This issue begins with an article by Csaba Békés recounting how the Warsaw Treaty Organization (more commonly known as the Warsaw Pact—the military alliance that was set up under Soviet auspices in May 1955) was dissolved in mid-1991. After the downfall of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe in the latter half of 1989, the leaders of the Soviet Union were still hoping and expecting to preserve the Warsaw Pact, albeit as a transformed political-military organization. Over the next year, however, events in both the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe increasingly enervated the alliance. Békés highlights the key roles of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and eventually Poland in seeking changes in the Pact and pushing for its gradual disbandment. In retrospect, it is striking that the Warsaw Pact survived as long as it did after the upheavals of 1989 had undermined its ideological raison d’être. The survival of the alliance until mid-1991 stemmed in part from institutional inertia, in part from Soviet policy, and in part from the stance taken by Western governments, which were accustomed to the East-West security framework in Europe. But pressure from the East European governments in the latter half of 1990 and early 1991 ensured that the Warsaw Pact would be dismantled despite the efforts of Soviet officials to preserve it.

The second article, by Radoslav Yordanov, examines the economic ties between Cuba and the Soviet-bloc countries from the end of the 1950s through the beginning of the 1990s. After far-left insurgents led by Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959 and quickly installed a repressive Communist regime, Cuba became highly dependent on economic subsidies from both the Soviet Union and other East-bloc countries. Although many scholars have examined Soviet policy toward Cuba, very little has appeared about Cuba's ties with other Warsaw Pact countries. Drawing on archival research in various East European countries, Yordanov highlights the tensions that often arose in Cuba's relations with the Soviet bloc because of Castro's economic mismanagement and his efforts to receive ever greater subsidies from Cuba's European Communist patrons. The entry of Cuba into the Soviet-dominated Council for Economic Mutual Assistance (CMEA) in 1972 institutionalized the economic and political relationship but did little to curb the underlying tensions. Even before the upheavals of 1989 brought an end to Communist rule in East-Central Europe, the Warsaw Pact governments were seeking to eliminate (or at least drastically mitigate) the burden of supporting Cuba. The demise of East European Communism in 1989 and the disbandment of CMEA in mid-1991 ensured the fulfillment of that goal.

The next article, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, whose scholarship over many years has documented the history of Soviet espionage in the United States during the Stalin era, draws on recently released materials from the United States and the former Soviet Union to recount the activities of Clarence Hiskey and Arthur Adams, the former of whom was a U.S. chemist and the latter of whom was a long-time Soviet military intelligence operative. Under Adams's supervision, Hiskey used his position in the Manhattan Project (the highly classified U.S. wartime program to build a nuclear bomb) to ferret nuclear weapons information to the Soviet Union in 1943–1944. Even though both Hiskey and Adams quickly fell under the suspicion and surveillance of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Army counterintelligence personnel, neither man was ever arrested, much less prosecuted. Adams eluded FBI surveillance and managed to escape to the Soviet Union. Hiskey was removed from all sensitive government work, but he refused to disclose any details about his espionage to U.S. congressional committees that subpoenaed him in the early 1950s. The FBI's reliance on illegal eavesdropping and break-ins—evidence inadmissible in court—thwarted any attempt to bring Hiskey to trial for espionage. The release of the Venona papers in the mid-1990s confirmed that Hiskey had been a Soviet spy, but by then it was much too late to hold him judicially accountable. He died a free man in 1998.

