Throughout the twentieth century, children had become important symbolic representations to justify war, peace, humanitarian aid, and government intervention. But the Cold War, the global struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II, politicized children in new ways. Children themselves became political actors, cultural ambassadors, and semi-official diplomats of both nations. Government propaganda, private advertising, popular culture, and the public schools taught children how to fulfill these roles. By the early 1960s, however, some Americans began to argue that the very real possibility of nuclear war made children the reason to end, rather than escalate, the Cold War. But the politicized children of the Cold War years did not “return” to being children in the 1960s and 1970s. They took their politics in different directions, to the New Right and the New Left, to college campuses, and to the streets.
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