“The passing decades confirm Dean Acheson’s place as the clearest thinking, most effective Secretary of State of the twentieth century. As a writer he has no equal since Thomas Jefferson first occupied the office in the eighteenth century.”
–Gaddis Smith ’54, Larned Professor Emeritus of History, Yale University
The Acheson Prize is awarded for original, unpublished undergraduate essays on international questions broadly understood. Named for Dean Gooderham Acheson ’15, the prize is awarded annually by YRIS, with support from International Security Studies. Mr. Acheson served as Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953. Following his tenure at the State Department, he served on the Yale Corporation. In 1970, he won the Pulitzer Prize in History for his memoir, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department. This prize honors Acheson’s legacy as a thinker, scholar, and public servant.
The following eight finalists published distinguished themselves among a truly excellent pool of over 100 submissions. The essays are published in the Acheson Prize issue (Vol. 3, Issue 2) of the Review.
FIRST PLACE ($750)
Max Nickbarg, (TC ’14) “The United Nations Congo Intervention: A Force of Decolonization”
SECOND PLACE ($500)
Emanuel Marshack (BR ’14), “Caribbean Zomia: Maroonage and State Evasion in the Jamaican Highlands”
THIRD PLACE ($250)
Mary Shi (TC ’14), “Unstable Ground: The 1968 Mexico City Student Protests”
HONORABLE MENTION ($100)
Cassius Clay (BK ’13), “The Cold Arts of War: Visual Shorthand for the ‘Long Telegram’”
Andrew Henderson (SM ’13), “Mapping Divided Berlin: The Politics of Under- and Over- Representation”
Allison Hugi (MC ’13), “Teetering on the Edge: Iraq’s Precarious Hold on Democracy”
Teresa Logue (SY ’15) “‘Hope Springs Eternal?’ Agenda and Idealism in the Symbolization of the S.S. Hope”
Sarah Swong (PC ’15), “The Non-Nicaraguan Reader: Poetry Workshops and the Nicaraguan Revolution”
Finally, the Review would like to thank our distinguished panel of judges:
Dr. Jolyon Howorth is the Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics at the University of Bath.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker is the 2013 Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale’s Johnson Center.
Dr. Amanda Behm is the Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale.
To view more information about the prize and the original rules governing the competition, click here.]]>
“1960 was the decolonization year. It was this year that the decolonization process started in full force, and he [Hammarskjold] felt that what happened to the Congo would be extremely important – because of the timing, because the Congo had a unique strategic position and because also the Congo had very great natural resources.”
On June 30, 1960, Belgium granted independence to the Belgian Congo, officially transferring power to the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville) under the government of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and President Joseph Kasavubu. Lumumba’s independence speech was filled with nationalistic and Pan-African remarks as he proclaimed, “The Congo’s independence is a decisive step towards the liberation of the whole African continent… Eternal glory to the fighters for national liberation! Long live independence and African unity! Long live the independent and sovereign Congo!” In that same speech, Lumumba asserted that “The Republic of the Congo has been proclaimed and our beloved country’s future is now in the hands of its own people.” Sadly, the future of Congo would be in the hands of its people for less than a month before Lumumba would find it imperative to request United Nations help in stabilizing his new nation. However, the underlying question behind this request is why, for the first time in its history, the United Nations decided to intervene in a sovereign state by implementing one of the largest peacekeeping forces ever assembled to this day. Was this action simply driven by the Cold War or was there a deeper message, signaling that decolonization must not be hindered?
By July 4, 1960, only four days after the newly established independence, the Congolese Army known as the Force Publique revolted against its European officers. Although the initial revolt was not widespread across the Congo, it caused a panic amongst Belgian nationals who then began to flee the country, consequently plunging the nation deeper into turmoil and anarchy. Additionally, statements made by Belgian military generals regarding the immobile social situation of the Congolese infantrymen after independence, and the fact that the new government received pay raises while the military was excluded, only added to the tension and fostered the rebellion across the country.
As the Congo’s system of rule quickly began to unravel, the Katanga province under Moise Tshombe attempted to secede from the newly independent nation. The members of the Force Publique within Katanga—renamed the Gendarmerie Katangese—did not revolt like the rest of their comrades due to the more unified training and additional pay from the Belgian mining company, Union Minière. Additionally, the Congolese infantrymen shared the same tribal background as Tshombe and therefore supported his political stance. As the secession began to evolve, it became clear that it was not simply an internal rift, but a conflict engineered by Belgian colonial interests that meant to preserve their economic prosperity generated by Katangese mines, which held the majority of the Congo’s wealth. Belgian support of both Tshombe and the Katanga secession was indisputable. Union Minière representatives met with Tshombe daily to write his speeches and correspondence, sometimes with the assistance of Belgian Consul General van der Wal. Furthermore, the Belgian government in Brussels was “heavily influenced by mining interests and by the Belgian citizens who were still down there and owned most of the riches.”
With Belgian interests in Katanga clearly established, Lumumba saw his newly independent country quickly vanishing as his regime in Leopoldville became incapable of properly governing the country. Determined not to fall under the control of Cold War ideologies, Lumumba turned to the United Nations for military assistance. On July 14, the Security Council passed Resolution 143, which contained two main objectives: to withdraw the entire Belgian military and to provide military assistance in order to ensure internal stability. The Security Council saw these goals as essential because the “Belgian actions represented a violation of the sovereignty of an independent country… and because the internal instability was such that it left the country open to manipulation by other countries, especially the United States and the Soviet Union.” It is important to note that both France and the United Kingdom abstained from the vote, which clearly showed that the resolution was in conflict with their imperialistic stance and not simply a preventative Cold War action.
With Security Resolution 143 passed, and the rest of the world blaming Belgium for the disastrous outcome of the Congo Independence, the Belgian government went on the defensive. As UN troops began dispersing throughout the Congo, Belgian troops began to withdraw from the country as the safety of Belgian nationals was assured. However, there was no sign of an intention to leave Katanga, as the Belgians claimed, “the Katangese authorities beg us to stay.”  These were the same authorities that were being funded by the Belgians. Jean Paul van Bellinghen, the Belgian responsible for explaining the Belgian position to the United States and the UN, asserted that Belgium had been utterly unprepared for Congolese independence due to their misconception that since Africa had been the last continent colonized, it would be the last one to be decolonized. Under this logic, the Belgians justified their lack of action in preparing the Congo for independence by claiming that Asia was currently decolonizing and that they thought it would be years before Africa would face the same situation. Belgium’s plea of ignorance and innocence becomes more doubtful when their policies with the local Congolese are examined more closely.
Belgians continued to assert that their intentions in the Congo were purely symbiotic by citing statistics that demonstrated that the Congo was one of the most developed nations in Africa with one of the highest literacy rates. However, several of Belgium’s policies revealed that their intentions were more self-serving than publicly portrayed. The Belgian Congo System had “in recent years instituted a number of progressive economic and social welfare reforms… yet there is strict surveillance against any open manifestation of political awareness for African nationalism.” In practice, Belgium attempted to maintain Congolese dependence and reduce their political capabilities, something that African nationalist Kwame Nkrumah claimed would “benefit the colonizers not the Africans, therefore independence would only be prolonged.” For decades, Belgium promoted lower education through missionaries but strategically avoided any encouragement of the attainment of a university degree, so much so that by 1960, only seventeen Congolese held degrees. By limiting education of the people of the Congo, the Belgians succeeded in delaying Congolese independence until 1960, but moreover ensured that the natives would be unprepared and incapable of governing themselves when the time finally came.
The Belgian creation of an “education gap” makes it appear that Belgium never had any intention of relinquishing their control of the Congo or Katanga, thereby making the underlying UN intervention not one of Cold War interests, but rather one of anti-imperialist action in support of decolonization. With a clear understanding that decolonization was the primary cause of the Congo conflict, the real question to be considered is how the UN realigned itself as an anti-colonialist and Third World supporter at such a tenuous time in world relations. In order to understand how the UN policy in the Congo came about, the diplomatic influence of the UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold must be taken into account.
One does not have to look far to discover Dag Hammarskjold’s values and the dreams that he had for the future of the United Nations. Sture Linner, the Chief of Civilian Operations in the Congo, claimed that Hammarskjold had “third world interests closest to his heart.” Hammarskjold saw the Congo Crisis as the focal point of decolonization, where inaction could lead to the reversal of decades of progress in the Third World. Furthermore, the Congo Crisis was a chance for the United Nations to prove itself as a significant world order that would be in place for generations to come. The two necessities for this establishment of principles and global acceptance were: 1) The UN was a union of nations that symbolized state sovereignty and therefore must defend the rights of every free and independent nation; and 2) The UN must transition from discussion to action in order to make its opinion heard on the world stage. By successfully applying these two objectives, the UN could further distance itself from the failed, inactive, and imperialistic League of Nations, thereby solidifying itself as a legitimate and powerful international organization.
With these two goals, Hammarskjold saw an opportunity in the Congo to make a statement not only by furthering Third World progress and decolonization but also by establishing the UN as a peacekeeping force capable of intervening if world order were to be broken. As the crisis unfolded, Hammarskjold rose to the occasion, garnering support for a Congo intervention from all corners of the world, and ultimately succeeded both in the Congo and in “mov[ing] the UN onto the plane of executive action without large-scale war …[a]… movement from words to deeds, from general resolution to intervention…” Although Hammarskjold may have been the driver behind the Congo intervention, his success would have been impossible to achieve without the support of the United States and the rising Third World.
The United Nations, created in 1945, had fifty-one original members, “the majority of them European states (including the USSR), the Americas, and the so-called ‘White British Commonwealth.’” By 1960, UN membership had almost doubled with forty-eight new members, many of whom represented the regions of Asia and Africa where independence had been earned through the process of decolonization. With the Third World gaining representation so quickly in the UN, it is no surprise that there would also be increasing support for the Secretary General Hammarskjold and his policies concerning the Congo Crisis and decolonization. Although the UN Security Council was in charge of establishing operations and making the final decision, the great rise in the representation of the Third World in the UN inevitably changed the views of the Security Council. Additionally, there was now a growing threat of a “Third World vote” if a lack of unanimity on the Security Council led to a vote by the General Assembly.
The upsurge of prominence of the Third World in the global order was noticed not only politically in New York but also physically with their personnel presence in the Congo. In addition to the white European diplomats on the ground in the Congo, the majority of the military forces were Indian, Ethiopian, and Irish, once again signaling to the Congolese, the Belgians, and the rest of the world that the UN was truly an international organization. Although it is generally accepted that European and American forces were limited in the Congo to reduce Cold War tensions and protest by the Soviet Union, the diversity of the UN forces also indicated that the UN had changed and was no longer an organization of imperialists. The UN ground forces in the Congo not only represented decolonization through nationality but also through mentality, for the UN forces “were in a certain sense, convinced that our [the Belgian’s] chapter was finished. The colonial chapter was finished and the word colonialism was about the worst possible word you can use.”
The United Nations and Hammarskjold not only gained support from new Third World nations, but also from African Nationalists and Pan-Africanist movements. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana stated, “The United Nations … remains the only world organization in which the many problems of the world have a chance of finding reasonable solution.”
Although Hammarskjold’s persistence and the Third World’s size and growing significance initiated the talks of UN intervention and decolonization, none of these goals could have been achieved without the financial and political backing of the United States. The Korean War had made Eisenhower realize that there were new limits to the sacrifices Americans were willing to make “to extend Americanism abroad.” With this understanding, Eisenhower saw the need to direct international attitude through new methods including his policy of “quiet internationalism.”  Hammarskjold realized he had a great opportunity at hand and attempted to phrase United Nations policy in such a light so that Eisenhower would provide full approval. The problem for Hammarskjold was that Eisenhower “had no personal interest in Africa, nor did he fully realize the potential strategic value of improving US relations with the recently decolonized continent,” and “was afraid of causing a possible rift with his NATO allies.” Ultimately, Hammarskjold decided the best path towards American support of the Congo Operation would be by placing the situation in relation to the Cold War, reminding Eisenhower that the collapse of a regime was one step away from Communism. In this way, Hammarskjold formed his policy of decolonization around American Cold War interests so that America could then reform their policy around the United Nations’ interests, including those held in the Congo. This worked so effectively that by 1961, the Assistant Secretary of State Cleveland Harlan asserted that “the UN was much more central to our foreign policy” and that the position of the US is to “support the initiative of Dag Hammarskjold.”
By July of 1960, Hammarskjold’s diplomatic success showed as the Eisenhower administration approved the first of several UN Security Council Resolutions regarding the Congo Crisis. Additionally, when the topic of funding for the Congo Operation arose, “The President said he saw nothing to do but to go to the Congress and ask to have the contingency fund increased by $100 million.” By rephrasing the mission so that the US believed that “if the UN weren’t in there then we would probably have to be,” Hammarskjold gave the US motive for continued support of the UN and decolonization.
With a change of administration in 1961, the United States only improved relations and increased support for Dag Hammarskjold and the United Nations as the more liberal John F. Kennedy took office. While civil rights issues were a sensitive topic in the US, Kennedy had “a reputation for being sympathetic toward African nationalism,” a factor that showed in the pursuance of his liberal internationalist policy. This meant that Hammarskjold could place more emphasis on continuing decolonization without so much Cold War banter, which is what consequently occurred in 1961 with UN Security Council Resolutions 161 and 169. Resolution 161 added “other foreign military, paramilitary, and political advisers” to the list of those who should be withdrawn, and Resolution 169 approved for the use of force and demanded the end of Katangese secession thereby “completely rejecting the claim that Katanga is a ‘sovereign independent nation.’”
Admittedly, the intense American focus on the Cold War and the fact that American and United Nations’ policies on the Congo were interwoven makes it harder to imagine the UN intervention in the Congo as more than just a result of Cold War competition. Although this paper portrays the UN intervention as an act of perpetuating decolonization, many historians believe that the UN took action in order to prevent the Soviet Union and the United States from starting a bloody proxy war over one of the most valuable African regions.
There remains an array of sources that contend the belief that Hammarskjold’s end goal was decolonization. Jonathan Dean claimed that Hammarskjold’s initial intention of the UN intervention was to simply preserve the peace and that that policy only changed when the West feared “that the Congo would become Balkanized into a lot of small states unable to sustain themselves and that the Communist influence which was then feared so much, would become predominant in these ministrates.” The West was not the only side that earned notice by the UN, for the Director General of the UN Association of London posited that “It may well be that until the world is substantially disarmed the Russians will never allow the UN to have a well trained, well equipped, standing force adequate to deal with situations of this kind wherever they may occur.”
In light of specific sources, it seems feasible that East-West tensions of the Cold War directed overall UN policy and intervention in the Congo. However, this preconceived notion that any international crisis during the Cold War was directly related to the war itself has slowly been outdated as historians begin looking back on this period of history with a clear and more impartial view in an attempt to discover what was really happening behind the façade that the two superpowers had created. Although it is likely that the CIA and the KGB were running clandestine operations in the Congo at the time of UN intervention, these efforts and intentions were entirely separate from those of the UN.
In rebuttal to the above claims of a Congo intervention based around the Cold War, one must first take into account the simple necessity of the US foreign policy to be perceived both at home and abroad as purely anti-ommunist regardless of the situation. Although American policymakers were in favor of Hammarskjold’s decolonization intentions in the Congo, they could not simply endorse decolonization on the world stage for that would be political suicide. Endorsing Hammarskjold’s policies and beliefs without rephrasing the situation around the Cold War would enrage imperialist NATO allies while simultaneously sparking civil rights issues at home.
If the UN intervention in the Congo was a result of Cold War tension, then why were there no other major “Cold War” UN interventions of comparable size to that of the Congo in the next two decades even as Cold War proxy wars developed across the African continent in Angola, Namibia, Ethiopia, and Somalia? In spite of the fact that the UN had always been an extension of Washington’s own policy, “the advent of new, independent Third World states began already in the 1960’s to change the role of the United Nations into a more diverse forum, less susceptible to American influence.” This change in UN influence therefore made it harder for direct US initiatives to be instituted, making it even less likely that US Cold War interests would be accepted by Dag Hammarskjold and pursued through a UN intervention of the Congo. Additionally, the conflict in the Congo over decolonization “showed how the UN developed from being viewed by many as an arm of US intervention abroad to being an altogether different organization, in which the strengthened position of the nonaligned countries was perhaps the most visible characteristic.”
Conor Cruise O’Brien, a controversial figure in the UN intervention, suggests that the British secretly supported Tshombe and Katangan secession. While his claims tend to be debatable and remain unverified, the accusation in itself speaks volumes. It inadvertently proposes that the process of decolonization was active in the UN intervention and therefore led to the British protecting their interests by siding (secretly nonetheless) with the imperialist faction behind Tshombe. This British connection could also tie in to multiple British abstentions on Security Council resolutions regarding the Congo question.
With time comes new information and another reason to doubt Cold War influences in the UN intervention of 1960. In the 1990’s David Gibbs uncovered archives suggesting that Dag Hammarskjold’s death was the possible result of a Belgian assassination attempt. Successful or not, the fact that there is evidence that the Belgian faction plotted to assassinate the Secretary General of the UN suggests that the Congo was not a Cold War conflict but a battle against decolonization. As a last resort, the Belgians debated removing the leader who was at the forefront of the movement that diametrically opposed their interests.
It is also of particular interest and value to note that the Katangese made it clear that the Soviets were not welcome within their province because “they were wanting to establish themselves as good anti-communists and reliable to the business community and Western Europe, amongst whom they had quite a measure of support or partial support, at least.” The continuing rejection by Katanga of Communism and the East is a clear signal that Katanga had every intention of avoiding the rise of Cold War tensions in their conflict against the UN, thereby signifying that there was no Cold War threat for the UN to act upon in the first place.
Lastly, in order to obtain a complete argument in favor of decolonization as the driving force behind the UN intervention, it is necessary to analyze the African outlook of the Cold War. Through the eyes of most Pan-Africanists, African nationalism and Communism were not at all connected. Rather, it was widely believed that “Cold War propaganda [was] designed to discredit African nationalists and to alienate from their movements the sympathy and support of anti-colonial elements within progressive organizations.” The generally accepted belief that Communism was used to disenfranchise African nationalists only adds to their negative perception of the Communist ideology that failed to properly integrate the Africans, who were seen through the lens of Communism as “Negro workers and peasants” and ultimately “revolutionary expendables.” With the majority of the African continent and the Pan-African movement excluded and marginalized by Communism, the situation in the Congo in 1960 clearly comes into focus as a conflict exempt from Cold War influence, purely influenced by imperialist greed and ultimately balanced by UN intervention that establishes decolonization as a permanent force of the African continent.
In interpreting the UN decision to intervene in the Congo, it is useful to take into account the UN’s decision for withdrawal and the time at which they decided to withdraw. In June of 1964, the United Nations pulled the last of its military forces out of the Congo, signaling that the objectives had been achieved and the mission to end Katangan secession (and ensure the continuation of decolonization) had been successful. Although other internal conflicts were still raging within the Congo borders, including the Simba rebellion, the UN still proceeded towards its exit. The UN decision to leave the Congo at this point in time while tribal conflict was still going on helps to distinguish Katangan secession from the rest of the Congo’s troubles. The amplified UN focus on Katangan secession can thereby be explained by the fact that it was only major conflict in the Congo that was openly manipulated by external imperialist actors. Additionally, as the UN was moving its forces out, the US, USSR, and Cuba were simultaneously preparing their first unrestricted actions within the country as they prepared to outmaneuver each other for an alliance with the Congo leadership. Although the UN could not predict the future of the Congo, at the time of the conflict one could clearly see that a UN exit would ultimately lead to Cold War competition in the Congo, therefore any relation between UN intervention and Cold War prevention seem highly unlikely.
Although the phrase ‘as a result of the Cold War’ can be applied to most international events of that era, this simple explanation does not always make the most accurate historical interpretation and tends to ignore evidence from before the era of bi-polarity. When the question of why the United Nations intervened in Congo arose, it was not simply enough to look at the action as a moment in time and place. The question of the Congo therefore could not properly be assessed in the decade it occurred but rather in the century that surrounded it. By properly taking into account Africa’s and the Congo’s dark history with colonialism and Empire, one can arrive at a conclusion that may be the closest to the truth: Dag Hammarskjold, under the cover of the Cold War, enlisted the support of the Third World and the United States for a United Nations Congo intervention. This intervention if successful, would achieve Hammarskjold’s goals: 1) extend decolonization across the continent of Africa; 2) set a precedent that the interference of national sovereignty would be unacceptable; and 3) establish the United Nations was an intergovernmental organization of action. Although Hammarskjold never had the opportunity to see the result of his endeavors in the Congo before his untimely death on September 18, 1961, there was a definitive global consensus on the success and value of his efforts. Therefore, he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 1961 “in gratitude for all he did, for what he achieved, for what he fought for: to create peace and goodwill among nations and men.”
This essay was awarded 1st Place in the 2013 Acheson Prize.
Max Nickbarg (’14) is a History major in Trumbull College.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “F.T. Liu on Congo Crisis,” March 23, 1990, 16.
 Congo (Democratic Republic) Collection (MS 1549). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “The UN and the Congo, 27th September 1961,” 2.
 Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists (Moscow, Russia: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961), 46-47.
 Congo (Democratic Republic) Collection (MS 1549). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “The UN and the Congo, 27th September 1961,” 2.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Jonathan Dean on Congo Operation,” February 21, 1990.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 3.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Cleveland Harlan on The Congo,” April 21, 1990, 8.
 UN Security Council, “Resolution 143” (1960) of 14 July 1960, <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3b00f00d50.html>.
 Jane Boulden, “Peace Enforcement: The United Nations Experience in Congo, Somalia, and Bosnia,” (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2001), <http://psi.praeger.com/doc.aspx?d=/books/dps/2000a92e/2000a92e-p2000a92e9970021001.xml>.
 UN Security Council, “Resolution 143,” (1960).
