


On September 25th and 26th, 1998, NARA and the University of Maryland, College Park, hosted "The Power of Free Inquiry and Cold War International History," a conference on Cold War documentation and historiography. The PROGRAM featured a plenary and six topical sessions comprising 31 session panelists, 19 formal paper presentations, and the remarks of 5 panel commentators.

Conference sessions highlighted the varied and occasionally conflicting perspectives of Cold War issues held by historians, political scientists, archivists, and administrators representing government, academia, and research institutions. Over the course of two days, panelists focused on several topics pertaining to Cold War research: "new" documentation emerging in former Communist bloc countries and in China; historiographical trends and issues relating to such topics as the Korean War, China since the revolution of 1949, and American arms control policy in the early Cold War years; surveys of records held by the Department of Energy, the National Archives in Washington, DC area facilities, and the Kennedy and Johnson Presidential libraries; and access trends and issues, with emphasis on the effects of President Clinton's Executive Order 12958, the work of the Department of State Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, and the accomplishments of international organizations and archival councils in expanding archival access, especially within former Communist bloc countries. For new and young researchers of Cold War history, these papers also share the experiences and hard-won wisdom of historians, archivists, and political scientists who have conducted research in the archival repositories of the United States, eastern Europe and China, or who have wrestled with the many policy issues that govern access to vital documentation.

Many, but not all, formal session papers were submitted for posting on this web site. Highlighted author/title information entries in the conference PROGRAM provide a link to formal papers and discussion comments received by the conference organizers as of July 2, 1999. Copies of any additional papers and comments received through December 3, 1999, will be added to the web site. No new postings will occur after December 31, 1999.

Several papers available on this web site are not protected by copyright and contain no restrictions on use. Others are protected by copyright; these are clearly identified by title page copyright statements. In accordance with U.S. copyright law, a copyright holder has exclusive rights to reproduce derivative works, to distribute copies, and to display his or her work.

Videotaped proceedings of the conference are available for purchase.

In conjunction with the conference, NARA prepared An Introduction to National Archives Records Relating to the Cold War (Reference Information Paper 107).