Abstract

Although scholars have explored the efforts of the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration to forge greater cultural ties with the Soviet Union through sporting contacts, they have generally overlooked the fact that the U.S. government also sent American athletes to Eastern Europe in the same era. As this article will demonstrate, the presence of American athletes in Romania, Poland, and Hungary from 1956 to 1958 provided the White House with exactly the type of propaganda outcome it desired. In lengthy detail, U.S. diplomats in Eastern Europe reported that the warm and enthusiastic reception given to American athletes in each satellite country had been a political boon. These exchanges, read in the context of U.S. foreign policy, reveal a great deal about the Eisenhower administration’s approach toward “rolling back” communism in Eastern Europe and its shift from advocating “evolution” as opposed to outright “revolution” in the region.

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