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “F.T. Liu on Congo Crisis,” March 23, 1990, 20.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Jean Paul van Bellinghen on The Congo Operation,” March 4, 1991, 2.
 George Padmore, Pan-Africanism or Communism? (London, UK: D. Dobson, 1956), 211.
 Kwame Nkrumah, Africa Must Unite, (London, UK: Heinemann, 1963), 50.
 Padmore, 215.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Sture Linner on Congo Operation,” November 8, 1990, 3.
 James-Emmanuel Wanki, “Disarming war, arming peace: The Congo crisis, Dag Hammarskjöld’s legacy and the future role of MONUC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 11, No. 1 (2011): 1.
 Glenda Sluga, The Shock of the Global: The 1970’s in Perspective, (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2010), 224.
 Congo (Democratic Republic) Collection (MS 1549). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “The UN and the Congo, 27th September 1961,” 15.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Jean Paul van Bellinghen on The Congo Operation,” March 4, 1991, 74.
 Nkrumah, 195.
 Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 26.
 Geoffrey Levin, “From Isolationism to Internationalism: The Foreign Policy Shift in Republican Presidential Politics, 1940-1968,” Johns Hopkins University (2011): 46.
 Philip E. Muehlenbeck, Betting on the Africans: John F. Kennedy’s Courting of African Nationalist Leaders, (USA: Oxford University Press, 2012), xix.
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 Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower, August 1, 1960,
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960 Volume XIV: Africa, document 157.
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 Muehlenbeck, xiv.
 UN Security Council, “Resolution 161” (1961) of 14 July 1960 & “Resolution 169” (1961) of 24 November 1961, <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3b00f2bc1c.html> & <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3b00f1be4c.html>.
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 Congo (Democratic Republic) Collection (MS 1549). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “The UN and the Congo, 27th September 1961,” 213.
 Westad, 136.
 Ibid., 136.
 Conor Cruise O’Brien, To Katanga and Back, (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1962), 328.
 David Gibbs, “Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations, and the Congo Crisis of 1961: A Reinterpretation,” The Journal of Modern African Studies (2008): 174.
 United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Ian Berendsen on Congo Operation,” May 4, 1990, 15.
 Padmore, 15.
 Ibid, 289.
 Gunnar Jahn, “Award Ceremony Speech for Dag Hammarskjold’s Nobel Peace Prize 1961,” Nobel Prize, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1961/press.html (accessed December 17 2012.
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Kalb, Madeline. The Congo Cables. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1982.
Levin, Geoffrey. “From Isolationism to Internationalism: The Foreign Policy Shift in Republican Presidential Politics, 1940-1968.” Johns Hopkins University (2011): 1-54.
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Muehlenbeck, Philip E. Betting on the Africans: John F. Kennedy’s Courting of African Nationalist Leaders. USA: Oxford University Press, 2012.
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Sluga, Glenda. The Shock of the Global: The 1970’s in Perspective. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2010.
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United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Ian Berendsen on Congo Operation,” May 4, 1990, 15.
United Nations Oral History Project Interview Transcripts and Tapes. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. “Jonathan Dean on Congo Operation,” February 21, 1990.
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UN Security Council. “Resolution 143 (1960) of 14 July 1960,” 14 July 1960, S/RES/143 (1960), <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3b00f00d50.html>.
UN Security Council. “Resolution 161 (1961) of 21 February 1961,” 21 February 1961, S/RES/161 (1961), <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3b00f2bc1c.html>.
UN Security Council. “Resolution 169 (1961) of 24 November 1961,” 24 November 1961, S/RES/169 (1961), <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3b00f1be4c.html>.
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Actually, suggests Scott, most non-state populations consist of individuals who intentionally chose to flee state control and their descendants. Thus, “upland societies, far from being the original, primal ‘stuff’ from which states and ‘civilizations’ were crafted, are, rather, largely a reflexive product of state-making designed to be as unappealing as possible as a site of appropriation.” This is especially true for the region he examines–the highlands of Southeast Asia, which for thousands of years have been a refuge for those fleeing slavery, conscription, disease, and taxes in lowland states. Scott opines that most of the “inhabitants of the ungoverned margins are not remnants of an earlier social formation, left be-hind, or, as some lowland folk accounts in Southeast Asia have it, ‘our living Ancestors’”; rather, “they are ‘barbarians by design.’”
Scott refers to this upland region of Southeast Asia as “Zomia” and suggests that many of the processes he has researched in the region are likely to be mirrored in the experiences of mountainous peoples around the world. Drawing from Scott’s research, his own acknowledgement of New World zomias, and the historical record for colonial and post-colonial Jamaica, this paper will show that many of the same processes Scott examines in upland Southeast Asia have played out in a similar or closely parallel manner in the Caribbean. These include: successive waves of runaway slaves fleeing to the mountains; mountain populations’ use of the geographic features of the areas they have settled to thwart larger state armies; ethnogenesis in the hills; the complex ways hill peoples avoid incorporation into lowland states, while, at the same time, participating in trade with, and production for, lowland markets; millennial religious movements and other religious distinctions between hill and lowland peoples; and state use of people outside state control to capture and enslave other non-state populations. In addition, this paper will look, beyond the time frame examined by Scott, at the extent to which such populations have been incorporated into, or otherwise played a role in, the mainstream political and cultural history of 20th century Jamaica, including the period since independence.
Jamaican Maroons and the Colonial State
In the Caribbean and throughout the New World, enslaved Africans often found refuge in mountainous environments where they established autonomous Maroon communities that resisted colonial forces. The tradition goes back to the landing of the first slave ship to the New World in 1502, from which some escaped slaves joined indigenous communities. Conflicts with colonial states, and later with their nation-state successors, have continued well into the modern era, perhaps most infamously in the 1986 war between the Surinamese government and the country’s Maroons.
While the history of the Maroons may appear to be a phenomenon unique to the New World and the conditions of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, their story actually fits into a global historical narrative. From what we know, most if not all of humanity’s early states were slave societies, including ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia. Fleeing taxation, conscription, corvée labor and slavery, many of their subjects chose to do exactly as these Africans would do in the New World–they ran away. We can infer that mountainous terrain facilitated that choice since, for example, Maroon communities in the Caribbean are scattered across the region’s mountains. Conversely, where there were no mountains, such as in Barbados where the highest peak is only 1,000 feet about sea level, there were no Maroons.
The history of mountainous Jamaica is a very different story. Beginning with the Spanish invasion, indigenous populations took refuge in the hills where they could wage guerilla war. When the English took the island from the Spanish in the 17th century, there were already self-sufficient Maroon settlements of runaway African slaves in the mountains as well. When the English invaded in 1655 with thirty-eight ships and 8,000 troops, more African slaves took to the hills, this time with their Spanish masters. Both the Spanish and the English courted the allegiance of existing Maroon communities. As the Spanish began withdrawing from the island, their former slaves remained in the woods, forming the roots of the Maroon tribes and beginning a century of military conflict with the British.
All mountainous parts of the island had Maroon communities by the end of the 1650s. Some were concentrated in the mountains of Clarendon under a chief named Juan de Bolas. Those who had fought alongside the Spanish established communities in the hills on the north side, where it is not clear whether they had communication with Juan de Bolas’ Maroons. Thus began a century of various incidents resulting in a continuous flight of slaves to the hills. Each successive wave impacted the communities already there, either by increasing a particular Maroon settlement’s manpower or by forming a new mountain community. This would fit the “shatter zone” model developed in analysis of flights to the hills by state-fleeing peoples in Southeast Asia.
Juan de Bolas’ Maroons were quickly subdued by the British and forced to sign a treaty. Before long, however, more slave revolts were sparking flights to the hills. There was a slave uprising in 1673, then four more until the 1690 slave revolt in Clarendon, in which over 500 former slaves re-populated the area left by Juan de Bolas’ subdued Maroons. While communication was maintained between these new Maroons and lowland slaves, there was little connection with the original Maroons of Clarendon or those in the Northeast.
At first, Maroon communities were usually small bands carrying out raids on British planters and subsisting in the hills. But when plantation owners asked the British to send the army, the Maroons faced an existential threat and began organizing into larger groups. At some point in the early 18th century, Chief Kojo was elected chief of the Leeward Maroons,  forming the Kromantis tribe with its own autonomous government. By reviving the tradition of African chieftaincy, the Maroons adopted new identities for their lives as free people–ones separate from their identities as slaves on the plantations. Maroons practiced African traditions in political, social and economic organization.
In some cases, leadership was elected democratically, as in Chief Kojo’s case, mirroring patterns in Maroon communities in other parts of the New World, such as King Ganga Zumba’s election as King of the Palmares Maroons in Brazil. However, democracy not always being a recipe for peaceful interactions with a community’s neighbors, Kojo, after consolidating support among his own Maroons, subjugated the “Madagascar Maroons” and killed their leader.
While Kojo had power in the military sphere, Kojo’s community was not a state and was not designed to become a state. While they could compete with other groups, have disputes with them, and even fight them, the members were free to join or leave afterwards. In the case of the Madagascars, they maintained their own separate community within Kojo’s tribe, and continued speaking their own accent of patois. Other Maroons could join simply by moving there, such as when the Cottawoods faction cut through the interior to join Kojo. The loose social structure suggests that these Maroons really did set up their communities to prevent state formation. In Scott’s analysis, the social structure of communities in Zomia was also designed to protect autonomy, ward off political subordination, and prevent state formation among them. Similarly, British records describe the Windward Maroons’ chiefdoms as having no public revenue and “no army to maintain, though the whole formed a military body,” with most towns consisting of just a few families under a chief.
Not only were social and political structures established by the Maroons in such a way as to thwart state formation, their ethnicities were similarly constructed. This mirrors the process of ethnogenesis described by Scott: “The perspective adopted and elaborated here is a radical constructionist one: that ethnic identities in the hills are politically crafted and designed to position a group vis-à-vis others in competition for power and resources.” The Maroons had many different origins in Africa, but were mixed together by the processes of the transatlantic slave trade. In Jamaica, each community took a new identity and all members claimed descent from a particular African civilization–be it the Ibo, the Ashanti, or the Mandigo. We know these were not actual lineages from Africa. Consider the Madagascars, whose name denotes an island from which no slaves came to Jamaica. However, over time they began to be seen as a new ethnicity in Jamaica, with British records describing them as really dark, with slightly “less African” hair and shorter stature. 
Generally, the Leeward Maroons had a common identity as Kromantis and claimed descent from the Ashanti Empire. Individuals who may even have been ethnic rivals in Africa found a new unifying ethnic identity as Kromanti. In the North, there were the “Spanish Maroons.” Windward Maroon communities were smaller and more independent, but did interact with each other. There was also cooperation, intermarriage, and occasional conflict with the dwindling Arawak indigenous population in the hills. Descendants of these communities today maintain these identities with their last names, such as the Cottawoods, or the last name Kencussees for many of the descendants of Kojo’s Maroons.
A slave could become a Maroon by moving to the mountains. However, not all movement was from the lowlands to the highlands. Maroons also came down from the mountains to join the slaves on large plantations, gather intelligence, and trade weapons for rum and food. However, while Maroons could form their own bands, join other bands, or go into the lowlands as spies, if they actually made plans to leave Maroon life behind and return to life on the plantations, other Maroons would execute them. There was also movement deeper into the mountains where Maroons could always retreat when they faced military defeat. For instance, when the Maroon settlement in Nanny Town was raided in 1734, the Maroons did just that, retreating deeper into the mountains to Guy’s Town.
Maroons took advantage of the rough terrain to resist state control. In “Cockpit Country,” where many of the Windward Maroons settled, the terrain consists of large rifts enclosed by rocks and nearly perpendicular mountains connected by glens that narrow out to small entrances between steep hillsides. Parallel lines of such “cockpits” cover the area, dividing it up into small parcels of land perfectly suited to guerrilla warfare, especially given the Maroon’s use of ambush tactics and camouflage. Over half of Jamaica is hills and plateaus of white limestone rock formations. Rainwater causes limestone to erode into countless sinkholes and underground caverns.
In addition to using the mountainous terrain to their advantage in battling the British, the Maroons managed to subsist on it too. Even the English were impressed by the Maroons’ ability to cultivate such difficult terrain, encountering small hoed terraces and tiny plots along ridges and in crevices. The cooler temperature of the hills allowed various fruits, roots, and herbs from Europe to flourish, as well as native crops. Maroons of Cockpit Country had very little drinking water but were able to drink water from water-holding pines on military expeditions, demonstrating knowledge of local flora.
To fight the Maroons, the British set up mountain outposts, and in 1737 hired Blackshot and Mosquito Indians from Central America, the latter numbering some 200, to track down Kojo’s forces. In 1738, the British came to a stalemate with Kojo’s Maroons and managed to get them to sign the Articles of Pacification with the Maroons of Trelawny Town, known as the Trelawny Town Treaty. This treaty allowed the Maroons to try to punish their own community members and gave them the right to sue in colonial courts but also stipulated that a Maroon could be punished in the colonial courts if he hurt a colonist. The treaty required that the Maroons capture or kill any new runaways and that they help the British in the event of a foreign invasion. It gave the Maroons some measure of autonomy, but it was a false autonomy that allowed further encroachment of the state. It also turned the Maroons, themselves formerly rebel slaves taking refuge in the mountains, into fugitive hunters.  With hopes to make the territory more accessible to British soldiers and trade, the treaty provided that the Maroons were to blaze trails in the mountains.
The Trelawny Town Treaty also guaranteed hog hunting rights for the Maroons. This shows that Maroons supplemented their diet by hunting hogs. The very presence in the Jamaican hills of wild hogs, themselves originally runaway domesticated pigs brought by colonizers, suggests a process mirroring the highland animal zomia suggested by Scott. Animals wishing to escape domestication, at least in Jamaica, took to the hills as well, where they became a source of bush meat for the Maroons.
The Treaty reflected the sort of divide-and-rule tactic used by colonial authorities to pit Maroons against slaves, in similar fashion to colonial tactics in Southeast Asia. The Treaty, however, did give the Maroons some sovereignty, and legitimized their self-rule. In 1739, the British signed a similar treaty with the most powerful of the Windward Maroon chiefs, Chief Quao. The British saw the Maroon way of life, which supplemented small scale agriculture and herding with hunting, as primitive “indulgence in wandering from place to place” and laziness. Doubtless, the treaties were partially an effort to exert more state control in the mountains even if it meant giving certain concessions to the Maroons.
The Trelawny Town Treaty with the Leeward Maroons stipulated that the British could leave two White men to live with the Maroons, and in 1791 they decided to leave a Major John James with the Leeward Maroons as the “governor” of the territory. The Maroons were amiable enough to James, though; as he thought his salary was too low, he spent much of his time managing his settlement twenty-five miles away in order to make money. He was removed from office and replaced with another governor, Captain Craskell, who infuriated the Maroons by having two of them flogged. The Maroons drove him from town and started the rebellion of 1795.
This time the British found the Maroons to be very resilient and feared their insurrection would spark rebellions on the plantations. To fight the Maroons, they brought 36 large dogs from Cuba and 12 Spanish Chasseurs, as well as indigenous warriors, free persons of color, and mercenaries from the Accompong Maroons. The failure to subdue the mountain Maroons became a cause of great concern after the Haitian Revolution, which the British also feared would inspire slave revolts on the plantations. The Maroons usually won skirmishes in the mountains because of their use of ambush tactics. For instance, British records document one skirmish in which twenty-two British soldiers died though it appears not even a single Maroon may have been killed. The Maroons raided the lowland plantations, liberated slaves, and targeted British offices. However, eventually the rebels lacked even the water they could get from pine leaves and were forced by the dryness of the very terrain whose ruggedness had protected them to come to a ceasefire with the British.
The Maroons and the Modern Jamaican State
While the original Maroon communities were able to maintain some degree of autonomy through the 19th and into the 20th century, they have fared poorly in the post-colonial era as government policies have undermined their economies, driving Maroon youth to the cities and abroad to work. Some policies have had their origins in pressures applied to the Jamaican government by the United States, Spain and Great Britain’s successor as the dominant superpower in the region. Anti-regulatory neoliberal economic policies have hurt many sectors of the island’s economy and society as a whole. American pressures were also behind the post-colonial government’s burning of the Maroons’ ganja fields since the 1980’s, further undermining the economic viability of the Maroon communities and prompting more of the mountain youth to migrate.
However, the gradual incorporation of Jamaica’s Maroon communities into the control of the modern nation state offers only one facet of the highland struggle against post-colonial states as it played out in the 20th century. To better understand such processes, it may be worthwhile to look at a related phenomenon–the interactions between the early Rastafarian communes, also set up in Jamaica’s mountains, and both the late colonial and post-colonial Jamaican states.
Early Rastafarian Communes in the Colonial and Post-Colonial States
Jamaica in the 20th century can add to an understanding of how mountains have afforded refuge from the control of dominant lowland states and allowed refugees to maintain some measure of economic, political, and even cultural autonomy. As Scott suggests, mountainous terrain is not only a place of political resistance but also a zone of cultural and religious refusal. When hill people do embrace the dominant religion of their valley neighbors, “they are likely to do so with a degree of heterodoxy and millenarian fervor that valley elites find more threatening than reassuring.”
Historian E. J. Hobsbawm described millennial movements, including millennial religious movements, as a form of archaic social rebellion with certain characteristics, including “a profound and total rejection of the present, evil world, and a passionate longing for another and better one; in word, revolution.” Millennial movements are also characterized by utopianism. “Utopianism can become such a social device because revolutionary movements and revolutions appear to prove that almost no change is beyond their reach.” The early Rastafarian communes were the starting points of a new millennial religion.
The Rastafarian Movement was started by a man named Leonard Howell as what can be described as a millennial movement centered on Marcus Garvey’s principles of self-awareness and self-reliance, with beliefs that Marcus Garvey had predicted the coronation of the last Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and that Haile Selassie was the reincarnation of Jesus. The movement rejected colonialism, capitalism, and nationalism. Howell led his followers up into the mountains of Sligoville and built a commune called The Pinnacle, which at its founding in 1934 stood on 300 acres and had around 1,800 inhabitants.
The early commune had resembled Maroon communities and as government pressure mounted, the commune became increasingly Maroon-like in response. During a 1954 raid, the colonial government destroyed Howell’s commune and arrested Howell. After his release from prison, he rebuilt the commune, equipped it with a Maroon-style army of dreadlocked sentries who called themselves Ethiopian warriors, and protected his mountain settlement with a complex alarm system to announce the arrival of intruders using gongs, a system reminiscent of the ones the Maroons had created, with lookouts on mountain peaks who communicated to one another through abeng horns.
The commune also resembled Jamaican Maroon villages in that the residents grew tomatoes, ganja, and yams and raised goats for the market, while maintaining a good measure of political and religious autonomy under Howell’s leadership. These economic ties between highland and lowland forged by the early Rastafarian communes resemble those established by the Maroons and those in the Southeast Asian context about which Scott writes. In the Trelawny Town Treaty, the British granted the Maroons amnesty, autonomy, and 1,500 acres of mountain land in which they had the “liberty” to plant coffee, cocoa, ginger, tobacco, and cotton, as well as the “liberty” to raise cattle, hogs, and goats, all of which the treaty encouraged the Maroons to bring to the lowland markets. Both the Maroons and the Rastafarians were given temporary autonomy by colonial officials and both were allowed (and in the case of the Maroons actively encouraged) to produce commodities, such as coffee and goat meat, which were easy to produce in the mountains and would add to the lowland economies.
This fits patterns observed by Scott in Asia, namely that while highland people wanted to evade state control, they usually did not want to be completely isolated from the lowlands. Meanwhile, lowland states often strongly desired what those outside their control in the hills could bring to market. This is because hills and valleys are often “complementary as agro-ecological niches”–an analysis that holds true as much for coffee production in a Jamaican Maroon village as it does for opium production in a highland Hmong village.
Nonetheless, economic interconnectedness and political autonomy are not mutually exclusive, and Howell’s community survived a succession of government arrests and raids until 1960, when 39 Rastafarians were accused of an alleged plot to overthrow the British and blamed for a letter to Castro asking him to invade Jamaica. The government soon declared that the movements’ members could not hold meetings with more than two people. The movement received help from sympathetic University of the West Indies professors, who came to study the movement and wrote to the government with their conclusion that the movement was not a threat. The University even got the government to pay for ten Rastafarians to travel to Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as cultural ambassadors.
These relatively favorable relations with the government fell apart in 1963 when six Rastafarians in Coral Gardens were accused of murder, three of whom were then killed. In the subsequent days, thousands were arrested and an unknown number killed in a government crackdown under Prime Minister Bustamante. Interestingly, the post-colonial state’s only distinguishing feature seems to be the intensity and violence with which it continued the earlier policies. In this, the post-independence regime continued the exploitation and oppression of the colonial state, much as the colonial state itself had found ways to continue exploitative and oppressive relationships with the general population after the abolition of slavery.
Although the Rastafarian movement is a religious movement, its rejection of the colonial and post-colonial state and its tendency to advocate for the poor have always made the state uncomfortable. The earliest leaders of the movement were all staunch anti-imperialists and were all imprisoned at one time or another on sedition charges. The Rastafarians were continuing a tradition of religious autonomy and rebellion dating back to earlier Maroons, who rejected attempts to Christianize them and mostly practiced traditional African religions. Furthermore, the Maroons’ rebellions usually invoked traditional African religious practices. Thus, the Rastafarians continued a tradition of religious rebellion under the post-colonial regime, which would take four decades to recognize the religion.
Slavery in the New World belongs to a history of slave-based states and economies which goes back to the earliest lowland agrarian states, such as ancient Periclean Athens where slaves outnumbered free people five to one, and continued, as in the case of some Southeast Asian states, into the 20th century. By examining the case of Jamaica, where we know mountain communities were formed by those fleeing state control in the lowlands and are not vestiges of primordial cultures, we can infer that the similarities in the Southeast Asian context and elsewhere are likely the result of the same processes. Therefore, studying the relatively recent and well-documented cases of the Maroons and the Rastafarians lends further evidence to support Scott’s theories about Zomia in Asia.
