|Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the International Labour Organization|
|The general picture, East Central Europe being largely ignored in recent global histories, is true also for the study of processes of global governance and international organizations. Even a short glance at the secondary literature both on the League of Nations and the UN System reveal a strong interest in everything outside of Europe, following the dynamics of the globalization processes of the second half of the 20th century and the cause they stirred. While the so-called ‘second world’ had a stable position in the time of the Cold War it had been forgotten after its end, the former socialist states and societies are not talked about, at best mentioned at the side.
In contrast to this I would like to ask deliberately in which ways historical actors from Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia have taken part in institutions that aimed at regulating global issues. It does by following the argument that during the 20th century, the involvement in international organisations became an indicator for recognition and relevance in world politics and thus nation-states reckoned them as arenas in which they could strive for global political status, which was of importance especially for smaller and newly founded states. Not surprisingly the governments of the countries that emerged out of the ashes of the Habsburg Monarchy and the German Reich opted for membership in the League of Nation and its affiliated institutions, like the ILO, that had been established in parallel in the peace conference in Paris and through the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
The involvement in the ILO also after the next World War suggested itself because of ILO’s tri-parte structure by which governments, employers and employees are represented in equal terms since this offered spaces of manoeuvre aside of the thoroughly governmental interests and positions. Added to that concentrating at the ILO brings a delicate and thus interesting issue to the fore, namely the relationship between an institution that at its core aimed at better labour conditions for social peace and thus the preservation of the established social order and actors coming from and representing states in which an alternative model of organizing labour and social relations was followed.|