Remember Communism and the Cold War?

This post was written by Dr. Art Pitz on March 26, 2009
Posted Under: International Relations

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Television interview in Lublin, Poland, March 10, 2009

I recently returned from a 10-day tour of Holocaust sites in Poland with Suzanne and a group of St. Ambrose University students. For most of the students on the trip, communism and the Cold War are ancient history, but not to the Polish people.

For them, even World War II is a fresh and poignant memory. The second largest group, after Jews, to perish in Nazi concentration and death camps were Poles. The Poles faced the Nazis destruction of over 90% of Warsaw as a consequence of the Warsaw uprising, then their liberators were the Soviet army. If you remember the history, Poland was then occupied as part of the USSR until 1989. I have great respect for the Polish people.

When Suzanne and I lived in Slovakia in 1996-97 and again from 2001-03, we had an opportunity to experience firsthand the difficulties of transitioning from the communist system. We shared offices with professors at Prešov University, who had been members of the Communist Party, the people we regarded as dangerous enemies when we were growing up. They, of course, felt the same about us. What a shock it was to us when we began meeting people who, instead of being as thrilled as we were that the Soviet system had collapsed, were nostalgic about the social securites they enjoyed under communism and very apprehensive about the future.

While we were in Lublin, in eastern Poland where the Maidanek concentration camp still stands, I got to be a momentary celebrity when I was intereviewed for the evening news by the local TV station. I also gave a lecture at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin on the causes of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet system, and the results. If you’re interested in this topic, please take time to listen.

The Collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union
re-recording of a lecture 49 minute lecture delivered March 11 in Lublin, Poland

Dr. Art Pitz
The Professor’s House

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