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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: 14 May 2021

The Cold War in the Schools

The Cold War in the Schools

Educating a Generation for World Understanding

(p.161) 5 The Cold War in the Schools
Little Cold Warriors

Victoria M. Grieve

Oxford University Press

The Cold War experiences of America’s schoolchildren are often summed up by quick references to “duck and cover,” a problematic simplification that reduces children to victims in need of government protection. By looking at a variety of school experiences—classroom instruction, federal and voluntary programs, civil defense and opposition to it, as well as world friendship outreach—it is clear that children experienced the Cold War in their schools in many ways. Although civil defense was ingrained in the daily school experiences of Cold War kids, so, too, were fitness tests, atomic science, and art exchange programs. Global competition with the Soviet Union changed the way children learned, from science and math classes to history and citizenship training. Understanding the complexity of American students’ experiences strengthens our ability to decipher the meaning of the Cold War for American youth and its impact on the politics of the 1960s.

Keywords:   duck and cover, civil defense, People-to-People program, education, world understanding, Public diplomacy, Ground Observer Corps

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