What Xinjiang Tells Us about the Early History of the Cold War

An advanced copy of an article that I wrote for Cold War History, “To Die on the Steppe: Sino-Soviet-American Relations and the Cold War in Chinese Central Asia, 1944–1952,” was posted online yesterday.

I am pasting below the abstract in English and Chinese:

Through a narrative retelling of a little known but incredible journey from Xinjiang to New York City made by a group of ethnic Russians in the mid-twentieth century, this article shows how some of the earliest and most poignant manifestations of the Cold War, including nuclear rivalry and espionage, were made evident in Chinese Central Asia. Wrapped up within an intense competition for resources, information, and influence between the United States, the Soviet Union, and two Chinese regimes, the Russians at the heart of this article reveal how the Cold War was a truly global conflict which was intimately experienced by ordinary peoples and often times in the places most far removed. This episode is furthermore a reminder that even if the Cold War did produce stability at the macro-level, the outcomes of the strategic rivalry and competition between the Soviet Union and the United States were violent and tragic, not necessarily or exclusively for these countries but especially for their allies and accomplices.



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