However, certain differences should be noted, including the absence of transnational and trans-empirical borders in the Jamaican hinterlands and racial differences between the Maroons and the European settlers that make this New World zomia somewhat unique. Nevertheless, in all other respects–social organization, the “shatter zone” produced by successive waves of flight to the hills, the use of the terrain, the economic and political dealings with lowland colonial states, the process of ethnogenesis, and the process of religious differentiation between themselves and the lowland population–the similarities between the Maroon hill populations in Jamaica and their counterparts in Southeast Asia are often striking. Other worthwhile comparisons could be drawn which were not touched upon here, such as the use of oral history.
The formation of Rastafarian communes in the hills in the 20th century suggests that hills have remained something of a “zone of cultural refusal” even in the modern era. Nonetheless, the eventual destruction of Rastafarian communes and the effects of economic decay and youth migration and emigration from the remaining Maroon communities indicate that whatever autonomy hill people maintained in the post-colonial era has been severely curtailed by the encroachment (political, military, and commercial) of the dominant lowland society.
More research could be done examining how hill communities with roots in zomiesque flight, in the Caribbean, in Asia, and elsewhere, have seen their autonomy lessened or destroyed in the past century and the extent to which they have managed to hold on to some measure of autonomy. Also of interest would be additional research on the extent to which Maroon populations have influenced modern Caribbean history. For instance, when the communists first arrived in Cuba, they made for the Maroon communities of the Sierra Meastra Mountains in southeastern Cuba where they held out against Batista’s forces and eventually launched an attack on the capital. Haiti’s unique history, where slave revolts in a mountainous terrain produced a state capable of conscripting corvée labor, also offers opportunities for related research.
In conclusion, while much more research could be done comparing New World zomias with Asian hill communities, this look at the Jamaican Maroons and Howell’s commune hopefully sheds some light on the intersections of slavery, statelessness, mountains, ethnicities, economies, and religion in the New World. The comparisons with Scott’s analysis in particular may prove useful, and shed more light on the universals of state evasion in the hills.
This essay was awarded 2nd Place in the 2013 Acheson Prize.
Emanuel L. Marshack (’13) is an East Asian Studies major in Branford College.
 James C. Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 327.
 Ibid., 8.
 Comprising the highland regions of Laos, Vietnam, Southwest China, Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia.
 Ibid., 25.
 Werner Zips, Black Rebels: African-Caribbean Freedom Fighters in Jamaica, trans. Shelley L. Frisch (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1999), 5.
 Ibid, 8.
 Ibid, 10.
 Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed, 7.
 Ibid, 6.
 Ibid, 7.
 Jerome S. Handler and Frederick W. Langem, Plantation Slavery in Barbados: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1978), 9.
 R.C. Dallas, The History of the Maroons From Their Origin to the Establishment of Their Chief Tribe At Sierra Leone: Including the Expedition to Cuba for the Purpose of Procuring Spanish Chasseurs and The State of the Island of Jamaica For The Last Ten Years: With a Succinct History of the Island Previous to That Period. Vol. I. and II. (London: A. Strahan, 1803), 4.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 52.
 Carey Robinson, The Fighting Maroons of Jamaica (Great Britain: William Collins and Sangster (Jamaica) Ltd.,1969), 16.
 Ibid., 17.
 Dallas, Vol. I, xxxviii.
 Ibid., xxxix.
 Robinson, The Fighting Maroons, 29.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 25.
 Ibid., 24.
 Ibid., 25.
 James C. Scott, Lecture: “Agrarian Societies,” November 12, 2012.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 26.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 54.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 26.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 54.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 26.
 Ibid., 27.
 Spelled Cudjoe in the original records. Here, I go with the spelling usually found in the historical literature, Kojo. This is the rule applied for all person and community names in this paper.
 Ibid., 28
 Zips, Black Rebels, 54.
 Ibid., 132.
 Ibid., 43.
 Ibid., 133.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 46.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 133.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 33.
 Robinson, The Fighting Maroons, 38.
 Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed, 23.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 94.
 Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed, 244.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 43.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 32.
 Ibid., 31.
 Ibid., 32.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 59.
 Ibid., 56.
 Ibid., 57.
 Ibid., 59.
 Ibid., 60-61.
 Robinson, The Fighting Maroons, 38.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 109.
 Richard Price, Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas, (Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), 17.
 Robinson, The Fighting Maroons, 5.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 57.
 Ibid., 81.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 39.
 Ibid., 40.
 Ibid., 41.
 Carey Robinson, The Iron Thorn: The Defeat of the British by the Jamaican Maroons (Kingston, Jamaica: Kingston Publishers Limited, 1993), 81.
 Dallas, Vol. I, lxxiv.
 Ibid., lxxv.
 Ibid., 115.
 Price, Maroon Societies, 235.
 Robinson, The Iron Thorn, 80.
 Price, Maroon Societies, 235.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 38.
 Ibid., 58.
 Ibid., 63.
 Ibid., 62.
 Robinson, The Fighting Maroons, 51.
 Ibid., 9.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 64.
 Ibid., 61.
 Scott, “Agrarian Societies.”
 Zips, Black Rebels, 111.
 Ibid., 131.
 Ibid., 130.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 6.
 Ibid., 93.
 Ibid., 127.
 Ibid., 64.
 Ibid., 135.
 Ibid., 135.
 Ibid., 138.
 Ibid., 145.
 Ibid., 143.
 Ibid., 145.
 Dallas, Vol. II, 2.
 Ibid., 296.
 Ibid., 291.
 Bryan Edwards, Esq., An Account of the Maroon Negroes of the Island of Jamaica; And a History of the War in the West Indies in 1793 and 1794 (London: John Stockdale, 1801), 338.
 Ibid., 347.
 Ibid., 338.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 145.
 Stephanie Black, Life and Debt (United States: New Yorker Films, 2001).
 Zips, Black Rebels, 145.
 Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed, 20.
 Ibid, 21.
 Eric J. Hobsbawn, Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1959), 65.
 Ibid., 58.
 Ibid., 61.
 Ishmahil Blagrove Jr., Roaring Lion, (Rice N Peas Films, 2002).
 Zips, Black Rebels, 215.
 Blagrove, Roaring Lion.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 216.
 Ibid., 215.
 Ibid., 216.
 Robinson, The Iron Thorn, 164.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 215.
 Blagrove, Roaring Lion.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 215.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 59.
 James C. Scott, “Agrarian Societies.”
 Blagrove, Roaring Lion.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 209.
 E.S.P. McPherson, Rastafari and Politics: Sixty Year of a Developing Culture Ideology: A Sociology of Development Perspective (Clarendon, Jamaica: Black International Iyahbinghi Press, 1991), 265.
 Ibid., 263.
 Ibid., 264.
 Dallas, Vol. I, 96.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 46.
 Blagrove, Roaring Lion.
 Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed, 24.
 Zips, Black Rebels, 15.
 Ernesto Che Guevara, Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War: 1956-58 (New York: Pathfinder, 1996), 44.
 Carlos Franqui, Diary of the Cuban Revolution (New York: The Viking Press, 1980), 133-134.
 Henry Louis Gates Jr., Black in Latin America (New York and London: New York University Press, 2011) 170-72.
Black, Stephanie. Life and Debt. United States: New Yorker Films, 2001.
Blagrove Jr., Ishmahil. Roaring Lion. Rice N Peas Films, 2002.
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Franqui, Carlos. Diary of the Cuban Revolution. New York: The Viking Press, 1980.
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Guevara, Ernesto Che. Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War: 1956-58. New York: Pathfinder, 1996.
Handler, Jerome S. and Langem, Frederick W. Plantation Slavery in Barbados: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1978.
Hobsbawm, Eric J. Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1959.
McPherson, E.S.P. Rastafari and Politics: Sixty Year of a Developing Culture Ideology: A Sociology of Development Perspective. Clarendon, Jamaica: Black International Iyahbinghi Press, 1991.
Price, Richard. Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.
Robinson, Carey. The Fighting Maroons of Jamaica. Great Britain, William Collins and Sangster (Jamaica) Ltd., 1969.
Robinson, Carey. The Iron Thorn: The Defeat of the British by the Jamaican Maroons. Kingston, Jamaica: Kingston Publishers Limited, 1993.
Scott, James C. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Scott, James C. Lecture. Agrarian Societies. November 12, 2012.
Zips, Werner. Black Rebels: African-Caribbean Freedom Fighters in Jamaica. Translated from German by Shelley L. Frisch. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1999.
It was the summer of 1968 and Mexico’s elite were aglow: Mexico City was on the eve of hosting its first Olympic Games. When the International Olympic Committee granted the Mexican delegation the Olympic bid in 1963, it was not simply granting Mexico the honor of hosting an international sporting event; it was also affirming Mexico’s place on the international stage as a “modern country.” Granting Mexico its bid for the 1968 Olympics was a performative act on a grand scale. The international community had hailed Mexico as the paragon of “from revolution to stability.” Mexico emerged from its bloody revolution at the turn of the century to enjoy nearly unparalleled economic growth and political stability. Then president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz was the successor of Latin America’s longest series of peaceful power transfers, which stretched from 1934 to his own election in 1964. Mexico’s gross national product, bolstered by the export of extensive oil and mineral resources, grew at an annual rate of six percent from 1940 into the 1970s. At World Fairs before the Revolution, Mexico’s elite had long been engaged in building the image of a “modern” Mexico. After the developed Euro-American world formally acknowledged Mexico’s progress in affirming its Olympic bid, the Mexican elite would spare no expense to confirm their nation’s modernity. As the Olympic organizers self-consciously acknowledged in one of their many mottos, they were “before the eyes of the world.”[i]
By the 1960s, the “Mexican Miracle” of the 1940s and 1950s was already beginning to unravel. Although Mexico could boast political stability relative to its Latin American neighbors, it could not claim the Western ideal of democracy. Despite a policy of nonconsecutive, six-year presidential terms, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) could rely on endemic corruption and political repression to guarantee essentially uncontested elections. Additionally, prosperity had not been shared equally amongst all Mexicans. The gap between wealthy and poor only grew as the 1950s and 1960s progressed; the wealthiest twenty percent of Mexicans held sixty percent of the nation’s wealth by 1969. Combined with rampant corruption and unregulated development, the majority of Mexicans found their socioeconomic position worsening year by year and hopes for political representation dwindling.[ii] Mexico was not the modern miracle it had presented to the international community.
As in countless cases before and after, it was the Mexican students who initially took up the mantle of revolution. Inspired by movements such as the Cuban Revolution, opposition to the Vietnam War, and youth counterculture, educated, middle-class Mexican students began questioning the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, their role within a modernizing Mexican society, and the PRI’s monopoly on revolutionary rhetoric. However, the students took pains to define their role as social revolutionaries and not student reformists. From the movement’s outset, the students identified themselves as inheritors of the labor struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.[iii] They took pains to highlight the social and political character of their demands and distance themselves from other student movements, such as those in France, which mainly sought education reforms. The students’ demands were most succinctly articulated in their Six Point Petition, which called for liberty for all political prisoners, dismissal of police chiefs responsible for the violence the movement carried out on July 26, abolition of the grenaderos (riot police that acted as the instruments of political repression), abolition of Article 145 of the Penal Code (the juridical instrument of repression), indemnities for families of the dead and injured, and the identification of other officials responsible for police violence. In addition to these Six Points, the students also demanded that the PRI engage in public dialogue with their leaders.[iv] In the words of Pablo Gómez, a student turned activist from the left-leaning Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM), “The 1968 Student Movement was not suddenly born that same year…it did not come about by spontaneous generation… [the Movement] not only pressed for the six reforms on its list but became the spokesman for the reforms most urgently sought by Mexican students, workers, and intellectuals.”[v]
A brief chronology of the 1968 Student Movement follows here. The movement began with a putative gang-clash between young men from opposing preparatory schools on July 22, which escalated into the beginning of the student movement after the deployment of the grenaderos to engage students in violent street fighting for two days. The PRI’s choice to deploy the grenadors, who had previously only been deployed against civil unrest, politicized what was otherwise an innocuous street confrontation. On July 28, student representatives from UNAM and Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) met to form the first draft of what would become “The Six Points” and discuss a possible strike until their demands were met. On July 29 students organize guardias to occupy their universities and begin their strike. Dissatisfied with Díaz Ordaz’s offer of an “outstretched hand,” August 13 marked the first mass demonstration in the Zócalo, the main plaza of the city, which is attended by 150,000 students, teachers, and the general public. By August 16, “lightning brigades” of youth formed to distribute leaflets, post posters, and raise general awareness of their movement. As the summer progressed, these brigades formed the bedrock of the movement, effectively spreading the students’ message while acting as a source of funding as the students would often receive donations from supportive residents. On August 22-23, students and professors reiterated their willingness to engage the government in dialogue as long as it was publicly broadcasted; on August 27 a second mass demonstration of 300,000 occupied the Zócalo. In Díaz Ordaz’s September 1 annual address, the Mexican president denied the existence of any political prisoners and his own culpability in the situation while referring to an article of the constitution that permitted the use of “all military force for the security of the country.” As a show of their commitment to nonviolence, the students organized a massive silent march on September 13. From September 18-24, University City (where UNAM and IPN are located) became a battleground when the army retook university campuses seized by the students. The scattered student movement called for a public meeting in the Plaza de Tres Culturas on October 2; at approximately 6:00pm helicopters flooded the square with light while army and police officers opened fire on an estimated ten to twenty thousand people. When the Olympic Games opened ten days later, the student movement faded into the background. No mass demonstration rose against what became known as the Tlatelolco Massacre.[vi]
In his Pascalian Meditations, Pierre Bourdieu analyzes how symbolic violence is embedded in the structures of social life; it is a necessary constitutive characteristic of any such structure. It is “the coercion which is set up only through the consent that the dominated cannot fail to give.”[vii] The norms and assumptions that one has no choice but to accept to be a member of any given society constitute the habitus and nomos of any group. By recognizing one’s position within such a scheme, an individual who has already internalized the schemes of his dominators is the victim of his own doxic submission. In this way, society constrains individuals from all sides, defining perceptions and relationships, and establishing the distribution of symbolic capital by imprinting individuals with physical and mental boundaries. This defining of reality favors the dominators of any given society. The prime architects of this habitus, in their quest for social recognition, employ a complex web of structural and symbolic violence to maintain dominance.
On the surface, it is clear who the dominated and dominators are in the summer of 1968. The corrupt political system, headed by Díaz Ordaz and the PRI, can be easily identified as the dominators and the Mexican people as the dominated. Largely bypassed by the economic successes of the 1940s and 1950s and becoming habituated to corrupt elections and the reliable use of grenaderos to quell protests, as evidenced by the suppression of earlier protests in the late fifties to early sixties,[viii] the Mexican people clearly fulfill the role of the dominated. However, the growing unrest of the Mexican people in this period hardly signals the unquestioning submission of truly well established habitus, of a habitus so well rooted that the dominated are no longer aware of even their own submission. This is precisely because Bourdieu’s conception of structural and symbolic violence, as laid out in his Meditations, is insufficient to describe the reality of Mexico 1968.
Bourdieu defines the State as “the holder of the monopoly of legitimate symbolic violence.”[ix] It is the “site par excellence”[x] of the imposition of the nomos and the construction of the habitus of a population. How does one claim such “legitimate power?” Bourdieu proposes that claims to legitimacy must be based upon claims to universal and natural principles, to a form of pure rationality and raison d’être that does, in fact, not exist. A thing, be it a belief or an institution, can only be accepted as legitimate after it has gone through a process of misrecognition and recognition which obscures its arbitrary foundations by first misrecognizing the force behind it (by forgetting or denying its arbitrary roots), and then recognizing a seemingly autonomous second force as validating the first. As such, the roots of any institution must be obscured before it can become “legitimate.” The State’s violent and arbitrary foundations must be forgotten before it can claim its monopoly on symbolic violence. This dichotomous understanding of a people and their state is insufficient to describe the Mexican case.
In the case of 1968 Mexico, the young polity’s historical roots were far from forgotten. The modern Mexican political system was founded in 1934, a scant thirty-four years earlier, after a chaotic and bloody revolution. In the years since, the PRI’s first president, Lázaro Cárdenas, had been elevated to the status of national hero and champion of the people with his vigorous and extensive programs of land redistributions, education in the ruralities, and expropriations of the oil industry. Even if the Mexican people had already obscured their nation’s inaugural force with its misrecognition and recognition as a component necessary to Cárdenas’s struggle for social reform, the people could not have forgotten the violent suppression of political protests in the late 1950s and early 1960s by the grenaderos. The Mexican middle and working classes were still acutely aware of the violence that acted as the lynchpin of their society’s stability. The habitus of the Mexican people was hardly waterproof; indeed, as the sporadic bouts of violence far into midcentury illustrate, it seemed to still be under active construction. To borrow from Bourdieu’s analysis of the scientific field: “To every advance in knowledge of the social conditions of production of ‘subjects’ there corresponds an advance in the knowledge of the scientific object, and vice versa.”[xi] The Mexican people were still acutely aware of the processes of habitus production their government was engaging in and were not content to quietly submit themselves to the role of the dominated. As Bourdieu states, “Habitus is not destiny.”[xii] Perhaps this statement should be amended with the caveat, “especially before it is solidified.”
Bourdieu’s dichotomy of the dominating State and dominated people additionally fails to consider a further level of domination that, in this case, is exerted on the previously dominating State by the international system. Ironically, the state that ruled its own people with an iron fist was self consciously aware of its “inferiority complex” on the international stage, imprinted with years of colonialism and relative economic deprivation.[xiii] Mexico’s elite was enmeshed in their own struggle against the habitus imposed on them by the international community, by Euro-American conceptions of what it meant to be a modern nation. To the Mexican elite, this meant reconciling Mexico’s indigenous past and colonial history with the image of the confident, sleek modern nation-state it aspired to be. This conflict was epitomized by the Mexican committee’s design of its Olympic logo. Combining the bold black and white patterns of the pre-colonial Huichol ethnic group with the sleek lines of mid-century modernism, Mexico effectively projected an image of confident nationalism that had yet to be realized on the ground.[xiv] By winning the Olympic bid, Mexico not only broadcast its participation with the dominating superstructures of the global elite, but also opted to fulfill the International Olympic Committee’s performative declaration that Mexico was modern enough to host the Games. Mexico now had to become part of the global elite or concede their failure and inferiority. The weight of the international community’s scrutiny weighed heavily on the minds of Mexico’s politicians; they felt the chains of their habitus in every self-doubting moment as they measured themselves against their Euro-American peers’ seemingly rationalist demands and fell short. Though a child of the post-World War II era, and an eloquent, nuanced sociologist, Bourdieu ultimately failed to address the complexity of the international system that arose from the two World Wars.
How can we understand social change in such an interconnected system? And, momentarily stepping away from the international dimension of 1968, how can we understand the struggle of the Mexican students from July through October? What can account for the failure of their efforts in light of such local popular support as demonstrated by the filled Zócalo on August 13 and 27 and the filled streets of Mexico City on September 13? If, as Niklas Luhmann claims, power is annulled violence, how did the PRI maintain such a firm hold over the Mexican people after the Tlatelolco Massacre? The failure of the student movement can be explained by the students’ failure to be revolutionary. Reduced to intraordinal violence, the students ultimately annulled their own power through their violent resistance to police brutality. Furthermore, mired in a system of political domination still experiencing growing pains, the student protesters were denied the traditional tools of revolutionaries. The Mexican student movement of 1968 was, in many ways, doomed to fail, and presents a bracing perspective for hopeful revolutionaries in the remainder of the developing world.
What can be understood by the term “revolutionary?” Michel Foucault defined the historical event, not as a decision, treaty, or battle, but the “appropriation of a vocabulary turned against those who had once used it… the entry of a masked ‘other.’”[xv] In Bourdieu’s language, this is the appropriation of habitus, of the symbolic violence pervasive in the social structures the revolutionaries are seeking to change. It is not enough simply to change who is in power; that is the shallow significance of who won which battle and which son holds which land deed. Rather, a revolutionary event is a shift in the means of habitus production. It is simultaneously, as Bourdieu asserts in his analysis of the historicity of reason, a recognition of the arbitrariness of reason—that the social reality in which the dominated live is a construct of the dominators—and the political struggle to reclaim the physical imprinting of their own bodies.[xvi] This, necessarily, means inflicting their own forms of domination on their previous dominators. History is, thusly, the procession from “domination to domination”[xvii] A successful revolution is both a historical event and the triumph of the dominated over their dominators.
Without the latter component, there would be no meaningful distinction between a revolution and an event. The granting of the Olympic bid to the Mexican delegation was undoubtedly an event. The offer an acceptance of an olympic bid were performative acts that simultaneously declared and presupposed the existence of a modern Mexican state. By claiming its space on the international stage of modern nations and broadcasting its own form of ethnic nationalism, Mexico was appropriating the language of its Euro-American dominators to redefine modernity. Mexico was demanding that modernity include its artists, intellectuals, and indigenous roots. However, Mexico was not proposing a shift of the status-quo. Although it wanted to claim the right to shape the international system, to move from dominated to dominator, it did not want to overthrow the system of values and ideologies it had worked so hard to claim as its own. Mexico’s self-consciousness belied its own desire to leave the established systems of domination in place – its recognition of the lines already drawn in the sand across which it was being tentatively invited. The last message that Mexico wanted to broadcast was a desire to overthrow its dominators.
