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04 June 2023

Westerners, Western Power and Polish Society in the Mid-Twentieth Century: The Poznan International Trade Fair as a Complex Frontier

Contemporary European History
Westerners, Western Power and Polish Society in the Mid-Twentieth Century: The Poznan International Trade Fair as a Complex Frontier

Drawing on Polish, US, French, British and German archival documents, this article examines the encounters between Western and Polish participants at the International Trade Fair in the Polish city of Poznań in the 1950s and 1960s. Challenging the predominant Cold War framework, it shows that Westerners who came to Poznań drew on power and privilege while pursuing personal interests. Consequently, the author both highlights the self-indulgence of the well-known story about the largely emancipatory motivations of Westerners who became involved with Eastern European affairs in the second half of the twentieth century and demonstrates that the resulting patterns of interactions are only tangentially related to Cold War political struggles. Instead, the article shows that these encounters are best seen in the context of a relationship between Westerners and East Europeans that spans decades, and even centuries, and that involved encounters fraught with contestation over economic power and cultural dominance.

Source: Babiracki P. (2023) Westerners, Western Power and Polish Society in the Mid-Twentieth Century: The Poznań International Trade Fair as a Complex Frontier. Contemporary European History. 30 March: 1-19

Source web-site: https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/CEF150D37713409D38AA47F367EABB7A/S0960777323000127a.pdf/westerners_western_power_and_polish_society_in_the_midtwentieth_century_the_poznan_international_trade_fair_as_a_complex_fronti

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