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Research project

PIPPE - People and International Politics in Post-War Europe

This project is part of the collaborative research projects initiative of CIVICA Research.

What lessons do citizens draw from experiencing major armed conflicts, and how do they think about international politics in their immediate aftermath? When war is a recent rather than a distant memory, do people have coherent ideas about newly emerging tensions and the best ways to ensure peace, security, and stability going forward? These important questions have gained new relevance in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While many politicians, pundits and observers point to lessons from World War 2 to illustrate the necessity of stopping aggressors decisively in their tracks, others maintain that the same event instead has shown that neutrality is the preferred way to prevent an escalation of armed conflict. How people arrive at vastly different assessments of events of regional and global significance is as notable as it is puzzling.

As a first step toward solving the puzzle, this seed funding project will produce a grant proposal for a larger project that aims to exploit a treasure trove of previously unused public surveys conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of State in several European countries between 1945 until 1970. These surveys regularly asked random samples of citizens inter alia about their perceptions of the intensifying Cold War and their attitudes toward former warring parties, newly established international organizations, and European security projects. Together, well over 100,000 Europeans participated in these surveys, and they promise to offer rare glimpses into (changing) attitudes toward European and international politics in the years following World War.

First, we identify, pool, and clean the available historical survey data to construct a large, unified dataset. Second, we explore the data to specify possible research questions and conduct preliminary analyses. Third, we disseminate first findings and, on that basis, draft a grant proposal for the systematic analysis of our data.

External Partners

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