According to Elaine Carey’s analysis of the 1968 protests, “the student movement was a social uprising against an oppressive, monolithic, and paternalistic construct of the state, and it emerged as an abomination to sanitized hopes of modernity and control propagated by Mexico’s elite in the 1960s.”[xviii] However, it light of the students’ demands and their form of protests, it would be a stretch to even credit the student protestors of 1968 with catalyzing a historical event. By 1968 the cycle of protest and repression had already imprinted itself on the national psyche, it had become part of the nation’s habitus. After seven iterations of protest followed by violent grenadero repression, spanning from the late 1950s until 1965 without having already incited a social revolution, the habitus of the Mexican people cannot be understood as easily cracked by acts of physical violence from their government; these acts had already become part of their social reality. Although coming tantalizingly close to challenging Mexico’s vicious cycle of political violence with the September 13 silent march to the Zócalo, the historical continuity of the PRI’s physical domination was confirmed in the eyes of Mexico City when the students re-engaged the army and grenaderos in street fighting from September 18-24 in University City.
If the students had been truly revolutionary in protesting an oppressive and paternalistic state, as Carey suggests, they would not have held so tightly to the demands of their Six Point Petition. The demands of the petition were strictly limited to retribution for prior victims of the political violence the PRI system had already established, whether the called for loosening current anti-sedition laws or freeing political prisoners. Furthermore, student protestors did not object to the sanitized modernity proposed by the Mexican elites. Portrayed as a scruffy, foreign-tainted youth counterculture by the PRI, the students did little to reach out to the Mexican people and reconstruct an identity for either themselves or the nation as a whole. The cacophony of voices recorded by history reveals no centralizing ideology nor vision for a new Mexico. The youth protesters monopolized on the latent dissatisfaction with political repression to populate its movements; its posters and slogans call for a cessation to the violence and monopolize on the peoples’ fear of the grenaderos to mobilize. The students lacked a positive vision, what Derrida would call their own “performative fiction,” with which to crack the ideological habitus and nomos of the people.
Both Derrida and Bourdieu claim that the structures of domination used by oppressors can be reclaimed to combat their oppression. Bourdieu understands these oppressive institutions, after having being built up by the dominators to enforce their own habitus, to be the concentrations of social capital that revolutionaries can themselves claim: “No one can forge weapons to be used against his opponents without having those weapons immediately used against him by them or by others.”[xix] The institutions that saturate the social worlds of the dominated are the exact sources of legitimacy they can use to construct their own social reality. Derrida refines how the particular institution of law can be used by the dominated in political struggle. Through an act of reflection the oppressed can deconstruct the system of oppression in their favor. This is how Nelson Mandela stripped the constitution of South Africa back to its arbitrary roots to reveal the white minority’s coup de force at its base. However, simply revealing this foundation was not sufficient to mobilize a revolution. Mandela had to fight fiction with fiction, referring to an arbitrary, yet to be realized delineation of a South African “nation.”[xx] The Mexico City student revolutionaries had no such “performative fiction” to mobilize a people. Furthermore, it was denied the opportunity to seize the tools of oppression the dominated could normally rely on simply because the Mexican state had not yet solidified them. As one student political prisoner recounts of his time in prison, after telling his interrogator that what the movement “wanted” was for the “people to obey the Constitution,” the interrogator replied, “Don’t kid yourself… We’re the ones who decide what’s constitutional and what’s unconstitutional.”[xxi]
Physical violence, with its indiscriminate destruction, normally provides the ultimate recourse for revolutionaries because it recalls the fundamental arbitrariness of our belief in structures and reveals the weaknesses in the State’s nomos and habitus. However, the 1968 student movement was also denied recourse to this option because it in the Mexico of the 1950s and 1960s, state violence was the explicit instrument of habitus. It was far more effective for the students to deploy nonviolence to broadcast their aims, simply because it challenged their reality of their political climate. When students began their September 13 silent march from the Museum of Anthropology to the Zócalo, placing white tape over their mouths to broadcast their silence, they were using nonviolence to speak louder than what the government could drown out. If power is to be understood as Luhmann’s conception of asymmetrical communication—the ability to reduce the scale of alternatives in the empowered’s favor—on that day the student movement was at its most powerful. Not only did it challenge the violent foundations of the PRI-built habitus with a stark juxtaposition of nonviolence, but also effectively eliminated the PRI’s coercive ability by declaring their dedication to non-violence, regardless of the physical risks. In Klitgaard’s language, the students proclaimed themselves “irrational” by disregarding rational pay-offs, aligning themselves with the higher principle of nonviolence.[xxii] They had become immune to the PRI’s physical and propagandized attacks on that day. However, this period of power was brief. As soon as the students responded to the army’s September 18 invasion of University City with violence they had annulled their own power, betrayed their higher principles, and reduced themselves to the level of the violent PRI institution in the eyes of the Mexican people.
Constrained by their own domination and limited imaginations, the student protesters could not be revolutionary. Having never cracked the habitus of the PRI’s dominating social structures, students—even during their six days of violent street-fighting—were relegated to intraordinal status. Their struggle was not an interordinal struggle of reason against reason, the struggle of a collective to completely redefine their habitus, a collective engaged in revolution.[xxiii] The students’ violence could not become legitimized within their own system of domination because they were not fighting to establish one. By never becoming truly revolutionary, the student movement surrendered its legitimacy to the PRI. By the September 24 the grenaderos and the Mexican army retook University City. The student movement was fragmented with no physical centralized base. By the night of October 2, the PRI’s decision to launch a military campaign against the students and city residents gathered in Tlatelolco was simply a tying of loose ends. Accounts from the square revealed armed combatants on both sides, although the students were clearly outnumbered and tactically disadvantaged.[xxiv] The precedent for violence had been set on both sides of the movement since before the innocuous gang-fight in July that started it all, and it was violence that would ultimately determine the victor.
If the summer of 1968 can be understood as the continuation of a long chain of protest and repression, how does the Tlatelolco Massacre still stand out to vividly in modern Mexican history? Ironically, it was the PRI’s decision to mobilize such deadly force that made October 2, 1968 a historical event. Modern estimates of those killed range from the low fifties to the mid-three hundreds. Why did the PRI engage in such disproportionate violence? The Mexican elite themselves felt the weight of their own domination by the international community. Pressured by expectations of modernity and stability, the PRI opened fire on a peaceful square of protesters, forcing hundreds of student leaders and political prisoners to flee the country. Perhaps what is most shocking, though, was the international response. The international community was so embedded in its own structures of domination that it failed to recognized the repression for what it was. It had come to value the veneer of modernity over real political freedom. Olympics visitors were recorded afterwards as accusing the students of wanting to “steal the spotlight from the Olympics;” one visitor advised the Mexican people to “wash their dirty linen in private.”[xxv] The real travesty of October 2 was that the Olympic Games were not immediately called off afterwards. Caught between two roles, both dominated and dominator, the Mexican government’s dilemma is emblematic of that faced by many nascent states caught between the demands of their own people and the demands of the international community. In this age of technological connectivity, the “eyes of the world” are on all states. Yet, without the structural tools necessary to successfully incite revolution or the support of international elites, the future for hopeful revolutionaries like the students of 1968 Mexico City appears bleak indeed.
This essay was awarded 3rd Place in the 2013 Acheson Prize.
Mary Shi (’14) is a Political Science and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry major in Trumbull College.
[i] Witherspoon, Kevin B. 2008. Before the Eyes of the World: Mexico and the 1968 Olympic Games. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press. Introduction and Ch. 1.
[ii] Witherspoon 15-16.
[iii] Carey, Elaine. 2005. Plaza of Sacrifices: Gender, Power, and Terror in 1968 Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 1-13.
[iv] Carey 95.
[v] Poniatowska, Elena. 1971. Massacre in Mexico. Trans. Helen R. Lane. New York: The Viking Press, 1971. 9. Poniatowska’s Massacre, originally published in 1971 as La noche de Tlatelolco (“The night of Tlatelolco”), is a compilation of first-hand testimonials from political prisoners arrested during the summer of 1968.
[vi] Poniatowska 325-333.
[vii] Bourdieu, Pierre. 2000. Pascalian Meditations. Trans. Richard Nice. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 170.
[viii] See Carey 40. Grenaderos had been used against the telegraph workers’ strike (1958), railroad workers’ strikes (1958 and 1959), teachers’ strikes (late 1950s to early 1960s), and the student protests (1964 and 1965).
[ix] Bourdieu 186.
[x] Bourdieu 186.
[xi] Bourdieu 122.
[xii] Bourdieu, 180.
[xiii] Brewster, Keith. 2010. “Teaching Mexicans How to Behave: Public Eduction on the Eve of the Olympics.” Reflections on Mexico ’68. Ed. Keith Brewster. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. 46-62. 49.
[xiv] Brewster, Claire. 2010. “Changing Impressions of Mexico for the 1968 Games.” Reflections on Mexico ’68. Ed. Keith Brewster. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. 23-45. 34-36.
[xv] Foucault, Michel. 1977. “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ed. Donald F. Bouchard. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 139-164. 154.
[xvi] Bourdieu 126.
[xvii] Foucault 151.
[xviii] Carey 4.
[xix] Bourdieu 119.
[xx] Derrida, Jacques. 1987. “The Laws of Reflection: Nelson Mandela, In Admiration.” For Nelson Mandela. Eds. Jacques Derrida and Mustapha Tlili. New York: Seaver Books.
Derrida, Jacques. 1999. “Excerpt from The Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority.” Violence and Its Alternatives. Ed. Manfred B. Steger and Nancy S. Lind. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 77-83.
[xxi] Poniatowska 105-108.
[xxii] Klitgaard, Robert E. 1971. “Gandhi’s Non-Violence as a Tactic.” Journal of Peace Research. 8:2. 145.
[xxiii] Waldenfels, Bernhard. 1991. “Limits of Legitimation and the Question of Violence.” Justice, Law, and Violence. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 101-102.
[xxiv] Harris, Chris. 2010. “Luiz Gonzalez de Alba’s Los dias y los años (1971) and Elena Poniatowska’s La noche de Tlatelolco (1971): Foundational Representations of Mexico ’68.” Reflections on Mexico ’68. Ed. Keith Brewster. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. 107-127. 126.
[xxv] Poniatowska 307-308.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Pascalian Meditations. Trans. Richard Nice. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.
Brewster, Claire. “Changing Impressions of Mexico for the 1968 Games.” Reflections on Mexico ’68. Ed. Keith Brewster. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 23-45.
Brewster, Keith. “Teaching Mexicans How to Behave: Public Eduction on the Eve of the Olympics.” Reflections on Mexico ’68. Ed. Keith Brewster. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 46-62.
Carey, Elaine. Plaza of Sacrifices: Gender, Power, and Terror in 1968 Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.
Derrida, Jacques. “The Laws of Reflection: Nelson Mandela, In Admiration.” For Nelson Mandela. Eds. Jacques Derrida and Mustapha Tlili. New York: Seaver Books, 1987.
Derrida, Jacques. “Excerpt from The Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority.” Violence and Its Alternatives. Ed. Manfred B. Steger and Nancy S. Lind. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. 77-83.
Foucault, Michel. “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ed. Donald F. Bouchard. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977. 139-164.
Gandhi, Mahatma. Excerpts from Selected Political Writings. Ed, Dennis Dalton. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.,1996.
Harris, Chris. “Luiz Gonzalez de Alba’s Los dias y los años (1971) and Elena Poniatowska’s La noche de Tlatelolco (1971): Foundational Representations of Mexico ’68.” Reflections on Mexico ’68. Ed. Keith Brewster. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 107-127.
Klitgaard, Robert E. “Gandhi’s Non-Violence as a Tactic.” Journal of Peace Research. 8:2, 1971.
Poniatowska, Elena. Massacre in Mexico. Trans. Helen R. Lane. New York: The Viking Press, 1971.
Waldenfels, Bernhard. “Limits of Legitimation and the Question of Violence.” Justice, Law, and Violence. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.
Witherspoon, Kevin B. Before the Eyes of the World: Mexico and the 1968 Olympic Games. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2008.]]>
The 2013 Dean Gooderham Acheson ’15 Prize for Outstanding Essays in International Studies was judged by a distinguished panel of scholars.
Ryan Crocker (left) is the 2013 Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale’s Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy. He recently retired as US Ambassador to Afghanistan. He has had a long and distinguished career in the US Foreign Service, serving as Ambassador to Iraq (2007–2009), Ambassador to Pakistan (2004– 2007), Ambassador to Syria (1998–2001), Ambassador to Kuwait (1994–1997), and Ambassador to Lebanon (1990–1993).
Jolyon Howorth (center) is the Jean Monnet Professor of European Politics and Emeritus Professor of European Studies at the University of Bath. He has been a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Yale since 2002. He has published 14 books and over 250 articles on European security and transatlantic relations, among other subjects. He has consulted widely on security and defense issues.
Amanda Behm (not pictured) is the Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale. A graduate of Dartmouth, Cambridge, and Yale, she teaches modern British, imperial, and global intellectual history and oversees ISS’s academic and organizational affairs. She is currently revising for publication her first book-length project, an examination of British historical thought and the politics of empire after 1850.
To view more information about the prize and the original rules governing the competition, click here.]]>
We’re immensely proud to present the 20l3 Acheson Prize issue of the Yale Review of International Studies. This issue follows a full year of planning and scheming, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
Named for Dean Gooderham Acheson ’15, the prize is awarded annually. Acheson served as Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953. Following his tenure at the State Department, he served on the Yale Corporation, and, in 1970, won the Pulitzer Prize in History for his memoir, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department. The prize honors Acheson’s legacy as a thinker, scholar, and public servant.
In only its first year, the Acheson prize received well over 100 submissions. The eight finalists published here distinguished themselves among a truly excellent pool of submissions. Inevitably, there were many more truly impressive essays than eight; our only regret is that we could not publish more of them.
Though they represent only a small fraction of the total pool, the eight finalists provide their own window into the daunting breadth of undergraduate scholarship produced across the university. Flipping through the journal, you will encounter cogent analyses of revolutionary Nicaraguan poetry, Soviet art, and Berlin transit maps. You will move from Mexico onto Iraq, from the Caribbean onto the Congo.
The Acheson Prize could not have been launched at all without the support of International Security Studies, the backing of the Yale International Relations Association, and the great generosity of our three judges: Dr. Amanda Behm, Amb. Ryan Crocker, and Dr. Jolyon Howorth. We owe them our sincere thanks
Finally, a request: Please consider submitting your work to the journal in the future. We look forward to reading your work, and to using your ideas to fill many more issues to come.
Yet if Soviet Socialist Realism is to be doomed in art history for its connection to Stalin’s tyranny and communist agitprop, the same connections must redeem it to history and political science as cogent evidence that documents Soviet ambition and anxiety during the Cold War. Primed in this way, Socialist Realism can be understood to have represented more than cultural context or the aesthetic trappings of a place in time. Rather, it functioned as a state apparatus responding to the same political and historical realities that guided military or economic initiatives in the Soviet Union. Its objectives were the same too: Soviet Socialist Realism consolidated control of Communist Party under Stalin and projected its power at large.
Written in 1946 by the American ambassador to Moscow, George Kennan’s ‘Long Telegram’ offers an insightful and incisive analysis of Soviet outlooks in the Post-War era of Stalin. In outlining the convictions of the Soviet Union’s ideology and the eccentricities of its policy, Kennan identifies systemic points of opposition with its adversaries and within itself. Soviet Socialist Realism needed to contend with at least three of these.
First, at the international level, the style had to challenge the Western canon of painting in competitive pictorial terms. In the spirit of dialectical materialism, this meant that proletarian culture could not develop quietly alongside its bourgeois heritage; rather, revolution would need to seize and reappropriate Western artistic traditions of portraiture or history painting just as it would with industry or property. Kennan describes the equivalent Soviet paranoia that the “USSR still lives in an antagonistic ‘capitalist encirclement’ with which in the long run there can be no permanent peaceful coexistence.”[ii]
The internal affairs of the Communist Party demanded a monolithic aesthetic from Socialist Realism, one that could not tolerate earlier or alternative movements in the Russian avant-garde. Thus, aesthetic dissonance even from the rival left-wing schools of Constructivism, Suprematism, and Futurism translated into political and anti-partisan dissent. In his cable, Kennan highlights this Communist perception that “most dangerous of all are those whom Lenin called false friends of the people, namely moderate-socialist or social-democratic leaders (in other words, non-Communist left-wing).”[iii]
Lastly, Soviet Socialist Realism grappled with domestic mythologies of the Party line. The style addressed the people of the Soviet Union directly, offering them the visual ideology of Communism, the illusions of its material success, and instruction on how to forge those Potemkin dreams into Soviet realities. Ambassador Kennan identifies the same processes at work in an “apparatus of power” used to shape the minds of the Russian people with “great skill and persistence.”[iv]
These political outlooks manifest themselves in the visual characteristics of Soviet Socialist Realism–its preferred content, formal qualities, and guiding visual theory. An excerpt from the introductory text at the Soviet Pavilion at New York’s 1939 World’s Fair introduces the essential traits:
What is it that is new in Soviet painting? What distinguishes it from the rest of modern painting in the world? […] The answer to these questions lies in the work of Soviet artists themselves – in the truthful portrayal of life in the Land of the Soviets, in the subjects of their paintings, devoted to the New Socialist man, his life, struggle and labor, his ideals, emotions and dreams. It lies in the very nature of Soviet art, which is impregnated with great humanitarian ideals. It lies in the simplicity and plastic clarity of the pictorial language of Soviet paintings, sculpture and graphic art. In his work the Soviet artist primarily addresses the people.[v]
Even at the risk of echoing Soviet doublespeak, this explanation of Soviet Socialist Realism proves valuable inasmuch as it lays bare the intent of the Communist Party that determined the artistic direction of Russia.
Yet a simpler, more cogent description might be found in the nominal terms of Soviet Socialist Realism itself. Soviet in content, paintings often apotheosize Lenin and Stalin, while landscapes and genre scenes focus on the identifiably Russian steppe and laborer. Realistic in form, these paintings use illusionistic devices of lifelike color and linear perspective to create convincing images of the real world; they tend to avoid abstraction. Socialist in theory, the style self-consciously integrates the political objectives of shaping popular opinion by using leading titles and clear narratives that provide legible messages.
Thus, if Kennan’s telegram limns a schematic approach to questions of Soviet outlooks under Stalin, the art of Soviet Socialist Realism offers a form of visual shorthand by which the same political objectives are encoded or expressed internationally, domestically, and internally within the Communist Party.
Introduced by Stalin’s 1932 decree “On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organizations,” the promulgation of Soviet Socialist Realism coincided with a series of dramatic centralization policies during the Five Year Plans of the 1930s.[vi] Each of these initiatives addressed a perception of Soviet inferiority in relation to Western powers, proposing a reorganization of property and labor as the solution. [vii] It followed that artists and architects could be usefully grouped into unitary ‘creative unions’ that would streamline aesthetic presentations in the same way that collectivized agriculture would increase efficiency under the first Five Year Plan.[viii],[ix]
The task for Soviet Socialist Realism, then, was to legitimize the Soviet Union as a cultural force in revolutionary opposition to the West. Among Soviet intelligentsia, “the Russian tradition was associated with backwardness and humiliation, evoking disgust rather than compassion.”[x] Again, the fearful perception of inferiority is invoked within Party meetings to produce an official policy that would correct it. In this case the solution lay in reframing pictorial conventions long associated with aristocratic or bourgeois art and constructing new, revolutionary meanings.
Consider the tradition of ceremonial portraiture in Western Europe, the salient attributes of which can be found in Jacques-Louis David’s Coronation of Napoleon (1805-1807, Figure I, appended at end). David presents an impressive display of absolute power through the use of a clear narrative, rich coloration, thronging adorants, and opulent settings. Georges Becker’s Coronation of Emperor Alexander III (1888, Figure II) reiterates the same decadent idiom, this time in the name of the same tsarist dynasty that would be overthrown by communism.
Less expected, however, are the similarities found in Yuri Kugach’s Praised be the Great Stalin! (1950, Figure III) or Mikhail Khmelko’s To the Great Russian People (1949, Figure IV). Andrei Zdhanov, Leningrad’s Party Leader and Stalin’s close advisor on cultural affairs, explains succinctly:
We Bolsheviks do not reject the cultural heritage. On the contrary, we are critically assimilating the cultural heritage of all nations and all times in order to choose from it all that can inspire the working people of Soviet society to great exploits in labor, science, and culture.[xi]
The Party would not “deprive itself of the tried weapon of the classics, but on the contrary give it a new function and use it in the construction of the new world.”[xii] Rather than formulate a new and unfamiliar pictorial language to communicate ideas of grandeur and power – and even of intimidation – the Communist Party reinterpreted what had been proven effective before. In the process, artists like Kugach and Khmelko simultaneously undermined the memory of pre-Revolution imagery and armed the Soviet state with a powerful visual culture. The painters of Soviet Socialist Realism had no need to reinvent the color wheel.
Cultural programs in the Soviet Union demonstrate that the government deliberately engaged in fostering this artistic rerouting. In addition to the cascade of bureaucratic hierarchies that led from provincial artist unions right up to the Politburo, the Communist Party introduced Stalin Prizes for artists in 1939, which offered monthly stipends (a princely sum of 500 rubles) to fifty of Stalin’s favored artists each year.[xiii] This privilege of partisan artists recalls the perks enjoyed by another of Stalin’s favored groups–nuclear physicists.[xiv] Indeed, Stalin’s nuclear espionage program of reapplying American research on the atomic bomb towards Soviet development follows the same patterns of co-option seen in Soviet Socialist Realism. In both cases, the competitive antagonism in the Soviet outlook on world affairs determined government policy.
