Coca-colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria After the Second World War

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Reinhold Wagnleitner
University of North Carolina Press, 1994 - History - 367 pages
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Reinhold Wagnleitner argues that cultural propaganda played an enormous part in integrating Austrians and other Europeans into the American sphere during the Cold War. In Coca-Colonization and the Cold War, he shows that 'Americanization' was the result not only of market forces and consumerism but also of systematic planning on the part of the United States.

Wagnleitner traces the intimate relationship between the political and economic reconstruction of a democratic Austria and the parallel process of cultural assimilation. Initially, U.S. cultural programs had been developed to impress Europeans with the achievements of American high culture. However, popular culture was more readily accepted, at least among the young, who were the primary target group of the propaganda campaign. The prevalence of Coca-Cola and rock 'n' roll are just two examples addressed by Wagnleitner. Soon, the cultural hegemony of the United States became visible in nearly all quarters of Austrian life: the press, advertising, comics, literature, education, radio, music, theater, and fashion. Hollywood proved particularly effective in spreading American cultural ideals. For Europeans, says Wagnleitner, the result was a second discovery of America.

This book is a translation of the Austrian edition, published in 1991, which won the Ludwig Jedlicka Memorial Prize.

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About the author (1994)

Reinhold Wagnleitner is associate professor of history at the University of Salzburg.

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