“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent”.
This sentence defines one of the strangest phenomena in contemporary history. The unbearable tension of the Cold War dominated half of the twentieth century, a century during which two world wars took place, claiming the lives of millions.
Some have even named it the “Third World War”. For, even if there was no declaration of war, millions more died in local wars, in organised massacres, in prisons and in labour camps. From 1945, two thirds of the territory of Europe was under Soviet occupation. In Asia, itself dominated by the Chinese and Soviet colossi, as well as in Africa, many of the countries in the so-called “Third World” were engulfed by communism.
It was in 1979, however, that Soviet colonialism reached its apogee, through the attempt to corrupt Afghanistan. It was in the 1980s that the entire abusive edifice began to crumble, before ultimately toppling to the ground. The solution to the crisis that had wracked humanity since the last day of the war appeared in 1989.Although there are still countries where the demagogy and even madness of dictators threaten the rest of the world with destruction, humanity has been mature enough not to become entangled once more in the icy bonds of frontier war.
All the words have been exhausted.
But the facts speak for their themselves.
This major exhibition, consisting of fifty panels, was created the Centre for Studies on Communism (curator Romulus Rusan), based in Bucharest. It was part of the international “History after the Fall” project, financed by the European Commission’s “Culture 2000” programme.
Between 2005 and 2007, the English-language version of the exhibition was shown in Dresden (“Hannah Arendt” Institute), Budapest (Open Society Archives), Prague (Institute of Contemporary History), and Warsaw (“House of Encounters with History”). The Romanian and French versions of the exhibition were shown in Bucharest (National Museum of History), Jassy (Museum of Union), Cluj (National Archives), and other Romanian cities. Since 2007, the exhibition has been part of the Museum, presenting the global context within which the history analysed in the other rooms unfolded.