Cold War Propaganda

Mary-Catherine Crutchfield

To what extend did the early Cold War propaganda in the United States gain the public's overall support?

Propaganda was a major strategy used by the United States government to gain the support of the US people during the Cold War. The types of propaganda include things such as media, literature, and the arts.

The propaganda all include two major themes to gain the support of the United States citizens; they all include either ideas of anti-communism or the superiority of American ideals.

Types of Propaganda


For the most part, because Television was not entirely developed yet, the anti-communist themes in the TV shows were not clearly evident. Rather the TV shows tended to emphasize the importance of American society and all that it valued. The TV shows on the air were comedies that portrayed the importance of education, hard work, obedience, respect, and stable families, easily seen through the TV shows Leave It To Beaver and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

There were occasional television journalists that were aired on the Television that had much influence in the public's eyes. These journalists openly criticized the idea of communism in general by pointing out the stereotypical flaws that communism has, affecting the overall perspective that the people had on communism.


The movies produced during the early years of the Cold War all had similar themes regarding the Soviet Union and the United States. Many of the movies were about Soviet and Western espionage and the Soviet spies were always the criminals in the movies while the Western spies were the "good guys fighting the criminals."

Other popular movies included ideas of anti-communism by portraying aliens as shadowy forces who only want to take over the world. The anti-communism affected the perception of the Soviet Union in the American's mind, which allowed the US Government to "win over" the support of the citizens.


Two of the most popular books during the early years of the Cold War were Purgatory of the Conquered (1960) and Purgatory of the Conquered (1956) and both of these novels include the ideas of what would happen if communists took over America. The idea behind the books frightened the audiences reading the books which is how the US Government gained the citizens support.

The literature appeal to all audiences. The Red Rape appeals to the female audience and the Purgatory of the Conquered appeals to the male audience. It was one of the worst fears at the time to be under the control of communism, so these books promoted the US Government's democracy and criticized communism.

Music and the Arts

Ballet became a form of cultural superiority during the early years of the Cold War. The USA sponsored many dancers to go overseas to showcase their talent, while the Soviet dancers came to America to do the same. The competition between the cultures led to a significant increase in the amount of money given to the arts by the US Government.

The United States gave significant funding to several orchestras and jazz bands to travel to the USSR in hopes to demonstrate the artistic advantages of capitalism. This idea of superiority promoted patriotism, which allowed the US Government to gain the support of the majority of its citizens.


"Cold War Propaganda." The Cold War. N.p., 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.