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Aleksanteri Conference
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A "Cold War Culture"? Music, Radio and Documentaries across the Curtain, 1945-1989

Building upon the recent development of Cultural Cold War studies, this panel examines the role of popular culture as a form of protest and political criticism between 1945 and 1989. Challenging the view whereby the Iron Curtain prevented mutual cultural influences between East and West, these papers demonstrate that there was in fact significant reciprocal influence and that the Iron Curtain was culturally more permeable than it is often believed. These papers focus on specific case studies to tackle the wider question of the meaning and role of popular culture – and counterculture – in the East and in the West and to assess to what degree it is correct to speak of a ‘Cold War Culture’.

Matt Worley (“One Nation under a bomb: The Cold War and British Punk”) explores the impact of the 'second Cold War' on the British punk movement. The examination of the historical development of British punk offers a unique insight into the ways in which a significant section of Britain's youth understood and responded to the global antagonisms of the time. If the politics of boredom provided the impetus for punk's gestation, the Cold War served as a suitably apocalyptic backdrop to its twilight.

Linda Risso (“Don’t mention the Soviets! The short movies produced by NATO between 1949 and 1989”) examines the documentaries and short movies produced by the NATO Information service during the Cold War. The paper demonstrates how the content, format and target audience changed through time thus reflecting the development in the Cold War. This paper demonstrates how the NATO information material responded to the criticism put forward by communist anti-NATO campaigns and particularly by the World Peace Congress.

Abstract of Leo Goretti ‘Amore or Dollars’? The youth policies of the Italian Communist Party and the outbreak of the Cold War (1947-1949)

Friday 30 Oct 9.00-11.00 Session 4