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Kenneth A. Osgood
Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO 80401-1843)
The CIA’s Crusade for Freedom and the Mobilization of Cold War America, 1950-1971

Research and writing leading to a book on the history of the U.S. domestic Cold War campaign initially known as the Crusade for Freedom and later the Radio Free Europe Fund.

My study examines the longest-running and most consistent source of political propaganda in U.S. history: the Crusade for Freedom. Seeking to stimulate American patriotism and anticommunist fervor, it permeated American civil society from 1950 to 1971. Though initially created by the CIA, powerful entrenched interests in business, advertising, and the media attached their own causes to the Crusade, as did diverse social and political organizations across American life. This mingling of interests helped further the Crusade’s impact, but it also muddied the waters. Differing groups appropriated the intense Crusade messaging for their own ends, often at cross purposes. I seek to enrich public understanding about how ideas take root in the public sphere, how entrenched interests influence that process, and how seemingly hegemonic ideas are subject to appropriation and contestation. My project engages NEH’s Advancing Civic Education, Standing Together, and Independence initiatives.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Diplomatic History; Political History; U.S. History


Research Programs

$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2020 – 5/31/2021