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The Soviet Union and the United States

Rivals of the Twentieth Century: Coexistance and Competition

Edited By Eva-Maria Stolberg

The Soviet Union and the United States were involved in a complicate interplay of ideological, political, social and cultural factors, which wavered between open rivalry and cautious cooperation. Their relationship was fluctuating. Antagonism was accompanied with developing convergence. The main issue of this anthology is to discuss the attractiveness of polarity. Differing from Europe as well as from other parts of the world, both powers were provided with their history to expand their frontiers in the 19 th century. Territorial expansion and the discovery of new ideas and ideologies laid the foundation for their geopolitical hegemony in the 20 th century. International authoritative scholars from the United States, Switzerland and Germany give fresh insights in a new understanding of 20 th -century geopolitics.


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Eva M. Stolberg: Images of the Exotic: American-Russian attitudes toward Orientals


87 Eva M. Stolberg Images of the Exotic: American-Russian attitudes toward Orien- tals1 The end of the Cold War and the globalization awaken the interest in cultural identities and stereotypes. Since 1945 the U.S.-Soviet rivalry manifested in geopolitics, but its origins dated back to the beginning of the Twentieth century with the birth of ideologies, if not earlier, i.e. in the late nineteenth century. The rise of the two geopolitical rivals of the Twentieth century USA and USSR is not a topic purely related to manifold American-Soviet encounters, in their bilateral agreements on the up and down of armaments and disarmaments, their ideological offensives in mass media, rather it manifested as a cultural com- petition on values – which civilization was superior, the American or the Soviet? As I will show in this chapter, Orientals, i.e. East Asians represented a very attractive subject in the competition of U.S. and Soviet civilizations. The American-Russian rivalry in East Asia had a long tradition. For example, during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/1905 the Russian magazine “Budilnik” depicted a Russian medieval warrior who cut off the head of the dragon “Japan” by his sword, and then realized that the dragon had, indeed, three more heads – an American, an English and a Chinese.”2 This apt image reveals that behind the “Yellow Peril” a Russian fear of the Anglo-Saxon threat was hidden. It was Walter Lippmann who emphasized the impact of mental maps on foreign policy. Influenced by the theory of totalitarianism, he wrote his famous...

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