During World War II, US–Latin American relations were shaped by the noninterventionist Good Neighbor policy and the projection of soft power via US government-orchestrated public relations and propaganda campaigns. This included extensive film and radio propaganda overseen by the US Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) and disseminated throughout the region. One dimension of that campaign involved radio propaganda aimed specifically at women, who were regaled with stories of heroic Latin American women and carefully curated female perspectives on life in the United States during wartime. In much of this material, the United States was presented as a dominant yet gentlemanly hemispheric partner, offering Latin America protection and material abundance in exchange for loyalty and deference. As the war wound down, such propaganda took a sharp turn toward the Cold War, when Good Neighbor chivalry gave way to more strident rhetoric, prefiguring a return to US interventionist politics of the prewar era.
Buenas Vecinas?: Latin American Women and US Radio Propaganda during World War II
Christine Ehrick is a professor of history at the University of Louisville, where she teaches classes in Latin American history and the history of mass media. Her second book, Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Women and Broadcasting in Argentina and Uruguay, 1930–1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2015), is a sound studies–informed examination of women's radio voices in two of Latin America's most important (overlapping) radio markets. Ehrick is currently researching border radio and military rule in Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. She also works with the Radio Preservation Task Force, affiliated with the Library of Congress.
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Christine Ehrick; Buenas Vecinas?: Latin American Women and US Radio Propaganda during World War II. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2019; 5 (3): 60–84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2019.5.3.60
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