Cold War Cultures

Cold War Cultures: Perspectives on Eastern and Western European Societies

Annette Vowinckel
Marcus M. Payk
Thomas Lindenberger
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 396
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  • Book Info
    Cold War Cultures
    Book Description:

    The Cold War was not only about the imperial ambitions of the super powers, their military strategies, and antagonistic ideologies. It was also about conflicting worldviews and their correlates in the daily life of the societies involved. The term "Cold War Culture" is often used in a broad sense to describe media influences, social practices, and symbolic representations as they shape, and are shaped by, international relations. Yet, it remains in question whether - or to what extent - the Cold War Culture model can be applied to European societies, both in the East and the West. While every European country had to adapt to the constraints imposed by the Cold War, individual development was affected by specific conditions as detailed in these chapters. This volume offers an important contribution to the international debate on this issue of the Cold War impact on everyday life by providing a better understanding of its history and legacy in Eastern and Western Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-244-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. European Cold War Culture(s)? An Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)
    Annette Vowinckel, Marcus Payk and Thomas Lindenberger

    Even though “Cold War” is a common term to describe the political conflict between Western liberal democracies and Eastern European Socialist states after World War II, it remained a Western expression until the “war” itself was over. In Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union it was, as Muriel Blaive has pointed out, hardly used—except perhaps by intellectuals following Western discourse. Thus, even speaking of the “Cold War” already runs the risk of retrospectively applying common Western vocabulary and transforming it into an analytic term.¹ As a matter of fact, many North Americans and Western Europeans (admittedly the West...

  5. I. Mediating the Cold War:: Radio, Film, Television, and Literature
    • Chapter 1 East European Cold War Culture(s): Alterities, Commonalities, and Film Industries
      (pp. 23-54)
      Marsha Siefert

      At one end of Budapest’s Freedom (Szabadság) Square stands a tall obelisk topped by a five-pointed star, with a dedication in Hungarian and Russian to the Soviet “heroes” who died “liberating” Budapest from Nazi occupation in 1945. It is surrounded by a person-high metal barricade, which was put up after the monument was defaced during the October 2006 demonstrations against the Hungarian government, on the fiftieth anniversary of the 1956 revolution. Across the walkway, for several months in 2008, stood a two-story tent, erected by a Hungarian nationalist organization and topped by a Hungarian flag. In front of the tent...

    • Chapter 2 “We Started the Cold War”: A Hidden Message behind Stalin’s Attack on Anna Akhmatova
      (pp. 55-75)
      Olga Voronina

      An ideological—as well as political and economic—confrontation between Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe and the United States and its allies, the Cold War manifested itself in cultural actions as much as it did in military and diplomatic crises. The onset of the “political” Cold War is generally tied to President Truman’s introduction of the Containment Policy Doctrine in March 1947.¹ The beginning of the Cold War as an opposition of cultures is not as easy to pin down. I suggest that the Soviet government launched it nine months earlier, and that the resolution “About the journalsZvezdaandLeningrad,” adopted...

    • Chapter 3 Radio Reform in the 1980s: RIAS and DT-64 Respond to Private Radio
      (pp. 76-93)
      Edward Larkey

      In the introduction to the volume Popund Propaganda,editors Klaus Arnold and Christoph Classen¹ point to the curious situation of the electronic media of both German states before unification: although they arose out of competing and antagonistic social, economic, and political systems, and even developed according to different concepts,² programming of the broadcasting networks in both states gradually achieved a similarity, with increased orientation to specific target audiences and audience distinctions.³ Moreover, while the political or propaganda programs were neither credible nor popular among most people in the GDR, Arnold and Classen surmise that the entertainment shows popular among...

    • Chapter 4 The Enemy Within: (De)Dramatizing the Cold War in U.S. and West German Spy TV from the 1960s
      (pp. 94-111)
      Marcus M. Payk

      The preeminent symbol of the Cold War was the atomic bomb, and the threat of a nuclear Armageddon hovered relentlessly over humankind between the late 1940s and the early 1990s. While the complex political, social, and cultural effects of this prime Cold War angst have been the subject of many books and papers,¹ my approach is slightly different. I am interested in the “minor” fears of this conflict: those we are generally familiar with as the classic themes of espionage and counterintelligence—Communist infiltration, subversion, the theft of military arcana, the abduction of scientists, etc. But instead of concentrating on...

