Cold War Studies at Harvard University

About the Project

The Harvard Project on Cold War Studies promotes archival research in former East-bloc countries and seeks to expand and enrich what is known about Cold War events and themes. More important, it encourages scholars and students to use their research on Cold War topics to illuminate current theoretical debates about international and domestic politics. One of the chief means of accomplishing these goals is the sponsorship of scholarly publications, including the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series and the peer-reviewed Journal of Cold War Studies. A profile of the project is available online.

Nuclear Weapons History
Visit our exhibit on nuclear weapons which features declassified film footage and images of nuclear tests, as well as links to the history of nuclear weapons on the Internet.


Declassified Documents

Read U.S. government documents on the Cold War and browse links to more Internet sites with more declassified materials on Cold War History.


Project Spotlight
Ethnic Conflict and Nationalist Unrest

This project will document ethnic conflict in the Soviet Union and the history of Soviet nationalities policy during the Cold War. It will examine the reasons for shifts in policies toward ethnic minorities, the extent of nationalist protest and ethnic violence in the postwar period, the reaction of the Soviet government to such events, the role of nationalist unrest and ethnic violence in the collapse of the Soviet Union, the effect of Soviet foreign policy on ethnic minorities within the Soviet Union, and, conversely, the effect of ethnic unrest (or the fear of such unrest) on Soviet foreign policy. It will be the first serious effort to address these questions based on declassified archival evidence. The project will draw on research in archives throughout the former Soviet Union. Although some of the relevant archives are still off-limits, a large number of archives are publicly accessible. The archival work will be conducted primarily by local researchers hired by the project, supplemented with two research trips by the principal investigators. The project will publish four English-language document collections through Stanford University Press, a CD-ROM containing images of thousands of pages of original documents, a series of scholarly articles analyzing Soviet nationality policy and ethnic conflict in the Soviet Union, and a report on the "lessons" of the project for ethnic conflict in the post-Cold War world.

The Journal of Cold War Studies

The Journal of Cold War Studies publishes peer-reviewed articles based on archival research in the former Communist world and in Western countries. Some articles offer reevaluations of important historical events or themes, emphasizing the changes of interpretation necessitated by declassified documents and new first-hand accounts. Other articles seek to bring new evidence to bear on current theoretical debates. The Journal also features survey articles, book reviews, research notes, and comments

Book Projects

Eight volumes have been published in the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series as of 2006, and several more are undergoing editing or are in production. For full information about the individual books, please go to the book series page.