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Aleksanteri Conference
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Jalovaara, Ville

The Churches and the Cold War - Case Solved?

The Cold War was a global conflict fought in various fronts: politics, military, economics, ideology and last but not least the religion. The Soviet Union was officially atheistic nation were religion was in theory matter of conscience, but in practice the eastern bloc used lot of resources to try to abolish religion for ever. In the west religion was seen as a useful tool for the anticommunist propaganda to warn the people about danger of losing their religious freedom if the communist side would prevail in the conflict. In the both sides of the Iron Curtain churches became drawn in to the politics to support their governments in the conflict.

In my doctoral thesis The Church, Kekkonen and Communism (the book is in Finnish language) published in February 2007 I have looked on this matter from the Finnish perspective. In my conference paper I will take a more general and global look in the current research situation concerning the role of the religion in the Cold War.

There has been nearly two decades of active research on this topic since the end of the Cold War. The research carried out in the field of church history has also brought new perspectives to the general history of this period. While explaining to current situation in the research field I will try to give answers to the questions like: Is there a more general picture emerging about the role of the religion in Cold War? Are there any major questions that have been overlooked? Can we see the role of the religion in the Cold War as a “Case Closed” or are there still major questions to be answered?

Friday 30 Oct 16.15-18.15 SESSION 6
Panel: Backchannels of Cooperation