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“Cold War Instruments”? Exiles from East Central Europe in U.S. political warfare

Anna Mazurkiewicz, University of Gdansk

Thursday, 28 April 2022 14:15

Am 28. April 2022 heißen wir gemeinsam mit dem Leibniz WissenschaftsCampus (LWC) Anna Mazurkiewicz in unserem Regensburger Forschungskolloquium willkommen. Sie wird einen Vortrag zum Thema “ 'Cold War Instruments'? Exiles from East Central Europe in U.S. political warfare" halten.


While examining psychological and political warfare the term “instrument” appears in the context of the Free Europe Committee (FEC). This organization, while ostensibly “privately managed” was an unattributed asset of the US government. It sponsored the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN) – an umbrella organization of exiled politicians from East Central Europe. Even by the late 1950s, the FEC considered the ACEN “most effective instrument at FEER disposal in the national and international organization field for use in the representational pressure on governmental and political personalities in the Free World” - a notion vehemently contested by the exiles, as they in fact advanced U.S. political agenda in the truly global forums.

Upon reading the manuscript of my book on the ACEN (DeGruyter, 2021) A. Ross Johnson (RFE director, 1988–1991 and a researcher) commented: “In the end, I find it remarkable how much ACEN “rogue” activity the FEC put up with. Maybe the crude LB Johnson quote applied: About Edgar J Hoover "I'd rather have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."” I will take this remark as a starting point to approach the question of exile agency. My primary interest is in the intersection of public diplomacy, soft power, propaganda with the aim of examining a particular partnership that emerged between the American Cold War political/psychological warfare instrument and the multinational political exile organization that claimed legitimacy to represent a hundred million captive compatriots.



Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America in the Modern World



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