Rollback: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Rollback" was a term used by American foreign policy thinkers during the Cold War. It was defined as using military force to "roll back" communism in countries where it had taken root.


Rollback during the Cold War

The most important rollback period was during the Cold War when many Americans felt that they were in a life or death struggle against world communism. After the devastation of the Second World War, only a small minority of Americans were prepared to attempt to roll back communism throughout the world by direct force of arms. Many Americans were shocked by Winston Churchill's 1946 address at Westminster College in Missouri, warning of "an iron curtain" descending across Europe. They still remembered the Soviets as their friends and allies from the war years, and many believed that socialism was a successful economic system, beneficial to civilization.

A compromise to military intervention was to use intelligence services to achieve these ends. These attempts began as early as 1945 with attempts in Eastern Europe, including efforts to provide weapons to independence fighters in the Baltic States and Ukraine. An early effort was against Albania in 1949, following the defeat of Communist forces in the Greek Civil War that year. A force of agents was landed by the British and Americans to try to provoke a guerrilla war. The operation had already been betrayed to the Soviets by the British double-agent, Kim Philby and failed leading to the immediate capture or killing of the agents.[1]

A more ambitious effort was Operation Paper in November 1950, the arming and supplying of Nationalist Chinese remnant troops (the 93rd Division)under General Li Mi in eastern Burma, for efforts to invade the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. All of Li Mi's brief forays into China were swiftly repulsed, and the after the final failure in August 1952, the United States began to scale back its support.[2]

An alternative to rollback was containment. Through the adoption of National Security Council document NSC 162/2 in October 1953, the Eisenhower Administration effectively abandoned these uniformly unsuccessful efforts in Europe after only a few years. Some argue that an important opportunity for rollback was forfeited in October-November 1956, when Hungarian reformist leader Imre Nagy announced Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, and when he and Hungarian insurgents called on the West for help against invading Soviet troops. President Eisenhower thought it too risky to intervene in a landlocked country such as Hungary and feared it might trigger a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. His Secretary of State John Foster Dulles mistakenly believed that Imre Nagy sided with the Soviet Union. On October 25, 1956, he sent a telegram to the U.S. embassy in Belgrade expressing his fears that the Imre Nagy-János Kádár government might take “reprisals” against the Hungarian “freedom fighters.” By the next day, October 26, State Department officials in Washington assumed the worst about Nagy, asserting in a top secret memorandum: “Nagy’s appeal for Soviet troops indicates, at least superficially, that there are not any open differences between the Soviet and Hungarian governments.” [3][4] Both Eisenhower and Dulles focused more attention on the Suez Crisis, which was unfolding simultaneously.

Later efforts at rollback would be confined to the developing world. There were advocates of a rollback approach to Cuba especially at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Advocated by U.S. conservatives

The "rollback" movement gained significant ground, however, in the 1980s, as the Reagan administration, urged on by the conservative Heritage Foundation and other influential conservatives, began to channel weapons to anti-communist resistance movements in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua and other nations.

This effort came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine. Critics argued that the Reagan Doctrine led to so-called blowback and an unnecessary intensification of Third World conflict, but in the various rollback battlefields, the Soviet Union made major concessions, and eventually had to retreat from Afghanistan.

As the retreat from the Soviet-Afghan war got under way, the subject nations of the Soviet Union started to prepare for their own independence, though critics of rollback interpret this not as the domino effect of the retreat, but rather as a consequence of Gorbachev's liberalization. Violence broke out between the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Two years later, numerous Soviet Socialist Republics declared their laws superior to those of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union collapsed, and in some ways was already collapsing as the retreat got under way. The retreat from Afghanistan was caused by (among other factors) the use of American Stinger missiles, and many would argue that it was also indirectly caused by similar military pressures on many battlegrounds throughout the world, though Afghanistan was the only battleground where significant numbers of Russian soldiers were directly being killed by American weapons supplied for that purpose.

See also


  1. ^ "Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007),45-46."
  2. ^ "Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books/ Chicago Review Press, 2001), 168-74; Victor S. Kaufman, “Trouble in the Golden Triangle: The United States, Taiwan and the 93rd Nationalist Division,” China Quarterly, No. 166 (June 2001), 440-56."
  3. ^ Johanna Granville, "Caught With Jam on Our Fingers”: Radio Free Europe and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956” Diplomatic History, vol. 29, no. 5 (2005): pp. 811-839
  4. ^ Granville, Johanna (2004). The First Domino: International Decision Making During the Hungarian Crisis of 1956. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, Texas. ISBN 1585442984.  

Further reading

  1. Granville, Johanna. "Caught With Jam on Our Fingers”: Radio Free Europe and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956” Diplomatic History, vol. 29, no. 5 (2005): pp. 811-839.
  2. Granville, Johanna, The First Domino: International Decision Making During the Hungarian Crisis of 1956, Texas A & M University Press, 2004. ISBN 1585442984

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Wikiversity:Rollback article)

From Wikiversity

Shortcut: WV:ROLL

Green check.png This page is an official policy on English Wikiversity. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page. Shortcut:

Rollback is a vandalism reverting tool available to Wikiversity custodians and certain editors[1] for quickly undoing edits which are blatantly unproductive such as vandalism. The rollback tool reverts the last change or group of changes made to a page by the same user.
There is no option to provide an edit summary when using rollback. Instead, "Reverted edits by Foo (talk) to last version by Bar using rollback" is used automatically

Rollback button


Use of the rollback tool

This tool is used to respond to obvious vandalism. In the context of reverting edits, always assume good faith. "Obvious" does not mean "obvious to me". "Obvious" means that it is obvious to you and it will most likely be obvious to everyone else.

Other rollback-like tools

Any other mechanism for reverting edits without providing an edit summary should be used just in case of obvious vandalism.

When not to use Rollback

Reverting edits that are not obvious vandalism

For other edit reversions a good edit summary should be provided. When a custodian reverts an edit that is not obvious vandalism the rollback button shouldn't be used.

New editors

New wiki participants may make edits that are useless, wrong, bad, silly, disruptive or misguided. It is the responsibility of more experienced editors to explain why such edits are reverted. If there is any possibility that an edit was not vandalism then do not use the rollback tool to revert it.

Revert wars

Never use the rollback tool during a dispute over page content. During content disputes good edit summaries are required. Before reverting a reversion during a content dispute, solve the dispute on the discussion (talk) page.

If your edits are rolled back

If your edit was rolled back and you don't think it should have been rolled back or if you would like feedback about how to improve your editing, discuss your edit with the Wikiversity editor who rolled back your edit. If your edit has been rolled back by a custodian, and they have not provided a satisfactory response, you can leave feedback at Wikiversity:Custodian feedback.

See also

  • Custodianship tools discussion of the use of the rollback tool at the custodianship page.



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address