    • Chapter 5 Cold War Television: Olga Korbut and the Munich Olympics of 1972
      (pp. 112-126)
      Annette Vowinckel

      Sport is an integral part of postmodern everyday life—in the form of daily exercise and even more as a media phenomenon. However, sport is usually not reflected upon as a mere phenomenon; rather, it is perceived as indirectly informing us about politics, societies, and economic and media developments. In both the sociology and the history of sports, it has been common to speak of sports as an image or mirror of social reality, to charge sports with ideological meaning and to assume that they are influenced by various—and sometimes opposing—interests. The reality of sports in the twentieth...

  6. II. Constructing Identities:: Representations of the “Self”
    • Chapter 6 Catholic Piety in the Early Cold War Years; or, How the Virgin Mary Protected the West from Communism
      (pp. 129-151)
      Monique Scheer

      An important dimension of everyday culture in the United States during the Cold War was the foregrounding of the notion that American national identity was tightly bound up with religious commitment. One of communism’s most salient features was its self-proclaimed atheism; by inverse conclusion, to be anti-Communist (and therefore a “good American”) was to be God-fearing. Regular attendance at religious services, and perhaps even more importantly “a highly favorable attitude toward religion became forms of affirming ‘the American way of life’ during the Cold War,” and at the same time “the most effective shield against the suspicion of subversiveness.”¹ Among...

    • Chapter 7 The Road to Socialism Paved with Good Intentions: Automobile Culture in the Soviet Union, Romania, and the GDR During Détente
      (pp. 152-171)
      Luminita Gatejel

      In 1960, the West German Journalist Helmut Müller traveled to the Soviet Union by car. In Moscow, he noted the following event in his diary:

      Stoi! The policeman on Gorky Street waves a red flag. We should stop the car! Around us, all the other drivers stop, too.… After five more minutes, the whole street is full of cars. Either Khrushchev is passing by, or in front of us a portion of the street was missing.… The policemen start to wave their flags again. We get it: davai, davai, go, go. The whole jam is set in motion again. On...

    • Chapter 8 Advertising, Emotions, and “Hidden Persuaders”: The Making of Cold-War Consumer Culture in Britain from the 1940s to the 1960s
      (pp. 172-190)
      Stefan Schwarzkopf

      Anxieties surrounding the introduction of new forms of consumer marketing are an integral part of the study of Cold War Culture.¹ Like many other fields of popular culture, advertising attracted the keen interest of the Cold War political elite, intellectuals, and critical journalists. On the one hand, America’s and Europe’s “Cold Warriors” saw private consumption as a key area for the self-assertion of their respective ideologies, which generated conflicting views in East and West of what constitutes a consumers’ paradise.² On the other hand, Western intellectuals in particular began to warn that the new consumer affluence opened the door for...

    • Chapter 9 Survival in the Welfare Cocoon: The Culture of Civil Defense in Cold War Sweden
      (pp. 191-210)
      Marie Cronqvist

      In his memoirs, the Swedish prime minister Tage Erlander recalls a 1954 luncheon at Winston Churchill’s country home Chequers, when the British Minister of Supply Duncan Sandys challenged him on the matter of civil defense. In the 1950s and 1960s, Sweden was sometimes—and occasionally with a hint of mockery as in the words of Sandys—simply referred to as “the nation that strives underground.”² Extensive emergency evacuation plans, mandatory civil defense duty, frequent atomic air-raid drills, necklace identification tag campaigns, and the construction of massive public shelters marked the Swedish Cold War experience. In the spirit of total defense,...

  7. III. Crossing the Border:: Interactions with the “Other”
    • Chapter 10 The Peace and the War Camps: The Dichotomous Cold War Culture in Czechoslovakia: 1948–1960
      (pp. 213-234)
      Roman Krakovsky

      During the Cold War, both the East and the West developed representations of themselves as well as “the Other.” For each, the initial image of itself was, arguably, created in isolation, without reference to the Other. For instance, the East defined itself in terms of the fight for peace, and the West in terms of the fight for democracy. These images were then expanded upon, attaining new meanings from the wider context of the East-West relationship. Thus, the representation of Self was always completed by the representation of the Other. For the East, the West came to represent an imperialist...

