For the Liberation of the ‘Captive Nations’: A Comparison of Political Organizations of Anti-Communist Exiles from East-Central Europe and the Balkan Cover Image

Za osvobození „porobených národů“. Politické organizace protikomunistických exilů ze středovýchodní Evropy a Balkánu ve srovnání
For the Liberation of the ‘Captive Nations’: A Comparison of Political Organizations of Anti-Communist Exiles from East-Central Europe and the Balkan

Author(s): Martin Nekola
Subject(s): History
Published by: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR

Summary/Abstract: This article discusses the formation and development of groupings of political exiles from the countries of east-central and southeast Europe in the West, particularly in the USA, during the Cold War. The author states that although Czech historians have in recent years begun to pay more attention to anti-Communist exiles from Czechoslovakia after the Communist takeover of February 1948, the inclusion of this topic in the wider international context and comparitive research on exile movements of other East Bloc nations is still fundamentally lacking. The chief aim of the article is therefore to provide a basic factual overview to enable scholars to assess the extent to which Czechoslovak (or Czech and Slovak) post- -February-1948 exiles cannot be discussed using the usual model of the operation of the exile community during the Cold War or, on the contrary, do fit nicely into it. Using records in North American archives, the author first outlines the general preconditions for the operation of the anti-Communist exile movement in Western countries and he describes the work of supranational political representatives of exiles, the most important of which was the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN), established in New York City in 1954. He then gradually introduces the political organizations and representatives of the individual national exiles of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Baltic countries, and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. He demonstrates that the role and standing of the political exile associations from eastern Europe were essentially derived from changes in international politics and were to a considerable extent dependent on the support of US institutions. That was a consequence of their origin in the second half of the 1940s, their expansion in the 1950s, and their gradual decline over the next three decades. The characteristic image of the anti-Communist exiles includes internal crises and conflicts, which were often rooted in petty causes, personal animosity, problems with the legitimacy of the leading bodies, an absence of charismatic figures, and the predominance of propaganda in their work.

  • Issue Year: XIX/2012
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 37-70
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: Czech