The Czechoslovak Capital of West Germany: The Story of Peute Reederei

Jan Štemberk
Charles University
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Ivan Jakubec
Charles University / University of Economics, Prague
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 3  (2021):495-528 DOI 10.38145/2021.3.495

There are numerous interesting topics pertaining to the economy of socialist Czechoslovakia that have not received sufficient attention in the secondary literature. One of these topics is the question of the capital penetration of socialist enterprises into Western (capitalist) Europe. In this essay, we examine the circumstances of the establishment and subsequent activities of the Peute Reederei company, which had both Czechoslovak and West German capital participation, based on a company archive which, however, has survived only in fragments. The company was established under West German law and had its headquarters in West Germany. Data on Peute Reederei were drawn from available unpublished and published archival materials, period and professional literature, and journalism, but we would above all like to express our gratitude to the private family archive of Mr. Rudolf Hurt (Hurt Archive), which provided the authors with archival materials concerning the Hamburg branch of the Czechoslovak Elbe-Oder Shipping Company.

Keywords: state enterprise, Peute Reederei, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hamburg

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Ukrainian Fashion Houses as Centers of Soviet Fashion Representation

Olha Korniienko
Ukrainian Fashion History Digital Archive
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 3  (2021):495-528 DOI 10.38145/2021.3.495

The study examines Soviet fashion houses as fashion corporations with an extensive structure and a certain autonomy which served as centers for the development and representation of Soviet fashion. These state institutions were created in the capitals and large cities of the Soviet republics. The Moscow All-Union Fashion House acted as a methodological center for fashion houses of all Soviet republics. The Ukrainian SSR was one of the important centers of fashion development in the Soviet Union, and it included six general orientation and five specialized fashion houses, as well as the Ukrainian Institute of Assortment of Light Industry Products and Clothing Culture. Based on a wide range of archival sources and interviews with fashion house workers, the article reveals the structure and operation of Ukrainian fashion houses in the period between 1940 and 1991 and also examine their cooperative endeavors with garment enterprises and research institutions. The technology of clothing production by designers, the processes of approval to which these technologies were subjected by art councils, and the organization of exhibitions in the USSR and abroad are also considered.

Keywords: Soviet fashion, fashion house, light industry, Soviet Union, Soviet Ukraine, fashion corporation, art council.

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From Business to Central Planning: Cooperatives in Czechoslovakia in 1918–1938 and 1948–1960*

Jan Slavíček
Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 3  (2021):423-443 DOI 10.38145/2021.3.423

The paper focuses on cooperatives—seen as business enterprises—in the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938) and the period of 12 years after the communist putsch (1948–1960). It compares the functions of cooperatives, the limits placed on their (semi-)independent business activities, and their chances to decide for themselves in the market economy and the centrally planned economy. Drawing on the methods of business history and economic history, the study seeks to answer the following questions: 1. Were the cooperatives in the First Czechoslovak Republic really fully independent companies running their business on a free market? 2. Were the cooperatives in the Stalinist and early post-Stalinist Czechoslovakia really subordinated subjects in a centrally planned economy? 3. Are there any real connections in the functioning of cooperatives in these two eras? In other words, is it possible that something of the independent cooperatives survived and that the traditional interpretations (according to which the two eras were completely different and even contradictory) can be seen in new and more accurate ways?

Keywords: Business history, centrally planned economy, cooperatives, Czechoslovakia, economic history, free market economy, 1918–1938, 1948–1960

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Doctors into Agents: The Technologies of Medical Knowledge and Social Control in State Socialist Hungary*

Viola Lászlófi
Eötvös Loránd University / École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 2  (2021): 328-356 DOI 10.38145/2021.2.328

In this paper, I analyze different situations in which the doctor-patient relationship, the knowledge/information produced within this framework, and the practices of medical questioning came to the fore in the work of the state security services, one of the typical institutions of social observation and surveillance of the Hungarian socialist state. I examine work and recruitment dossiers opened from 1956 to the 1980s which document either physicians’ uses in state security observation of information which they gained about their patients during their professional (medical) activities in or in which the physician-patient relationship appears as a context of the physician’s recruitment. I discuss how physicians constructed the patient when the gaze of the state security forces was also arguably part of their medical gaze. I contend that medical knowledge and, more generally, information revealed in the professional (medical) context and used in the framework of network surveillance, taken out of their strict medical context, constituted a gray zone of power. On the one hand, this information was a useful tool with which the regime could exert some measure of effective social and political control beyond the borders of healthcare, while on the other hand, it could help physicians develop a certain degree of social resistance.

