A.J.P. Taylor

Quite a time has passed since I last contributed a Diary to the London Review of Books, so long indeed that I have almost forgotten how to do it. Was my mind once flooding over with possible themes? I can hardly believe it. Certainly my mind is empty now. I stir my memory in vain. Here are some oddities that occur to me. The oddest is the persistence with which readers of the London Review of Books accuse me of supporting the wrong side in the Cold War and in particular of taking a sympathetic view of Hungary and its problems. The accusation about the Cold War is merely silly. I am against the Cold War and all that goes with it, as much against the Russians waging the Cold War, if they do, as against the Americans. The Cold War is a competition in obstinate misunderstanding. I doubt whether either side can remember how the Cold War started or what it is now about. They just go on parading their mutual distrust until it has become a way of life, and neither side will be satisfied until it has provoked a world explosion. I humbly think this is a mistake, but there is no limit to the extent of human folly.

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