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Cold War Resources



Background on U.S. Foreign Policy


Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations
. 4v. 1997

  • Includes articles on the history of relations between the U.S. and other countries and significant events regarding American foreign policy. Accompanying bibliographies provide suggestions for further reading.

Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. 3v. 2001

  • Google Books provides a preview of this book
  • Includes topics such as Arms Control and Disarmament, Cold War, Congressional Power, Embargos and Sanctions, Globalization, Immigration, International Law, Narcotics Policy, Oil, Post-Cold War Policy, Propaganda, Realism and Idealism, and Vietnam War and Its Impact.

American Foreign Relations Since 1600: A Guide to the Literature. 2nd ed. 2 vols. 2003

  • Google Books provides a preview of this book
  • Annotated list of resources published by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
  • Includes U.S. document collections, personal papers, bibliographies, historiography and biographies for a time period as well as overviews of relations between the U.S. and other countries and regions.
  • References include books and some journal articles.
  • To determine if any of the items that you find are available in the Cook Library or another USM library, check the Towson and/or USMAI Catalog or for journal availability from the Cook Library home page under FIND ARTICLES, click on By Journal Title.

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    Background on the Cold War

Chronology of the Cold War: 1917 - 1992
. 2006

  • Entries arranged chronologically with an explanation of the event with cross references to related dates.
  • Alphabetical index listing names, events, and topics.
  • Extensive bibliography arranged by time period and subtopics within each time period.

Cold War, 1945 -1991.(John W. Mason) 1996

  • Monograph that provides an overview of the Cold War

Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History. 5 vols. 2008

  • Covers the economic, social, and cultural (music/literature/film/religion) impact of the Cold War
  • Articles on nations, diplomacy, weapons systems, major military establishments, war, important battles, and individuals
  • Supplementary materials include: introductory essays, maps, political structure of the Cold War military, Cold War chronology, glossary, and select bibliography

Cold War, 1945 -1991. 3v. 1992

  • Encyclopedia that Includes biographies of important figures, and articles on major events, ideas, and themes associated with the Cold War between the United States and communist nations.
  • Each entry is accompanied by a list of additional readings and cross references to related articles.




Cold War Reference Guide: A General History and Annotated Chronology with Selected Biographies 1997

  • Articles arranged in four sections: General History; Highlights; Chronologies; and Prominent Figures.
  • Some of the topics include containment, massive retaliation, detente, the bomb, McCarthyism, Berlin, Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, and the CIA/FBI.
  • Selected bibliography and index.

Encyclopedia of the Cold War. 1994

  • Articles on people, places, events associated with the Cold War.
  • Bibliography arranged by world region.

Encyclopedia of the Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. 2006

  • Articles on individual spies, but also Includes articles on affairs, crises, disasters, hoaxes, and scandals;assassinations and suspected assassinations; and covert activities and operations
Streaming videos  

Films on Demand (Requires TU NetID to search from off campus.)

  • Streaming video of films (mostly secondary sources) that provide background information on many subjects, including the Cold War

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Encyclopedia of American Social History 3 vols. 1993

  • See Chapters - "The Postwar Period through the 1950s", pp. 205-218 and "Modern America: The 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s", pp.219- 234 for essays on the social and cultural climate of the U.S. from 1950 - 1989.
  • Check the index of this encyclopedia for other articles on more specific topics

Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History 3 vols. 2001

  • See Volume 2- "World War II and the 1950s", "The 1960s and 1970s", and "The Reagan Era to Present", for essays on topics such as: World War II and the Cold War; Women & Family; Ideal of Spontaneity; Culture of Self-Improvement; Race, Rights & Reform; Countercultural Visions; Popular Culture in the Public Arena; and Intellectuals & Ideology in Government; Resugent Conservatism; Postmodernism in the Arts.
  • Each article is accompanied by an extensive bibliography
Chronological Arrangement

American Decades

  • This set provides a detailed overview by decade of world events, arts, business & economy, education, fashion, government & politics, lifestyles and social trends, media, medicine & health, religion, science & technology, and sports
  • See volumes: 1950 - 1959; 1960 - 1969; etc.

