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Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy$
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Danielle Fosler-Lussier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284135

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284135.001.0001

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Music, Media, and Cultural Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union

Music, Media, and Cultural Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union

Chapter:
(p.166) 7 Music, Media, and Cultural Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union
Source:
Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy
Author(s):

Danielle Fosler-Lussier

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520284135.003.0007

The State Department’s Cultural Presentations program famously sent jazz and classical musicians as well as dancers to the USSR. Although commentators have sometimes characterized U.S. music in the Soviet Union as a form of “infiltration,” musical diplomacy did little to destabilize the Soviet Union. Rather, it allowed the enemy superpowers to engage competitively without military action before an attentive worldwide media audience. Leonard Bernstein, for example, made intentionally provocative statements alongside his conciliatory speeches during and after his 1959 visit. These exchanges allowed the enemy peoples to grow accustomed to the idea that their competing states could coexist peacefully, thereby laying the groundwork for détente.

Keywords:   Soviet, exchange, infiltration, détente, Leonard Bernstein, media, competitive, jazz, dance

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