** war and social upheaval: The Cold War -- pacifism

Cold War Pacifism: Soviet Propaganda

Figure 1.-- Here children are participating in a peace demonsration in Original photo from Kyiv (Kiev), at ghe time the capital of the Ukrainian SSR.. It was dated 1985. We do not yet know what the banners say, but we know that 'МИР' (mir) means peace.

Soviet foreign policy trumpeted the pacifist theme. And encouraged groups in the West to challebge their governments poliocies. Of couurse Sovirt citiczens and people in he satellite countries were not alloweed to cricize or speak freely. We see this both in the Soviet Union and Eastern European satellite countries as well as Westerrn Europe. The demonstratons behind the Iron Curtain could be huge, masterpieces of political staging. There were also smaller scale demoinstrations, even as classroom efforts. What they blacked was any actual constructive efforts to promote peace. This of course was impossoble because the West was depicted as evil capitalisdt war mongers. In Western Europe such givernment staging did not occurr, but some events were still impressive. The Soviets while blatantly seizing control of neignoring countries, claimed to be commited to world peace while charged that it was the Americans who were pursuing agressive miitarist policies threatening peace. Some European socialists were so devoted to Marxist thought that they simply ignored reality. Communists imprtant in several ciountries (especially France and Italy) dutifully followed orders from Moscow. While nonsensical, the Soviets used pacifist sentiment in Western Europe to weaken European resistance to Soviet military expansion. They tried the same in America, albeit with less suceess. The Communists infiltrated left-wing and peace groups. The pacifist movement proved highly selective about what they protested. These groups not uncommonly simply repeated Sovuiet propagabnda. They criticised Anmerican and allied defense spending, but never Soviet defense spending and control of formerly indeoendent countries. There were also protests behind the Iron Curtain, but like the protests in the West, only criticized American and Western military spending. The Soviets helped fund many of these movements and conducted an active propaganda effort in an effort to both reduce western defense spending and to destabalization Western governments. It was only with the Vietnam War that pacifism in the United States grew beyond left-wing groups into a much more widely supported peace movenment. This could have had a major impact on the Cold War had it not been for three consrvative politicans (Presuident Reagan, Primeminister Thatcher, and Chancellor Kohl) and the inherent inefficenies of Communism began to undermine the Soviet economy.


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Created: 8:55 AM 6/10/2021
Last updated: 8:55 AM 6/10/2021