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Aleksanteri Conference







"Beyond Peace and Friendship" - Cultural Cold War Encounters at the World Youth Festivals, 1940s - 1970s

This panel discusses one of the most intriguing sites of the cultural Cold War: the World Festival of Youth and Students. Conventional narratives of the festival, which met thirteen times over the course of the Cold War, carry clear ideological biases. While communist histories tout it as a manifestation of peace and friendship, non-communist authors dismiss it as Soviet-sponsored spectacle.

This panel moves beyond these traditional bipolar interpretations by focusing on the unprecedented social and political confrontations that the World Youth Festival enabled. Panelists' examinations of official and unofficial accounts of the festival enable a fresh perspective on the ruptures and continuities that marked its evolution from the 1940s to the 1970s. By reconsidering this international event from a variety of national perspectives--including the Soviet Union, Poland, the two Germanies, and Finland--the papers also enable new comparative perspectives on the cultural Cold War, whose history has until now relied largely on American and Western European sources.

Thurdsday 29 Oct 16.15-18.15 Session 3