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Humanitarianism and the global Cold War, 1945–1991

Tudor, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7361-9408 (2024). Humanitarianism and the global Cold War, 1945–1991. In: Roth, S. & Denskus, T. (Eds.), Handbook on Humanitarianism and Inequality. Elgar Handbooks on Inequality. (pp. 35-48). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. doi: 10.4337/9781802206555.00010


This chapter tracks the evolution and expansion of the international humanitarian sector during the Cold War period. It examines how the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union spilled out beyond the confines of the diplomatic sphere and influenced violence and displacement across the Global South. During this period, I argue that there were three key phases of international humanitarian practice: 1) relief and the post-war reconstruction of Europe; 2) decolonisation and the emergence of the ‘Third World’; and 3) global economic organisations and the rise of neoliberalism. Humanitarian practices became increasingly politicised in their logic and delivery as the Cold War intensified, as international organisations struggled to respond to the territorial instability prompted by decolonisation. This chapter demonstrates how organisational pressures, racial hierarchies, and ideological prejudices shaped humanitarian interventions during the Global Cold War.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is a draft chapter. The final version will be available in Handbook on Humanitarianism and Inequality edited by Silke Roth and Tobias Denskus, fpublished2024, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only.
Publisher Keywords: Humanitarianism, Cold War, Decolonization, International Development, Conflict, Neoliberalism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Tudor Humanitarianism and the Global Cold War v5.0.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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