“In the Shadow of the Cold War” International Conference

Deadline: 31 March 2015
Open to: researchers specializing in Eastern European archives
Venue:  8-9 October 2015 in Poland


The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is organizing the international conference “In the Shadow of the Cold War” that will strive to contemplate on the reality of the terrorism in the Western Europe in the 70’s and 80’s.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain several former Soviet bloc countries declassified their records from the security apparatus archives. New sources can indicate that most of the Communist Secret Service agencies had maintained informal relations with various terrorist and extremist organizations. The Communist authorities allowed them to conduct terrorist activities, gave them safe transit and visas, supplied them with arms, and turned a blind eye to their business ventures. Hence, the platform of their cooperation was quite wide. In return, the Communist Secret Services benefited from these contacts by getting access to embargoed goods, and used terrorists as arms brokers or for gathering intelligence information. The declassification of former security apparatus files has also demonstrated that the Communist states were in fact not free from domestic and international terrorism.

The 25th anniversary of the Autumn of Nations (1989) provides a great opportunity to analyze the phenomenon of international terrorism during the Cold War period. Did countries ruled by the Communists cooperate with terrorist organizations? Were their secret ties based on ideological, geopolitical or economic grounds? Was terrorism perceived as a useful tool to destabilize Western countries?


Everyone  interested in the topic is encouraged to participate and send their abstracts. The floor will be especially given to researchers in Eastern European archives, and also abstracts that combine archival research with the analysis of such data. Organizers are particularly interested in a broader perspective and comparative studies. How did Communist countries cooperate in the matter of international terrorism? Which elements of this activity were common to Communist countries, and in which respects did they differ? The networks of Cold War terrorism spread across the globe, beyond the borders of Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The confernece would like to compare the approach towards terrorism from Western and Eastern perspectives. They welcome analysis of the role of intelligence services in counter terrorism policy and examination of the roots of Special Forces which were formed to combat the terrorist threat.


Interested candidates in the topic are encouraged to participate and send their papers. Selected presenters will have their accommodation, meals and travel expenses covered by the conference organizers.


Deadline for the submission of proposals is 31 March, 2015.
Please enclose, along with the proposal, an abstract of your paper of 500–700 words in English, and a copy of one published academic text (no less than 5000-6000 words with footnotes) or a link to it, if it is available online.

Submissions and this filled application form should be sent to: przemyslaw.gasztold-sen@ipn.gov.pl

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