Not Our Kind of Anti-Communists: Americans and the Congress for Cultural Freedom in France and Italy, 1950-1969 Open Access

Scionti, Andrea (2015)

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My dissertation examines the activities of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) in France and Italy, and their significance for American cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. The CCF was created in 1950 with covert funding from the CIA to support and connect anti-Communist intellectuals. While it represented one of the main instruments of America's attempts to win the hearts and minds of postwar Europe, it also forced U.S. cold warriors to mediate with different societies, cultures, and intellectual traditions. My work looks at the contexts of France and Italy to highlight the interplay of competing notions of anti-Communism and cultural freedom, and how local actors helped redefine the character and limits of American cultural diplomacy. The two countries were central to the work of the organization as the Western European nations with the largest Communist presence. National concerns and traditions forced local intellectuals to stress their autonomy from the Congress and its American patrons. I use the cultural Cold War and the competing interpretations within the CCF to explore the limits of U.S. influence and persuasion among the intellectual classes of Europe. I argue that CCF intellectuals were more than unwitting assets for CIA operations, adapting its activities to their own notions and beliefs. I also emphasize how influence was mutual within the CCF: Americans did not simply impose their views on Europeans, but they were in turn influenced in their debates by these transatlantic networks of intellectual dialogue. By placing the CCF is a transnational framework, my dissertation contributes to a debate on the effectiveness and reach of American cultural diplomacy. The attempts by U.S. policymakers to intervene abroad were challenged or transformed by local actors on the ground. Rather than a background for U.S. operations, the political and cultural contexts of France and Italy set the limits of a successful anti-Communist message and influenced its tone and content. The CCF served American interests in promoting anti-Communist intellectuals, but its activity was fraught with instances of resistance and contestation. European intellectuals were as active as Americans in setting the terms of U.S. cultural diplomacy.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: "A New League of Resistance": The Unlikely Founding Fathers of Cold War Liberalism 29

Chapter 2: A Different Cultural Cold War: The Role of French and Italian Intellectuals in the Congress for Cultural Freedom 80

Chapter 3: In Search of the "Unsophisticated, Old-Fashioned American Liberals" 141

Chapter 4: Not Anti-Commmunist "in Our Sense of the Term": The Ambivalent Relationship with French and Italian Intellectuals 203

Chapter 5: "The Intellectual Shock Troops of Free Culture": The French and the Italian National Committees 264

Chapter 6: Ambassadors in Print: The Role of Preuves and Tempo Presente 333

Chapter 7: "Was Being Antistalinist Tantamount to Being a Conformist?": The 1960s, the CIA, and the End of the Magazines 392

Conclusion: "It May Be a Dull Story": The Legacy of the CCF 447

Archives and Bibliography 453

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