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Planning in Cold War Europe

Competition, Cooperation, Circulations (1950s-1970s)

Edited by: Michel Christian, Sandrine Kott,  and Ondrej Matejka

The idea of planning economy and engineering social life has often been linked with Communist regimes’ will of control. However, the persuasion that social and economic processes could and should be regulated was by no means limited to them. Intense debates on these issues developed already during the First World War in Europe and became globalized during the World Economic crisis.

During the Cold War, such discussions fuelled competition between two models of economic and social organisation but they also revealed the convergences and complementarities between them. This ambiguity, so often overlooked in histories of the Cold War, represents the central issue of the book organized around three axes.

First, it highlights how know-how on planning circulated globally and were exchanged by looking at international platforms and organizations. The volume then closely examines specificities of planning ideas and projects in the Communist and Capitalist World. Finally, it explores East-West channels generated by exchanges around issues of planning which functioned irrespective of the Iron Curtain and were exported in developing countries.

The volume thus contributes to two fields undergoing a process of profound reassessment: the history of modernisation and of the Cold War.

Global Cold War seen from the perspective of social and economic planning

Analysis of circulation of ideas irrespective of the Iron Curtain

Fresh look at the transnational history of international organizations in the bi-polar world

Author Information

Michel Christian, University of Geneva; Sandrine Kott, University of Geneva; Ondrej Matejka, University of Geneva


"[...] die hier besprochenen Publikationen (und nicht nur sie) [belegen] eine erfreuliche Offenheit für neue Fragen, Theorien und Methoden sowie einen fortgeschrittenen Stand transnationaler, auch blockübergreifender planungsgeschichtlicher Forschung, der vor ein oder zwei Jahrzehnten noch kaum denkbar erschien."
Christoph Bernhardt in: H-Soz-Kult (30.08.2019), https://www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/reb-26866

"[...] Planning in Cold War Europe offers an essential contribution to the expanding field of Cold War studies. It also adds to the existing literature on postwar planning. While much of this scholarship has focused on economic and development planning, the authors of this volume expand the scope to other less-explored areas, like the planning of scientific research, the development of management knowledge, or environmental management. In doing so, they have paved the way for new avenues of research."
Malak Labib in: H-Soz-Kult (22.10.2019), https://www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/reb-28085


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