The positive reinforcement that Stalin Prizes offered to artists who served the Communist Party’s agenda was matched by the repression of those who did not. Stalin paired the carrot with the stick. The emphasis on Soviet supremacy demanded a rooting out of ‘cosmopolitanism,’ a policy that led to death or irrelevance for many foreign and Jewish artists living in the Soviet Union.[xv] The Russian avant-garde that had flourished since the Revolution of 1917 shared with Soviet Socialist Realism the common objective of dismantling bourgeois culture, but it adopted a different and irreconcilable approach in achieving it. Simply put, the abstraction of movements like Constructivism, Suprematism, and Futurism was antithetical to the representational style of Soviet Socialist Realism. Kazimir Malevich, a pioneer of geometric abstraction and a leading exponent of Suprematism, demonstrates this difference quite starkly with Suprematist Composition: White on White (1918, Figure V). Malevich negates every tradition in Western painting, refusing to depict anything recognizable in the real world, draining his canvas of lifelike color, and even reducing line to the slight offset of whites that suggest the shape of squares. In theory the painting would seem well suited to communist ideals. It is liberated of constraints and the unity of color suggests the harmony of a classless society. In practice under Stalin’s rule, however, students at the Academy of Arts in Leningrad were expelled if they were discovered to have visited Malevich’s studio.[xvi]
Drastic as that sounds, Stalin’s justification was probably not simply a matter of personal taste. The suppression of these alternative movements confirms the degree to which Stalin was aware of art’s capacity for political implication. That is, Stalin would have had no reason to suppress these Suprematists if it had “confined itself to artistic space, but the fact that it was persecuted indicates that it was operating in the same territory as the state.”[xvii] Though they were themselves products of the Revolution of 1917, artists like Malevich did not fit with prevailing artistic views of the Communist Party by the time of Stalin. That made them false friends of the Party, a status that Kennan highlighted as particularly intolerable to Soviet leadership.
Alexander Deyneka’s Future Pilots (1937, Figure VI) demonstrates how a Soviet Socialist Realist painter might acceptably reinterpret Malevich’s interest in white-based compositions. Forms are again slightly geometricized and colors muted, but Deyneka produces a transparently jingoistic narrative of young swimmers inspired to join the Soviet Air Forces. To make the incompatibility of these images perfectly clear, it is worth pointing out that New York’s Museum of Modern Art acquired Malevich’s Suprematist Composition: White on White in 1935, two years before Future Pilots was painted.[xviii] If the perception of indivisible Soviet power was to be preserved, the monolithic art of Soviet Socialist Realism could not be subverted by counter-examples.
The ultimate irony of this schism between Soviet Socialist Realism and the earlier avant-garde lies in the fact that the state-sponsored program of art was better equipped to meet the needs of a new revolutionary society in Russia. Soviet Socialist Realism was, after all, far less radical in form than Suprematism. Yet its combination of revolutionary symbolism with legible depiction resulted in paintings that stood as hieroglyphs readily marshaled to serve various Soviet mythologies. That is, the extent to which Soviet Socialist Realism depicted scenes of industrious Laborers, brave Heroes, and great Leaders enabled it to create recognizable types to be emulated and admired by the Soviet people.
Vyacheslav Mariupolski’s A Leader in the Pioneers (Her First Report) (1949, Figure VII) reveals the simple insistence of these types. The subject, a girl in the Soviet youth group of Young Pioneers, reads from neatly copied pages in a manner that visualizes the tradition of Communist Party speeches. More forcefully, the girl’s poised features are framed by a print of Stalin’s portrait behind her. Notably, this image of flourishing female leadership occurs in the Soviet Union 15 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed in the United States. The heroification of simple moments like this begins to involve the entirety of the Soviet people and the full experience of their lives in service of the Party. This alignment between the art of Soviet Socialist Realism and national interests is furthered by Fedor Reshetnikov’s Low Marks Again (1952, Figure VIII). A sympathetic family composition, the painting nevertheless cautions that academic failure will be met with disappointment– seen most clearly in the standing sister who is already studying her books. Extrapolated into the contemporary Cold War realities, national interest in education must have run high on tensions of a nuclear arms race. The Soviet Union tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1953, a year after Low Marks Again was painted.
These paintings are accessible even to the most uneducated laborer in that they presume none of the visual theory required to appreciate or understand the abstract work of Malevich. Another part of the seductive intimacy of Soviet Socialist Realism lay in the venues of its display. Exhibited in public museums, the paintings were collectively owned by the people of the Soviet Union like any other resource of the state.[xix] That is, the Soviet people had a personally motivated interest in the perpetuation of ideas, worlds, and myths presented in socialist realism.
The sophistication is deepened further when Soviet Socialist Realism is considered in relation to mimesis, or the representation of the real world in art. A mimetic painting is thus successful in recreating nature on canvas. However, the elisions and liberties taken with Fedor Shurpin’s The Morning of our Native Land (1948, Figure IX) demonstrate that Soviet Socialist Realism was less concerned with capturing the real world so much as developing a convincing mythology for the Soviet Union. In the painting, Stalin is shown standing in a collectivized field, with tractors already at work preparing the soil. Nearby factories are indicated by billowing smoke, and telegraph wires hint at the interconnectedness of the vast Soviet Union. Yet the story presented is impossible. While Shurpin painted The Morning of our Native Land in 1948, Stalin did not pose for any artist after World War II.[xx] Shurpin’s own description of the painting reveals the warped reality: “In the sound of the tractors, the movement of trains, in the fresh breathing of the limitless spring fields–in everything I saw and felt the image of the leader of the people.”[xxi] If Soviet Socialist Realism is mimetic, it is so only through “the mimesis of Stalin’s will.”[xxii] The artist became a creator of myths that shape reality–in this case, the cult worship of Stalin that sustained his power.
Soviet Socialist Reactionism
With the passing of the Cold War, perhaps the most enduring mark left by the Soviet strain of Socialist Realism lies in the reaction it provoked within Western art. Clement Greenberg, the influential New York art critic who was one of the earliest and most insistent supporters of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, reproached the early stages of Soviet Socialist Realism in a 1939 essay titled ‘Avant-Garde and Kitsch.’ The thesis is at least as concerned with politics as it is with aesthetics. Greenberg presents the repressive regimes of Hitler and Stalin as inextricably linked to the “kitsch,” propagandizing art of the Third Reich and Soviet Socialist Realism: “Kitsch keeps a dictator in closer contact with the ‘soul’ of the people.”[xxiii] The only aesthetic antidote innocent of state manipulation, Greenberg suggests, would be found in art of the avant-garde, which he posits is and will continue to be led by American painters.
The dominant trajectory of Western art in the twentieth century towards abstraction, expressionism, and the exaltation of pure form indicates that Greenberg was mostly correct–but not about the freedom from government manipulation. The revelation in 1967 of CIA funding for the Association for Cultural Freedom to promote American abstract art abroad demonstrates that the American government was actively concerned with opposing the art of Soviet Socialist Realism.[xxiv] Guided by a compulsion to reject emphatically all things totalitarian and communist, including their aesthetics, Western art in the twentieth century allowed itself on some level to be defined by its Soviet antithesis. Somewhat startlingly, it follows that Stalin’s firm control of the arts in the Soviet Union allowed him to indirectly shape the art world of the West, too.
This essay was awarded a 2013 Acheson Prize Honorable Mention.
Cassius Clay (’13) is a History of Art major in Berkeley College.
[ii] George Kennan, “Long Telegram,” February 22, 1946, reproduced at <http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/documents/episode-1/kennan.htm>.
[v] Quoted in The Aesthetic Arsenal: Socialist Realism under Stalin (Long Island City, New York: The Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Museum, 1993), 8.
[vi] Sergei V Ivanov, Unknown Socialist Realism. The Leningrad School (St. Petersburg: NP-Print Edition, 2007), 28-29.
[vii] Hal Foster et al., Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism, volume 1: 1900-1944 (London: Thames & Hudson, 2005), 260.
[viii] Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), 33.
[ix] Matthew Cullerne Bown, Socialist Realist Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 140-141.
[x] Groys, 4.
[xi] Martin McCauley, Who’s Who in Russia Since 1900 (New York: Routledge, 1997), 329.
[xii] Groys, 39.
[xiii] Bown, 138.
[xiv] John Lewis Gaddis, Lecture: “The Nuclear Arms Race,” Yale University, New Haven, September 19, 2011.
[xv] Bown, 221.
[xvi] Vassily Rakitin, “The Avant-Garde and the Art of the Stalinist Era,” in The Aesthetic Arsenal: Socialist Realism Under Stalin (Long Island City, New York: The Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Museum, 1993), 26.
[xvii] Groys, 35.
[xviii] The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999), 85.
[xix] Greg Castillo, “People at an Exhibition” in Socialist Realism Without Shores (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1997), 101.
[xx] Bown, 234.
[xxi] Fedor S. Shurpin, quoted in Matthew Cullerne Bown, Socialist Realist Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 237.
[xxii] Groys, 53.
[xxiii] Clement Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Partisan Review Volume 6 (Fall 1939): 46.
[xxiv] Central Intelligence Agency, “Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-50” <https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/95unclass/Warner.html#rft1>.
Bown, Matthew Cullerne. Socialist Realist Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998)
Castillo, Greg. “People at an Exhibition.” Socialist Realism Without Shores (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1997)
Central Intelligence Agency, “Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-50” <https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/95unclass/Warner.html#rft1>.
Golomstock, Igor. “Problems in the Study of Stalinist Culture.” In The Aesthetic Arsenal: Socialist Realism Under Stalin. (Long Island City, New York: The Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Museum, 1993)
Foster, Hal et al., Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism, volume 1: 1900-1944 (London: Thames & Hudson, 2005)
Gaddis, John Lewis. Lecture: “The Nuclear Arms Race.” Yale University. 9/19/2011
Greenberg, Clement. “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” Partisan Review 6 (Fall 1939)
Groys, Boris. The Total Art of Stalinism (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992)
Ivanov, Sergei V. Unknown Socialist Realism The Leningrad School. (St. Petersburg: NP-Print Edition, 2007)
Kennan, George. “Long Telegram” <http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/coldwar/documents/episode-1/kennan.htm> Accessed 10/4/2011
McCauley, Martin. Who’s Who in Russia Since 1900 (New York: Routledge, 1997)
Rakitin, Vassily. “The Avant-Garde and the Art of the Stalinist Era.” In The Aesthetic Arsenal: Socialist Realism Under Stalin. (Long Island City, New York: The Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S.1 Museum, 1993): 26
The Museum of Modern Art. MoMA Highlights, (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004)]]>
Scholars have analyzed the controversy in terms of domestic politics. They have focused on battles between Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal and ASTC president Rosario Murillo over individual power, the role of amateur and professional artists, elitist views on the role of culture in society, and the role of women in the revolution. They have less frequently examined the way that Nicaragua’s international reputation as a “land of poets” indirectly shaped how the FSLN treated the poetry workshops. From the time of Rubén Darío, Nicaraguan poetry had long been a symbol of continental anti-imperialism. Non-Nicaraguan intellectuals, who had known the leftist pulse of Nicaragua through its famous poetry and poets, viewed the country’s verse—and the Sandinista revolution—as symbols of Latin American and Third World anti-imperialism. Thus in the pre-triumph period, the international presence of Nicaraguan poets made poetry an effective tool for mobilizing intellectuals abroad. The Sandinistas’ widespread travels internationally also contextualized the revolution in a larger continental struggle. After the triumph, this international audience and regional presence of Nicaraguan verse raised the stakes for domestic workshops to sustain the image of the Nicaraguan poet as a symbol of anti-imperialist revolution over independent nationalism. These global dimensions can partially explain the collective voice of the new poetry and the Ministry’s relatively strong grip on the workshops, and more broadly reflect the tension between the Sandinistas’ goals to create a uniquely Nicaraguan national culture while enlisting Nicaraguan culture in the continental and Third World struggles for freedom.
Since Rubén Darío began the Modernismo Movement in the late 19th century, Nicaragua has been called the “land of poets.” Darío, both in Nicaragua and beyond, became a symbol of the cultural capital that partisan groups fought to claim; his ambiguous body of political literature allowed Somoza to cast him as a Liberal in support of the established political and social order, while allowing the Sandinistas to claim him as a national symbol of anti-imperialist independence. Intellectuals around the world admired Darío. In a trip to Moscow, FSLN founder Carlos Fonseca writes proudly that the Russians had praised Darío. Thus poetry provided an arena for politics on both progressive and conservative sides. Indeed, the vanguardia of the 1930’s, including Coronel Urtecho and Pablo Antonio Cuadra, dreamed of a revolutionary break from the culturally banal past but undermined their own efforts in a fascist turn that prompted them to support Somoza; the Generation of 1940, which included poets such as Ernesto Mejía Sánchez, Carlos Rivas, and Cardenal, supplanted them as the opposition. As the opposition fermented in the 1950s under Somoza, poetry became more of a tool of the revolutionaries. The lack of cultural institutions such as universities, museums, and research institutions had already driven much of the intellectual and cultural community into informal settings, including newspapers, journals, memoirs, novels, and poetry. Through avant-garde organizations such as Ventana, Praxis, and Gradas, student activists and nascent FSLN leaders began articulating a cultural-ideological front of Sandinismo that saw cultural revolution as central to political transformation. For the intellectual vanguard in the land of Darío, culture most often meant poetry.
Student experiences outside of Nicaragua reinforced poetry’s ties to revolution. Born under a totalitarian dynasty that did not foster an environment of progressivism or political dissent, several middle-to-upper-class leaders of the FSLN first developed revolutionary consciousness studying poetry in Latin America, North America, and Europe. In the mid-1960s, FSLN founder Carlos Fonseca—the son of a well-off father and working-class mother—was exiled to Mexico, where he began researching Darío’s admiration for Soviet poet Maxim Gorky. Exile for literary study was a common path for FSLN members in their early years, as the oppressive environment under Somoza forced young Nicaraguan intellectuals including Fonseca and Cardenal to gravitate towards leftist intellectual centers such as San José, Mexico City, Paris, Moscow, New York, and Havana. In the same self-destructive way that the hypocrisy and corruption of the power elite prompted many disillusioned privileged youth to join the FSLN, Somoza himself seeded the conditions for intellectual flight to foreign countries, where future Sandinistas such as Fonseca and Cardenal discovered revolution indirectly through poetry.
In some cases, political consciousness through poetry led to a more direct connection between poetry and the revolution. Many FSLN poets left Nicaragua to mobilize regional solidarity networks. Former Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior and poet Francisco de Asís Fernández (nicknamed “Chichí,”) first became aware of the Nicaraguan reality while outside the country, as a co-owner of an artists’ café in Puerto Rico. “I was impressed when I heard Angel Rama, [the Uruguayan writer], talking about Solentiname… and I was taken aback that I didn’t even have any idea how strong the Sandinista National Liberation Front was,” he recalls in an interview with writer Margaret Randall. His Puerto Rican experience prompted him to return to Nicaragua, where he pursued revolutionary theatre and joined the FSLN. In 1974, Chichí went to Mexico with his wife, the poet Gloria Gabaurdi, to begin rallying support for Nicaragua. They reached out to Mexican poets Carlos Pellicer, who supported the Sandinistas until his death in 1979, and Thelma Nava, who organized the Mexican Committee of Solidarity with the Nicaraguan People. The head of the Ministry of Culture’s department of literature, Julio Valle-Castillo, too spent time in Mexico supporting the solidarity campaign – he arrived to study Spanish literature with poet Ernesto Mejía Sánchez, who became his mentor for understanding the Nicaraguan struggle. By the time Chichí and Valle-Castillo left Mexico, they had established ties to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and mobilized “tens of thousands of people… [in] the streets… involving all the political parties and all the labor unions” for the Sandinistas. Chichí also began building broader Central American support along political-literary lines – in October of 1977, he established the committee for Latin American Solidarity, which included Mexican sociologist Pablo González Casanova, Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, Peruvian writer Genaro Carnero Checa, Brazilian writer and politician Francisco Juliaou, Uruguayan journalist Carlos Quijano, Argentinian writer Rodolfo Puiggrós, and Panamanian writer Jorge Turner. He even brought revolutionary musician Carlos Mejía Godoy to sing about Nicaraguan struggles in Mexico; revolutionary song was a cousin of poetry as another oral cultural tradition. Toward the end of the struggle, Chichí went to Costa Rica to head a camp to train and teach five to six hundred combatants on the Southern Front about class struggle and Nicaraguan history. Revolutionary writers such as Chichí and Valle-Castillo discovered revolutionary consciousness in artistic settings—mingling with artists in a Puerto Rican café or studying Spanish literature in a Mexican university—and laid the foundations for FSLN regional support by reaching out to Latin American artists who saw the struggle as a broader continental mission.
Regional politics and intellectual currents—and, above all, the Cuban Revolution and Guevarism—further enriched revolutionary understandings of Nicaraguan reality. After a trip to Cuba in 1970 to serve as a judge in a poetry contest organized by Casa de las Américas, the Cuban cultural organization, Cardenal radically changed his perspective on the Nicaraguan revolution. He chronicled his encounters with the Cuban people in his In Cuba (1972), in which he concludes that the Cuban revolution was “the Gospels put into practice,” and attempted to reconcile violent insurrection with his Christian faith. He adopted Che’s theory of the “New Person” and drew lessons from Cuba for his future cultural policy. Such regional links through art to wider audiences allowed Nicaraguans to spread their revolution before the triumph. The Casa de las Américas Prize—the prestigious literary awards given annually to Latin American writers—gave other Nicaraguan writers, including Belli (1978) and Lizandro Chávez Alfaro (1963), the chance to publicize their revolutionary writing. The prize allowed Belli to publicize the revolution, for it held “intellectual prestige: it opens doors, and we needed every door open to tell the world what was happening in our country.” Nicaraguan writers’ engagement with Cuba, then, came not only through strictly political support for the revolution, but also through poetry. For Cuba and Nicaragua, poetry served as a meeting point for the exchange of cultural and intellectual programs.
Intellectual work, as a disguise for subversive activity, allowed writers to work regionally for the FSLN. Novelist Sergio Ramírez, who became a revolutionary as a student at university in León, left school in 1964 to take a job with Carlos Tunnerman, the future Minister of Education famous for spearheading the literacy campaign of 1980. Tunnerman invited Ramírez to work at the Costa Rica-based Central American University Council of Higher Education (CSUCA), an organization dedicated to integrating Central America’s university systems. By 1968, Ramírez had scaled the ladder of its bureaucracy and became Secretary General. By 1976, he was working for the FSLN full-time, focusing on organizing its “Group of Twelve,” an alliance of intellectuals, businessmen, and other professionals that lobbied for FSLN representation in future political negotiations and helped convince the international community that the Sandinistas were not Soviet pawns. Ramírez was able to accomplish this maneuver because he had been re-elected as Secretary General of CSUCA, which was a “cover… because CSUCA has diplomatic status in Costa Rica.” Similarly, in Mexico, Chichí and his wife “met many writers and used our literary relationships as a cloak for our work.”
While both prose and poetry mobilized the elite, poetry was more influential as a revolutionary form. The FSLN used poetry to unify the front: combatants received verse as didactic and indoctrinating texts. Promoting poetry by martyrs such as Leonel Rugama was the primary way of mobilizing the front; revolutionary songs by Carlos Mejía Godoy, which resembled poetry either as a lyrical oral form or starkly as revolutionary poetry set to music (“No Pasarán” was originally a Belli poem), often served a didactic purpose; “Guitarra Armada” (1979) taught combatants how to use arms and explosives. Poetry, like song, was a “uniquely portable” form of literature that could be more easily produced and circulated in poverty and underground, unlike novels or scientific-technical writing that required large-scale publishers and distributers. Writers consciously used their poetry to communicate with the international community as well. While in exile, Belli learned how “to sensitize people to what we Nicaraguans were going through…being a poet could also be a weapon in the struggle…it was my responsibility to attain a level of quality which would allow me to motivate people, get my message across.” Cardenal, outraged by Somoza’s destruction of Solentiname, his agrarian artists’ commune that originally conceived of the poetry workshops, spoke abroad about Solentiname’s cultural vision in order to build solidarity and raise money for the FSLN. For both FSLN combatants and international networks, Sandinistas explicitly promoted poetry to bolster the revolution.
Poetry indirectly stirred revolutionary consciousness by bringing Nicaraguan writers in contact with leftist intellectuals, who supported the revolution in direct ways. The regional networks in Cuba, México, Costa Rica, and Honduras—established by artists and intellectuals in exile—became the foundations for the rear guard that provided technical assistance and military resources for the FSLN. As a communicative tool, poets built solidarity both within the front and internationally. Nicaraguan poetry’s regional and international presence would influence the poetry workshops after the triumph.
The poetry workshops originated in Solentiname, Cardenal’s Christian artistic peasant commune based in islands off Lake Nicaragua. Since its founding in 1966, Cardenal had encouraged “primitivist” painting and artisanal work but had not introduced poetry into the community. In 1976, Costa Rican poet Mayra Jiménez arrived having successfully taught poetry to children in Costa Rica and Venezuela before. She set up workshops for reading, discussing, and analyzing poetry. Soon after the workshops launched, the peasants began writing on their theologist, a development he negotiated through poetry. As spontaneously as they had own initiative.
The poetry workshops—a literary manifestation of the “democratization of culture”—were not originally part of the plan. In the 1969 version of “The Historic Program of the FSLN,” the revolution aimed only to “establish the bases for the development of the national culture, the people’s education, and university reform,” only vaguely saying it would “develop the national culture and root out the neocolonial penetration.” The manifesto did not include decentralizing the production of culture. Cardenal based much of his cultural policy off his experience in the utopian commune, where poetry flourished by coincidence. In fact, Cardenal doubted that the campesinos would be able to understand his poetry at all, even though he had already begun moving towards exteriorismo, the direct, simple language style of poetry. Perhaps Cardenal’s hesitation, if not an affirmation of poetry’s elite status in Nicaragua, reflected poetry’s status as a cultural-intellectual tool above all. While at Solentiname, he evolved from a pacifist Christian to a militant Marxist liberation won the revolution, then, the Ministry spread poetry on the national level in the new country—Nicaragua saw as many as 70 workshops around the country, serving over 500 poets as of 1983. Poetry had abruptly changed from a symbol of revolutionary, nationalist unity to a means of political democratization. Yet poetry played a unique role before the triumph as both an explicitly political tool for the revolution as a mobilizing force and an art form belonging to a Nicaraguan tradition of aesthetic excellence. Unlike other art forms, which had their modes of production decentralized through local cultural centers that saw less oversight, democratizing poetry had specially designed workshops headed by Jiménez, who personally visited every workshop and screened the poetry for publication.
