Religion and the Cold War: Global Perspectives

AHA Session 76
Friday, January 7, 2011: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 208 (Hynes Convention Center)
Philip E. Muehlenbeck, George Washington University
Sponsored by the AHA Working Group on Religion, Peace, and Violence
Andrew Jon Rotter, Colgate University

Session Abstract

In recent years a growing strain of historiography has explored the impact of religion in US foreign policymaking and more broadly on the Cold War. Works such as Michael Phayer’s Pius XII, the Holocaust, and the Cold War (Indiana University Press, 2007); Owen Chadwick’s The Christian Church in the Cold War (Penguin, 1993); William Inboden’s, Religion and American Foreign Policy, 1945-1960: The Soul of Containment (Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Religion and the Cold War edited by Dianne Kirby (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) are just a few of the valuable contributions to this growing field of history.

While the aforementioned works make important contributions to historiography one thing that they have in common is that they all deal exclusively with Europe/North America and Christianity from 1945-1960 (every chapter in the Kirby volume also falls within these perimeters). This proposed panel seeks to be more spiritually, geographically, and chronologically diverse by utilizing primary source archives from Russia, Egypt, Argentina, and Poland in order to explore the various ways religion impacted the domestic and foreign policies of these nation-states during the Cold War.

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