Rivals of the Twentieth Century: Coexistance and Competition
Edited By Eva-Maria Stolberg
Lisa K. Walker: Bridging the Gap: Unseen Enemies and Emerging Infections in the Soviet Union and the United States Before the Advent of the Cold War
191 Lisa K. Walker Bridging the Gap: Unseen Enemies and Emerging Infections in the Soviet Union and the United States Before the Advent of the Cold War1 The U.S. and the USSR stood as rival superpowers for a significant portion of the twentieth century. The Cold War itself lasted only a scant half century, but the tense and oppositional relationship of these two superpowers as it played out on the world stage put a distinctive stamp on that century. In fact, although their overt rivalry tends to be associated explicitly with the international politics of the Cold War, it has not been easy or automatic to rid relations between the U.S. and the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union’s successor in foreign relations, of their tension in the presumed aftermath of the Cold War. Looking backward, even in the early years of the twentieth century, the United States and first the Russian Empire, subsequently Soviet Russia and the USSR, faced one another uneasily astride the nineteenth century’s political nucleus of Europe: growing world powers with notably different political and social systems.2 How can biomedicine and questions of public health help to shed light on the characteristics of Soviet or American society that may have contributed to this long-term relationship? The tension that penetrated international relations can be found in the activities of international organizations that were formed to navigate the complex postwar, Cold War setting. In the World Health Organization (WHO), as elsewhere, the Soviet Union and the United States stood...
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