Soviet Estonia in the Era of the Cold War
The Economic Impact of the Early Cold War on the Estonian SSR
← 118 | 119 →Olaf Mertelsmann
Abstract: The author describes and analyzes in detail how the Estonian SSR’s economy was affected by Sovietization, postwar reconstruction of the economy, the needs of the armament industry, and the impact of the Cold War. He also analyzes the reorganizations carried out in the Union republic in the context of changes that took place in Europe.
Economic history is not usually a central focus of Cold War historiography, which is far more interested in politics.1 Nevertheless, a great deal of effort was invested by the West in researching the economic system of the ideological enemy, and the ← 119 | 120 →first deep insights into Soviet economics were a product of the Cold War.2 But in the last two decades this field did not develop much.3 Still-existing restrictions hamper archival access. Thus, to my knowledge, only four monographs have been published that are based on research in Soviet archives and that deal with postwar Soviet economic history and the military industrial complex.4 Nevertheless, the economic impact of the Cold War on all societies involved was significant, which makes this topic a valuable one.
For far too long, master narratives presented the Cold War as a conflict taking place in a bipolar world with only two superpowers. But Moscow and Washington were not the only parties involved. It would be more accurate to regard the Cold War as a conflict taking place on various levels with a multitude of players fulfilling different roles....
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