1st Edition

Public Knowledge in Cold War Poland Scholarly Battles and the Clash of Virtues, 1945–1956

By Alexej Lochmatow Copyright 2024

    This book explores the public debates among scholars that took place in Early Cold War Poland. The author challenges the traditional narrative on the ‘Sovietisation’ of Central and Eastern European countries and proposes to see this process not as a spread of Marxist ideology or a Soviet institutional model, but as an attempt to force scholars to rapidly adopt new academic and civic virtues.

    This book argues that this project failed to succeed in Poland and shows how the struggle against these new virtues united both Marxist and non-Marxist scholars. While covering the arc of Polish scholarly debates, the author invites the reader to go beyond Poland and to use ‘virtues’ as a framework for reflections on both the foundations of scholarly practice and the ‘nature’ of authoritarian regimes with their ambition to teach scholars how to be ‘virtuous.’

    1. From the War to the ‘Gentle Revolution’ 2. The Many Faces of the Soviet Union 3. The Teachers of Virtues: The French and the Early Post-War Project 4. The Polish Intelligentsia and an Anti-Authoritarian Vision of Society 5. Between ‘Outdated’ Marxism and ‘Updated’ Catholicism 6. The ‘Failed’ Quest for Unity 7. The School of ‘New Virtues’ 8. ‘1956’ as a ‘Diagnosis’ and ‘Prognosis’. Epilogue: The Concept of Virtues as a Lens.


    Alexej Lochmatow is a Walter Benjamin Research Fellow at the University of Erfurt. He got his PhD from the University of Cologne and the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences. His research interest lies in the history of science and humanities, public knowledge, and intelligence research.