    • Chapter 11 Artistic Style, Canonization, and Identity Politics in Cold War Germany, 1947–1960
      (pp. 235-253)
      Joes Segal

      The early years of the twenty-first century witnessed a strong scholarly interest in the cultural aspects of the Cold War. It was recognized that literature, the visual arts, music, theatre, cinema, and other cultural expressions not only reflected existing political tensions, but were also debated and sometimes celebrated as carriers of collective identities and ideologies. Culture became an important factor in the mental mapping of the Cold War and in the process of ideological inclusion and exclusion in East and West, not just for the cultural elite but also for the public at large.

      The visual arts make an interesting...

    • Chapter 12 What Does Democracy Look Like? (And Why Would Anyone Want to Buy It?): Third World Demands and West German Responses at 1960s World Youth Festivals
      (pp. 254-275)
      Quinn Slobodian

      In the plans of their Communist organizers, the World Youth Festivals of the 1960s were supposed to win the sympathies of young leaders from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and serve as catalysts for a global Soviet-friendly youth movement. In reality, the festivals became occasions for heated, and even violent, debates between delegates from the three worlds about which model of democracy—liberal capitalist, state-Socialist, or a more radical alternative—was viable in a postcolonial world. This chapter follows the West German intervention in the three festivals of the decade, and shows how Third World demands challenged West Germans involved...

    • Chapter 13 Drawing the East-West Border: Narratives of Modernity and Identity in the Northeastern Adriatic (1947–1954)
      (pp. 276-296)
      Sabina Mihelj

      The northeastern Adriatic¹ has long functioned as an integral part of the symbolic fracture cutting through the European continent, dividing it, in the eyes of Western Europeans, into its civilized Western and underdeveloped Eastern or Balkan parts. The main contours and early history of the fracture, first formed in the period of the Enlightenment, have by now received considerable attention. Often inspired by Edward Said’s influential study of the Western perceptions of the Orient,² historians, anthropologists, and political scientists have produced a number of detailed studies exploring the historical formation and varied uses of Western imagery of the Balkans and...

  8. IV. The Legacies of the Cold War:: Remembrance and Historiography
    • Chapter 14 A 1950s Revival: Cold War Culture in Reunified Germany
      (pp. 299-320)
      Andrew H. Beattie

      Extensive research has demonstrated that the Cold War had a decisive impact on a central element of postwar German culture and political culture: public memory.¹ Some commentators have suggested that the Cold War’s conclusion marked the end, if not of “history,” then at least of the “memory regimes” that had emerged in East and West Germany.² The implication is that public memory in unified Germany was now free to develop along decidedly post–Cold War lines.³ Yet such a view overlooks numerous continuities across the apparent caesura of 1989–90.⁴ It also ignores that the history and legacies of the...

    • Chapter 15 The Mikson Case: War Crimes Memory, Estonian Identity Reconstructions, and the Transnational Politics of Justice
      (pp. 321-346)
      Valur Ingimundarson

      The end of the Cold War not only discredited communism but also destabilized other ideological truisms. In the early 1990s, the Soviet successor states and the countries of Eastern Europe began to grapple with the legacy of communism, usually opting for lustration or purges rather than prosecution, trials, or truth commissions. The initial anti-Communist focus fitted well with attempts by the political elite in the Baltic states to portray resistance against the Soviets in heroic terms and to use victimization narratives (e.g., the Soviet annexation during World War II) as a tool to reconstruct new Western-oriented national identities with the...

    • Chapter 16 The First Cold War Memorial in Berlin: A Short Inquiry into Europe, the Cold War, and Memory Cultures
      (pp. 347-369)
      Petra Henzler

      Unquestionably, the Cold War was the metastructure for the postwar era, influencing nearly every important development after World War II. In a certain sense, we can understand the Cold War as an extension of nineteenth-century nationalism. However, it was a successor that did not erase the effects of nationalism. Rather it had a transforming affect: it fostered and partly reactivated transnationality, especially for the European states. Hence the concept of Cold War Culture, which links changing lifestyles, mass consumption, and mass culture as well as educational systems with the overarching systemic conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union,...

  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 370-373)
  10. Index
    (pp. 374-385)