GE3V17049 The Cultural Cold War

Class 1 The Origins of the Cultural Cold War and Fake News

1. Introduction

2. The Good Neighbor Policy and Latin America 1930s

3. Conclusion: Cultural Diplomacy as a part of Cold War History

  • Cull, Prologue, The Foundations of U.S. Information Overseas, 1-21.

  • Rosenberg, Emily S. Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945. Hill and Wang, 1982, 3-13, 38-62 (34pp)

  • Outline of Class 1

  • You can print out the outline, the reading and use this module to familiarize yourself with the material while making notes on the outline. The assignment will focus on one particular way of understanding the United States and its public diplomacy.

Class Description

1. Introduction

WHY THE PROPAGANDA STRUGGLE WAS CONNECTED TO THE COLD WAR 

Public diplomacy became incredibly important during the Cold War since the Cold War was a battle for hearts and minds, a struggle between two very different social and ideological systems.

The Empire of Liberty, the United States, faced the Empire of Equality, the Soviet Union. The superpowers therefore turned to propaganda and that is what we will analyse in this class.

We will look at the history, study the different ideas behind propaganda and look at U.S. culture more broadly.

DEFINITIONS

Defining what public diplomacy is, is difficult. Is it propaganda?

  • Public diplomacy: an international actor's attempt to conduct its foreign policy by engaging with foreign publics

  • Cultural diplomacy: is public diplomacy focused on high-culture: opera, arts

  • Propaganda: is often considered to be 'manipulative' and something 'the enemy does' (soviets)

Public diplomacy is not only a U.S. phenomenon it is also global. The newly independent state of Ghana spread its pan-African message in 1958.

Our focus, nevertheless, will be the United States Information Agency (1953-1999), the official U.S. public diplomacy institution.

THE ROLE OF WEAPONS

One of the main reasons why the Cold War became a symbolic struggle was the develoment of the H-Bomb in 1953. 

Atomic warfare was so distructive that it made conventional war between the superpowers impossible. 

As a result the symoblic dimension of the struggle where hightened.

This was a key insights of the work of Kenneth Osgood, who we will read in this class.

800px-We_Can_Do_It!_NARA_535413_-_Restor

We Can do it poster, 1943

2. The Good Neighbor Policy and Latin America 1930s

GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY

The origins of U.S. public diplomacy, however, are not located in the Cold War, but in the relationship with Latin America in the 1930s. That relationship had been contentieus and Latin-American nations feared intervention for the U.S.

The biggest source of tension had been Teddy Roosevelt's 'Big Stick Diplomacy' around 1900.

FDR in the 1930s wants to alter that policy and relies on cultural diplomacy to change the perception that others have of the U.S.

Good Neighbor Policy, popular name for the Latin American policy pursued by the administration of the U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Suggested by the president’s commitment “to the policy of the good neighbor” (first inaugural address, March 4, 1933), the approach marked a departure from traditional American interventionism. Through the diplomacy of Secretary of State Cordell Hull, the United States repudiated privileges abhorrent to Latin Americans. The United States renounced its right to unilaterally intervene in the internal affairs of other nations at the Montevideo Conference (December 1933); the Platt Amendment, which sanctioned U.S. intervention in Cuba, was abrogated (1934); and the U.S. Marines were withdrawn from Haiti (August 1934).

DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO ORGANISE U.S. CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE 1920s and 1930s

  • The Problem of Latin America: Montevideo Inter-American Conference, 1928

The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States is a treaty signed at MontevideoUruguay, on December 26, 1933, during the Seventh International Conference of American States. The Convention codifies the declarative theory of statehood as accepted as part of customary international law.

 

At the conference, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull declared the Good Neighbor Policy, which opposed U.S. armed intervention in inter-American affairs.

However, Latin-American states saw education as an ‘American’ enterprise (“El Coloso del Norte”) 

 

Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles therefore want to promote achievements such as treaties for peace, cultural relations and trade. Cordell  Hull in 1937 wants to “control  the governments  from within by public opinion”.

  • Buenos Aires Meeting, 1 December 1936

 iscussion between state and non-state actors

  - FDR and Augustin Justo speech

  - Samuel Flagg Bemis: take on“U.S. leadership in   cultural   relations” (diplomatic history)

 

  • 1938 Division of Cultural Relations and a Division of International Communications is created 

  - official educational goals

  - Sumner Welles and Laurance Duggan demand   official U.S. state control

  - headed by Ben Cherington: wrote on educational   exchange

  - Welles 5% bargain and the background of   fascism in Europe

Cordell Hull

LATIN AMERICA AS THE LABORATORY OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY

 Educating underdeveloped parts of the world ?

 Reach foreign populations  below the   elites?

 

Contradication

  - Cultural internationalism or is this only a one way  flow ?

- Propagande or information?

FDR

FROM PRIVATE ACTORS TO THE STATE

• First Rise of U.S. government: World War I & George Creel, Committee for Public Information (1917-1919)

  - Promote war effort World War I

  - information over propaganda as a term

 

•FDR adviser Harry Hopkins

  - advocate of cultural relations and New Deal

•1930s: Turning Point Private to State

  - Private initiatives: The Institute for International Eduation   IIE (Nicholas Murray Butler)

  - Rockefeller foundation sponsors educational exchange

 

Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA) 1940

  - Nelson A. Rockefeller “new world   situation” requires “new diplomacy”

  - Support FDR’s emergency fund

  - A model for post-war: integration of   eco. Cult. And infor.

 

 

World War II issue of propaganda

  - Office of War Information (1942-1945)

  - Elmer Davis creates propaganda

 

3. Long prehistory to Cold War Public Diplomacy

Shift from private to state actions is the biggest shift taking place  in the context of public diplomacy in Latin-America.

The spread of ideas and the spread of Capitalism have been intertwined in much of the early research. Rosenberg's book is an example of this.

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