The next article, by Rasmus Sinding Søndergaard, explores the origins and activities of the Committee for the Free World (CFW), an advocacy group founded in early 1981 under the leadership of Midge Decter, who served as director throughout the CFW's existence. The CFW was predominantly a U.S. organization, but it also had prominent affiliates in other Western countries. The CFW lobbied for a strong U.S. and Western stance against the USSR and other Communist states and sought a stronger U.S. and allied military posture to counter Soviet military power. The organization was a leading voice in defense of freedom throughout the 1980s. Although some members of the CFW were initially slow to recognize the magnitude of the changes being introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev after 1985, the organization overall responded flexibly. In 1990, soon after the collapse of East European Communism and the end of the Cold War, Decter decided it was time to dissolve the CFW. In later decades, some former members of the CFW became advocates of U.S. military intervention to overthrow autocratic regimes in the Middle East, but that was not the orientation of the CFW during the Cold War. The organization focused instead on the need for strong U.S. and Western military and diplomatic programs to prevent Soviet military expansion and to facilitate the spread of Western values through peaceful means.

The next article, by Aviva Guttmann, examines the intelligence dimension of the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munch Olympics in 1972 and its aftermath. For more than a year prior to the attacks carried out by the Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September, the Israeli Mossad and Shin Bet had been sharing highly sensitive information with West German intelligence agencies, especially the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), through a multilateral arrangement known as the Club de Berne. That intelligence-sharing network did not prevent the attacks from occurring and did not keep the West Germans from launching a disastrously bungled rescue operation, but the Club de Berne did help mend relations between the Israeli agencies and the BfV in the wake of the West Germans’ failure to rescue any of the athletes and the political shenanigans that allowed some of the terrorists to get away scot-free. Bilateral tensions, especially the Israeli government's anger at the handling of the tragedy by West German and Bavarian officials, persisted for a considerable while, but the links afforded by the Club de Berne helped ensure that Israel and West Germany continued their valuable intelligence cooperation in countering Palestinian terrorist groups and other security threats.

The next article, by Nicholas Sarantakes, surveys the burgeoning scholarly literature on the Olympic Games and the Cold War. Scholars specializing in the history of sports or in diplomatic history (or both) have explored the many ways the Olympics were influenced by the Cold War and vice versa. Some of the recent literature has been thematic, whereas other authors focus on specific Olympiads or specific countries’ experiences in the Games. Scholars who have drawn on foreign archives, including materials from the former Communist world, have added richness to the literature that would have been impossible to achieve before the end of the Cold War. Sarantakes underscores the diversity of topics covered by scholars and the contributions of their writings to the broader historiography of the Cold War, but he also notes key issues that still need to be explored.

The final article, by Thomas W. Simons, Jr., looks back at the U.S.-Soviet summit meeting in Reykjavik in October 1986 and the impact it had on the Cold War. Simons took part in the summit as a U.S. State Department official, and he is one of the few participants who are still alive today. He had a major role in U.S. preparations for the summit and was the U.S. notetaker at the dramatic final session, where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev were unable to achieve a compromise for a proposed treaty on the elimination of strategic nuclear weapons. Simons places the summit in the context of U.S.-Soviet relations during the Reagan administration and discusses why the conclave later came to be seen as a milestone even though the two sides failed to reach agreement on key issues.

The issue then includes two book forums, with expert commentaries on recently published works and replies by the authors. The first forum looks at Serhii Plokhy's Nuclear Folly, the latest book to provide an overview of the Cuban missile crisis. Although the commentators welcome some aspects of the book, especially the stories of Soviet military personnel involved in the missile deployments, they generally are critical of Nuclear Folly as a work of scholarship, finding it unreliable, marred by factual errors, and inadequately conversant with earlier literature on the subject. The second forum evaluates a collection of essays edited by Piotr Kosicki and Kyrill Kunakhovich dealing with the international repercussions of the events of 1989 in East-Central Europe. Specifically, the contributors discuss how the East European upheavals affected governments and activists in countries outside Europe in subsequent years. The chapters cover a wide range of countries, and the topics and themes vary accordingly. Although the commentators find most of the essays convincing and perspicacious, they criticize a few of the chapters for failing to marshal persuasive evidence and for putting forth tendentious arguments that have little if anything to do with 1989.

The issue ends with ten shorter book reviews, which round out the first quarter-century of the JCWS.