Abstract

This article examines how U.S. Cold War print propaganda shifted from an emphasis in the late 1940s on America's liberal democratic idealism to an emphasis by the mid-1950s on the country's high and rising living standards and shiny new system of “people's capitalism.” The United States could claim to have beaten the Soviet Union at its own game, providing “classless abundance for all.” These messages echoed those disseminated domestically, in which political leaders, business executives, journalists, and educators increasingly defined America's greatest virtues and identity in economic terms, emphasizing growth and prosperity. This article assesses how the United States—via the U.S. Information Agency and its precursors from the late 1940s to 1960—presented itself to those in the Soviet bloc and globally. The article relies on content analysis of three magazines—Amerika, a Russian-language monthly published for Soviet audiences from 1945 to 1952; Free World, a magazine sent to East Asia that began publishing in English and various Asian languages in 1952; and America Illustrated, a Russian-language monthly published for three-and-a-half decades beginning in 1956—as well as of many pamphlets and other printed material intended for overseas audiences.

This content is only available as a PDF.