The Assembly of Captive European Nations in American Cold War Politics

Anna Mazurkiewicz

The Assembly of Captive European Nations in American Cold War Politics


According to its members, exiled political leaders from nine east European countries, the ACEN was an umbrella organization—a quasi-East European parliament in exile—composed of formerly prominent statesmen who strived to maintain the case of liberation of Eastern Europe from the Soviet yoke on the agenda of international relations.

Founded by the Free Europe Committee, from 1954 to 1972 the ACEN tried to lobby for Eastern European interests on the U.S. political scene, in the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Furthermore, its activities can be traced to Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. However, since it was founded and sponsored by the Free Europe Committee (most commonly recognized as the sponsor of the Radio Free Europe), the ACEN operations were obviously influenced and monitored by the Americans (CIA, Department of State).

I find that despite the émigré leadership’s self-restraint in expressing criticism of the U.S. foreign policy, the ACEN was vulnerable to, and eventually fell victim of, the changes in the American Cold War policies. Notwithstanding the termination of Free Europe’s support, ACEN members reconstituted their operations in 1972 and continued their actions until 1989.

The book explains the American purpose behind supporting the ACEN and places this organization’s activities in the context of American Cold War policies. Based on a through archival research (twenty different archives in the U.S. and Europe, interviews, published documents, memoirs, press) this book is a first complete story of an organization that is quite often mentioned in publications related to the operations of the Free Europe Committee but hardly ever thoroughly studied.

About the author:

Anna Mazurkiewicz (University of Gdansk, Poland.) holds a Ph.D. in History 2006. For her dissertation she won the main award of the Polish National Centre for Culture. She is the author of two books on U.S. policy towards Poland; Dyplomacja Stanów Zjednoczonych wobec wyborów w Polsce w latach 1947 i 1989 (Warsaw: Neriton, 2007) and Prasa amerykańska wobec wyborów w Polsce w latach 1947 i 1989 (Gdansk: University Press, 2009). Her publications include articles published in Polish, American and German periodicals, book chapters in Poland and in the U.S. In 2014 she received the Swastek Prize for the article “(Join, or Die) - The Road to Cooperation among East European Exiled Political Leaders in the United States, 1949-1954” published in the Polish American Studies (69, no. 2 (2012): 5-43). She is the editor of the two volume series: East Central Europe in Exile (Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 2013) and of the fifth volume of Studia Historica Gedanensia on coercion in migration (“Od exsilii do exile. Przymus w migracjach,” Gdansk 2014). Recipient of the Kosciuszko Foundation Fellowships and grants from the Foundation for Polish Science and the Visegrad Fund, Mazurkiewicz is a member of a number of academic associations and the Second Vice-President of the Polish American Historical Association.

small logo