Browse Primary Sources

Rudé Pravo, Music

The history of music, including rock, punk and heavy metal, forms a fascinating chapter in the history of everyday life in Cold War Eastern Europe. Among the many bands that formed during the three decades before 1989, perhaps none is better known than the Plastic People of the Universe of Czechoslovakia. The group's anti-Communist lyrics led it to be declared illegal.

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Rudé Pravo, Youth Discontent

In Communist Eastern Europe much propaganda was directed toward young people, who party leaders correctly viewed as forces important for the future of the state. This propaganda was filled with messages about the Communist Party's benevolent protection of workers' interests and the evils of Western capitalism.

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Samizdat, Houses of Culture and Entertainment

During the Cold War era an interesting public space called "the house of culture" (or sometimes "the palace of culture") proliferated throughout the East Bloc. Sometimes they existed as free-standing buildings, sometimes as parts of factory complexes, and very often they were buildings within the massive housing settlements were millions of Eastern Europeans awoke and retired to rest each day.

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Panelaks and Housing Estates

During the first half of the 20th century shortages of hygienic, affordable housing were common in Eastern Europe. Following World War II, Communist leaders worked to resolve this social problem—one that grew graver as collectivization of agriculture during the 1950s forced millions of people to migrate from the countryside to cities.

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British Parliamentary Papers

Despite efforts to resist, by the end of the 19th century, almost all of the Middle East had fallen under the control of European powers. Whether in the form of a protectorate or colony, European powers made changes to the indigenous educational system that impacted children.

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Rudé Pravo, Housing

Rudé Pravo was the Czechoslovak equivalent of the Soviet newspaper Pravda. Both were the official daily news publications of their respective Communist governments; both depicted the official version of truth about current events and conditions.

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Samizdat, Tuzex

Tuzex, short for Tuzemský export (or domestic export), was a set of special stores in Communist Czechoslovakia. The Communist Party established Tuzex in 1957, in order to draw hard currency from citizens' pockets into the coffers of the state.

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Samizdat, Five Year Plan

In 1986 the Czechoslovak Communist Central Committee approved its Eighth Five Year Plan since 1948, which stayed in effect, with modifications, until 1990. The plan built upon the East Bloc practices of following the Soviet command-economy model and emphasizing heavy industry over consumer goods.

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Samizdat, Consumer Goods

Czechoslovaks watched the unfolding of perestroika [restructuring] in the Soviet Union and its slow introduction into their own economy with great interest, although there were obstacles to doing so. While the Czechoslovak Communist Party was ready to start experimenting with economic perestroika, it maintained reservations about glasnost [openness or publicity].

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Preparing for Martial Law in Poland

In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise to resolve the strike, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions as the shortages failed to improve.

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