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Laughter Louder Than Bombs: American Anti-Nuke Satire in the Cold War, 1946-59.

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Laughter Louder Than Bombs: American Anti-Nuke Satire in the Cold War, 1946-59.

Webb, Brandon (2015) Laughter Louder Than Bombs: American Anti-Nuke Satire in the Cold War, 1946-59. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study investigates US political cartoons during the 1940s and 1950s that critiqued “Cold War culture” by incorporating nuclear themes into their satire. The cartoonists analyzed in this study—Herbert Block of the Washington Post and the Village Voice’s Jules Feiffer—used “the bomb” as a framing device to explore contested issues related to the arms race, civil defense, and atmospheric testing. In doing so both Block and Feiffer forged a “visual vocabulary” that reimagined the sources of conflict between the Soviet Union and the US as a self-imposed struggle that informed Americans needed to confront in a critical matter. In this way both cartoonists re-appropriated the bomb’s projection as a cultural symbol of postwar American power, and refashioned its symbolic meaning to read as a threat to individual liberties in order to register their objections to US nuclear policy. The critiques embedded in their cartoons also furnished a sub-culture of humorous dissent that signalled to readers that satire remained an effective means of voicing opposition and venting frustrations during the Cold War era’s stultifying political climate.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Webb, Brandon
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:April 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Carr, Graham
ID Code:979944
Deposited By: BRANDON WEBB
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 14:42
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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