Rachel Applebaum F'10

Rachel  Applebaum
Visiting Assistant Professor
Lafayette College

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2010
Doctoral Candidate
University of Chicago
Friendship of the Peoples: Soviet-Czechoslovak Social and Cultural Contacts from the Battle for Prague to the Prague Spring, 1945-1969

This dissertation describes how the Soviet Union used cultural diplomacy—especially the idea of “friendship of the peoples”—to build and maintain its postwar empire in Eastern Europe. It focuses on Soviet relations with Czechoslovakia, and examines how a fantasy of international friendship was promoted by Soviet and Czechoslovak authorities, understood by ordinary citizens in both countries, and challenged during the tumultuous period between 1945 and 1969. In particular, it examines social and cultural contacts between Soviets and Czechoslovaks, including student exchanges, pen-pal correspondence, tourism, and the distribution and reception of Soviet film, fine art, and literature in Czechoslovakia.