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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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“Your Grandchildren Will Grow Up Under Communism!”

“Your Grandchildren Will Grow Up Under Communism!”

Cold War Advertising and American Youth

Chapter:
(p.122) 4 “Your Grandchildren Will Grow Up Under Communism!”
Source:
Little Cold Warriors
Author(s):

Victoria M. Grieve

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190675684.003.0005

A potent weapon in the Cold War, advertising relied on the notion of childhood innocence to promote Cold War containment at home and to advance a crucial pillar of US Cold War ideology abroad—the superiority of free market capitalism over communism. This chapter analyzes how images of children and ideas about childhood informed several major Advertising Council public service campaigns as well as consumer advertising during the 1950s. The distinction between domestic advertising and foreign propaganda during the Cold War was often a fine one, as both routinely used images of children to represent the nation to Americans and to potential allies around the world. In the hands of government propagandists and corporate advertisers, children simultaneously functioned as symbols of the happiness and security that could be achieved through a commitment to democratic capitalism and as symbols illustrating the nation’s vulnerability to the spread of Soviet communism.

Keywords:   Advertising Council, propaganda, American Economic System campaign, Good Citizenship campaign, Crusade for Freedom, People’s Capitalism, consumerism

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