Despite their genuinely democratic and popular nature, the poetry workshops saw more hands-on involvement from the Sandinistas than any other artistic initiative, which contributed to a backlash. Although the FSLN refuted accusations of homogeneity, the workshops did stress the collective over the individual voice. In the FSLN newspaper Barricada, Cardenal issued seven rules of what not to do in poetic practice, urging against rhyming and clichés while encouraging discussion of sensible objects over ideas. The poetic style of exteriorismo, direct, concrete, and colloquial language based on US poet William Carlos Williams’ “Imagist” poetry, led to work that was “eminently revolutionary…a testimonial poetry, a historical poetry, a geographical poetry. A permanent feature of this poetry is the presence of nature itself: the names of trees, rivers, and birds…the names of our leaders, the heroes who died, the people who served in the literacy and health brigades.” Although genuinely popular and democratic, the poetry workshops did stress unity. In the 1983 anthology Poesía de la Nueva Nicaragua, nearly every poem focuses on the revolution, especially the guerrillas and martyrs of the struggle. Reading, discussing, and analyzing poems in a collaborative editing process likely encouraged unity. Moreover, the workshops catered to former combatants in insurrectionary communities: the first neighborhood workshops began in Monimbó, Subtiava, and the armed forces; as of 1983, 90% of the poets from the workshops served in the revolution and 50% were fighting in the Popular Sandinista Army, the air force, the police, or State Security. In her introduction to the anthology, Jiménez wrote that “lo importante es que hayan adquirido la formación técnica y literaria suficiente para poder trabajr su obra. Aunque es más importante analizarla siempre en grupo por la connotación social que esto le impone.” Although the Sandinistas censored as minimally as possible overall in the revolution, this collective “social connotation” mattered more than individual expression in the poetry workshops. Compare this activity with the Ministry’s laissez-faire attitude towards local cultural centers and FSLN-critical cooperative theatre; only the vigorous literacy crusade surpasses the poetry workshops. Perhaps the Ministry simply had a personal affection for poetry, but verse also carried high stakes for success as Nicaragua’s historically preferred art form. Poetry, as had been demonstrated during the struggle, had won an internal and external readership and thus had implications for both domestic and international support.
Indeed, to measure the success of the poetry workshops qualitatively, Cardenal emphasized the praise won from international audiences for the proletarian poetry. In his introduction to the workshop anthology—printed for Spanish-speaking non-Nicaraguans, as Poesía Libre published workshop poetry regularly for Nicaraguan readers—Cardenal measures the workshops’ success in terms of international approval, before moving on to Nicaraguan writers’ own opinions of the work. His urgency suggests that the poetry is worth reading based on international writers’ approval. He notes that Solentiname poetry had been published in Nicaragua, Cuba, México, Venezuela, the United States, and Germany; that Oxford-based scholar Robert Pring-Mill studied the workshop poetry, considering them worthy of intellectual focus; that one of the most important Cuban writers was writing an essay on the poetry; that Italian editors asked for permission to publish a book of poetry; the New York Times once wrote highly about the workshops; that a London-based journalist wrote admiringly about how Nicaraguan poetry was more accessible than Ezra Pound’s, despite having adopted a similar Imagist style; that Venezuelan intellectual Joaquín Marta Sosa declared it the first socialization of the modes of producing art. International writers, for Cardenal, validated the poetry workshops with their attention and support.
The presence of the non-Nicaraguan reader can perhaps explain why Cardenal emphasizes the tradition of high-quality Nicaraguan poetry in the context of cultural revolution. The first page of his introduction to the anthology celebrates Nicaragua’s “gran tradición de poesía,” which structurally frames his discussion of the workshops in the context of the literary tradition that earned Nicaragua the name “land of poets.” Indeed, when he begins to address the talleres, he writes: “Me doy cuenta cabal por primera vez por qué Nicaragua había tenido una gran tradición de poesía: y es porque en Nicaragua, aunque no había ese nombre, siempre hubo Talleres de Poesía…Desde Rubén Darío hasta acá habido un solo gran taller de poesía. Y no ha habido ruptura de generaciones.” The talleres fit neatly in the narrative of Nicaragua’s literary history as a natural extension of past culture, almost as if the revolution had not happened. Cardenal offers a peaceful retelling of cultural history that seeks as much continuity with the past as possible, and does not explicitly address the neocolonial penetration he had so ardently sought. Why does Cardenal place the poetry workshops in the context of traditional poetry, emphasizing continuity over change? First, he wants to focus on how the revolution has “elevated,” but not degraded, the quality of poetry that had been historically strong. But he may also be conscious of his audience of Spanish-speaking non-Nicaraguans. Cardenal’s focus on Nicaraguan literary tradition may be working to attract the support of non-Nicaraguans who see Nicaragua as a “nation of poets.”
Famous artists from around the world advocated for the Sandinistas in terms of their dissatisfaction with U.S. neocolonialism, which they understood through poetry. From Latin America, García Márquez and Cortázar, who had supported the initial revolution, continued to support the FSLN. From the U.S., actress Susan Sarandon, poet Allen Ginsberg, poet Adrienne Rich, poet Anne Waldman, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and musician Jackson Browne publicized an empathetic view of the Sandinistas; around the world, Nobel Prize-winning British playwright Harold Pinter, Indian writer Salman Rushdie, and U.S.S.R. poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko expressed their solidarity. Almost all these artists first encountered the Sandinistas through literature, especially poetry. In January 1982, Ginsberg and Yevtushenko attended the Managua Poetry Festival organized by Cardenal to celebrate the anniversary of Rubén Darío’s declaration of cultural independence. In their collaborative manifesto, “Declaration of Three,” the three poets call on international writers to support Nicaragua’s sovereignty explicitly in terms of the Cold War and Nicaragua’s poetry experimentation:
We don’t want to see Nicaragua become a puppet in anyone’s hands… we are witnesses that here in Nicaragua, which suffered so much under tyranny, misery, and ignorance, there is an intent on the part of the people to defend their economic and intellectual independence. Nicaragua is a big experimental workshop for new forms of get-together wherein art plays a primordial role. Many Nicaraguans – not only intellectuals – but also workers, farmers, the militia, write verse today, with hands tired of weapons. Let’s give them the possibility to write poetry with ink and not blood.
We call the world’s writers to come to Nicaragua to see with their own eyes the reality of Nicaragua and lift their voices in defense of this country, small but inspired. They’ll be welcome and can acquaint themselves directly with the true character of this revolution, of the efforts of the people to create a just society exempt from violence, a revolution whose image is being consciously distorted by those who have an interest in destroying the alternative which it proposes.
The manifesto ends with an appeal: “We trust that if the writers of the world get together, their pens will be mightier than any [U.S. imperialist] sword of Damocles.” As expected, the US and USSR poets framed the Nicaraguan struggle in terms of the Cold War. The key here is that these internationally-renowned poets came to Nicaragua to celebrate Rubén Darío, a symbol of both Nicaraguan anti-imperialism and the country’s national strength in poetry; they produced manifesto that praised the poetry workshops as an anti-violent aspect of the revolution. Poetry, especially poetry’s rich tradition and high profile in Nicaragua, continued to be a major draw for intellectuals worldwide and fueled the ongoing international support for the revolution.
High-profile writers such as Rich, Ferlinghetti, and Rushdie visited Nicaragua on both political and poetic premises. Rich, after receiving an invitation to a writers’ conference in Nicaragua, felt compelled to visit to “see what art might mean” in Nicaragua, an anti-consumerist revolutionary society of poets. Rich found “what was constantly and tellingly expressed was a belief in art, not as a commodity, not as luxury, not as suspect activity, but as a precious resource to be made available to all, one necessity for the rebuilding of a scarred, impoverished and still-bleeding country.” Ferlinghetti went on the invitation of Cardenal in 1984, knowing only the Reagan administration’s portrayal of Nicaragua, and left strongly in support of the Sandinistas (“[Poets] should go down there and come back here and tell people about what they saw and experienced. That’s what I’m doing.”). Rushdie went in 1986 on an invitation to an ASTC conference and recorded his experience in The Jaguar Smile, in which he speaks against the Contra War and US imperialism in the region after spending his week mostly with Nicaraguan poets. In their Nobel Prize speeches, Pinter and García Márquez mentioned Nicaragua in attacks against U.S. aggression and in Latin American solidarity. Writers worldwide saw the Sandinista Revolution and its cultural revolution as part of a broader vision of Latin American anti-imperialism. Nicaraguan poetry, which won the support of leftist intellectuals throughout the revolution, still stood on an international stage. Since Darío, the Nicaraguan poet had represented continental anti-imperialism in ways that may have indirectly intensified Cardenal’s and Jiménez’s hold on the poetry workshops.
That is not to suggest that international writers pressured poetry workshops into homogeneity. The link is too indirect, and it is still unclear if Cardenal and Jiménez consciously emphasized collectivity in the poetry workshops with an international audience in mind. Cardenal and Jiménez’s artistic preferences, as well as domestic rivalries with the artists’ union, may also account for the controversy. But acknowledging the non-Nicaraguan reader would explain why the Ministry paid careful attention to the poetry workshops and emphasized their continuity with Nicaragua’s historic strength in poetry, especially as a tool of leftist politics.
Sandinista poetry received much international attention before the revolution, making it a site of spectacle that raised the stakes for the success of the poetry workshops. Verse represented more than strategic alliances or tactical support for the revolutionary party – Nicaraguan poetry also offered a “human face” to the democratic socialist revolution that faced such defamation from U.S. propaganda. The collective voice that emerged in the literature, though not ideal, also proved that the Sandinistas successfully involved the masses in cultural production. As politically leftist but unofficial ambassadors for the Sandinista cultural and political revolution, writers worldwide condemned the U.S. and defended the Third World broadly, but also celebrated the Cultural Revolution as a powerful symbol of the revolution’s spirit and idealism in itself. Poetry provided a platform to win new support of from international writers—verse’s deep roots in the anti-imperialist fight went hand-in-hand with the historically high quality of the country’s verse. The poetry workshops, while certainly reflective of conflicts in domestic politics, had the indirect impact of shaping Nicaragua’s global presence, and sharpening the revolution’s continental mission.
This essay was awarded a 2013 Acheson Prize Honorable Mention.
Sarah Swong (’15) is a History major in Pierson College.
 Whisnant, David E. Rascally Signs in Sacred Places: The Politics of Culture in Nicaragua (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 313-343.
 Beverley, John, and Marc Zimmerman. Literature and Politics in the Central American Revolutions (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 34.
 Beverly and Zimmerman, 36-48.
 Ibid., 31.
 Ibid., 31. Cardenal went to graduate school at Columbia University, where he developed an appreciation for U.S. poets such as Walt Whitman— “America’s poet”—and Ezra Pound.
 Margaret Randall, Risking a Somersault in the Air: Conversations with Nicaraguan Writers (San Francisco: Solidarity Publications, 1984), 176. Solentiname, the artistic peasant community in Nicaragua, was begun by future Ministry of Culture leader Ernesto Cardenal in 1966.
 Randall, 181.
 Ibid., 148.
 Ibid., 35.
 Ibid., 181.
 Ibid., 31. From 1968 onwards, cultural-ideological work was the central way of unifying the front domestically, as the FSLN moved towards a strategy called “accumulation of forces” that used ideological texts and literature to build solidarity among social groups. Prose texts, too, mattered: Fonseca had already written Ideario político de Augusto César Sandino, which became the indoctrination manual for the FSLN. From 1969-1974, imprisoned FSLN leaders including Carlos Gudamuz, Jacinto Suárez, and Daniel Ortega snuck out writings to the lower-level FSLN members. Books such as Gudamuz’s Y las casas se llenaron de humo, which memorialized fallen FSLN member Julio Buitrago, became “study material for compañeros working underground and in the University Student Revolutionary Front (FER).
 Ibid., 49.
 Randall, 148-9.
 Ibid., 104.
 Borge, Tomás, and Carlos Fonseca et. al, Sandinistas Speak (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1982), 16-17.
 It became characteristic for the Ministry of Culture to work ad hoc as an experiment in cultural revolution; the lack of clarity on the Ministry’s role and cultural policy contributed to its dissolution later on. See Ross, Peter. “Cultural Policy in a Transitional Society: Nicaragua, 1979-89,” Third World Quarterly 12, no. 2 (1990): 110–129.
 Randall, 107.
 White, Steven. Culture & Politics in Nicaragua (New York: Lumen Books, 1986), 110.
 Craven, David. Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 137-8.
 White, 110.
 Ibid., 113; Jímenez, Mayra. Poesía De La Nueva Nicaragua: Talleres Populares De Poesía (Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1983), 18-38.
 Ibid., 18-38.
 Craven, 142-3.
 Ginsberg, Allen, Yevgeny Yevtuchenko, and Ernesto Cardenal, “Declaration of Three,” January 26, 1982.
 Rich, Adrienne. “Blood, Bread and Poetry: The Location of the Poet,” The Massachusetts Review 24, no. 3 (October 1, 1983): 521–540.
 Folpendesta, David. “Nicaragua Libre: A Conversation with Lawrence Ferlinghetti,” March 18, 1984, <http://www.chrisfelver.com/books/nicaragua_interiew.pdf>.
Beverley, John, and Marc Zimmerman. Literature and Politics in the Central American Revolutions. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.
Borge, Tomás, Carlos Fonseca, Daniel Ortega, Humberto Ortega, and Jaime Wheelock. Sandinistas Speak. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1982.
Cardenal, Ernesto, Michael T. Martin, and Jeffrey Franks. “On Culture, Politics, and the State in Nicaragua: An Interview with Padre Ernesto Cardenal, Minister of Culture.” Latin American Perspectives 16, no. 2 (April 1, 1989): 124–133.
Craven, David. Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
García Márquez, Gabriel. “Nobel Lecture: The Solitude of Latin America,” December 17, 2012. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1982/marquez-lecture.html>.
Ginsberg, Allen, Yevgeny Yevtuchenko, and Ernesto Cardenal. “Declaration of Three,” January 26, 1982. <http://www.allenginsberg.org/index.php?page=declaration-of-three>.
Jiménez, Mayra. Poesía De La Nueva Nicaragua: Talleres Populares De Poesía. Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1983.
Pinter, Harold. “Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth & Politics,” December 17, 2012. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2005/pinter-lecture-e.html>.
Randall, Margaret. Risking a Somersault in the Air: Conversations with Nicaraguan Writers. San Francisco: Solidarity Publications, 1984.
Rich, Adrienne. “Blood, Bread and Poetry: The Location of the Poet.” The Massachusetts Review 24, no. 3 (October 1, 1983): 521–540.
Ross, Peter. “Cultural Policy in a Transitional Society: Nicaragua, 1979-89.” Third World Quarterly 12, no. 2 (1990): 110–129.
Whisnant, David E. Rascally Signs in Sacred Places: The Politics of Culture in Nicaragua. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
White, Steven. Culture & Politics in Nicaragua: Testimonies of Poets and Writers. New York: Lumen Books, 1986.]]>
After the end of World War II, the Allied powers called for Germany and its capital to be jointly occupied by the war’s victorious powers. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, they finalized plans for Berlin to be administered in four discrete sectors — by the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France. That system of administration ultimately lasted in various forms through 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, marking a wave of democratic revolutions in central and eastern Europe.
Figure 1: excerpt from map of East Germany, 1988
Maps of Berlin from 1945 to 1989 do not only narrate the city’s complex modern history; they serve as evidence of actions by both West Berlin and the German Democratic Republic (Eastern Germany) to manipulate their relations in the aftermath of the division of Nazi Germany. As T. H. Elkins noted, Berlin served as a stage for events representing shifts in the global Cold War. While not all such maps were as dramatic as that in figure 1, contrasting the maps produced in each half of Berlin — especially in the ways they depicted the other side — suggests that both sides attempted to use cartography as a means to advance their own vision of Berlin’s future.
Building (and depicting) the Berlin Wall
Even prior to the construction of the Berlin Wall, maps of the divided city raised questions as to what, exactly, constituted “Berlin.” A map produced in East Berlin in 1960 — just one year before the wall was built — depicted the city’s sectors in equal parts.  But in nomenclature, the map already weighed “Westberlin” against “Demokratischem Berlin,” and its legend suggested that Westberlin was just a puppet state of the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. (The map provided no such description of the relationship between “Demokratischem Berlin” and the Soviet Union.)
The issue of nomenclature was a profound one: Along with the name of Berlin came a sense of political legitimacy for either of the two successor states of Nazi Germany. In West Germany, the state’s leaders decided that Berlin could not be the capital due to its split occupation; they instead opted for Bonn, in the far west of the country. But in East Germany, the Soviet-approved leadership faced little dilemma in opting for East Berlin as capital, despite the post-war Allied agreement preventing this choice.
Before the construction of the wall, residents of either half of Berlin were permitted to pass freely between the two sides. In the 1950s, this became a problem for East Berlin, whose citizens were enamored with the culture, commodities, and Soviet-free information readily available in the Western sectors. Most importantly, those dissatisfied with life in East Germany had an easy escape route through West Berlin, from where they could easily travel to West Germany and beyond. In 1960, with 1,000 East Berliners fleeing westward each day, East Germany seemed on the verge of collapse. In response, on August 13, 1961, the East German government laid a barbed-wire foundation for the Berlin Wall, immediately halting travel between the two halves of the city. From this initial border — which the Western powers viewed as a violation of post-war agreements enabling freedom of movement throughout Berlin — emerged layers of barrier preventing movement between East and West; as Elkins wrote in 1988, “escapers are extremely few.”
Figure 2: the Berlin Wall, as depicted in a West Berlin map of 1961
Maps from West Berlin manifested those concerns as well, with one 1961 map — created in the same year as the wall — portraying the barrier as made of brick, imposing in its harsh red color (the actual wall was constructed from concrete). Together with the bold line of barbed wire separating West Berlin from East Germany, the map depicted Berlin as trapped between a wall and a field of barbed wire, as shown in figure 2. Indeed, the idea of barbed wire mirrored the mental image of a borderland that many West Berliners envisioned; Elkins noted that Postdamer Platz was “once the ‘Picadilly Circus’ of Berlin,” only to become a “wasteland along the sector boundary.”
Given this sentiment, as well as the history of actual blockades restricting movement into West Berlin, it is not surprising that some maps included insets of the defined transit corridors into the city. There were three such paths that planes could travel from West Germany to West Berlin, in addition to four passenger train lines and three separate autobahns. Emphasizing these corridors in a map inset — one that was obviously not intended to help guide air travel — served to draw the isolated city of West Berlin, which was surrounded by hostile forces, closer to its allies. These ties between West Berlin and West Germany were tenuous, with the Soviet Union actively working to prevent formal relations between the city and state. While the Western powers were trying to reduce West Berlin’s isolation, the Soviets were aiming to preserve it. The 1971 Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin allowed greater freedom for West Berliners to travel to East Berlin and East Germany, in exchange for keeping West Berlin under the control of the US, the UK, and France, as opposed to West Germany. Significantly, the Soviets and Western powers disagreed over whether this agreement applied to East Berlin too; like the dispute over the capital’s location, Soviet officials argued that the territory of East Berlin was exempt because it was embedded within East Germany.
Across the Wall
Figure 3: U-Bahn Map (made in West Berlin), 1966
Railway maps, with their simplified symbology, provide a strong source for studying maps’ ties to political history; Berlin, with its two separate urban rail networks, provides an especially ideal set of these maps. At the end of the war, the Allies, including the Soviet Union, had agreed that the East Berlin-based Deutsche Reichsbahn would continue to manage the S-Bahn, which ran throughout the entire city. Upon the construction of the Berlin Wall, however, West Berliners began to boycott the S-Bahn in favor of the U-Bahn subway system, which was predominantly based in West Berlin, and a bus system. Any depiction of West Berlin’s subway network would have to represent part of East Berlin in some way: two of West Berlin’s underground lines passed through East Berlin territory. At least since 1966, stops within East Berlin on those two lines (a total of 11 stops) were closed to West Berlin subway trains, according to a 1966 U-Bahn map, shown in figure 3. Not only did the map depict those two stops; it also included an additional U-Bahn line almost wholly contained within East Berlin, to which transfers were not available.
But on the eastern side of the wall, the first map of the Berlin tram network produced after the construction of the Berlin Wall showed that the city’s scope had already been redefined. Compared to its pre-wall counterpart, the 1965 map has been re-centered within the Soviet occupation zone, and it depicted nothing that lies west of the wall, including tracks of the S-Bahn that continue across the border. Gone, too, were the labels for each of the city’s sectors; those four parts have been replaced with only two: “Berlin” — the focus of the map — and “Westberlin.”
Use of the two labels became widespread in East Berlin transit maps. But as the wall increased the isolation of West Berlin, transit maps soon began to compartmentalize the western sectors of the city in ways other than just nomenclature. While a 1966 S-Bahn map included lines that ran beyond the wall, it depicted the entire Western half of the network, and the city, as contained within a walled-off bubble. That bubble helped to distinguish “Westberlin” — dominated by its counterpart to the east — from Berlin, emphasized as “Capital of the GDR.” As Elkins has noted, this official title helped East Germany underscore that “East Berlin is an integral part of its territory,” as opposed to the looser relations between West Berlin and West Germany.
Figure 4: East Berlin S-Bahn map, without West Berlin, 1984
Over time, that container for the West on East Berlin maps gradually shrank, particularly as the Cold War drew closer to its dramatic conclusion. On an East Berlin-made transit map in 1984, “Westberlin” was secondary to “BERLIN” in both typeface and positioning; it filled an ambiguously sized cloud on the left side of the map, as depicted in figure 4. By 1989 — what would be the second-to-last year for divided Berlin — West Berlin was little more than a small bubble, enveloped within the loop of a regional train that encircled the city of Berlin. In the minimalist context of a transportation map, the effect is less startling than it would be in a normal street map, but the conclusion is essentially the same: East Berlin is wholly separate from West Berlin.