Chronological Arrangement

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture 5 vols. 2000

  • Available online, with your 14-digit library ID from off campus
  • See article - "Cold War", but also use the search feature to identify articles on more specific cultural topics
Chronological Arrangement

Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th Century America
5 vols. 2002

  • See Volumes for the appropriate years, beginning with 1940s - 1950s
  • Each decade covers: commerce; fashion; film & theater; food & drink; print culture; sports & games; and the way we lived
On Film

History of the American Cinema: Transforming the Screen, 1950 - 1959
[ Peter Lev]

  • Excellent introduction to the influence of the Cold War on film
  • Topics including: HUAC and blacklisting; censorship; science fiction; experimental film and documentaries
  • Each chapter is accompanied by extensive notes including primary and secondary sources

On Film

Filmography of American History 2002

  • See chapters : "Postwar Alienation and Despair, 1946 - 1962"; "The Atomic Bomb, Cold War Paranoia, and the Expanding National Security State, 1946 - Present"; and others
  • Each chapter includes a selection of representative films, discussing their connection to the time period in which they were made
  • A preview of this book is available through Google Books

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    U.S. Government & Other Primary Sources

Cold War International History Project [CWIHP] (Woodrow Wilson Center)

  • Provides access to primary sources on the Cold War from the U.S. and former Communist bloc countries.
  • Over 50 collections that focus on events, regions, and themes such as the origins and end of the Cold War, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Intelligence Operations, and the Sino-Soviet Split.
  • Browse by topic or geographic region or use the search feature.

Cold War Resources [UMich Library Documents Center]

  • Guide to internet resources focusing on the Cold War
  • Links to many primary source collections

Avalon Project: The Cold War [Yale Law School]

  • Provides full text access to primary sources with a focus on the Cold War.
    • Includes documents on Cold War diplomacy; Cuban Missile Crisis; American foreign policy: 1941-1949; Oppenheimer & Atomic Energy Commission; Soviet-American diplomacy; U2 incident; Warsaw Security Pact;US & Southeast Asia and Pacific area, 1950 - 1999; US & Soviet Union - airplane incidents, 1950 - 60

U.S. Department of State

  • Department of State Bulletin. 1946 - 1989
    • Available in the 5th floor stacks of Cook Libary [JX232 A33]
  • Search the Office of the Historian site for documents on the Cold War

Center for the Study of Intelligence

  • Search through articles by title that have appeared in Studies in Intelligence: Journal of the American Intelligence Professional, which Includes articles on people, events, and commentaries on declassified materials written by scholars, diplomats and government officials, OR
  • Look for declassified documents related to the Cold War or more specific topics from the Freedom of Information Act page
  • Browse the Special Collections Archive to find topics related to the Cold War including: Soviet and Warsaw Pact Military Journals; Creating Global Intelligence;Original Wizards of Langley: Overview of the Office of Scientific Intelligence; The China Collection
    • Also indexes Declassified National Intelligence Estimates
      • NIEs are "authoritative" statements that reflect on what will happen in the future regarding issues that affect national security.
      • Included in the collections are analyses on free world countries written between 1946 - 1950 and the USSR from 1950 - 1993.

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Shelved in the 5th floor stacks


NARA Presidential Libraries and Museum Page

  • Provides links to U.S. Presidential libraries, which provide selected primary sources. Also explains various types of presidential documents and how they can be useful in your research.
  • Don't miss the Presidential Documents Guide, which describes the content of the various presidential materials that are available online.
  • In the Diplomacy and Foreign Policy section of this site, you will find links to other primary sources such as the U.S. State Department publications, including many of the volumes of Foreign Relations of the U.S. (FRUS) published since 1945. Series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. Online volumes drawn from the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/Ford administrations.
    • Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945-1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment
      • "Includes high-level governmental plans, discussions, administrative decisions, and managerial actions that established institutions and procedures for the central coordination of intelligence collection and analysis and covert action.
      • Documents the advice, actions, and initiatives of principals and groups in other departments and agencies, who helped to lay the foundations for the centralized intelligence bureaucracy. " - from the site
  • University of Wisconsin Libraries provides electronic access and keyword searching to a substantial run of those volumes published between 1861-1960.
  • Cook Library also owns print copies of Foreign Relations of the U.S. from 1861 to date. These can be found on the 5th floor of the library with the call number KZ233 U55.


