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Cold War Crossings

International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s

Patryk Babiracki

Publication Year: 2014

Approaching the early decades of the “Iron Curtain” with new questions and perspectives, this important book examines the political and cultural implications of the communists’ international initiatives. Building on recent scholarship and working from new archival sources, the seven contributors to this volume study various effects of international outreach—personal, technological, and cultural—on the population and politics of the Soviet bloc. Several authors analyze lesser-known complications of East-West exchange; others show the contradictory nature of Moscow’s efforts to consolidate its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and in the Third World.

An outgrowth of the forty-sixth annual Walter Prescott Webb Lectures, hosted in 2011 by the University of Texas at Arlington, Cold War Crossings features diverse focuses with a unifying theme.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures Series

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This volume is an outcome of two related initiatives. On March 10, 2011, the Department of History at the University of Texas at Arlington hosted the annual Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures, entitled “Transnational Perspectives on the Soviet Bloc, 1944–1991.” Michael David- Fox, then of the University of Maryland–College Park, delivered the...

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Vladislav Zubok

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pp. 1-13

The power- centered and ideology- driven debates that aff ected the historiography of the Cold War have given way to wider interdisciplinary projects. Historians began to rethink the boundaries of international history between 1950 and 1990 beyond the well- known narratives of the US- Soviet confrontation, divided Europe, and the Western and Soviet...

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1. The Iron Curtain as Semipermeable Membrane: Origins and Demise of the Stalinist Superiority Complex

Michael David-Fox

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pp. 14-39

Perhaps the most famous words ever uttered about the postwar division of Europe belong to Winston Churchill. In what is commonly called the Iron Curtain speech, delivered in Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946, he declared: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain...

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2. The Taste of Red Watermelon: Polish Peasants Visit Soviet Collective Farms, 1949-1952

Patryk Babiracki

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pp. 40-77

The notion that during the Cold War culture, ideas, and perceptions mattered no less than traditional weapons is hardly new.2 In a veritable public relations race, both superpowers invested lavish resources in selling their ideologies both among allies and in the enemy “camp.” World War II had created a new need for international propaganda in both the...

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3. The Western Wall: The Iron Curtain Recast in Midsummer 1951

Nick Rutter

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pp. 78-106

In August , the world seemed to be turning red. The Korean peninsula had suff ered three invasions in fi ve months, the last by the world’s largest and most recently communized country. For the newly established Union française—France’s postwar euphemism for its prewar empire—the candle was alight at both ends. In Indochina, arms shipments from the anticolonial ...

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4. Socialist Encounters: Albania and the Transnational Eastern Bloc in the 1950s

Elidor Mëhilli

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pp. 107-133

In the summer of 1961, a group of East Germans found themselves in something of an ordeal. They were stationed in Kurbnesh, an isolated locale in the mountainous area of Mirditë, in northern Albania. A small village situated close to copper reserves, Kurbnesh was undergoing a stormy transformation into an industrial town. When authorities decided to build...

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5. The Soviet-South Encounter: Tensions in the Friendship with Afro-Asian Partners, 1945-1965

Constantin Katsakioris

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pp. 134-165

Devastated, divided, and reduced, post– World War II Europe could hardly envisage the near future with much optimism or self- assurance. In the East, Stalin was redesigning the boundaries and establishing Soviet control over half of the continent. In the South, the colonial possessions, those territories of vital importance both for the wartime eff ort and for the...

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6. Meeting at a Far Meridian: US-Soviet Cultural Diplomacy on Film in the Early Cold War

Marsha Siefert

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pp. 166-210

“A few minutes later . . . he realized that he couldn’t remember whether he had spoken in Russian or English. It was a startling experience; and for a moment . . . he tried to concentrate on his memory. . . . Then he gave it up because suddenly, and this was equally startling, it made no diff erence out here. This far from the world below, this far from boundaries, nationalities,...


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pp. 211-214


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pp. 215-228

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781623491420
E-ISBN-10: 1623491428
Print-ISBN-13: 9781623490300

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures Series
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OCLC Number: 879352278
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Cold War Crossings

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Subject Headings

  • Exchange of persons programs, Soviet -- History.
  • Soviet Union -- Relations.
  • Communist countries -- Relations.
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