The Cold War

The confrontation

After 1945, the Soviets and the Americans want to build a new world order in line with their own values​​...

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A pop corn machine and a neon advert in the West, a single-frequency radio and a Communist Party card in the East… This is the evocation of the collision of two worlds, daily life and propaganda, but also protest and repression.

Two Blocks, Two Worlds come face to face

After the Allied victory over Germany in 1945, the two superpowers of the time face each other. On one side the American democracy and on the other, the Soviet empire.

During the Cold War, the great alliance between the US and USSR was well and truly over. For over 40 years, two political systems, two conceptions of the world would clash, admittedly indirectly but always with the risk of triggering World War III, with the threat of the atomic bomb never far away.

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Daily life and propaganda

With great propaganda reinforcement, both systems advocate superiority of their political-economic model while slandering the opponent.

After crossing the Hall, the first room on your right presents what daily life was like during the Cold War, revealing the cultural and ideological divide between the two blocks in more ways than one.

From an upside down Trabant and Lincoln Continental fixed to the ceiling, a cascade of objects ending in small showcased artefacts illustrates the consumer societies of the two systems from the 1950s to 70s on both sides. In the centre of these exhibits you can also watch propaganda films on suspended screens where each block boasts of the superiority of its own political and economic model while striking out against its opponent’s. Propaganda, counter propaganda… we’re right in the thick of the Cold War here.

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Denial and repression

In the West as in the East, protest movements erupt. Soviet opponents suffer repression and sometimes are sent to the Gulag .

Enclosed behind black bars obliging the visitor to step closer, two display cases reveal the main protest movements at the heart of the two blocks.

On the West side, on the right, the threat of the Communist plot in the US sparked a full-blown witch hunt led by Senator McCarthy along with the rise in power of the CIA. Protest movements against the Vietnam War, hippie movements, student uprisings in the US and France along with objects tied in with the crisis of May 1968 multiplied, much of which are exhibited in this display.

On the left is a whole different reality, and one much more dramatic: the opponents, called “dissidents”, wrote, published, sang and openly criticized the Soviet system, for which they were imprisoned or sent to gulags where they worked and often died. Various personal affairs from gulag prisoners are presented in this showcase of the Eastern Block, where surveillance was pushed to the extreme as attested by items associated with the Stasi, the secret police of former East Germany.

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