The global character of the Cold War and the fact that most of the actual operations took place either in contested territories, or in the so-called “external empires” (regions dominated by the respective powers, or under their predominant influences), directs scholarly attention to the role of the peoples of these areas. One way of looking at their agency is to examine the activities of political exiles who had left the Communist-dominated regions and entered into complex relations with the Americans. While both key Cold War adversaries were engaged in extensive “political warfare,” only one of them had to consider public opinion to conduct its foreign policy. From the American point of view, the employment of the anti-Communist political exiles served the general purpose of legitimizing U.S. policy towards a given region in both domestic and foreign arenas. Both overt and covert use of the exiles’ potential within the state-private network invokes important considerations regarding the present.
Anna Mazurkiewicz is a CREEES Visiting Scholar and Associate Professor at the Faculty of History, University of Gdansk and the current President of the Polish American Historical Association (2017-2018). She has published three books: on the American responses to elections of 1947 and 1989 in Poland, and on the role of the political exiles from East Central Europe in American Cold War politics (1948-1954). Her scholarly interests are: the United States after World War II; U.S.-Polish diplomatic relations; media system in the United States; U.S. policy towards the countries of East Central Europe; political activity of refugees from East Central Europe in the United States after World War II; political emigration from East Central Europe in 1945-1989. Mazurkiewicz was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Notre Dame, Central European University (Budapest), Kosciuszko Foundation Scholar at the University of Minnesota and at the State University of New York at Buffalo.