American Internationalism and Cultural Diplomacy: The Rise and Decline of an idea in the Twentieth Century

    • Bologna October 2016
    • Presentation speakers
      • Jon Davidann, Hawaii Pacific University


    We live in an age when internationalism has become a tainted word. It is equated with a soft approach to a dangerous world, a world that harbors terrorism, economic catastrophe, and disease. But there was a time in American history when internationalism promised a new world of cooperation and mutual understanding. American Internationalism offers an explanation for the rise and decline of optimism about the international world in the twentieth century. Committed internationalists became cultural diplomats in the United States government or as private citizens in the pre-war period spreading mutual understanding and democratic values worldwide. They did battle against other Americans who then as now saw treachery in the outside world and opposed cultural diplomacy as a feeble or dangerous response. The book also offers a usable past of Americans who embraced an increasingly integrated globe, but at the same time a sobering reminder of the roadblocks to internationalism. American Internationalism provides insight into a world we should well remember as we grapple with the sometimes disagreeable realities of an interconnected globe.