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October 18, 1999

October 18, 1999 | News Releases on

New Heritage Foundation Book Profiles Six Cold-War Heroes

WASHINGTON, OCT. 18, 1999-As the world observes the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this Nov. 9, the debate continues over who deserves credit for the West's victory in the Cold War. A new book published by The Heritage Foundation contains some surprising picks.

"Architects of Victory: Six Heroes of the Cold War," written by former White House speechwriter and Heritage Bradley Fellow Joseph Shattan, singles out for praise conservative favorites such as Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. But it also pays tribute to President Harry Truman, hardly a conservative icon, and Konrad Adenauer, the former West German chancellor whose role toppling Communism is underappreciated, according to Shattan. The book proceeds in a rough chronological fashion, starting with those who battled Communism at the dawn of the Cold War and ending with Reagan, who wrote its final chapter.

The six heroes identified by Shattan, who researched and wrote the book while serving as a Heritage Bradley Fellow during 1998-99, are:

  • President Harry Truman crafted the doctrine of "containment," approved the Marshall Plan, and launched other initiatives that blocked Soviet advances after World War II. Even though President Reagan later abandoned containment for rollback, Truman's policy was bold for its time, marking a dramatic departure from President Roosevelt's appeasement of Stalin.
  • No one was bolder, of course, than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose "Iron Curtain" speech created as big a stir in its day as President Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech did four decades later. An early, outspoken and persistent opponent of Bolshevism, Churchill believed the West should use its military might to force a settlement with the Soviet Union after World War II.
  • Konrad Adenauer, who served as West Germany's chancellor from its creation in 1949 until 1963, discarded traditional German ambivalence toward the West and aligned his nation unequivocally with the United States and its allies. Had he not, the Soviet grip on Eastern Europe would have been much harder-and perhaps even impossible-to break.
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn-war hero, labor-camp survivor and author of one of the great books of the 20th century, "The Gulag Archipelago"-demonstrated how truth can shake the foundations of an empire. No one did more to portray the Cold War for what it really was: a struggle between good and evil, freedom and tyranny.
  • Pope John Paul II's epochal pilgrimage to Poland in 1979 electrified the Polish people, inspiring them to overcome their fear of the authorities and form the anti-Communist resistance movement Solidarity. The success of Solidarity inspired the other captive nations of the Soviet empire to assert their independence.
  • At a time when most experts believed that the Cold War could at best be "managed" indefinitely, Ronald Reagan understood how it might be won. His extraordinary initiatives-the military buildup, the ideological and economic offensives, SDI-finally brought down the "Evil Empire." This chapter shows Reagan providing strategic leadership in what is arguably the most successful diplomatic campaign in history. It is a useful corrective to Edmund Morris' portrayal of the 40th president.

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