The Soviet State as Imperial Scavenger: "Catch Up and Surpass" in the Transnational Socialist Bloc, 1950-1960
American Historical Review
THE BIGGEST PRIZE SOUGHT by the Soviet Union in its newly acquired postwar territory was the bomb itself—or initially the defense‐related industries, research specialists, and scientists in the German zone deemed useful to achieving this goal.1 The Soviets similarly made arrangements to benefit from uranium deposits in Jáchymov, Czechoslovakia, from the fall of 1945.2 The effort to develop the bomb, however, was merely the most visible expression of the Soviet state at work in what would eventually become the socialist bloc. The Soviet technical and managerial elite routinely engaged in a similar search for useful forms of industrial development and technology throughout an alliance that eventually included even distant China. Moscow was at the center of a vast project of imperial scavenging that simultaneously shaped and was shaped by the transnational nature of exchange and collaboration in the socialist bloc. These exchanges within the socialist world shaped the evolution of the bloc in the 1950s, the Sino‐Soviet relationship, and even the broader Cold War.
Original Publication Citation
Jersild, A. (2011). The Soviet state as imperial scavenger: "Catch up and surpass" in the transnational socialist bloc, 1950-1960. American Historical Review, 116(1), 109-132. doi:10.1086/ahr.116.1.109
Jersild, Austin, "The Soviet State as Imperial Scavenger: "Catch Up and Surpass" in the Transnational Socialist Bloc, 1950-1960" (2011). History Faculty Publications. 16.
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