There are popular stereotypes in the history of the Cold War: The two blocs, so it is said, did hardly communicate with each other, there was little cultural and social transfer between East and West Europe, and the European integration process as well as the formation of European ideas were a rather Western than an Eastern effort.

The members of our network want to overcome these stereotypes. They address the question of how the historical experiences of the Cold War and the related media-specific, legal and state structures of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc relate to the history of European integration and to the formation of European ideas.

In particular, the project investigates the emergence of European ideas across the Iron Curtain. Media played a central role in this process. As agents in an actor-network they enabled and regulated East-West border traffic, transmitted messages and defined societies as well as ideas.

Thus, our researchers focus on infrastructures and networks consisting of human actors like dissidents, broadcaster, journalists, technicians, etc. as well as (technical) media like radio, television, communication media, maps, symbols, bureaucratic structures, etc.

Furthermore, the project investigates the willingness to actively propagate, legally protect and guarantee European values such as democracy, freedom of the press and opinion as well as human rights in individual countries, within the European community and on an international level. 

The former Soviet bloc countries have fought for these rights during the peaceful revolutions. For this reason, it will be analysed to what extent discursive, technological as well as material, state as well as subversive (infra-) structures in the Cold War promoted or impeded the development of different forms of willingness to participate in the European integration process.