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Cold War Cities

History, Culture and Memory

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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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7 The İzmir Fair in the Cold War: Remembering and Forgetting

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Introduction

Forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error, is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation, which is why progress in historical studies often constitutes a danger for [the principle of] nationality.

— ERNEST RENAN

Ernest Renan discussed in a 1882 lecture the role of amnesia, forgetting and brutality in founding political identities, with particular reference to the history of France and the ideology of nationalism.1 Renan’s statement above reminds us that history is reflected in the collective memory. Following Renan, we can argue that ‘forgetting the original violence’ or erasing the ‘politically incorrect’ are highly constitutive in the formation of national identity and public memory. Using Renan’s viewpoint as an insight, this study looks at memories of the Cold War in Turkey.

This chapter originates from ‘Cultural Cold War at the Izmir International Fair: 1950s–60s’, which focused on how the United States and the Soviet Union utilized the urban space in İzmir.2 The main ← 169 | 170 → focus here is urban memories and individual accounts of the Cold War in İzmir. Though numerous studies on the technical and socio-economical dimensions of the İzmir Fair exist,3 the Fair has yet to be examined through the lens of the Cold War.

I shall approach the İzmir Fair through the memories of local people who were the main target audience of Cold War propaganda, framed by in-depth interviews that I conducted with thirty...

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