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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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9 In Memory of a Cold War Friend: Monuments Commemorating the Finnish–Soviet Relationship in Helsinki and Tampere




In most standard accounts, the Cold War is commonly defined as a global conflict between the two superpowers, marked by varying levels of tension and rearmament. Yet, as scholars concerned with Cold War politics and culture have increasingly pointed out, each country had its own language for describing the Cold War.2 In Finland this language was that of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between, on the one side, the capitalist and democratic Finland and, on the other side, the socialist Soviet Union, a ‘language’ that, admittedly, challenged the basic tenets of the dominant Cold War narrative. Although by no means the only (nor even the most appropriate) intellectual framework for studying the Finnish experience ← 221 | 222 → of the Cold War, for most Finns the very essence of the Cold War is encapsulated by these three concepts, the meaning of which must be deciphered within the context of the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (hereafter the FCMA Treaty), signed in 1948 between Finland and the Soviet Union.3

From the Finnish point of view, this peculiar relationship was dictated by bitter geopolitical necessity rather than choice.4 Apart from not being quite as voluntary as the notion of friendship would imply, there remained a deep-seated distrust in Finland of Soviet intentions, fed by decades of feuding and a Soviet invasion in 1939. Moreover, the relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union was not one between two equals, although it would be unfair to...

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