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Cold War and Architecture

The Competing Forces that Reshaped Austria after 1945

After 1945, the battle of the systems was also fought in the field of architecture. Architecture as part of a global struggle of differing political systems: with its transnational perspective, the book "Cold War and Architecture" changes our view of architectural history and postwar society.



Following the liberation and subsequent occupation of Austria at the end of World War II in spring 1945 by the victorious powers Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, Vienna soon became a central stage for the quickly emerging Cold War. The struggle of differing political systems was also carried out in the field of architecture. Cold War and Architecture, published in conjunction with a major exhibition at Architekturzentrum Wien, sheds new light on the building activity in postwar Austria and its main protagonists. For the first time, this book explores the lines of architectural debates of the time in the context of the global political and cultural conflict of East vs. West. With its transnational perspective, it changes our view of architectural history and postwar society.
During the ten-year occupation period, Austria experienced a transition from authoritarian government to democratic consumer society. Each of the four Allied powers established its own extensive cultural program. Architectural exhibitions became important instruments of such educational schemes with the objective of a new social order. British, American, French, and Soviet cultural policies thus served as catalysts for ideological convictions.