Franco-Soviet SECAM: from Ambitious Plans to Reality (Based on the Materials of the French Foreign Ministry Archives)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameISTORIYA

The article, based on the materials of the archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, most of which have not yet been introduced into scientific circulation, examines the Soviet-French attempt to create a single color television standard for the whole of Europe on the basis of SECAM. It was the cooperation in the field of color television, according to the plan of Moscow and Paris, that was supposed to confirm that two countries from different military-political blocs could implement an ambitious project in the field of high technologies. Materials from the archives of the French Foreign Ministry allow us to trace how this project was implemented in practice. The article focuses on the contradictory results of Soviet-French cooperation. On the one hand, SECAM, indeed, for many years became the standard of color television in the USSR, France, Eastern Europe and some other states that were in the zone of influence of Moscow or Paris. On the other hand, the political environment (not all countries were ready to join the Soviet-French project during the Cold War) and the objective limitations of the capabilities of the Soviet and French industry led to the fact that the SECAM project, instead of a single standard for the whole of Europe, became a symbol of artificial politicization ofthe essentially technical issue and showed the limits of Soviet-French cooperation.

KeywordsFrance, USSR, SECAM, color television, détente, Cold War, world socialist system
Publication date05.12.2021
Number of characters34536
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