Friendship Societies and Cultural Diplomacy during the Cold War: The Romanian – Japanese Case

by Viviana Iacob

at the international conference Japan: Premodern, Modern, and ContemporaryBucharest, 4-6 September, 2017.

Abstract

Friendship societies with western countries had a seminal role in pre-Détente Cold War cultural diplomacy. In the absence of diplomatic relations, these associations initiated the first contact with the West and paved the way to blooming cultural exchanges during the Détente (from mid-sixties onward). Their activity was unidirectional in the early fifties, as it entailed the circulation of publications and the organization of events with a rather reduced impact such as exhibitions or conferences. Nevertheless, their main role was to gather contacts and enlarge the network of individuals that could better serve the dissemination of a socialist country’s culture beyond the Iron Curtain divide in the late fifties and early sixties. My paper will discuss the work carried out by the Japan –Romania Friendship Association (JRFA) founded in 1955 by a group of Japanese fellow travelers. By focusing on the cultural exports that were characteristic to this association in the larger context of East –West cultural relations between 1955 and 1965, I intend to underline what type of cultural heritage was favored by Romanian cultural officials in exchanges outside the socialist camp. My paper reveals a new genealogy to the internationalization of a Southeast European culture during the Cold War. It points to specific institutionalizations of encounters that constituted the basis for later transnational circulations of ideas and people from Southeast Europe to multiple corners of the globe. 

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State Socialism and the Development of International Criminal and Humanitarian Law during the Cold War

by Raluca Grosescu

at the workshop Socialist Experts, Humanitarianism, and the Latin American Cold War Conflicts, Andhes University, Bogota, 1-3 August, 2017.

Abstract

This paper examines the contribution of Eastern European socialist governments and legal experts to the development of international criminal law (ICL) and international humanitarian law (IHL) during the Cold War. It challenges the dominant scholarship that portray the Socialist Bloc as merely a roadblock to progress of international justice and humanitarianism and posits an alternative narrative: the socialist world in fact played a vital role for the emergence and consolidation of new ICL and IHL norms after 1945 and its participation was an essential element in the advancement of these fields of law. The paper discusses the socialist engagements with the definition of the ‘crime of aggression’, the linked charges of ‘crimes against peace’ and ‘common plan or conspiracy’ used against the Axis leaders at the post-war tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo, the expansion of the Geneva Conventions to non-international conflicts, the non-applicability of statutory limitations to international crimes and the criminalization of apartheid under international law.

CFP: From Below and In Between – Narrating and Practicing the Cold War in South East Europe

Organizers: Janis Nalbadidacis (Chair for South East European History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Matthias Thaden (Chair for the History of Western Europe and Transatlantic Relations, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Date: June 1-2, 2017

Deadline for Applications: February 5, 2017

Venue: Berlin

The Cold War as a global geopolitical order after World War II had a profound impact on the comparatively small area of South East Europe. Ideological fault lines divided various countries from one another and resulted in an exceptionally fragmented political landscape: Rumania und Bulgaria joined the Warsaw Pact under Soviet influence, Greece and Turkey became members of the NATO, and Yugoslavia held a leading position in the Non-Aligned movement. Furthermore, Albania broke bonds with the Soviet Union in 1962 and became increasingly isolated. Not only in a Cold War-context, South East Europe is often seen as a periphery to the global centers. The workshop will challenge this perspective. Instead, we will approach the region as a center of ideological fractions during the Cold War, therefore treating it as a “burning glass” of geopolitical orders. Continue reading CFP: From Below and In Between – Narrating and Practicing the Cold War in South East Europe