This chapter details how the rise of the international human rights movement as a significant force in world affairs cannot be separated from the Cold War context in which it took place. The Cold War magnified the importance of citizen efforts to promote rights and, though many of those involved in the movement during the Cold War era took significant risks and suffered severe consequences, it was the circumstances of the East–West conflict that attracted many of them to the cause in the first place. Rights activists on both sides of the Iron Curtain became aware that calling attention to abuses of rights by their own governments carried extra weight in an era when a global competition was underway for people's hearts and minds.
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