For peace and friendship of all countries: Soviet citizens' opinions of peace during the Cold War, May 1960 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Hale-Dorrell, Aaron Todd
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This thesis analyzes a public opinion survey that sociologist Boris Grushin conducted in the Soviet Union in May 1960. His survey asked average Soviet citizens about war and peace immediately following a Cold War incident in which the Soviet military destroyed an American U-2 spy plane that had violated Soviet airspace. This thesis questions why, despite resulting heightened tensions between the superpowers, 96.8 percent of survey respondents expressed confidence that humanity could prevent war. I argue that, while propaganda promoting Khrushchev's peaceful coexistence policy influenced every respondent, some respondents emphasized different official policies and explanations for events, demonstrating a degree of independence from propaganda. Furthermore, respondents justified belief in peace and integrated themselves into a collective war narrative by describing experiences of World War II. Finally, I show that official interest in public opinion reflects Khrushchev-era political and cultural reforms, especially in Soviet journalism and sociology.
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  • In Copyright
  • Raleigh, Donald
  • Open access

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