East Berlin officials had often tried to introduce policies that, like the train maps, emphasized the distinction between East and West Berlin. For example, in designing immigration policies between the western sectors and East Berlin in 1966, East Germany attempted to require diplomats and uniformed military personnel to show passports when crossing into East Berlin — which would have directly contradicted agreements about the governance of Berlin held after World War II. Writing in 1988, Elkins noted “In [East Germany’s] view, West Berlin’s status is certainly not to be enhanced; rather it is hoped that the city will wither on the vine, falling eventually into the lap of the GDR.” He added that, unlike Western officials, East Germans long believed the boundary between East and West Berlin to be international by definition and, accordingly, attempted to negotiate with West Berlin as a sovereign state.
Moreover, in minimizing the presence of West Berlin features and institutions on its maps, East Berlin cartographers drew upon techniques that simulated, graphically, the same effects that the Berlin Wall had in actuality. Just as the Berlin Wall prevented the free flow of information, people, and commerce between West and East Berlin, the techniques used to underrepresent West Berlin in maps similarly helped to obscure reality. Facing the masses of Germans discontented with living in East Berlin, East German leader Erich Honecker sought to convince them of their rightful place in East Germany, much as the Berlin Wall had restrained East Berliners from fleeing westward. Following the 1971 agreement, which led to improved relations between East and West, Honecker’s strategy was to strengthen East Germany’s ties to history with a calculated, if preposterous, campaign to rewrite German history. As Alexandra Richie has written, “[Honecker’s] dream was to inculcate a sense of identity in his citizens such that they would forget that they had ever had ties with their neighbor to the west, and would treat [West Germany] like any other foreign country.”
Following Honecker’s strategy, East Germany rewrote its history to remove ties to Germany and its recent Nazi history, associating Hitler’s crimes with the narrative of West Germany rather than its own past. Because it was impossible to eradicate all references to Nazi Germany, historians were required to associate the era of Hitler with the evils of capitalism. Richie noted:
[Historians] were to cultivate the East German sense of identity, to foster individual initiatives and social engagement and love of the Vaterland [her emphasis]. … [T]hey created a version of history which ‘proved’ that East Germans had not been involved in any of the terrible crimes of the Third Reich and that only those now in West Germany had any connection with Nazism. Of all the twentieth-century attempts to rewrite history, this one must stand alone as the most ludicrous.
The new version of history recast World War II as a class struggle, glorifying the Soviet Union for its victory. Such a deception required distancing East and West Berlin in maps, though that was only one part of a much larger campaign. Everything both German and positive, like Beethoven, Goethe, and Bach suddenly became “East German” — regardless of historical realities — while West Berlin and West Germany were left with fascists and Nazis. Richie writes, “With West Berlin erased from all East German street maps only East Berlin could claim to be the heir to that ‘great historical, political, administrative, economic and cultural centre’ which had grown into ‘a centre of artistic and scientific excellence’.”
Figure 5: Transportation map with West Berlin as an island, 1966
Still, though the examples thus far have stressed maps of East Berlin that minimized the existence of its western counterpart, this technique was not unique to the DDR. West Berlin maps often reversed the naming conventions of East Berlin maps; the 1961 map, for example, referred to the West as simply “Berlin” to suggest its authenticity as Germany’s leading city while East Berlin was “Ostberlin.” Another such example was a 1966 West Berlin transportation map, which depicted West Berlin as an island adjacent to a selected section of East Berlin (see figure 5). This was more or less in line with the way that West Berliners viewed their own place in the European landscape; as Elkins noted, the “extraordinary island city of West Berlin has all its most essential economic, political and cultural links not with its immediate environment but with the ‘mainland’ of the Federal Republic [West Germany], 175 km and more away.” Even maps that included parts of East Germany’s Brandenburg region that surrounded Berlin (and thus, did not depict West Berlin as an island) minimized the presence of West Berlin’s neighbors in more subtle ways. For example, a 1962 street map included the same level of detail for the geography of Soviet-controlled regions as it did for those of West Berlin, and the map’s insets for the city’s transportation networks included the full set of stops outside West Berlin. But the map’s cropping excluded most of the non-West Berlin territory, and the placement of the map’s legend covered up much of downtown East Berlin.
Figure 6: Integrated S- and U-Bahn map, West Berlin, 1984
While transportation maps in East Berlin gradually depicted less of West Berlin territory over time, subway maps in West Berlin instead expanded to include more of East Berlin’s transportation networks. In 1984 years later, following the addition of one U-Bahn and two S-Bahn lines, West Berlin produced a new map of its transportation network, shown in figure 6. This map, which integrated the U-Bahn and S-Bahn networks, also expanded the extent of East Berlin’s transit options vis-à-vis previous West Berlin maps. Like the U-Bahn stops within East Berlin, which were still depicted on the map even though they were closed to West Berliners, the newly added East Berlin S-Bahn lines were not accessible to residents of West Berlin. Thus, they are a strange addition to the map. In a city that had been divided for nearly 40 years, the expanded representation of the East Berlin transit system — which appears to connect seamlessly with its West Berlin counterpart — drew the two halves of the city closer together.
The explanation for why West and East Berlin adopted different approaches in including or excluding detail from the city’s other half may lie in their perceived relationship. While East Berlin officials, as previously stated, viewed the Berlin Wall as the expression of an international boundary line, the West Berlin government saw the border as “a purely internal political division within Greater Berlin.” Following that principle, as Elkins noted, the West Berlin administration did not seek to station border controls along the Wall, as their East Berlin counterparts did. Similarly, transportation maps in the West included their East Berlin components because the maps sought to depict the entire transportation network of the city, and West Berliners’ definition of their city differed from that of East Berliners.
Conclusion: Questions Raised in Reunification
When the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, the dramatic changes for both East and West Berliners alike reopened questions about the status of Berlin — and Germany — that had long gone unanswered. Would East Germany ever again find stability? Would the countries re-merge? Would Berlin be the capital of a unified Germany? Ultimately, by July 1991, the countries had joined together, with Berlin as their united capital, to face many more questions ahead.
Figure 7: Unified network map following fall of Berlin Wall, 1990
When the Berlin Wall lost its ability to separate East and West, the clause on West Berlin transportation maps for many East Berlin S-Bahn stations, “only accessible by trains of the BVG East and DR,” no longer held true. Finally, the full extent of Berlin’s transportation network (see figure 7) was easily accessible to all of the city’s residents. With reunification finally achieved, it became possible to interpret the series of West Berlin rail maps as a narrative of gradual movement toward reunification. However, that end was not always guaranteed, and among western nations, only the United States and Canada supported reunification immediately — which in itself did not guarantee the result. Thus, we should avoid interpreting reunification as a change that was widely foreseen and predicted in maps of Berlin from the 1980’s. After all, when he posed the question of Berlin’s future in 1988, Elkins answered himself, writing:
West Berlin, it can be argued, so rigorously shut off by an unsympathetic neighbour, is no longer an essential component of German life. There are already those who describe it as ‘provincial’; will it relapse into the condition of an ‘old-age pensioner’ of the Federal Republic, until the West Germans no longer care enough to keep it out of the hands of the GDR? Or will the initiative and creative ability inherent in a free economy find new and viable roles for the walled city?
Instead, the cartography from Cold War-era Berlin suggests that the mapping and counter-mapping of two opposing forces reveals where their political aims diverge. In this case, the critical question at hand was whether or not a city divided would be drawn back together.
This essay was awarded a 2013 Acheson Prize Honorable Mention.
Andrew Henderson (’13) is a History and Economics major in Silliman College.
 “Topografische Karte 1:200.000.”
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 31.
 Ibid., 30.
 “Strassenübersichtsplan Von Berlin :ohne Aussenbezirke Mit Namenverzeichnis.”
 The legend reads: “Westberlin: Bereich des Besatzungsregimes der USA, Großbritanniens und. Frankreichs,” which translates as “West Berlin: The area of the occupation regime of the United States, Great Britain, and France.”
 As Alexandra Richie has noted, it did not help that West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer had a strong distaste for Berlin. Richie, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, 678.
 Ibid., 679.
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 51.
 Ibid., 54.
 Ibid., 55.
 In the map, West Berlin is in fact labeled as just “Berlin,” suggesting that it is the authentic heir to the city’s cultural and political heritage. Thus it suggests that Berlin, not West Berlin, is “trapped.” I will return to the question of which side was the authentic “Berlin” later.
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 50.
 One example is the famous Berlin Airlift, instituted after Soviet forces discovered engineering problems with the land routes between West Germany and Berlin. Getting around the blockade required roughly 380 plane flights a day in 1948 and 1949. Ibid., 42–43.
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 108.
 Ibid., 58.
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 115.
 Ibid., 116–117.
 Translated from “Berlin, Hauptstadt der DDR”
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 48.
 “S and U-Bahn.”
 For an example, refer back to figure 1 at the beginning of this paper.
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 59.
 Richie, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, 734.
 Ibid., 734–735.
 Ibid., 735.
 Ibid., 739.
 Ibid., 742.
 Ibid., 742–743.
 “BVG Liniennetz: U-Bahn.”
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 62.
 “Stadtplan Berlin :mit Sehenswürdigkeiten Und Berlin Bei Nacht.”
 “S and U-Bahn.”
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 59.
 Richie, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, 836.
 “S and U-Bahn.”
 Translated from: “Bahnhöfe, die nur mit den Zügen der BVG Ost und der DR zu erreichen sind.”
 Richie, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, 839.
 Elkins, Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City, 251.
“BVG Liniennetz: U-Bahn”. West Berlin: BVG, 1966. University of California, Los Angeles. http://linuxdev.ats.ucla.edu/.
Elkins, T. H. Berlin: The Spatial Structure of a Divided City. New York: Methuen, 1988.
“Mauerplāne”. Berlin, 1960. Map Collection, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University.
Richie, Alexandra. Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998.
“S and U-Bahn”. West Berlin: BVG_West, 1984. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.
“S and U-Bahn”. Berlin, 1990. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.
“S-Bahn”. Berlin, 1966. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.
“S-Bahn”. East Berlin: Ost, 1984. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.
“Stadtplan Berlin :mit Sehenswürdigkeiten Und Berlin Bei Nacht”. Berlin, 1962. Zentral-und Landesbibliothek Berlin. http://collections.europeanalocal.de/muradora/browse.action?parentId=eld%3Azlb-bsk-collection&type=1&sort=dc2.date.
“Strassenübersichtsplan Von Berlin :ohne Aussenbezirke Mit Namenverzeichnis”. Berlin: Centre for Berlin Studies, 1960. http://collections.europeanalocal.de/muradora/browse.action?parentId=eld%3Azlb-bsk-collection&type=1&sort=dc2.date.
“Topografische Karte 1:200.000”, 1988. Zentral-und Landesbibliothek Berlin. http://www.zlb.de/berlin_studien/karten/berliner_ansichten.
“Tram”. Berlin: BVG, 1949. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.
“Tram”. (East Berlin): BVB, 1965. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.
“U-Bahn”. West Berlin: BVG, 1966. http://www.berliner-verkehr.de/snetze.htm.]]>
To be in a situation where people might die, or live in misery, if you weren’t there, is meaningful…I thought the HOPE needed me. Now I think I need the HOPE.
An unnamed volunteer aboard the international hospital ship S.S. Hope made the above quote to comment on the personal significance of his service work. Staffed by American volunteer doctors and nurses, the S.S. Hope sailed around the world during the Cold War era on its simple mission of treating disease and teaching public health to native peoples of “new” developing nations. But the American media and American people seized upon these simple and good project ideals and shaped Project HOPE into a ubiquitous and enduring symbol of national pride. Incorporating a conglomeration of agendas, the symbol became a great, big idea used, by various Americas, to meet high-stakes ends. Some of these ends reflected the best of American idealism, while others advanced the proprietary goals and enterprise of its sponsors. Thus, this volunteer’s words also capture how the public moved, from thinking Project HOPE and its “primitive” patients needed America, to America itself depending on the image of this “mercy ship.” Tracing the period stretching from the founding of the Project (c. 1958) through its initial voyages to (1960-1963, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Peru) shows the rise of Hope as a national symbol in the American media and how American’s perception of the project changed over time.
This process uncovers the actions of specific interest groups in the general American population which popularized Hope and then applied its symbolism to their own agendas. These groups projected their own meanings onto the ship and its missions: industries, such as the Ex-Cell-O Corporation, used highly-publicized giving to Hope to promote their image and win business in America and also overseas. American government actors and agencies, from Eisenhower to Kennedy to USAID, saw Hope as an ideological Cold War weapon to fight communism, place America on the international stage, and garner public approval. Women’s clubs and social elites found, in Hope, a pre-packaged cause they could incorporate into their regular activities like balls, teas, fashion shows, and parties. Case studies of these population subsets, which contributed to the story of Hope while serving their own agendas, describe the growth and change of a prominent cultural symbol, over time.
By the time Project HOPE retired the S.S. Hope in 1973, due to insurmountable operational costs, she had sailed some 250,000 miles to bring American medical professionals to underdeveloped countries to teach and practice Western medicine. Over the 13 years that Hope operated, about 2,500 American doctors, nurses, and medical technicians had served aboard. These medical personnel trained 9,000 native physicians, dentists, and nurses; and they also treated 200,000 persons, which included conducting almost 19,000 major surgical operations, and taught public health and sanitation, in roving teams, to native people in the countryside.
Painted a shining white with the word “HOPE” etched on its side in giant, black letters, the ship and her story had become ubiquitous in popular media. Though this media often heralded Hope as “unique” and “unprecedented,” Hope’s work fit into an existent genre of American medical philanthropy abroad.  Hope rose to prominence during the organizations’ highly-publicized formative years because it fit a pattern in foreign aid. As Michael Barnett argues, after World War II, the language of paternalism was removed from global humanitarian ideologies and replaced with a discourse that proclaimed developed nations were obliged to “teach” poor ones. In a climate where global humanitarian rhetoric justified any Western intervention, development non-governmental organizations swooped in, “offering themselves as saviors,” and flourished. The non-profit format proliferated due to perceptions in American culture that private activity had a greater effect abroad than “coercive” and ineffective governmental efforts. Thus, many NGOs, including HOPE, marketed themselves in opposition to government projects, hiding government involvement by overemphasizing a base of private donations. Like NGOs before, HOPE seized on the language of “self-help” and “teaching” and “training” the underdeveloped as a self-sustaining method of development. The “self-help” teachings of Cold War development often pivoted on training native leaders to use venerated Western technology – and, especially, to practice Western medicine. Thus, one of HOPE’s most lauded elements was its provision of “training in the latest techniques in [American] medicine to Indonesian [and other indigenous] doctors, nurses, and technicians.”
In this environment, “the medical missionary” in Asia became a celebrated cultural type in America, popularized by the media-savvy public figures who founded these NGOs and Project HOPE followed this example. In fact, this media pattern prefigured the imminent celebrity of Dr. William B. Walsh in the early 1960s. Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave, the “Burma Surgeon,” graphically presented his “dramatic adventures” and health work at a Burmese missionary hospital in a series of very popular novels. Popular media fondly publicized the work of Norman Cousins, who raised funds to bring disfigured young women to America for treatment, and Dr. Thomas Dooley. Dooley, who ran a series of anti-communist refugee camps in Laos and beautifully dramatized the need for curative medicine in Asia, was hailed as “a kind of legend” for his humanitarian compassion. Dooley founded MEDICO, an organization, similar to Project HOPE and active in the late 50s and early 60s, dedicated “to bringing direct, physician-to-patient medical aid” to areas with need, as well as teaching others modern medicine. Thus, Project HOPE was also not the first organization to propose a people-to-people approach to international medical aid. HOPE was not a unique idea. On the eve of its founding, it fit several existing patterns of American medical philanthropy abroad.
But why did HOPE become “one of the most loved symbol[s] of American benevolence” where these other causes enjoyed mere popularity? For one, Hope made an easy appeal to national pride in the general American public. The nation made Hope an icon for all the reasons it valued American philanthropy overseas: for exporting “American” values abroad, demonstrating our self-conceptualized generosity and special responsibility to the rest of the world, appeasing guilt about national policy, and furthering national interest. Also, the great, white, and majestic S.S. Hope, bringing “a type of foreign aid understood instantly by everyone,” made an easy visual symbol. Or, put in Walsh’s flowery language: “Illiterate people don’t have to read about it, they can see it, and many ride miles just to stand and look at the ship.” Additionally, the timing was right. Hope emerged on the national stage during the immediate aftermath of the bestselling novel The Ugly American, an expose of the incompetence of anti-Communist foreign policy programs, attributed to insensitivity and ignorance towards local cultures.
Fundamentally, Hope was created to re-prove the basic humanity of American citizens in a time when this was very much doubted by international populations, an issue only acknowledged after being raised in the book. In fact, Walsh pitched the project to President Eisenhower in 1958 as an effective way to fix the unfavorable image of America held by foreign nations:
There are a lot of people who don’t understand Americans and a lot of people who don’t like Americans. In fact, there’s a book called The Ugly American. And, Mr. President, with great respect toward you, this is not going to be solved by heads of state.
Walsh’s doctors showed underdeveloped peoples American generosity – “the idea of America” – by providing a kind of help indicative of “the depth of human emotional response.” In this way, they also fought the ideological spread of Communism. The American public, mobilized into action by the book, strongly supported this goal. A plethora sources identified and promoted Walsh’s intention of using Hope to help “dispel the image of ‘The Ugly American.’”
More concretely, Walsh explicitly incorporated the lessons of the novel in structuring the Project. The Ugly American praises practical solutions and intermediate technologies implemented on a personal level by culturally sensitive leaders. Hope presented a “modern,” Americanized medicine as this sort of simple, but venerable technology. To work towards cultural sensitivity, Walsh insisted that his volunteers (“Hopies”) learn local languages before the ship arrived at its destinations; the 1961 documentary Project Hope displays video of one such Indonesian language class for Hope’s doctors and nurses. In the public eye, Walsh highlighted the project’s inclusion of roving medical teams operating inland – The Ugly American praised interventions in the countryside – for small scale, people-oriented medical assistance. Thus, in the moment of the late 1950s, the emerging Project HOPE was poised to appeal to an American public looking to encapsulate its self-conceptualized “crazy personal generosity” and humanity in a symbol, which could be applied to further foreign policy and assert national pride.
Yet, ultimately, the idea itself meant nothing without interest groups to lobby for and promote a constant dialogue about it in the media. In addition to in-kind contributions, government agencies gave legitimacy, endorsement, and significant financial backing to the Project; the Ex-Cell-O Corporation donated collection boxes in drugstores around the nation and a publically-broadcast documentary of the Hope ship’s inaugural mission. Hope also flourished because of the thousands of “fraternal organizations, clubs, churches, and individuals” that seized upon this ready-made framework and maintained a dialogue in the media about Hope throughout the 1960s.
Early government involvement in Project HOPE was tentative and opportunistic. But, after witnessing the success of HOPE’s first mission to Indonesia, government agencies began more enthusiastic endorsement of the project and ultimately applied HOPE’s symbology to their own ends. Actually, HOPE emerged from the existing governmental structure of Eisenhower’s People-to-People Program, though it soon departed as a voluntary non-profit. Created in 1956, the People-to-People Program encouraged ordinary “people to get together and to leap governments” to promote America abroad. Structurally, People-to-People united specific populations into “independent citizen’s committees” based on interests, which included a Committee on Medicine and the Health Profession. Walsh became Co-chair of this Committee in 1958; from there, he launched HOPE, as he later insisted, out of a personal impetus to do good. Thomas S. Gates, Secretary of the Navy, endorsed the idea and enthusiastically agreed to lend HOPE a navy ship from the mothballs. But the ship in mind, U.S.S. Consolation, needed a $1.2 million reconditioning before it could sail, and this funding had to be provided by the International Cooperation Administration.
The ICA intensely consulted with the US Operations Mission in Jakarta and the acting Secretary of State, Christian Herter, about funding the project; in discussions and internal documentation, all parties expressed concerns that Hope was too symbolic and not practical enough in nature. Calling Project HOPE an “an ‘amateurish’ approach” to a complicated problem of US foreign relations, they realized that the structure of the idea valued American participation and American public relations over medical effectiveness overseas. Additionally, they were concerned about the practicality of the project relative to its cost, and therefore “adopted a wait-and-see attitude” to this funding question during the organization’s early formations. So, Walsh turned to elite corporations for the financial and material help needed to build up the organization, which he successfully received. Only after significant lobbying by HOPE’s corporate elite board, who argued that any “excess cost” of the Project was justified by the propaganda power and “goodwill that would accrue from having a privately endowed US hospital ship” on this mission, did the ICA agree to fund the reconditioning. They did so out of recognition of Hope’s symbolic power.
Thus, prior to the emergence of concrete evidence of the Project’s success and widespread awareness of Hope’s work (c. 1961), the public record of government documents concerning Hope shows tentative support, at best, for the idea. On February 10, 1959, President Eisenhower voiced his support for the project in calling it, “Wonderful!” But he then went on to qualify that statement by adding that the Navy would not have the ship ready until “assurance” that the Project had significant backing from private interests was received. An October 1960 telegram from the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations shows notes from a friendly meeting between President Sukarno of Indonesia and President Kennedy in which, amongst other things, “the impending arrival in Indonesia of the Project Hope hospital ship” was discussed. Yet Sukarno and Kennedy waited until April 1961 to release the “Kennedy-Sukarno Joint Statement Commending Project Hope,” which cited Hope’s “successful visit to Indonesia” as an illustration of the “spirit of cooperation” between the countries. After its success was confirmed, Kennedy and Sukarno both applied the symbology of the good ship to speak to international collaboration.