Shelved in the 5th floor stacks


Documents on American Foreign Relations. 1938 - 1970
[World Peace Foundation/Council on Foreign Relations]

Collection of documents selected for their significance to U.S. foreign relations. Published annually. Not limited to U.S. government sources. Documents are accompanied by introductory historical essays in the later volumes.

American Foreign Relations, published from 1971-1978 continues the set.


National Security Archives

  • Provides electronic access to declassified documents from the U.S. government dealing with U.S. involvement in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe.
  • Also includes sections on Intelligence Policy and Nuclear History.

Streaming videos



American History in Video (Requires TU NetID to search from off campus.)

  • A collection of American history digital videos that allows students and researchers to view historical events as they occurred, as presented by the government and the press
  • Includes commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.
  • First, try browsing by Historical Era (Post-War Era, The Sixties, Late 20th Century), Historical Events (Cold War, Space Exploration, 1957-, Korean Conflict, Soviet Union, U.S. Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam Conflict, etc.), or People to see what is available generally in the collection
  • Search by specific topic using the search box
  • Most of the films in this collection would be considered primary sources.
Streaming videos  

US Civil Defense Films

  • A collection of films, many from the 1950s, resulting from the fear of the atomic bomb and nuclear fallout

AP Images (Requires TU NetID to search from off campus.)

  • Photos from The Associated Press library
  • This database features photographs of historical figures, political leaders, sports greats, and celebrities, and also includes images from significant news and events of the 20th century, including the Cold War.
  • Search by individual's names, specific events, cultural objects, etc.
  • Photographs taken at the time of an event are considered primary sources

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Catalog, Online Databases, & Indexes


Searching for materials in
USMAI/Library Catalog:

  • It is recommended that you search the USMAI Catalog, instead of the Library Catalog (Cook Library holdings), as you will have access to additional resources that can be easily ordered through the catalog using your 14-digit library ID, if they are not owned by Cook Library.
  • You will be much more successful in finding relevant materials if you use Library of Congress Subject Headings to develop your search strategy. Begin your search from the BASIC SEARCH screen of the USMAI Catalog, typing the words that you think will result in a list of useful materials.
  • Note the "subject" words that have been assigned to those items that look promising. If you use these subject words in your search, it will result in a more relevant list of results.
  • Type cold war and social aspects to get a list of books dealing with many social aspects of the Cold War. This may help you identify possible subject terms to use in your search and/or might help you in choosing a specific topic to research.
  • Start your search as word/s anywhere, but if your results are too far off topic, or if you want to look for books focused solely on the topic, change to subject word/s.
  • Some examples of searches to identify books about Cold War culture:
    • cold war and united states and popular culture
    • cold war and united states and anti-communist movements
    • cold war and united states and one of the following:
      • influence
      • atomic bomb
      • intellectual life
      • group identity
      • sports
      • propaganda
      • mass media or radio
      • motion pictures
      • paranoia or conspiracies
      • communism
      • race relations
  • To identify primary sources try:
    • cold war and sources
    • OR search a person as author:
      • Author beginning with ......mccarthy joseph
      • Author beginning with ...... dulles john f

The following online databases, which index primarily secondary, but some primary, sources are also available through the Cook Library Web site under Research Databases. You will be prompted to enter your 14-digit library ID, which is on the front of your TU Onecard (or can be accessed from here) when you are not on campus.

Many of the research databases use the same or similar subject terms that are used in the USMAI Catalog, so try the same words that you used when searching for books.


