Fighting the Cold War on the French Riviera

Anne E. Gorsuch

in All this is your World

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199609949
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731853 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Modern European History

Fighting the Cold War on the French Riviera

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Tourism to western Europe in the Cold War was not only about politics and performance, but about the consumption of European culture, leisure experiences, and material items. Soviet vacationers to Great Britain visited factories and lay flowers on the grave of Karl Marx, but also toured Stratford-upon-Avon, the British Museum, and were given time to shop. Chapter Five uses tourism to explore the Khrushchev regime’s ambivalent relationship to the capitalist West. Ideologically, competition was clearly called for. But what about culture? about technology? about consumption? This chapter explores the tourist experience to western Europe -- arrival, hotels, tours, cafés, shopping, and sex -- and the impact of experiencing western Europe’s consumerist plenitude for privileged travelers fortunate enough to visit Paris or London. Some became oppositionists, but for many in the Khrushchev era, a trip to the West reaffirmed their privileged status within a positively viewed system.

Keywords: Tourism; Khrushchev; Western Europe; cultural exchange; consumption; sightseeing; sex; friendship societies; privilege

Chapter.  17754 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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