Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Morag Martin

First Reader

Dr. John Daly

Second Reader

Dr. Bruce Leslie


From the beginning of the Cold War, music was recognized by governments as a powerful tool to persuade people that their particular way of life was superior, a “soft power” to be wielded in the cultural battle that resulted when atomic power raised the stakes of military conflict. Musicians and consumers, however, were not without agency in the messages they produced and embraced, and their messages frequently came into conflict with both communism and the Western world. Utilizing government documents, news sources, oral histories, and song lyrics, this paper examines the interplay of music, government, and the people during the Cold War. The study of the effects of music on Cold War politics and the relationships of people to their own governments provides evidence of the power of music to influence historical events, and illuminates the lengths to which government agencies have gone to control that influence.