Academic Search Premier, America: History & Life, Social Sciences Abstracts, Military & Government Collection, SocINDEX [Ebsco]

  • Go into Academic Search and once in it, click on choose databases to select the other databases such as America: History & Life, Social Sciences Abstracts and Military & Government Collection, so that you can search them simultaneously.
  • Search for articles from magazines and journals in various disciplines including Political Science, Law, International Relations, and History. These databases contain or link to full text through Find article text in many cases.
  • Academic Search Premier indexes scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals, news magazines, and the New York Times
  • America: History & Life indexes articles on topics from an historical point of view.
  • Social Sciences Abstracts indexes a broad selection of journals in the Social Sciences.
  • Military & Government Collection indexes publications like FDCH Political Transcripts, Press Releases, & Congressional Testimony and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
  • SocINDEX indexes a broad selection of journals in Sociology and Anthropology. Select this database if you're researching the cultural aspects of the Cold War.

Praeger Security International: Terrorism, Homeland Security, Strategy

  • Provides full text access to over 600 books, commentaries, and primary sources In addition to terrorism and homeland security, includes topics such as: Cold War and U.S. foreign relations
  • For most efficient searching, use the Advanced Search feature, combining terms, trying out different strategies, searching at least one of them as a title word
    • For example: cold war [title] AND atomic [keyword]
    • cold war [title] AND communism [keyword]
News, Interviews, & Speeches

LexisNexis Academic: Newspapers, News Transcripts & Speeches

Search Major U.S. and world newspapers. Provides full text of major national newspapers including New York Times (1980 - ) and Washington Post (1977 - ) .
Note: The truncation symbol in this database is !. For example, president! = president's, presidential

Note: Try the Power Search to limit your search to words in the Headline and Lead Paragraph. Click on Show options... and select section: HLEAD. Specify date to a particular date range, if desired . Once you have a list of results, you may want to click on Sort by Relevance to change the arrangement of results so that the "best" articles are listed first, instead of the "most current".

LexisNexis also provides the full text of political transcripts. To search this collection, click on Sources tab > News > News Transcripts > Transcripts (or select individual transcripts to search). Click on Show options... and select section Headline or HLEAD. Try searching a political figure or by name, combined with words like speech, interview, briefing, press conference, etc.


New York Times
1851 to date
Washington Post 1987 to date

  • Provides full text and full image of all articles.
  • Current New York Times/Washington Post articles are available through both National Newspapers and LexisNexis Academic databases.
  • The Washington Post is available online back to 1877 with a Baltimore County Public Library card ( Begin the registratin process for a BCPL card here.)

World News Digest [Facts on File] Nov. 1940 to date

  • Archival record of domestic and international news, covers all major political, social, and economic events since November 1940
  • Includes an encyclopedia with articles on nations, people and events Almanac includes statistics and factual information on "hot" issues in the news
  • Curriculum Tools section has articles on such topics as conducting research, avoiding plagiarism, and evaluating primary and secondary sources


  • Search and access the full text of 450 major scholarly journals in all disciplines from their first issue up to four years ago.
  • Coverage complements the more current coverage of the EBSCO databases, America History & Life, and Historical Abstracts.
    The following print resources index magazine, journal, and newspaper articles that were published earlier than the online databases cover. They index material published in English that cover the earlier years of the Cold War. They are shelved on the back wall of the main (3rd) floor of Cook Library. Those articles that were published during the time of an event would be considered primary sources.

Palmer's Index to the Times Newspaper (London). 1785-

  • The Times of London is available on microfilm in the Periodicals Room on the 2nd floor of Cook Library.

International Index to Periodicals, Devoted Chiefly to Humanities and Science. 1907- 1964.

  • Indexes scholarly/professional journals
  • Continued by Social Sciences & Humanities Index 1966 - 1974 [Ref A13 S6]
  • Continued by Social Sciences Index 1974 -1997. [Ref A13 S611]

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature . 1900 - 1997.

  • Indexes general interest and news magazines, as well as Department of State Bulletin, Congressional Digest, and Vital Speeches of the Day

For additonal, related resources see: American Foreign Policy

The URL for this Web page is http://pages.towson.edu/sara/coldwar.html

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