US Public Diplomacy Efforts in Western Europe
During the 1980s the United States was alarmed that developments in Western Europe, coupled with an intensive Soviet propaganda campaign, would lead to the unravelling of NATO and a deterioration of the special American relationship with the Allies. Large demonstrations against INF deployment, opposition to US policies in Central America, the rise of the Green Party in West Germany, the election of Socialist governments in Greece and Spain, and a new and improved Soviet image were viewed by the USA as indications that the Western Alliance was being severely tested. The US foreign policy community in general, and the Reagan White House in particular, were especially sensitive about the attitudes and actions of Western Europe’s younger generation. In response, the Reagan Administration — which keenly appreciated the value of public relations — embarked on a massive public diplomacy campaign aimed principally at Western Europe to stem the perceived tide of anti-Americanism and neutralism. This chapter focuses on US efforts to ‘tell America’s story’ in Western Europe and thereby influence public opinion.
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