Reasserting America in the 1970s

U.S. public diplomacy and the rebuilding of America's image abroad

Edited by Hallvard Notaker, Giles Scott-Smith and David J. Snyder

Reasserting America in the 1970s


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Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9331-3
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £23.99
  • Published Date: January 2016
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / United States / 20th Century, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, Society & social sciences / Diplomacy, Society & social sciences / International relations, International Relations, International relations, Diplomacy
  • Series: Key Studies in Diplomacy


Reasserting America in the 1970s brings together two areas of burgeoning scholarly interest. On the one hand, scholars are investigating the many ways in which the 1970s constituted a profound era of transition in the international order. The American defeat in Vietnam, the breakdown of the Bretton Woods exchange system and a string of domestic setbacks including Watergate, Three-Mile Island and reversals during the Carter years all contributed to a grand reappraisal of the power and prestige of the United States in the world. In addition, the rise of new global competitors such as Germany and Japan, the pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union and the emergence of new private sources of global power contributed to uncertainty.


'Hallvard Notaker, Giles Scott-Smith, and David J. Snyder have brought together a superb collection of essays authored by first-rate historians. In particular, Reasserting America in the 1970s succeeds at showing how US public diplomats marketed the United States to a skeptical world in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and Watergate, and attempted to manage discourse through public and private cooperation, and how diplomats and foreign audiences interpreted the messages. The volume not only is an indispensable addition to the study of diplomatic history but is also timely, as it fits in nicely with the recent historiographical thrust that recognizes the 1970s as a pivotal decade in American history.'
Brian R. Robertson, Texas A & M University, Central Texas, H-Diplo (March, 2017)


1. Introduction: Reasserting America in the 1970s - Hallvard Notaker, Giles Scott-Smith, David J. Snyder
2. Historical setting: the age of fear, uncertainty and doubt - Thomas W. Zeiler
Part I: A new public diplomacy for a new America
3. The Devil at the crossroads: USIA and American public diplomacy in the 1970s - Nicholas J. Cull
4. The Sister City network in the 1970s: American municipal internationalism and public diplomacy in a decade of change - Brian
C. Etheridge
5. The exposure of CIA sponsorship of Radio Free Europe: the 'Crusade for Freedom', American exceptionalism and the foreign-domestic nexus of public diplomacy - Kenneth Osgood
6. USIA responds to the women's movement, 1960-75 - Laura A. Belmonte
7. 'The low key mulatto coverage': race, civil rights and American public diplomacy, 1965-76 - Michael L. Krenn
8. Paintbrush politics: the collapse of American arts diplomacy, 1968-72 - Claire Bower
9. Selling space capsules, Moon rocks and America: spaceflight in U.S. public diplomacy, 1961-79 - Teasel Muir-Harmony
Part II: The world responds to a reassertive America
10. America's public diplomacy in France and Italy during the years of Eurocommunism - Alessandro Brogi
11. Selling America between Sharpeville and Soweto: the USIA in South Africa, 1960-76 - John C. Stoner
12. Selling the American West on the frontier of the Cold War: the US Army's German-American Volksfest in West Berlin, 1965-81 - Benjamin P. Greene
13. Unquiet Americans: the Church Committee, the CIA and the intelligence dimension of US public diplomacy in the 1970s - Paul M. McGarr
14. Time to heal the wounds: America's bicentennial and U.S.-Swedish normalisation in 1976 - M. Todd Bennett
15. 'Something to boast about': Western enthusiasm for Carter's human rights diplomacy - Barbara Keys
16. To arms for the Western Alliance: the Committee on the Present Danger, defense spending and the perception of American power abroad, 1973-80 - John M. Rosenberg
17. Afterword: selling America in the shadow of Vietnam - Robert J. McMahon


Hallvard Notaker is Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, Norway

Giles Scott-Smith holds the Ernst van der Beugel Chair in the Diplomatic History of Transatlantic Relations since WWII at Leiden University, the Netherlands

David J. Snyder is Senior Instructor of History and Faculty Principal of the Carolina International House at the University of South Carolina, USA

Reasserting America in the 1970s

Edited by Hallvard Notaker, Giles Scott-Smith, David J. Snyder

Paperback £23.99 / $35.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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