Keywords: state socialism, history of medicine, state security, doctor–patient relationship, gray zone of power

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Reproduction between Health and Sickness: Doctors’ Attitudes to Reproductive Issues in Interwar Czechoslovakia*

Veronika Lacinová Najmanová
University of Pardubice
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 2  (2021): 301-327 DOI 10.38145/2021.2.301

The study examines how doctors in interwar Czechoslovakia intervened in reproductive issues and related areas of life in an attempt to combat the declining birthrate, a trend that was considered a threat to society. Inspired by Foucault’s concept of medicalization and biopower, through the analysis of medical literature and articles from the press in the interwar period, I will demonstrate how Czechoslovak doctors, not only but especially under the influence of eugenics, foregrounded the categories of health and sickness in order to assert definitions of “correct” forms of reproduction while attempting to stigmatize and discourage forms of reproduction that they considered detrimental to the health of society or the nation. The aim of the study is not only to expand the body of knowledge about the activities and attitudes of Czechoslovak doctors in the interwar period but also to call attention to the still current topic of the political background of reproductive policy.

Keywords: reproduction, medicalization, doctors, eugenics, birth control, interwar Czechoslovakia

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TEKA: A Transnational Network of Esperanto-Speaking Physicians

Marcel Koschek
University of St Andrews
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 2  (2021): 243-266 DOI 10.38145/2021.2.243

The Tutmonda Esperanta Kuracista Asocio (Worldwide Esperanto Medical Association, TEKA) was founded in 1908 at the Fourth International Esperanto Congress in Dresden and was the international medical association of the Esperanto movement. The aim was to “facilitate practical relations between Esperanto-speaking doctors of all countries.” The interest within the Esperanto movement was immense: after one year, TEKA had more than 400 members all over the world with a focus on Europe; one year later, there were more than 600 members with official representatives in about 100 cities. In Europe, a medical press in Esperanto had already been established. The approach of these journals was both simple and brilliant: the doctors presented the latest medical findings from their home countries in a peer review system and critically examined the articles in their vernacular. This made each issue a compendium of the most important and pioneering findings of national research. The numerous experts also had many other connections with, for example, the Red Cross and similar organizations. Thus, after a short period of time, TEKA brought together the expertise of countless physicians. This paper examines TEKA as a transnational network of experts before World War I. The history of the association and the role of Medicine within the Esperanto movement are briefly discussed. The focus is then on the various association journals and the circulation of knowledge. Finally, the essay offers a look at TEKA’s cooperative endeavors with the Red Cross. It works from a transnational perspective and takes a close view of the actors and their personal backgrounds at appropriate points. Furthermore, lists of members and journal subscribers are provided in map form to make the global spread of the movement within medicine visible.

Keywords: Esperanto, transnationalism, internationalism, network of physicians

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The Influence of the Estate System and Power Relations in the Late Feudal Parliament Seating Plan

Tamás Dobszay
Eötvös Loránd University
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 1  (2021): 129-154 DOI 10.38145/2021.1.129

 “We shape our buildings and then they shape us,” Winston Churchill said when the question of rebuilding Westminster and modifying the interior of the House of Commons came up and he expressed his support for preserving the former system. Thus, according to the prime minister, a seating plan both expresses and determines the character and operation of parliamentarism. In light of this interconnection, in this essay I examine the formal characteristics of the late feudal Diet in Hungary between 1790 and 1848, as well as the power relations of the estates and strivings as they found expression within this system.

Keywords: 19th century, Hungarian Diet, late feudal parliamentarism, Estate system, use of space, seating arrangement of chambers

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