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Cold War Cities

History, Culture and Memory


Edited By Katia Pizzi and Marjatta Hietala

The Cold War left indelible traces on the city, where polarities on the global stage crystallized and intersected with political and social dynamics predating and bypassing the Blocs. This collection taps into the rich fabric of memories, histories and cultural interactions of thirteen cities worldwide and the lived experience of urban communities during the long Cold War: activated and mobilized by atomic technologies, taking tourist photographs, attending commercial fairs, enjoying the cinema and the ballet, singing in choirs, paying respect in local cemeteries, visiting museums, and responding to town councils, unions and the local press. Literature, film, photography, the press, the monument, the cemetery, the factory, the ruin, the archive and the natural ecosystem are some of the key frameworks of cultural production elucidated here with a view to countering and exploding received myths about the Cold War.
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4 Cold War Displacements: Belgrade Memories from a Non-Aligned Realm


Introduction: Shaping a new identity

During the Cold War, Yugoslavia had a specific international position generated by several shifts in its foreign policy. Although it was one of the original members of the Cominform (the Communist Information Bureau),1 Yugoslavia left the Soviet orbit of influence in June 1948, after the resolution which was a consequence of the conflict between the Yugoslav leader Tito (1945–80) and the Soviet leader Stalin (1924–53). The resolution of the Cominform accused the Communist Party of Yugoslavia of violating the unity of the socialist Bloc, betraying Marxist ideas, leading nationalist politics and spreading animosity toward the Soviet communist party, but the real cause was Tito’s intention to lead an independent state politics, without external influences.2 Yugoslavia was expelled from the Eastern Bloc and its security was threatened by a possible Soviet aggression.3 The conflict with the Cominform had a significant impact on the ← 97 | 98 → subsequent development of Yugoslavia. The Soviet model of state organization and economy were abandoned and the outcome of this restructuring was a unique system of so-called ‘workers’ self-management’. The important changes occurred at the international level as well. In spite of its socialist orientation, Yugoslavia established a cooperation with the Western Bloc, especially with its leader, the United States.4 The military and economic support provided by the West enabled Yugoslavia to overcome isolation and pressure imposed by the Eastern Bloc, but the economic dependence on Western aid also triggered growing demands for the political...

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