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Ruggenthaler has produced what is nothing less than one of the most important studies to date of Stalin's post-war foreign policy. There is little doubt that it brings us several leaps forward in our understanding of this troubled period. It should be essential reading for historians and area specialists, as well as students of foreign policy analysis. * Scandinavian Journal of History * Piercing the web of deception, cynicism, and intransigence characteristic of Soviet foreign policy, Ruggenthaler's authoritative explanation of Stalin's concept of neutrality from new sources in Russian archives is not only a breakthrough in our understanding of the early Cold War. His book is also timely reading for anyone seeking to understand the continuities in the Kremlin's conduct of foreign affairs that persist regardless of the passing of the Soviet empire. -- Vojtech Mastny, author of The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years On the basis of extensive archival research in Russia, the United States and other countries, Peter Ruggenthaler breaks new ground on Soviet foreign policy, particularly with regard to Austria and Scandinavia. Seeking maximum extension of power, Stalin was averse of neutrality but understood that, if there was major countervailing interest, he might better accept some kind of neutral status. This was the case with Finland and Austria but not with Germany which was to open the road to Western Europe. This monograph is a solid study which adds considerably to our knowledge of history after World War II. -- Gerhard Wettig, author of Stalin and the Cold War in Europe: The Emergence and Development of East-West Conflict, 1939-1953
Peter Ruggenthaler is senior research fellow at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on Wars Consequences and lecturer at the University of Graz.
Introduction: Soviet European Policy in World War II Chapter 1: Soviet Central and Northern European policy: 1945 to the Foundation of NATO in 1949 The Soviet Union and the German Question 1945 to 1949 Austria in the Context of Soviet European Policy (1945 to 1949) The Soviet Union and Scandinavia 1945-1949 Chapter 2: Neutrality and the Consolidation of the Eastern Bloc-The Perpetuation of a Divided Europe: Stalin's European Policy 1949 to 1952-1953 The Foundation of COMECON: Soviet Aims and Strategies Soviet Reactions to the Foundation of NATO Soviet German Policy 1949 to 1951 Neutrality for a Unified Germany? The Soviet Union's Austrian Policy Between 1949 and 1952-1953-Austria as a Factor in the Consolidation of the Eastern Bloc The USSR and Scandinavia Chapter 3: Neutrality and Soviet Foreign Policy