In mid-1961, after Hope’s first voyage to Indonesia was deemed a success, enthusiasm for Hope erupted across the nation; at this time, government agencies jumped aboard this bandwagon and began overwhelmingly and persistently supporting Project HOPE in public record documents. In the Congressional Record, a series of Representatives and Senators began loudly praising Hope in speeches which included news-worth articles about the ship’s voyages and celebrations of their constituents’ participation in the Project. Hon. Abner W. Sibal (Connecticut) spoke to his pride at representing “a district that has furnished supplies and personnel to this work.” Senator Dirksen (Illinois) recognized Stanley Hellman, D.D.S., Miss Charlotte M. Roller, and Dr. Max Hirshfelder for serving aboard. Hon. John W. McCormack (Massachusetts) celebrated Mr. Henry E. Moobery’s activism on behalf of HOPE and read a resolution from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts commending the Hope ship. Hon. Pat McNamara (Michigan) celebrated several Michigan men who volunteered.
Support for the mercy ship was ubiquitous and bipartisan. Conservative representatives praised Hope’s civilian leadership as superior to government involvement. Hon. Henry C. Shadeberg (Wisconsin) promoted Hope for having “so many advantages over Government-sponsored programs of a similar nature” in a speech to the House of Representatives. In contrast, liberals like Hon. Dante Fascell favorably underscored how HOPE was “supported by our foreign aid program.” Both sides praised the Project’s anti-Communist aims. When the only major critique of Hope in the contemporary media arose, significant congressional backlash resulted. In the article “ICA Aide Says Hospital Ship Hope Isn’t Worth Money Its Sponsors Ask,” published in mid-1961, an anonymous high-ranking ICA official aired earlier concerns that the project itself was not worth the high cost of government subsidies requested, and that the question of government funding concerned only the “propaganda value” of the ship. Senator Hubert Humphrey (Minnesota) condemned this article and used that moment to promote a resolution, entitled “Commending Project Hope,” which he had submitted earlier in 1961. “Commending Project Hope” easily passed on January 18th, 1962.
The brief resolution applauded government for its supportive role in the popular cause. Humphrey’s language gave the history of government involvement a very positive gloss in saying that “Project Hope has received the enthusiastic support of Government.” The report, from Senator J. William Fulbright, of the Committee on Foreign Relations that recommended its approval included commentary from the Department of State. State emphasized the “substantial assistance” that the US government had provided to the Project, in the form of both the Navy ship Consolation, the $2.7 million eventually given to recondition the ship, and an interest-free loan of $500,000. Once the Project achieved mass popularity, the government quickly forgot its earlier reservations.
For Congress, Hope was an easy cause, and supporting the mercy ship allowed congressmen to both praise their constituents active in the organization and cast government as eager to support private voluntary efforts at foreign aid.
The United States Agency for International Development, too, backed Project HOPE in the mid-1960s. Though Project HOPE initially promised of government independence, the organization looked to USAID for funding in the middle of the decade. As part of a large-scale program created by a new Foreign Assistance Act for 1964, USAID provided “approximately $4 million to US voluntary agencies to ship an estimated $80 million of supplies and commodities to about 80 countries” that year. Project HOPE was one of as one of 27 voluntary agencies in AID’s program of paying ocean freight costs for donated supplies, according to a 1964 USAID internal document. In fact, HOPE requested $1.5 million for FY 1965 under this program, though the amount they were eventually granted is unclear. Additionally, HOPE successfully received funding from USAID’s contingency fund at this time. Created by Section 451 of that Foreign Assistance Act, the fund could only be utilized “when the President determined such use to be important to national interest.” This funding record indicates the US government’s high regard for Hope’s symbolic power.
Project HOPE’s receipt of USAID funding was well documented in the public record. Jacob A. Rubin’s 1964 popular contemporary history of foreign aid, Your Hundred Billion Dollars, The Complete Story of American Foreign Aid, detailed Project HOPE’s cooperation with USAID and participation in the overseas freight program. Rubin analyzed Hope not as a private, voluntary effort, but as “a symbol for all that US foreign aid programs stand for.” USAID itself used HOPE as a textbook example for its partnerships with voluntary agencies in internal and external literature. In a more explicit example, the United States Information Agency bought the rights to Project Hope, a documentary of the ship’s work, from its producers, translated it into 23 languages, and began distributing it overseas as a propaganda example of the humanitarian possibility when private citizens received government support.
From President Kennedy to Congress to USAID and USIA, different sectors of the US government applied the popular symbol to their own ends. Like with government, business and industry were very involved in building up HOPE during its formative years; once Hope achieved widespread popularity, industry, too began employing the symbol for their own enterprise. The Ex-Cell-O Corporation, in particular, epitomized this pattern.
As discussed above, Project HOPE’s board of directors consisted of elite corporate executives in a position to lobby government officials on behalf of HOPE. Hailing from industries like pharmaceuticals, entertainment, international tourism, and defense, many members of Project HOPE’s inaugural board of May 20th, 1959 maintained “close ties to the government.” Board Member C.D. Jackson, a former psychological warfare advisor to President, exemplified this network of public-private elite in serving as the Executive Vice President at the Time-Life Corporation during his Project HOPE tenure. Jackson and the other well-connected corporate elites manipulated public media to convince government agencies like the ICA to stand behind the cause. Jackson was personally responsible for running the article “Bold Peace Plan for US: A New ‘Great White Fleet,’” as the Life magazine cover for the July 27th, 1959 issue. That magazine introduced both Hope and the “Great White Fleet” proposal broadly to the public and began the drive for contributions, thereby sparking the Hope awareness campaign. In addition to human support and government relations, industry gave serious financial backing and donated much-needed equipment to the venture. By September 1960, commerce and industry had contributed $727,480 in cash, plus millions in in-kind donations which included $1.5 million in pharmaceuticals; in contrast, direct mail solicitations from the American people amounted to $130,765 by that month.
Why did industry contribute so significantly to the Hope effort by providing funds, in-kind donations and human support? Assisting patriotic efforts to “integrate the free world” by ensuring a prominent American presence in the global economy was a frequently-cited motivation. More importantly, industry realized that supporting such a pervasive and widespread American philanthropy effort impressed industry’s goodwill on the American people. The big industrialists were themselves public figures, and the Project HOPE effort allowed them to showcase both their personal humanity and corporate power by serving as board members. Headlines like “Industrialists Lay Out Mercy Ship’s Course,” proclaimed the personal agency of the industrialists in founding the organization (from their Bel-Air mansions). Finally, companies hoped that siding with Hope could lead to an expansion of their markets overseas when Hope volunteers introduced their products to foreign peoples.
The dairy industry, in particular, rallied around Hope for this reason. Rex K. Smith of Foremost Dairies believed that “perhaps [his company] will get some customers” as a result of donating a machine to produce reconditioned milk from sea water. Corn Products Co. of New York donated a year’s supply of “a new margarine line” to Hope as a publicity move to introduce the product to Americans at home and also to “expand foreign markets” abroad. Large dairies like these provided about $140,000 in total. Hope’s most notable donor had dairy roots, too: the Ex-Cell-O Corporation of Detroit, whose “Pure-Pak” arm worked in the packaging of dairy products, contributed an additional $250,000. This funding provided for a milk-carton-packaging machine for the ship and thousands of milk cartons-cum-collection boxes for Project HOPE. Covered with pictures of Hope and “destitute” Asian women and children accompanied by the slogan “Help Launch Hope,” they were placed in drugstores across the nation. These collection boxes typified the random combination of corporate products and Hope’s philanthropic message. Additionally, Ex-Cell-O funded the public documentary Project Hope, which detailed the ship’s Indonesia operation in 1961.
CBS publically aired the 30-minute documentary on September 20, 1961 at 8:30pm. In doing so, they bent their own rules, which had previously prohibited broadcasts of news made by outside parties: this documentary, though, was allowed because it did not touch upon any “controversy.” The “documentary report” continued on to tell the story of Project HOPE’s founding, interspersed with sweeping footage of sickly and “pathetic” Asian orphans being cured by American doctors. Present, too, was nationalistic rhetoric about the Indonesians’ foundationless country and primitive culture resembling the frontier-era America – with the spirit of hard work present, if nothing existed to show for it yet. Such language called to core American patriotism at a time when the country seemed adrift, by suggesting that we could find ourselves again in replicating our own successful development experience abroad; the inclusion of this argument, a platform of Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, in Project Hope exemplifies the intertwinement of government, industry, and humanitarian rhetoric in Hope.
Ex-Cell-O’s backing of the Project was, of course, prominently featured in Project Hope. The documentary opened with sweeping music and a title slide proclaiming Ex-Cell-O’s involvement “in the interest of international friendship and world peace.” Prior to its broadcast, Ralph C. Charbeneau, promised that the film would include a few “appropriate shots” of “people drinking milk out of [Ex-Cell-O] cartons” but that no “commercial angle” would be visible. Actually, the cartons and Ex-Cell-O’s milk-packaging machine were given extensive screen time in a segment that focused on the “Iron Cow”, Hope’s seagoing dairy, and its milk-making operation.
In fact, both Project Hope and other Ex-Cell-O promotional materials endorsed the entire dairy industry. The “Iron Cow” segment of Project Hope revealed contemporary beliefs in the healing and nourishing power of dairy, in saying milk would “speed the recovery of patients” and contribute to Hope nutrition programs in the countryside. When Project Hope won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1962, Ex-Cell-O took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal. Entitled “Industry wins first Oscar,” the advertisement celebrated the win for the entire industry and proclaimed Ex-Cell-O’s pride at having contributed to the film “on behalf of the dairy industry” as part of their “common effort to promote international good will.” Around that time, Ex-Cell-O released a special edition of their Pure-Pak News magazine, dedicated to Hope. After telling the story of Walsh’s organization, the magazine offered subscribers a copy of the film “for your dairy’s public relations program,” promising that screening the film would “earn new respect for your dairy and the dairy industry.”
Unsurprisingly, Ex-Cell-O’s milked its endorsement of Project HOPE and production of the documentary to publicize its products in both the United States and abroad. But, that the company also marketed Project Hope as a packaged public-relations product for its dairy customers in both internal and external materials is more surprising. Ex-Cell-O’s significant support of Project HOPE, like that of the Project’s hundreds of other major business donors, functioned not as social enterprise or goodwill, but instead, a tactical move to further capitalistic gains.
While government and industry structured the initial marketing of Hope to the public, the staying power of the ship’s work in the public eye resulted from the work of media-pervasive fraternal organizations. State chapters of the Project HOPE, social elites, and women’s clubs promoted Hope by hosting events and advertising them in the media throughout the 1960s.
Women’s clubs were prolifically active in supporting Project HOPE. They found Hope a ready-made and mainstream cause, around which they could easily organize their balls, teas, fashion shows, and other regular activities. Women’s clubs launched campaigns for HOPE hinging on supply drives or small-scale fundraising through their normal activities; in 1963, for example, the Valley Chapter of Project Hope claimed “the mercy ship” as the cause of its annual fashion show. Educational programming about Hope’s goals was sometimes incorporated into these events, but tended to be limited to mere screenings of Project Hope or promotional talks by members of the organization. For example, when Women’s Auxiliary to the Conn. State Medical Society met with Dr. Walsh for a luncheon, his talk was squeezed between a business meeting, and “a social hour and fashion show.” Almost no events incorporated substantial dialogue about the ship’s role in US foreign relations. In fact, in a random selection of 20 articles describing such women’s club events, only one promised real, participatory “discussion” of Hope.
In 1963, the Junior Division of the ubiquitous General Federation of Women’s Clubs set Project Hope as “the major project this year” for its affiliates. That year, junior women’s clubs around the nation reminded Americans of Hope by making it the charity justification for a plethora of dances, fashion shows, skits, cherry blossom balls, film premieres, tea parties, and card parties. Speaking events in which Project doctors, such as Dr. Newell Johnson, or their wives, addressed the young women, occurred far less frequently. Through drives, the women collected linens, toys, clothing, and hygiene kits. Hospital gowns and sleepwear, considered “unknown luxuries in many countries,” were especially popular collection items, perhaps because both bring forth paternalistic connotations of American clothing the “indigent.” Such organizing was very much feminized: called “girl-planning,” planning fashion shows and drives was said to “prepare girls for the future.” Though Project Hope benefitted from these actions of women’s clubs, it did so only as an easily available, ubiquitous and non-controversial charity, quickly applied to the clubs’ existent agenda. This same reasoning applies to many other civilian actors who promoted the good ship Hope.
Though these civilian groups mobilized for Hope out of self-interest, Cunningham incorrectly infers that their work also raised awareness of American foreign policy. Through events and fundraising drives, like those of women’s clubs, average Americans brought Project HOPE into their schools, clubs, and churches. But, as shown above, substantial discussion of American foreign policy was rarely incorporated into their events. Debate was not encouraged because the publications that informed the American people of Hope were not designed to bring ordinary Americans “within the realm of international affairs.” The public learned of Hope through simplistic, media-ready publicity material like Walsh’s own serialized accounts of the ship’s voyages, the 1961 Project Hope documentary, the Pure Pak news bulletin, government documents, and ubiquitous event blurbs about civilian groups supporting Hope. These sources all applied self-congratulatory and accessible language to tell Hope’s story “in warm, human terms.” Their story was non-controversial, simple, and packaged as an emotional appeal: skilled American doctors, armed with the technology, take up a vague goodwill mission of healing sick children and teaching medical science. This glossed over the complicated nature of American foreign relations, especially in the countries Hope visited. Thus, Project HOPE earned the hearts of the American people but, in its simplicity, it also discouraged and prevented critical dialogue about American foreign aid.
In summary, Hope became the cause of the nation in the early 1960s through the entwinement of state and private channels by a variety of actors, including government and its agencies (Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, USAID, Congress), industry (especially the Ex-Cell-O Corp.) and fraternal organizations (women’s clubs). All these groups applied Hope’s symbology to their own agendas, and in the process, projected various meanings on the symbol: the popular, noncontroversial cause was used to justify parties, win votes, publicize commercial products in America, “open” foreign markets, fight communism, improve foreign nations’ opinions of the US, and help rally America around itself. The end result of these characters’ application of Hope as a symbol was that, on a national level, Americans grew to depend upon it to evoke feel-good patriotism and pride. The cause captured the nation, and in that process, the nation entwined itself in the cause.
More so than a tale of sinister, agenda-pushing actors that latched onto the Project seeking power or propaganda, the history of the S.S. Hope in the media tells of ordinary groups of citizens – which includes industry and government – who emotionally invested in a simple story engineered for mass appeal. They then invoked Hope by bringing this belief in symbol into their existing plans and schemes. Idealism, and the Project’s good intentions, grew tangled with agenda when the ship reached mass recognition and Americans began incorporating their own values into Hope. Ultimately, this is an inevitable result of the process of making the cause “viral.” The story of Project HOPE testifies to the muddling of humanitarianism with agenda in the process of making a national symbol. Essentially, this tangling was made possible by the simplicity of the initial emotionally attractive, idea. It forms a cautionary tale for development organizations seeking mass appeal today.
This essay was awarded a 2013 Acheson Prize Honorable Mention.
Teresa Logue (’15) is an American Studies & Global Health Studies major in Saybrook College.
 Frank P. Bibas, Director, Project Hope, 1961, <http://www.projecthope.org/news-blogs/stories/1961-academy-award-winning.html> (accessed 12 Dec. 2012).
 In addition to the thousands of news and magazine articles written about the ship’s voyages, including a Life cover, the Advertising Council of the Ford Foundation brought massive popularity to the Project by sponsoring a two-month-long nationwide fundraising drive to launch the project. A publically-broadcasted documentary of the ship’s initial voyage entitled Project Hope won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1962. Dr. William Walsh, Project HOPE’s founder, wrote his own accounts of the ship’s initial work in serialized books like A Ship Called Hope and Yanqui, come back!. This plethora of popular material ensured that Hope entered American culture.
 Bibas, Project Hope.
 Michael Barnett, Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), 31.
 Ibid, 132.
 Zachary Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda: A Humanitarian Nongovernmental Organization Takes Part in America’s Total Cold War (Miami: Ohio University Press), 78, <http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=ohiou1198092879> (accessed 11 Dec. 2012).
 Zachary Cunningham argues that this civilian motivation and organization of aid efforts acted as a facade to “camouflage” government involvement abroad, through his elaborate theory of HOPE as representing a “state-private propaganda” network. See Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 75-77.
 Merle Curti, American Philanthropy Abroad (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1963), 589.
 Curti, American Philanthropy Abroad, 593.
 Ibid, 598.
 Ibid, 593.
 Ibid, 598.
 Jacob Rubin, Your Hundred Billion Dollars, The Complete Story of American Foreign Aid (Philadelphia: Chilton Company, 1964), 262, Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) Archive at USAID (accessed 11 Dec. 2012).
 Curti, American Philanthropy Abroad, 599.
 Curti, American Philanthropy Abroad, 623-625.
 William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1958), 276.
 Roosevelt, “Hospital Ship Wins Friends for U.S.”
 Bibas, Project Hope.
 William B. Walsh, A Ship Called Hope (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1964), 15.
 Bibas, Project Hope.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 74.
 Ibid, 32.
 Several accounts, including at least 2 obituaries, claim that Walsh, a cardiologist, saw Eisenhower as a patient and assisted his recovery from heart troubles in 1955. Thus, they were already fairly familiar by the time that Walsh started HOPE. See Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 34.
 ICA, the International Cooperation Administration, was established by the State Department in 1955, to coordinate US foreign aid efforts, and abolished by act of Congress in 1961, when all its functions were transferred to USAID.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 42.
 Ibid, 46.
 Specifically, they cited the lack of permanency in the ship stopping at different ports every few weeks, the insensitivity of the plan in choosing major port cities over remote areas with larger need, instability resulting from doctors under constant rotation and unable to follow through with patients as causes of concern. See Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 45-50.
 Ibid, 60.
 Ibid, 28.
 Ibid, 64.
 Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the President’s Press Conference, February 10, 1959, Public
Papers of the President Website, American Presidency Project, University of California-Santa Barbara (accessed 12 Dec. 2012).
 Document 217, “Telegram from the Department of State to the Mission at the United Nations,” U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: United Nations and General International Matters, Vol. II, 1960 (Washington, DC: GPO), 401.
 John F. Kennedy,”Joint Statement Following Discussions With President Sukarno of Indonesia,” 25 Apr. 1961, The American Presidency Project, <http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=8085> (accessed 12 Dec. 2012).
 Rep. Abner W. Sibal (CT), “Extension of Remarks: Project Hope,” Congressional Record 87 (6 Feb. 1962), p. A884.
 Sen. Everett Dirksen (IL), “Mission of SS ‘Hope,’” Congressional Record 87 (12 July 1961), p. 12318.
 Sen. Pat McNamara (MI), “Extension of Remarks: Medical Education Mission to the East Indies,” Congressional Record 87 (9 Feb. 1961), p. A815.
 Rep. Henry C. Shadeberg (WI), “Extension of Remarks: Project Hope,” Congressional Record 87 (20 Sept. 1961), p. A7535.
 Rep. Dante B. Fascell (FL), “A Tribute to Project Hope’s Bill Walsh,” Congressional Record 90 (10 Jun. 1968), p. 16796.
 Of note is the rhetoric Humphrey recycled in the dialogue surrounding the resolution: he repeated a call for not only support of Hope, but the creation of a “Great White Fleet,” of hospital ships “ready and available for emergency assistance in any part of the world” to replicate the Project Hope model but fall under government operation. See ibid.
 Sen. Hubert Humphrey (MN), “Commendation of Project Hope,” Congressional Record 87 (18 Jan. 1962), p. 214.
 Sen. J. William Fulbright (AK), Committee on Foreign Relations, Commending Project Hope (to accompany S. 8), (S. Rpt. 138). Washington: Government Printing Office, Mar. 1961.
 “Project HOPE Depends on Private Donations.”
 Philip R. Lee, “International Health Programs: The Role of the United States Government” (Oct. 1964), 49, Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) Archive at USAID (accessed 11 Dec. 2012).
 US Agency for International Development and US Department of Defense, “Proposed Mutual Defense and Assistance Programs – FY 1964” (Apr 1963), 54, Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) Archive at USAID (accessed 11 Dec. 2012).
 Philip R. Lee, “Health and Sanitation Projects Supported by The Agency for International Development in Fiscal Year 1965” (July 1964), 8, Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC) Archive at USAID (accessed 11 Dec. 2012).
 Ibid, Appendix 3.
 Jacob Rubin, Your Hundred Billion Dollars, 262.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 99.
 Ibid, 53.
 Ibid, 54.
 Ibid, 56-60.
 Ibid, 72.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 50.
 Ibid, 53.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 51.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 72.
 In another fascinating story of the conglomeration of interests that worked together to publicize Hope, the idea for this documentary was suggested by Congar Reynolds at the United Stations Information Agency, who met with Ex-Cell-O’s public relations director, Ralph Charbeneau, in early 1959 with “friends” at ICA. US government agencies were not only responsible for introducing Project HOPE to Ex-Cell-O, but also pitching Hope’s most critical propaganda piece to them. See ibid, 87.
 Ibid, 91.
 Bibas, Project Hope.
 Bibas, Project Hope.
 “Hospital Ship to Carry Medical Training, Business Promotions to Southeast Asia.”
 Bibas, Project Hope. Interestingly, at this point, the documentary notes that the milk containers “were labeled in both Indonesian and English, so everyone will know what they are drinking and that it comes from the S.S. Hope.” This detail is perhaps another allusion to the lessons of the Ugly American. One of the book’s parables tells of a Russian Communist who stencils his country’s name, in the native language, on a bag of American rice.
 Ex-Cell-O Corporation, Pure-Pak News: Special Pictorial Issue on Project Hope (n.d.), 10.
 Pure-Pak News: Pictorial Special Issue, 15.
 This “random selection” was carried out on ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers Database, on 10 Dec. 2012 using “Project Hope” and “women”, amongst other terms, as keywords.
 More specifically, Cunningham interprets the high degree of civilian participation in Project HOPE as an indicator of the efficacy of Hope as domestic propaganda program, with a side effect of ordinary citizens gaining an awareness of American action abroad; I disagree.
 Cunningham, Project HOPE as Propaganda, 100 and 147.
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