Americans All: Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II

Paperback | December 1, 2013

byDarlene J. Sadlier

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Cultural diplomacy—"winning hearts and minds" through positive portrayals of the American way of life—is a key element in U.S. foreign policy, although it often takes a backseat to displays of military might. Americans All provides an in-depth, fine-grained study of a particularly successful instance of cultural diplomacy—the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), a government agency established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and headed by Nelson A. Rockefeller that worked to promote hemispheric solidarity and combat Axis infiltration and domination by bolstering inter-American cultural ties.

Darlene J. Sadlier explores how the CIAA used film, radio, the press, and various educational and high-art activities to convince people in the United States of the importance of good neighbor relations with Latin America, while also persuading Latin Americans that the United States recognized and appreciated the importance of our southern neighbors. She examines the CIAA's working relationship with Hollywood's Motion Picture Society of the Americas; its network and radio productions in North and South America; its sponsoring of Walt Disney, Orson Welles, John Ford, Gregg Toland, and many others who traveled between the United States and Latin America; and its close ties to the newly created Museum of Modern Art, which organized traveling art and photographic exhibits and produced hundreds of 16mm educational films for inter-American audiences; and its influence on the work of scores of artists, libraries, book publishers, and newspapers, as well as public schools, universities, and private organizations.

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Cultural diplomacy—"winning hearts and minds" through positive portrayals of the American way of life—is a key element in U.S. foreign policy, although it often takes a backseat to displays of military might. Americans All provides an in-depth, fine-grained study of a particularly successful instance of cultural diplomacy—the Office of...

Darlene J. Sadlier is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Adjunct Professor of American Studies and Communication and Culture at Indiana University–Bloomington. Her most recent book is the cultural history, Brazil Imagined: 1500 to the Present (2008).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:263 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:December 1, 2013Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292756852

ISBN - 13:9780292756854

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter One. The Culture Industry Goes to WarChapter Two. On Screen: The Motion Picture DivisionChapter Three. On the Air: The Radio DivisionChapter Four. In Print: The Press and Publication DivisionChapter Five. In Museums, Libraries, and on the Home Front: The Divisions of Cultural Relations and Inter-American Affairs in the United StatesAftermathNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Cultural diplomacy—“winning hearts and minds” through positive portrayals of the American way of life—is a key element in U.S. foreign policy, although it often takes a backseat to displays of military might. Americans All provides an in-depth, fine-grained study of a particularly successful instance of cultural diplomacy—the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), a government agency established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and headed by Nelson A. Rockefeller that worked to promote hemispheric solidarity and combat Axis infiltration and domination by bolstering inter-American cultural ties. Darlene J. Sadlier explores how the CIAA used film, radio, the press, and various educational and high-art activities to convince people in the United States of the importance of good neighbor relations with Latin America, while also persuading Latin Americans that the United States recognized and appreciated the importance of our southern neighbors. She examines the CIAA’s working relationship with Hollywood’s Motion Picture Society of the Americas; its network and radio productions in North and South America; its sponsoring of Walt Disney, Orson Welles, John Ford, Gregg Toland, and many others who traveled between the United States and Latin America; and its close ties to the newly created Museum of Modern Art, which organized traveling art and photographic exhibits and produced hundreds of 16mm educational films for inter-American audiences; and its influence on the work of scores of artists, libraries, book publishers, and newspapers, as well as public schools, universities, and private organizations.As the United States prepared for World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the unusual step of creating an extensive program to further understanding between North Americans and their Latin American neighbors. Artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, and intellectuals of all stripes were enlisted in this huge effort of two-way cultural exchange. Roosevelt placed Nelson Rockefeller at the head of the governing body of this program, the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. Darlene Sadlier has written the definitive study of this program, taking readers inside the OCIAA. Her deep archival research and lively writing provides a groundbreaking model study and delves into the problems, difficulties, and even failures of the program. Americans All should be read not only by scholars interested in cultural exchange but also, and perhaps especially, by diplomats seeking to improve the nation’s image abroad. - Frank D. McCann, Professor of History Emeritus, University of New Hampshire