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An Unequal Duel: The U.S. Propaganda Effort in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1950

  • Jan Koura (Charles University)
Tuesday 1 May 2018
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference Room (2.60)

During the Cold War, propaganda and psychological warfare played a significant role in the East-West conflict. While numerous studies on U.S. public diplomacy have focused on U.S. propaganda efforts, the ways in which this policy played out on the ground in Eastern Europe have been neglected. After World War II, the model of a limited democratic system was introduced in Czechoslovakia which allowed the Communist Party to increase its power and influence. U.S. propaganda offered a clear alternative to the Czechoslovak model and propaganda efforts were centred around this issue.

Based on Czech and U.S. sources, this talk will reconsider U.S. “psychological warfare” and “cultural diplomacy” towards Czechoslovakia before and shortly after the Communist coup of 1948. By examining in detail this moment in a specific country of the Eastern bloc, this paper seeks to broaden our understanding of U.S. aims in Eastern Europe by identifying dynamics that have been overlooked by researchers such as Walter Hixson.

About the speaker

Jan Koura is a Lecturer at Charles University’s Institute of Global History and a head of the Cold War Research Group at the Institute of the Study of Strategic Regions (Charles University). He has been a Fulbright-Masaryk Scholar at George Washington University and a Visiting Scholar at University of St Andrews. He is the author of one monograph, numerous articles and book chapters on the Cold War and co-author of a Cold War International History Project e-Dossier. His research interests focus on propaganda and public diplomacy during the Cold War and Czechoslovak foreign policy towards the Third World.

Charles University has a strategic partnership with Leiden and Jan's visit will lay the grounds for developing this partnership in the field of contemporary history, where there are no current projects.

Cold War Research Network

The Cold War Research Network was established in 2017 in order to link scholars working in the Netherlands on historical subjects that make use of the Cold War as (one of) their frame of reference. It organises rotating events at its three participating universities: Leiden, Amsterdam, and Utrecht.

For more information please contact Giles Scott-Smith: g.scott-smith@hum.leidenuniv.nl

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