Nekonečný příběh s náhlým koncem – a jeho bezprostřední důsledky pro středovýchodní Evropu. Nad mnohočetnými podněty z pražské konference o studené válce
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The Cold War, 1945–89, a Never-ending Story with a Sudden Ending: Many Impulses from a Prague Conference on the Cold War
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In this introductory article, the author return to the history conference ‘Dropping, Maintaining and Breaking the Iron Curtain: The Cold War and East-Central Europe Twenty Years Later’, which took place in the Lichtenstein Palais, Prague, from 19 to 21 November 2009. He provides a detailed report on the conference proceedings and also acquaints the reader with the contents of this double-issue of Soudobé dějiny , the main section of which comprises six articles that were developed from the most interesting papers given by non-Czech participants in the Prague conference. The conference was organized to mark the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of the Communist régimes in central and eastern Europe, the Institute of Contemporary History, at the Academy of Sciences, Prague, together with the Office of the Czech Government and the Institute of International Studies, at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague. About thirty historians from eleven countries of the formerly divided Europe and the United States took part in this meeting of top historians of the Cold War to discuss the records that are gradually being made accessible to scholars and the public and also the changing interpretations of this history. During the conference a former premier of the Czech Republic, Jan Fischer, awarded seven historians – Vojtěch Mastný, Thomas Blanton, Alex Pravda, Mark Kramer, Vilém Prečan, William Taubman, and, in memoriam , Saki Dockrill – the Karel Kramář Medal for the important contributions they have made to our knowledge of modern Czech history. In the introductory panel discussion, the historians, together with some of the actors in the events, discussed the forming of new world order, but mainly in Europe, in the early years after the end of the Cold War. The key processes here were the reunification of Germany, the dismantling of the military-political institutions of the East bloc, and the eastward expansion of Western integrating institutions – NATO and the EU. The dynamically forming reality, at the same time, put an end to conceptions developed by some leading politicians (François Mitterrand’s idea of a European confederation and Mikhail Gorbachev’s ‘common European home’). In a fruitful exchange of views it was repeated several times that the form of the European order which had developed after the Cold War was not something obvious and the eastward expansion of NATO was not something that any of the actors had expected. In the subsequent panels, the participants discussed the matter of whether competing for central Europe was the main cause of the Cold War, as well as considering the role of strategic planning and nuclear weapons and the counter-efforts to maintain or to overturn the Cold War status quo. The highpoint of the conference, according to this author, was the panel discussions devoted to Germany – the division of the country, the existence of two German states side by side, and then reunifi cation – and particularly the end of the Cold War. The conference closed with more general reflections on Communism and the Cold War. In the last part of his article, the author considers some terminological questions in connection with the articles published in this issue of Soudobé dějiny .
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