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Enemy Number One

The United States of America in Soviet Ideology and Propaganda, 1945-1959

Rósa Magnúsdóttir

Publication Date - February 2022

ISBN: 9780197609897

256 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock


Enemy Number One tells the story of the Soviet cultural and propaganda apparatus and its efforts to control information about the United States in the postwar landscape. Beginning with the 1945 meeting of American and Soviet troops on the Elbe, this period saw cultural relations develop in close connection to oppression as the Soviet authorities attempted to contain and appropriate images of the United States. Rósa Magnúsdóttir analyzes two official narratives about the USSR's "enemy number one" --Stalin's anti-American campaign and Khrushchev's policy of peaceful coexistence--and shows how each relied on the legacy of the wartime alliance in their approach. Stalin used the wartime experience to spread fear of a renewed war, while Khrushchev used the wartime alliance as proof that the two superpowers could work together.

Drawing from extensive archival resources, Magnúsdóttir brings to life the propaganda warriors and ideological chiefs of the early Cold War period in the Soviet Union, revealing their confusion and insecurities as they attempted to navigate the uncertain world of late Stalin and early Khrushchev cultural bureaucracy. She also demonstrates how concerned Soviet authorities were by their people's presumed interest in the United States, resorting to monitoring and even repression-behavior indicative of the inferiority complex of the Soviet project as it related to the outside world.


  • Examines the inner workings of the cultural Cold War from the Soviet perspective
  • Draws from extensive archival resources, including records from the State Prosecutor's office and public letters written by private citizens
  • Sheds light on the continued use of domestic repression under Khrushchev

About the Author(s)

Rósa Magnúsdóttir is Professor of History at the University of Iceland. She received her PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Table of Contents

    Note on Transliteration and Translation

    Part I. Stalin's Script for Anti-Americanism
    1. The Anti-American Campaign, 1945-1953
    2. American Sources of Information and Soviet Interest in the Enemy
    3. Soviet-American Cultural Encounters in Late Stalinism

    Part II. Khrushchev and the Discourse of Peaceful Coexistence
    4. From Anti-Americanism to Peaceful Coexistence
    5. The Paradoxes of Peaceful Coexistence, 1956-1957
    6. The Possibilities of Peaceful Coexistence, 1958-1959