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Beyond the Divide: Entangled Histories of Cold War Europe

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Beyond the Divide

Entangled Histories of Cold War Europe

Edited by Simo Mikkonen and Pia Koivunen

335 pages, 7 illus., 1 table, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-866-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-826-7 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (May 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78238-867-8 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Nearly 30 years after the dissolution of the USSR (signaling the close of the Cold War), it is somewhat surprising that a team of academics could provide such a timely work, spanning 11 European countries… [The] diverse perspectives from various disciplines and fields (connected through the study of history) across the European nations is one of the largest strengths of this volume. Highly recommended.” • Choice

“The volume’s concise introduction and chapters, none of which exceeds twenty pages (including footnotes), are well suited to seminar discussions along the lines drawn [in the volume], one through the Iron Curtain, and another toward, through, and around the institutions above it.” • Slavic Review

“The value of this volume is based in the abundance of empirical insights into the manifold attempts to overcome the ideological divisions and the receptiveness of the involved actors…This volume is a welcome and important contribution, offering much material and inspiration for further case studies and comparative overviews.” • Forschungen zur Baltischen Geschichte

Beyond the Divide introduces new themes to the field of the Cold War culture by giving voice to themes that have not been widely discussed in Cold War historiography. Not only the geographical coverage but also topics from politics to science, from friendship societies to media, from television to popular culture create a picture of active exchanges that took place in spite of the division and restriction caused by the Cold War…It is a volume that is worth reading.” • European History Quarterly

“Where did the power of the Cold War begin and what were its limits in terms of defining social reality? Mikkonen’s and Koivu­nen’s fresh and innovative anthology succeeds in pushing this important question once more to the top of the research agenda.” • Neue Politische Literatur

“It is rare that edited volumes cover the European continent so broadly in terms of geography. Furthermore, many of the chapters focus on individual actions and impact, which adds a certain personal depth to the larger story of exchanges, cooperation, and cultural relations across the Iron Curtain.” • Rósa Magnúsdóttir, Aarhus University

“The overall message is that time has come to overcome traditional Cold War narratives and to look at European societies in detail. I think this volume will have an impact both on Cold War research and on teaching European history.” • Annette Vowinckel, Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam


Cold War history has emphasized the division of Europe into two warring camps with separate ideologies and little in common. This volume presents an alternative perspective by suggesting that there were transnational networks bridging the gap and connecting like-minded people on both sides of the divide. Long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were institutions, organizations, and individuals who brought people from the East and the West together, joined by shared professions, ideas, and sometimes even through marriage. The volume aims at proving that the post-WWII histories of Western and Eastern Europe were entangled by looking at cases involving France, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, and others.

Simo Mikkonen is a Finnish Academy Research fellow in the Department of History and Ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is the author of State Composers and the Red Courtiers: Music, Ideology, and Politics in the Soviet 1930s (2009).

Pia Koivunen is lecturer in European and World History at the University of Turku. She is currently completing a monograph on the World Youth Festival and Soviet Cultural Diplomacy; and another book on individuals’ experiences on traveling to Eastern Europe during the Cold War years.

Subject: Postwar History
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Beyond the Divide


Chapter 1. Opening Up Political Space: Informal Diplomacy, East-West Exchanges, and the Helsinki Process
Giles Scott-Smith

Chapter 2. Challenging Old Cold War Stereotypes: The Case of Danish-Polish Youth Exchange and the European Détente, 1965–75
Marianne Rostgaard

Chapter 3. Transmitting the “Freedom Virus”: France, the USSR, and Cultural Aspects of European Security Cooperation
Nicolas Badalassi

Chapter 4. Cultural Diplomacy of Switzerland and the Challenge of Peaceful Coexistence, 1956–75
Matthieu Gillabert


Chapter 5. Expert Groups Closing the Divide: Estonian-Finnish Computing Cooperation since the 1960s
Sampsa Kaataja

Chapter 6. French-Romanian Academic Exchanges in the 1960s
Beatrice Scutaru

Chapter 7. Hungary Opens toward the West: Political Preconditions for Finnish-Hungarian Cooperation in Research and Development in the 1960s and 1970s
Anssi Halmesvirta

Chapter 8. “Discrete” Intermediaries: Transnational Activities of the Fondation pour une entraide intellectuelle européenne
Ioana Popa


Chapter 9. The Image of “Real France”: Instrumentalization of French Culture in the Early Communist Czechoslovakia
Václav Šmidrkal

Chapter 10. Dealing with “Friends”: Soviet Friendship Societies in Western Europe as a Challenge for Western Diplomacy
Sonja Grossmann

Chapter 11. The Soviet Union Encounters Anglia: Britain’s Russian Magazine as a Medium for Cross-Border Communication
Sarah Davies


Chapter 12. Transnational Television in Europe: Cold War Competition and Cooperation
Lars Lundgren

Chapter 13. Transnational Spaces between Poland and Finland: the Grassroots Dismantling of the Iron Curtain and Their Political Entanglements
Anna Matyska

Chapter 14. A Filter for Western Cultural Products: The Influence of Italian Popular Culture on Yugoslavia, 1955–65
Francesca Rolandi

Notes on Contributors

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