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Archival Research into the Economic Aspects of the Cold War

BELCOWAR Study Afternoon

Faced with international pressure and pressure from within, countries are trying to define their position around international issues. So it is today and so it was during the Cold War. The FED-tWIN project BELCOWAR examines this fact but with respect to the Belgian government in the context of the so-called Pax Americana and with a focus on Belgium's multilateral trade policy of the 1950s. With what domestic pressures and with what American were Belgium confronted during the period when the EEC was formed and when multilateral negotiations were conducted in the framework of the GATT, as well as in the OEEC? In what ways was this situation handled? Did Belgium behave as a compliant ally when it came to trade policy or was there room for its own emphases and even manifest counter-pressure or resistance? What (generalizable) factors played a part in this? Archival research on this is in full swing. With this work in the archives in Belgium and in the US, many questions arise concerning the use of archives, the impact of archives on research questions and the processing of archival material with a view to generalizable political-economic and geopolitical research findings.

With a study afternoon on March 15, 2024 (organised by the State Archives (CegeSoma) and the KU Leuven), we try to highlight some of these archival-related questions. It will be an exploration of the fascinating interplay between research, archivist and archive, between historians and researchers from related disciplines, and between archival research in Belgium and archival research elsewhere. Each speaker will speak in his or her own language.

Program :

Chair: Widukind De Ridder

  • 13.00 : Opening by Widukind De Ridder
  • 13.10 : FED-tWIN Belcowar : a collaboration between a FSI (Federal Scientific Institutes) and a university : Dirk Luyten
  • 13.30 : Belcowar and research on the Cold War and Belgium : perspectives, objectives and approach : Bart Kerremans
  • 14.00 : Q&A

Chair: Dirk Luyten

Belcowar an archive-driven project : first findings of and challenges for the research, methodological aspects, embedding in existing historical and political science research

  • 14.30 : Case - master's student : Mohammad Ramin
  • 15.00 : Archival research in Belgium and the USA (Widukind De Ridder & Bart Kerremans)
  • 15.30 : Q&A
  • 16.00 : Coffee Break
  • 16.15 : Panel discussion led by Bart Kerremans : How to get started with archives for researching the economic aspects of the Cold War ?
    • Guy Coppieters (State Archives), Caroline Six (State Archives), Liam O'Sullivan & Didier Amaury (Archives FOD Foreign Affairs), Kristof Lowyck (FIT-agency), Kenneth Bertrams (ULB), Widukind De Ridder & Dirk Luyten (State Archives/CegeSoma).
  • 17.15  : closing and drink
  • 17.45  : end