Waging the Cold War: the origins and launch of Western cooperation to absorb migrants from Eastern Europe, 1948–57.

Waging the Cold War: the origins and launch of Western cooperation to absorb migrants from Eastern Europe, 1948–57.

Comte, Emmanuel. ‘Waging the Cold War: the origins and launch of Western cooperation to absorb migrants from Eastern Europe, 1948–57.’ Cold War History 20(3) (2020).

This article reconstructs the gradual process leading the Western powers to cooperate to absorb migrants from Eastern Europe, from the February 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état to the 1956–57 Hungarian crisis. This study reveals that cooperation to manage migration became a major component of Western Cold War strategy. Centred on the German predicament, it was first a way to contain the Soviet Union by reducing the pressures affecting Western countries bordering Eastern Europe. It also became an offensive strategy aiming at encouraging outflows from Eastern Europe to weaken Communist governments. Only cooperation at a Western level could achieve those objectives. 

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