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Beyond the Cold WarLyndon Johnson and the New Global Challenges of the 1960s$
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Francis J. Gavin and Mark Atwood Lawrence

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199790692

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790692.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 May 2021

Globalizing the Great Society

Globalizing the Great Society

Lyndon Johnson and the Pursuit of Smallpox Eradication

(p.165) 7 Globalizing the Great Society
Beyond the Cold War

Erez Manela

Oxford University Press

In 1958, the Soviet Union called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch a global campaign to eradicate smallpox worldwide. It was not until 1965, however, that President Lyndon Johnson threw US support behind the proposal. When the global eradication campaign was launched, smallpox still caused an estimated two million deaths annually, and its global eradication by 1977 was one of the most significant events of the postwar period. This chapter probes the political, ideological, institutional, and cultural contexts in which the US decision was made and the ways in which these contexts created and shaped this historic campaign. US officials showed genuine commitment to the cause of eradicating smallpox and demonstrated remarkable ingenuity in circumventing the strictures of the Cold War to achieve their goals.

Keywords:   Lyndon Johnson, smallpox, global health, Cold War, development

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