European Beliefs regarding the United States

European Beliefs regarding the United States

European Beliefs regarding the United States

European Beliefs regarding the United States

Excerpt

This is the report of a study of beliefs, and more particularly misconceptions, among the people in Europe regarding the United States.

The study was started by the Common Council for American Unity in the Fall of 1948 and concluded early in 1949. It was undertaken to obtain information which would be useful to the Council and others in correcting misconceptions about the United States, in counteracting propaganda against our country and in spreading the democratic idea.

The Council's interest was not only the concern felt by all Americans to see democracy prevail, but its conviction -- as a result of 30 years' work with American nationality groups -- that the unparalleled human resources which immigration has brought our country could be much more effectively utilized in the struggle against totalitarianism. The 35,000,000 Americans who were born abroad or are the children of foreign-born parents are potentially, the Council believes, among the most influential ambassadors the United States has today. They have close personal contacts with many millions of relatives and friends abroad, and are in regular touch with them. Not only do they believe fervently in American democracy, but they resent anti-American propaganda in the countries of their origin or their parents' origin.

During the war the Council urged that these millions of Americans of foreign birth or descent be encouraged to send information about American democracy to their relatives and friends abroad. The Letters-to-Italy campaign in the Spring of 1948 demonstrated the potentialities and some of the dangers of such an effort. Genuine personal letters with accurate and sympathetic information about the United States are welcomed. Millions of them can be a powerful force. On the other hand, the democratic peoples of Europe are as quick as Americans to resent outside interference and dictation. What gives this kind of letter-writing its effectiveness and importance is its reliance on natural and spontaneous lines of communication. Because of such contacts American . . .

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