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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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The Accidental Political Advantages of a Nonpolitical Book Program

The Accidental Political Advantages of a Nonpolitical Book Program

Franklin Publications and Juvenile Books Abroad

Chapter:
(p.90) 3 The Accidental Political Advantages of a Nonpolitical Book Program
Source:
Little Cold Warriors
Author(s):

Victoria M. Grieve

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190675684.003.0004

In the early years of the Cold War, the US government devoted substantial energy and funds to using books as weapons against the Soviet Union. Books and the principles they represented were to counter Soviet accusations of American materialism and spread American ideals around the globe. Founded in 1952, Franklin Books Program, Inc. was a gray propaganda program that operated at the nexus of US public–private cultural diplomacy efforts. USIA bureaucrats believed Franklin successfully carried out diplomatic objectives by highlighting the positive aspects of American culture and those who ran Franklin emphasized the “nonpolitical” aspects of cultural diplomacy, many of which directly targeted children. Franklin’s textbooks and juvenile science books cultivated a literate population friendly to the United States, reaching out to foreign young people through books, which like art, seemed to transcend the written word and represent abstract ideals of freedom and democracy.

Keywords:   Franklin Publications, United States Information Agency, book programs, cultural diplomacy, Cold War

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