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18. 11. 2009 15:32

International conference The Iron Curtain - its Dropping, Maintaining and Breaking

The international conference DROPPING, MAINTAINING AND BREAKING THE IRON CURTAIN: The Cold War and Central and Eastern Twenty Years Later will be held from 20 to 21 November 2009 in the Lichtenstein palace in Prague.

The international conference on the role of Central and Eastern Europe in the Cold War

Železná opona On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of communist regimes in the Central and Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War, the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in the cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and the Institute of International Studies of the Faculty of Social Science of the Charles's University organizes from 20 to 21 November 2009 in the Lichtenstein palace in Prague the international conference "DROPPING, MAINTAINING AND BREAKING THE IRON CURTAIN: The Cold War and East-Central Europe Twenty Years. The most important historians of contemporary history of eleven countries of the world will use twenty years of continuous studies to form their opinions on issues concerning the role which the East-Central Europe played in the times of the Cold War and to consider long-term consequences of the Cold War which the international community is still facing to at the beginning of the 21st century.

17th November 1939 - Jan OpletalA peaceful student demonstration march was held on 17 November 1989, the objective of which was to commemorate sad events of the year1939. However, the more radical part of students also wanted to draw the public's attention to conditions in the communist Czechoslovakia. After several speeches at Albertov, the march set out to Vyšehrad and then students wanted to continue to the Wenceslas Square. However, the march was stopped at Národní Street where members of the Police brutally intervened against peaceful demonstrating students. After a violent scattering of the demonstration, a part of students set out to Prague theatres to inform actors on the situation. Student Strike CommitteeDuring the following day the Czechoslovak public began to learn on the events of the Národní Street. Consequently, the first strike committees of students and actors were established which initiated the later strike movement. The situation was also responded by representatives of various opposition organizations who naturally jointed the student's activities. Thus, 17 November 1989 became a beginning of the process which is called the Velvet Revolution. The events of this day started the fall of the power monopoly of communists and the process of democratization of the Czechoslovak society.

Among those who will be contemplating the importance of those events will be, for example, Thomas Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Leonid Gibianski who works at the Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, David Holloway, professor at the Stanford University and the Director of the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Vojtěch Mastný who is perhaps the most world-renowned living historian of the Czech origin. Prior to the conference, the discussion of selected experts on the subject "How Well Did the Cold War Experience Prepare us for Membership in NATO and the EU?"

More information can be found at http://www.usd.cas.cz/.

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