Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s

Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s

Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s

Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

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 DavidFox, then of the University of Maryland–College Park, delivered the keynote address; the other participants were Marsha Siefert (Central European University, Budapest), Constantin Katsakioris (Hellenic Archives, Athens), and Patryk Babiracki (University of Texas at Arlington). This collection features the expanded versions of their lectures. Contributing to this volume are also the two co-winners of the accompanying international essay competition, Elidor Mëhilli and Nick Rutter, who were in the final stages of their doctoral work at Princeton and Yale Universities at the time. Vladislav Zubok (London School of Economics) kindly agreed to write the introduction. The essays follow two parallel orders: they are organized chronologically and proceed from general-theoretical overviews to case studies that are more detailed. We wish to thank all the authors for their patience and gracious cooperation during the volume’s long gestation phase. We are grateful to the Department of History and our university for sponsoring and organizing the Webb Lectures and for the assistance of Jennifer Lawrence in particular. This support left us with the sole responsibility—indeed, the distinct pleasure—of coordinating the event’s intellectual dimensions and ensuring that this volume would see the light of day. In editing the final versions of the manuscript, Patryk Babiracki benefitted from the Junior Research Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study of the Central European University in Budapest in 2012–13· Following a long tradition, and with enthusiastic appreciation, we dedicate this book to our colleague Robert Fairbanks, who served as Chair of our Department of History before stepping down in the summer of 2011.

Patryk Babiracki Kenyon Zimmer

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