US public diplomacy in socialist Yugoslavia, 1950–70

Soft culture, cold partners

Author: Carla Konta

The book represents the first comprehensive account of the public and cultural diplomacy campaigns carried out by the United States in Yugoslavia during the height of the Cold War. Based on extensive multinational archival research, as well as private papers and personal interviews, this book charts the reasoning behind the US campaign and the impact it had on specific Yugoslav communities and individuals. American soft power, as a form of cultural power, deliberately sought to ‘open up’ a relatively closed society through the provision and diffusion of liberal traditions, ideas, and ideals. Tito and his Party allowed USIA and State Department cultural programs to enter Yugoslavia, liberated from Soviet control, to open cultural centres and pavilions at its main fairs, to broadcast Voice of America, and have American artists tour the country. Exchanges of intellectual and political personnel helped foster the US–Yugoslav relationship, but posed severe ideological challenges for both countries. By providing new insights into porous borders between freedom and coercion in Tito’s regime, the book shows how public diplomacy acted as an external input for Yugoslav liberalization and dissident movements. Meant for students, scholars, and general readers interested in the cultural Cold War, international relations, and diplomacy, this book fills a gap in the literature by looking at the political role of culture in US–Yugoslav bilateral relations, analysing the fluid links between information and propaganda, and the unintended effects propaganda can produce beyond the control of producers and receivers.

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