What really was the Cold War?: Imagined Reality, Social Mechanism, Ordinary People's War

Masuda Hajimu's book Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World is an inquiry into the peculiar nature of the Cold War. It examines not only centers of policymaking but seeming aftereffects of Cold War politics during the Korean War: suppression of counterrevolutionaries in China, the White Terror in Taiwan, the Red Purge in Japan, and McCarthyism in the United States. Such purges were not merely end results of the Cold War, Masuda argues, but forces that brought the Cold War into being, as ordinary people throughout the world strove to silence disagreements and restore social order in the chaotic post-WWII era under the mantle of an imagined global confrontation. Revealing social functions and popular participation, Cold War Crucible highlights ordinary people's roles in making and maintaining the "reality" of the Cold War, raising the question of what the Cold War really was. Masuda's attempt to reconsider the Cold War also can be seen in his recent short article "The best books to reconsider what the Cold War really was" at Shepherd.com.

Masuda Hajimu (family name Masuda, 益田 肇) is a historian at the National University of Singapore. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 2012. He is the author of Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (2015). His areas of concentration are the modern history of East Asia, the history of American foreign relations, and the social and global history of the Cold War, with particular attention toward ordinary people and their violence, as well as the recurrent rise of grassroots social conservatism in the globalized world of the twentieth century.