Acrobatics of Cold War Shipbuilding: Creating Competitive Advantages in between East and West

Saara Matala

The Cold War, that appeared as the bipolarization of the world order, the politicization of technology and restrictions to the East-West technology transfer, located Finland in between the east and the west. Politically, the room for maneuvers of a neutral country next to the socialist superpower was extremely narrow, but in the Finnish shipbuilding industry the Cold War was an era of expansion, specialization and technological development as industrial actors managed to turn the political restrictions into competitive advantages. Through utilizing primary sources from both public and private archives this paper analyzes the development of the icebreaking technology in Finland during the Cold War. It challenges both the technological and geographical determinism in the evolution of the Finnish Arctic Maritime technology cluster. The development and the competitiveness of the icebreaking technology resulted from interconnected political, economic and technological factors among which a private-owned shipyard navigated through the Cold War.       

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