Empire of Ideas: The Origins of Public Diplomacy and the Transformation of U. S. Foreign Policy

ISBN : 9780199777945

Justin Hart
296 Pages
163 x 236 mm
Pub date
Feb 2013
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Empire of Ideas examines the origins of the U. S. government's programs in public diplomacy and the way that those initiatives transformed the foreign policy process. Spanning the period from 1936 to 1953, the book explores how, when, and why U. S. policymakers embraced various techniques of public diplomacy, such as propaganda, educational exchanges, cultural exhibits, overseas libraries, and domestic public relations. By treating public diplomacy as part of the project for building the sort of post-colonial empire that Henry Luce and others envisioned when they spoke of an "American Century," Hart also explains how the nation's image in the world became an essential component of U. S. foreign policy. Based upon exhaustive research in official government records and the private papers of top officials in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, including newly declassified material, Empire of Ideas lends a historical perspective to issues of tremendous contemporary relevance. At a time when U. S. officials struggle more than ever to project a positive image of America abroad, Hart's study describes the challenges faced by a previous generation of policymakers and details their successes and failures in confronting similar issues.


Introduction: The Origins of U.S. Public Diplomacy
Ch 1 "Down with Imperialism": The Latin American Origins of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy
Ch 2 "The Drift of History": War, Culture, and Hegemony
Ch 3 Propaganda as Foreign Policy: The Office of War Information
Ch 4 "Foreign Relations, Domestic Affairs": The Consolidation of U.S. Public Diplomacy
Ch 5 "The Flat White Light": Revolutionary Nationalism in Asia and Beyond
Ch 6 "An Unfavorable Projection of American Unity": McCarthyism and Public Diplomacy
Epilogue The Creation of the USIA and the Fate of U.S. Public Diplomacy

About the author: 

Justin Hart is Associate Professor of History, Texas Tech University.

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