This presentation traces why Eastern Europe’s and Southeast Asia’s histories became connected as both regions occupied center stage in the Cold War order. Two seeming peripheries of the Great Power struggle, East European and Southeast Asian states gradually established deep-seated yet at times controversial ties to each other through mercenaries in colonial wars or workers in labor exchange schemes as people and goods moved from a colonial war in Europe (World War 2) to wars of decolonization globally, including those in Indochina. What were the vernacular ties that became forged through these interactions and how did they impact the politics and societies of Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia? Through a focus on Vietnam and Hungary this presentation traces how informal interactions between Vietnamese and Hungarians posed problems to state-sanctioned visions of 'proper ties' and how a socialist state dealt with issues of immigration and race.
Image: Fortepan 87186