Volume 10 Issue 3 2021

Volume 7 Issue 4

Socialist Corporation, 1945–1991

Judit Klement Special Editor of the Thematic Issue

Contents

ARTICLES

Jan Slavíček
From Business to Central Planning: Cooperatives in Czechoslovakia in 1918–1938 and 1948–1960 423

Abstract

Abstract

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?
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Zsuzsanna Varga
Practices of Creative Disobedience: A Key to Economic Success in Socialism? A Case Study of a Hungarian Agricultural Cooperative 444

Abstract

Abstract

In this article, I examine the fate during the decades of socialism in Hungary of the agricultural company Árpád-Agrár Ltd. of Szentes, which which has flourished up to the present day. Its predecessor, the Árpád Mezőgazdasági Termelőszövetkezet (Agricultural Producer Cooperative), was established in 1960, during the last wave of collectivization. Most members were gardeners who specialized in a Bulgarian type of horticulture.
One of the central questions in my inquiry is how individual gardeners’ best practices were preserved and further developed within the structure of a socialist cooperative. I also consider how the Árpád Cooperative used the economic reforms of 1968 to expand its market-share.
In my analysis of the successful transfer of knowledge and processes of adaptation, I devote particular attention to the human factor, taking into consideration both the changing relationship between the leadership and the membership of the cooperative and the formation of a class of managers who had had experiences in the West and had a more open-minded mentality. These factors offer a possible explanation as to why this agricultural community chose the organizational form of a cooperative at the time of the change of the political regime and was transformed into a public limited liability company only a decade later.
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Zsombor Bódy
Actors, Ruptures, and Continuity. New Socialist Order or Legacy of the War Economy: The Hungarian Vehicle Industry around 1950 466

Abstract

Abstract

This article investigates the formation of a Hungarian socialist enterprise in the vehicle industry. After giving an overview of the legacy of World War II in a (nationalized) vehicle industry plant, it explores political, production, and wage conflicts on the basis of company and party archives and considers the kinds of resources which workers and engineers could use in their efforts to assert their interests. It also considers how these efforts limited the abilities of the central economic authorities to exert influence. It arrives at the conclusion that the main features of the early socialist enterprises, such as technology, the structure of the skilled workforce, the attitudes of this workforce, etc., were shaped by the industrial boost which had come with the war. Furthermore, the relationship between workers and firms was itself shaped by the shortage of consumer goods during and after the war, because the supply of consumer goods (above all, food) was considered the responsibility of the enterprises. These circumstances set narrow limits within which the central economic administration had to operate in is efforts to create so-called socialist enterprises. So, the early socialist enterprise seems to have had few genuinely socialist elements. It was shaped far more by the prevailing conditions in the postwar context, networks among engineers, and a sense of solidarity among skilled workers which had been inherited from the pre-socialist era.
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Olha Korniienko
Ukrainian Fashion Houses as Centers of Soviet Fashion Representation 495

Abstract

Abstract

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.
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Jan Štemberk – Ivan Jakubec
The Czechoslovak Capital of West Germany: The Story of Peute Reederei 529

Abstract

Abstract

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.
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Zarko Lazarevic
Foreign Investments and Socialist Enterprise in Slovenia (Yugoslavia): The Case of the Kolektor Company 556

Abstract

Abstract

In this article, I examine foreign investment in the socialist enterprise in the former Yugoslavia based on the case study of Kolektor in the context of the liberalized communist social and economic order. Foreign investments were allowed in the form of joint ventures. I present these investments from the viewpoint of economic reforms, the concept of socialist enterprise, and the concept of economic development, which enabled foreign investments and shaped regulation and the structure of foreign investments in Yugoslavia. The history of the case of Kolektor began at a time when Slovenia still belonged to the former Yugoslavia, which was arguably a liberalized type of communist economic system. This was during the Cold War, when both Europe and the rest of the world were divided essentially along the lines of the communist east and the capitalist west. The Kolektor Company was established in 1963 as a state socialist enterprise for the manufacture of the rotary electrical switches known as commutators. From the outset, the company tried to establish international cooperation to acquire modern technology. In 1968, it reached an agreement with the West German Company Kautt & Bux, which at the time was the technological and market leader in the production of commutators. Kautt & Bux invested in Kolektor and became an owner of 49 percent of the company. The investment proved very profitable for both partners. The Slovenian side got access to modern technology and expertise, and the German side got additional production facilities, skilled workers, and low-cost production, which increased its competitiveness on international markets.
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BOOK REVIEWS

Hungary and the Hungarians: Western Europe’s View in the Middle Ages.By Enikő Csukovits. Reviewed by Lesław Spychała. 581

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Esterházy Pál és Esterházy Orsolya levelezése [The correspondence between Pál Esterházy and Orsolya Esterházy]. Edited by Noémi Viskolcz and Edina Zvara. Reviewed by Emőke Rita Szilágyi. 588
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Cameralism and Enlightenment: Happiness, Governance and Reform in Transnational Perspective. Edited by Ere Nokkala and Nicholas B. Miller. Reviewed by Tibor Bodnár-Király. 592
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Roma Voices in History: A Sourcebook; Roma Civic Emancipation in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th Century until World War II. Edited by Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov. Reviewed by Eszter György. 598
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The Lost World of Socialists at Europe’s Margins: Imagining Utopia, 1870s–1920s. By Maria Todorova. Reviewed by Victor Petrov. 601
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Imagining Bosnian Muslims in Central Europe, Representations, Transfers and Exchanges. Edited by František Šístek. Reviewed by Mátyás Erdélyi. 604
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Women and Politics: Nationalism and Femininity in Interwar Hungary. By Balázs Sipos. Reviewed by Dóra Czeferner. 607
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“Glaube an den Menschen” [Faith in humanity: A diary from Bergen-Belsen]. By Jenő Kolb. Edited by Thomas Rahe and Lajos Fischer. “Hit az emberben”. Bergen-belseni napló. [Faith in humanity. A diary from Bergen-Belsen]. By Jenő Kolb. Edited by Thomas Rahe and Lajos Fischer. Reviewed by András Szécsényi. 610
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The Legacy of Division: East and West after 1989. Edited by Ferenc Laczó and Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič. Reviewed by Petra Guasti. 614
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Notes on Contributors

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