The Sixth World Festival (1957) by Liam Sullivan and Chase Weiland

The Iron Curtain developed through 40 years of harsh communist leadership. It blocked the world from viewing what was happening during Stalin’s reign. The 6th world festival for youth and students was an opportunity for eyes around the world to view not only Russia but how a communist nation could function. This short broadcast gives a thorough overview of the festival and its historical significance in Russian and World history. This report is based on primary and secondary sources as well as the information provided by Russian Historian, Natasha Comerford.

Sources:

British Pathe. “Closing Of The Sixth World Youth Festival (1957)” YouTube video, 3:12. April 13, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhpYPhQm6h0.

Cash, Tony. “Moscow Summer Nights: Impressions of the 1957 International Youth Festival.” East-West Review: Journal of Great Britain-Russia 14, no 1 (2015): 13-16.

Egorov, Boris. “How the Soviet Union Discovered Jeans and Rock-n-Roll.” Russia Beyond, 28 July 2019, www.rbth.com/history/330727-how-soviet-union-discovered-jeans.

History.com Editors. “Nikita Khrushchev.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, November 9, 2009. https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/nikita-sergeyevich-khrushchev.

Ilic, Melanie, and Jeremy Smith. Soviet State and Society Under Nikita Khrushchev. Routledge, 2009.

Jeffery-Wall, Rowan. “Cracks in the Curtain: The 1957 Moscow Youth Festival.” Explorations in History, 9 May 2018, explorationshistory.wordpress.com/2018/05/09/cracks-in-the-curtain-the-1957-moscow-youth-festival.

Ludolph, Emily. “How Folk Rock Helped Crack the Iron Curtain.” The Week – All You Need to   Know About Everything That Matters, The Week, 4 Nov. 2017, theweek.com/articles/732624/how-folk-rock-helped-crack-iron-curtain.
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6 Replies to “The Sixth World Festival (1957) by Liam Sullivan and Chase Weiland”

  1. I think the use of a broadcast format for the project relates well with the topic. As it seems like the topic is this new exciting thing that the rest of the world might not expect from Russia. In regards to the topic, I thought the part of the broadcast when Liam was speaking with Natasha Comerford was interesting, especially when she discussed how the city was aesthetically so pleasing so that media could not report on it in a bad way. Moreover, I found the part about Peggy Seger to be interesting as in her own account she found the festival to be sort of Woodstock-esque and full of enthusiasm. it was quite interesting to hear an account from an American woman with no reason to talk good or bad of Russia, and to fully endorse such an event.

  2. I agree with Blake that the broadcast format of presenting the information goes well with the intended message that Khrushchev wanted, portraying the positive aspects of communist life. Viewing the primary source video this festival seemed to resemble that of an Olympic opening ceremony with the large stadium and dancing and music. I find it kind of ironic that Khrushchev sought to portray the positive aspects of communism by removing or hiding all of the negative or unsavory aspects associated with it.
    Through learning about Khrushchev in class, I began to thing of him as a very shrewd and calculation man. Through opening Russia to the youth, using the youth he created a sense of national unity and created something similar to brand loyalty. This is when a company approaches a group when they are younger to create a lifelong loyalty to a particular brand, in this instance Khrushchev himself which also shows how calculating he was.

  3. Again, the broadcast format was a great way to present your information. I enjoyed the use of the videos as it made me feel like I was actually there in Moscow. I found a lot of the information provided interesting. One thing that stood out to me was how the “undesirables” were moved out to the country side and the children were trained to be tour guides and to only show the good parts of the city. This to me shows that even though Khrushchev was ready to show the wondrous ways of communism to the rest of the world, but he still knew that it had its faults and that he had to hide them.

  4. I liked your video and your use of actual footage of the festival because I was able to see what it would have looked like. Like Casey said, it reminded me of an Olympic Opening Ceremony with the fireworks, large ensemble of dancers, and packed stadium. What stood out to me the most from this video is that the organizers wanted to keep the festival as free from politics as possible. However, in such a tumultuous time of politics, I find that impossible. With the East versus the West, everything is political. When they removed the “undesirables” as Lauren touched on from the city, that is inherently political. Training the youth to be tour guides is also political because it requires them to show only the best parts of communism and not the whole picture. The Sixth World Festival gave the opportunity for the Soviet Union to broadcast their propaganda machine on a much larger scale.

  5. This was a great video! After watching the broadcast, I have a general sense that Khrushchev had good intentions in trying to open up the Soviet Union to the West with the Sixth World Festival. However, like others have already mentioned, it is really hard for me to wrap my brain around this while Khrushchev removed “undesirables” from the city. That was a totalitarian move and by doing it, it makes the festival seem like a facade. Additionally, as we learned from this week’s vanguard video, most young people were typically apolitical and wanted to have fun after World War II. I wonder if this was the reason why the festival called for young people around the world to come together. If the goal of the festival was to promote peace in an apolitical environment, appealing to young people would make sense. As a result, I believe that Khrushchev’s regime was trying to loosen the bad connotations of the Soviet Union surrounding the Stalinist era, but he tried to control the change in a way which clearly showed Communist authority was still in power. In a sense this was similar to his Secret Speech.

  6. Chase and Liam, your video was quite entertaining. I especially found the inclusion of Liam’s grandmother (correct me if I assume incorrectly) rich and ingenious. Her Russian accent added a welcomed layer of authenticity to the news report’s production level. The library location for the interview was also much appreciated because it demonstrated the seriousness with which Liam and Chase prepared for the project. The usage of real footage of the 6th World Festival helped me and other viewers in our attempts to place ourselves as tourists in Moscow in 1957. For all of the excellent demonstrations of effort and preparation sprinkled throughout the news report, I do wish there was a tad more information about how Khrushchev wiped Moscow of anything aesthetically displeasing that a future tourist might come across. Other than more information about how Khrushchev cleansed Moscow, I absolutely benefited from and was enriched by your informative news report.

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