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Jill Massino, My Brother’s Keeper: Romanians and the Vietnam War’
November 16, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
This paper contributes to recent scholarship on Eastern Europe and the Global South by exploring Romania’s engagement with the Vietnam War. In Romania, the Vietnam War served as a platform for critiquing American imperialism and showcasing socialist solidarity, with the press graphically depicting American barbarity against Vietnamese civilians and glorifying the Vietnamese People’s Army as heroic fighters for freedom. These articles were intended to foster solidarity with the Vietnamese people in their struggle for national liberation and to highlight the benevolence and superiority of socialism. Mobilized by the state as a tool for promoting socialist and nationalist principles, the Vietnam War was also part of the everyday imaginary: Romanians of various ages and occupational backgrounds wrote to the party leadership to share their views on the war, and, in some cases, request permission to fight alongside their “socialist brothers.” Thus the Romanian state and its citizenry could find common cause around certain issues, illustrating the salience of national roads to socialism in the 1960s and 1970s.