TITLE: Cold War International History Project

ACCESS: http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=topics.home

Since the end of the Cold War, previously classified documents, especially those from "behind the Iron Curtain," have become available to the public for the first time. The discovery of these new sources of information has had a major impact in changing the way scholars interpret events from the end of World War II to the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), a program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has been a primary agent in helping to make these new sources of information accessible to Cold War researchers. CWIHP "seeks to accelerate the process of integrating new sources, materials, and perspectives from the former 'Communist bloc' with the historiography of the Cold War which has been written over the past few decades largely by Western scholars reliant on Western archival sources."

CWIHP's publications are available online in full-text format. Each issue of the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, CWHIP Working Paper Series, and CWHIP e-Dossier Series focus on specific themes or archival sources, such as "The KGB in Afghanistan" or "From the Russian Archives." The research articles, contributed by leading Cold War scholars, are supplemented with analyses and English translations of excerpts from previously declassified archival documents. One example of this can be seen in "Declassified Materials from CPSU Central Committee Plenum: Sources, Context, Highlights."

The site's "Virtual Archive" is searchable by keyword, using Boolean operators and truncation, and the search engine appears to search the entire text of the online documents. However, keyword searches seemed to retrieve a maximum of 31 results in all cases. The "Virtual Archive" can also be browsed by a list of keywords, keywords subject, keywords year, publications, collection, and geographic subject. Each online document has a link at the bottom of the page to a printer-friendly version.

Primary source materials, especially those from foreign countries, can be especially difficult to locate. The CWIHP Web site does a terrific job of making these previously inaccessible archival materials available to anyone who wants to learn more about the Cold War. This site is highly recommended for student and faculty researchers.

Gerri Foudy
University of Maryland
gf48@umail.umd.edu


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