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Mertelsmann, Olaf

Early Cold War Media and the Response of the Audience in a Soviet Republic

Regarding the early Cold War, we tend to think of a fast evolvement of two blocks and lean to ignore the complexity of singular cases. Estonia was occupied and incorporated by the USSR in 1940 and occupied by the Nazis 1941-44. Thanks to Stalinist terror and other unpopular measures, the population was extremely hostile towards Soviet rule. Patterns of media use had been different from the Soviet ones. Thus, Estonians were less influenced by Soviet than by foreign media. While immigrants from other parts of the USSR and supporters of the new order might have followed a different path, the majority longed for a western intervention. Foreign radio broadcasting supported resistance or at least an attitude of silent non-agreement. A shift took place in the period of de-Stalinisation, accommodation with the political system led to a decline of the influence of foreign media. Still, Soviet propaganda or strict censorship could not work properly, because of access to other sources of information, the realities of life and memory of an idealised past.

Thursday 29 Oct, 13.45 - 15.45 SESSION 2
Panel: Early Cold War Media and Propaganda: Cases from Scandinavia and Estonia