cold peace

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 10 07:38:39 UTC 2011

Karl Rove, a little while ago (on O'Reilly Show on Fox News), has described
the relationship between India and Pakistan as one of Cold Peace. "Cold
Peace" is an old expression that's been in circulation since the early days
of Cold War (see Time 1952 article here: ). Over 1200
raw GB hits alone. No dictionary entries of any kind that I was able to
find, but most comprehensive dictionaries have an entry for "Cold War".

>From the Time editorial (October 20, 1952):

A new phrase, reflecting a new mood, was crossing Europe last week: Cold
> Peace. As cold war means sustained hostility short of World War III, a cold
> peace means a sustained truce without a settlement.

OED has Cold War all the way back to 1945. There are three quotations in the
OED that use the phrase already, although one appears to be spurious and the
earliest is from 1962.

The phrase might be due to Averill Harriman.

> Harriman Sees Trend Toward Peace
> Pay-Per-View - Christian Science Monitor - ProQuest Archiver - Jun 5, 1948
> By Volney D. Hurd Staff Correspondent of The present political atmosphere
> of the world is one of "cold peace," in the personal estimate of Averill
> Harriman, ...

There is a similar story in GNA with free access, but a few days later.
Ottawa Citizen - Jun 16, 1948
Cold War Leads To Hot War. By Elmore Philpott

> Mr. Averill Harriman, the roving ambassador for the Marshall Plan, aptly
> describes the improvement in the international situation.

We have advanced, he says, "from cold war to cold peace."

As a great many people expected the cold war would lead to hot war, the
> change to cold peace is a real victory for the vast majority in all nations
> who only want peace with justice.

I've checked the GNA and GB hits for "Cold War" from 1940 to 1949. There are
several GB hits that show up with earlier dates. Although they do include
some documents or periodicals published possibly as early as 1946, all of
them are cumulative volumes that include other records that extend past
1948, so there is no conclusive record to take the term beyond June 4, 1948.
This is not to say that this was the original date when the coinage was
first introduced. The record is obviously incomplete and government
documents--which are not in these databases--obviously would include earlier
discussions of "Cold Peace".

Unlike "Cold War", "Cold Peace" has a generic predecessor. Actually, it has
at least two--one in which "cold" is taken literally (i.e., peaceful state
in cold weather), the other in which "cold" is metaphorical (i.e., uneasy
truce or coexistence).

Example of the former:
The Strand Magazine. December 1893 [Although it is unclear whether this is
the November or December issue because monthly frontmatter has not been
included, the backmatter for the December issue is attached at the back of
the volume, p. xxiii.]
Toward the North Pole. By Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. p. 624

> In this dead, frozen world is it that the Polar explorer has to live. There
> he roams with sledge and dogs in summer, and from thence he sends longing
> thoughts in the dark winter night southward to the dear ones at home, over
> whom the same stars are twinkling in their cold peace.

[OT: Incidentally, the same issue includes a story about "A Cemetary for
Dogs" (immediately following p. 624), "The Sultan of Turkey", "The Adventure
of the Final Problem" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and a
translation of Lermontov's Ashik-Kerib (this actually appears to be the last
story in the November issue), among others. That's quite a collection. Also,
the ads in the backmatter include Ovaltine Toilet Soap (only one example for
"toilet soap" in OED, from 1839), IVY Soap ("Floats on water"--a precursor
of Ivory Soap?) and Bird's Custard Powder--the former "prepared wi eggs",
the latter "No EGGS Required". Also an ad for Venitian blinds (postdating
OED 1882), "waterproofs" (Chesterfield and Regulation rain coats, postdating
OED 1880) and "Eno's Vegetable Moto"--a possible precursor to Vegemite? (The
source company in Bangkok and, more generally, in the Pacific, p. xxxii)]

And an example of the other:
The Milwaukee Sentinel - Jul 20, 1911. p. 11/7 [Not sure if GNA page
numbering matches the original, but there is no visible page numbers.]
How The Jarrs' Picnic Ended.

> "The Spanish war! The Spanish war! George, my slain hero!" moaned Miss
> Hickett.
> And she went off into hysterics and beat her heels on the ground. Whereat
> Mrs. Dusenberry dashed vinegar in her face and cried:
> "Cut her corset strings!"
> And promptly Mr. Jarr and Mr. Rangle escaped to Little Germany, where there
> was peace, quiet and imported beer.
> But Mrs. Jarr and Mrs. Rangle did not intend to let them be free. In the
> excitement over the hysterical collapse of Miss Hickett, they were too much
> interested in the applying of restoratives, fanning the sufferer and keeping
> the throng back, to attend to their recreant husbands.
> But when a cold peace had been in a measure restored and Miss Hackett had
> recovered somewhat, the absence of the husbands gave their wives an
> opportunity to get out of the awkward situation. Gathering their children
> and bidding some hurried and formal adieus, Mrs. Jarr and Mrs. Rangle also
> fled the scene.

Obviously, "cold peace" here has nothing to do with the temperature of the
surroundings. But it's also not quite the technical meaning of "Cold Peace"
that followed the initial stages of the Cold War. I have not attempted to
antedate these two predecessors, even though there is no entry of any kind
for "Cold Peace" in any dictionary that I checked. The two examples above
are just samples that I found interesting for subjective reasons. Both are
oddly preceded by what seems to be a poem (can't access PQA without paying)
that appeared on Aug. 15 or 16, 1888.

Love not Thou the cold peace that a child of frozen virtue...

I have no idea what this is about, but "frozen virtue" is clearly
metaphorical (the victim is dead, AFAICT) and "cold peace" appears to play
off that metaphor.

In any case, as "Cold War" is commonly excepted for dictionary entries and
"Cold Peace" is related and non-trivial term that's been in continuous use
since 1948, I believe, it deserves a separate entry. Whether its basic
metaphorical predecessor deserves a mention is quite another matter.


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