Despite the many books and articles written about the end of the Cold War, scholars have not produced a truly international history f this seminal event. This article shows how some of the most important monographs on the end of the Cold War can be synthesized to yield a preliminary account. In particular, the article outlines an interpretation that connects the immediate crisis of the early 1980s, long-term ideological and institutional trends, and transformational choices made from 1985 to 1991. N single decision or variable brought the Cold War t an end. Personalities, trends, and institutions interacted to create an outcome that few predicted.