Refugees, Relief, and Resettlement: The Early Cold War and Decolonization opens a window onto the history of refugees and forced migration, expanding the possibilities of research for scholars and students who are studying the history of—and who may possibly come to work with— refugee populations. Topical coverage includes the causes of refugee crises from the onset of the Cold War to the decolonization of, and rise of independence movements within, the nations of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
With over 89 million individuals presently dislocated by war, famine, economic decline, and environmental disaster, refugee crises have become an ever-more visible part of our daily global reality. This primary sources archive chronicles part of how we have arrived at this reality by drawing on government files, refugee agency reports, and other documentation to explain the challenges faced by those forced to flee their homes and homelands and the government and agency operations that sought to provide some form of relief through resettlement or repatriation during this period.
This collection addresses head on the impact of the Cold War, as the United States and its European allies battled the Communist regimes of the Soviet Union, China, and their satellites across the globe for control and influence over the nations of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The refugee crises that ensued would reflect the shifting nature of these forced displacements, from mass emigrations that followed in the wake of crackdowns on dissident movements to flights of refugees from proxy battles and their subsequent placement in refugee camps.
Within the context of the Cold War, the end of World War II also rapidly accelerated the decolonization of nearly all European colonial territories, resulting in a tide of national independence movements. As colonial territories transformed into fully independent countries, competing tribes, clans, ethnicities, and religious groups jostled for power. Internecine hostilities that broke out among these groups forcibly displaced thousands both within and sometimes across the often artificially drawn borders that now constituted these newborn nations.
VALUE OF THE ARCHIVE
- International and Interdisciplinary Coverage: Refugee studies are cross-disciplinary by nature, drawing in scholars of history, economics, psychology, public health, sociology, anthropology, religion, immigration, language and literature, and nearly all regions within area studies or global studies, with a particularly strong focus on Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
- Valuable Insights: Materials include multiple perspectives from governments and government agencies, individuals, and relief organizations.
- Topical Content: This collection provides valuable historical context to one of the most pressing issues of our time. From the horrific conditions of refugees from the war in Yemen to the mass exodus of Ukrainians forcibly displaced by the 2022 Ukrainian-Russian war, to the longstanding crises in Sudan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Gaza, and Syria, refugee influxes today have transformed governments, immigration policies, national security strategies, and economic conditions across the globe.
- Expansive Coverage: This archive follows on the heels of the first part in the Refugees, Relief, and Resettlement series, looking beyond the World War II, to focus on how Cold War politics and the decolonization of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East would dramatically reshape the nature and causes of refugeeism and what we even mean by “refugee”.
- Angolan Civil War
- British evacuation of India
- French-Algerian War
- Hungarian Revolution of 1956
- India-Pakistan partition
- Indochina Wars
- Israeli-Arab Wars
- Korean War
- Prague Spring of 1968
Refugee Records | The National Archives, U.K.
Refugee Records from the General Correspondence Files of the Political Departments of the Foreign Office, Record Group 371
Refugees Records from the Foreign Office
Refugee Records from the Offices of the United Kingdom
Date Range: 1939-1975
Size: Approximately 200,000 pages
Details aspects of displaced populations fleeing Eastern European Communism or displaced by internecine or cross-border conflicts in the decolonized territories of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Selected Records of the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service | Rutgers University
Date Range: 1939-1975
Size: Approximately 140,000 pages
Includes the records of a clearinghouse organization that represented dozens of smaller relief agencies to the U.S. government and other key funding sources.
Briefs Filed with Various Circuits of the U.S. Federal Appeals Courts on Refugees and Asylum | New York City Bar Association Library
Date Range: 1950–1977
Size: Approximately 40,000 pages
Includes selected briefs to the U.S. Courts of Appeals during the early Cold War period related to America’s asylum policy, with cases on defections, deportations, and other topics.
- European Studies
- Western Civilization
- Twentieth Century Studies
- Rights and Immigration Law