What was the Cold War? For Professor John Lewis Gaddes, it was a conflict between two incompatible systems, democracy and communism, each with a different vision of liberty and human purpose. The result was a potential third world war, in which we risked being crushed by dictators or destroyed by nuclear weapons. And the US saved us. ‘The world,’ he writes, ‘I am quite sure, is a better place for the conflict having been fought in the way that it was and won by the side that won it. For all its dangers, atrocities, costs, distraction and moral compromises, the Cold War was a necessary contest.’Andrew Alexander disagrees. And Alexander — who has long exposed the myopia and self-deception of the establishment — should be taken seriously.