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Little Cold WarriorsAmerican Childhood in the 1950s$
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Victoria M. Grieve

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190675684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190675684.001.0001

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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: 11 April 2021

A Small Paintbrush in the Hands of a Small Child

A Small Paintbrush in the Hands of a Small Child

Children’s Art and Cultural Diplomacy During the Cold War

Chapter:
(p.55) 2 A Small Paintbrush in the Hands of a Small Child
Source:
Little Cold Warriors
Author(s):

Victoria M. Grieve

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190675684.003.0003

Children’s art became a powerful weapon in America’s Cold War arsenal. Through art exchange programs like Art for World Friendship, American children functioned as cultural ambassadors as their assumed innocence came to symbolize national innocence. Children’s art functioned as propaganda and public relations, a tool of statecraft, and a means of citizen education. But peace activists and educators also encouraged children’s cultural diplomacy through the visual arts as a means of achieving “world friendship.” Art for World Friendship highlights the fact that children were considered crucial actors in national and international Cold War politics. Educators, government officials, and peace activists believed that children could and should help to foster international understanding of the United States in an increasingly dangerous world. Implicit in postwar youth art exchange programs was a belief in the political and cultural innocence of children, coupled with the explicit politicization of childhood innocence.

Keywords:   cultural diplomacy, Art for World Friendship, Maude Muller, art exchange, Cold War, children’s art

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