Abstract

By the early 1950s, Western rearmament had emerged as a central U.S. foreign policy goal. However, many West European governments were reluctant to bear the costs of rearmament at a time when economic reconstruction and social welfare were still urgently needed. Perhaps nowhere was this resistance as entrenched as in the Netherlands, where concern over defense expenditure was most pronounced among Dutch housewives, a traditionally prominent part of Dutch society. For U.S. diplomats in The Hague, the Dutch housewife therefore became the greatest obstacle they needed to overcome in generating Dutch support for rearmament. When U.S. officials encouraged Dutch women to take a more prominent stand on international affairs, these efforts posed a challenge to local cultural conventions. Yet with few usable cultural tropes on which to draw amid continued economic austerity, the U.S. effort to reach Dutch women fell short. An analysis of this failed effort underscores the limits of U.S. cultural influence in other Western societies during the early Cold War.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-3298
Print ISSN
1520-3972
Pages
pp. 47-75
Launched on MUSE
2013-10-06
Open Access
No
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