Mobilizing Public Support for the United Nations
Author(s)Ignatieff, Michael; Haynes, Lukas
This paper examines a critical case of Executive Branch leadership during the creation of the United Nations. Before his death, President Franklin Roosevelt hoped that the wartime alliance would become the cornerstone of postwar inter- national security. The U.N. charter, ratified in July 1945, marked the end of the State Department's four-year effort to reinvent the League of Nations and pro- mote postwar peace and security. This case study explores the State Department's public leadership efforts—in the form of a concerted, nationwide campaign to educate the American people and their leaders in Congress about the merits of U.S. involvement in the new international organization. In its effort to commit the American people to multilateral engagement in the postwar world, the U.S. government distributed some 2.1 million educational publications through over four hundred citizen groups. It conducted a nation- wide series of public meetings, speeches and national radio broadcasts, and created the State Department's first public affairs office to monitor public opinion and to coordinate outreach. In describing the campaign, the case study addresses a number of important questions for students of leadership and public policy, including: How did the State Department respond to specific challenges that it faced throughout the campaign? How can leaders promote a greater interest in and knowledge about policy decisions that affect American interests in the world? And how can leaders reach their target audience?
Center for Public Leadership
Center for Public Leadership Working Paper Series;03-02
u.s., executive branch, mobilize, state department, congress, international relations, united nations
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