Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cold War, Timeout

The cold war was not always fought with weapons. In fact, the whole point of the "cold" war was to avoid the use of weapons, specifically, weapons of mass destruction. The message of the opposing super powers was often carried by economic or cultural means, including movies and music.

At this year's George Washington University Commencement (set on the Washington Mall with the capitol building as a backdrop), Dave Brubeck received an Honorary PhD and told a story from his cold war days.

Dr. Brubeck told of being asked to take his Jazz group to eastern Europe in 1958 by then American President, Dwight Eisenhower. While in Poland, he was approached and told "We have something in common". When he asked what, the Pole replied "Our people both love freedom".

Upon awarding him the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy in 2008 (the first individual recipient of this award), the State Department wrote; "as a pianist, composer, cultural emissary and educator, Dave Brubeck's life's work exemplifies the best of America's cultural diplomacy."

Dr. Brubeck first "toured" Europe with General George S. Patton's Third Army, creating and leading the unit's first racially integrated jazz band. Years later, following their return from the 1958 European tour, the Brubeck Quartet released their "Time Out" album, which is still popular today.

Congratulations to our Cold War Air Museum Associate who recently received his Master's degree from the University's Elliott School of International Affairs. The struggle for world peace is no less difficult or any less important today than it was during the "cold war", so we extend our thoughts and prayers to all those throughout the world who are working to make the world a safer and better place, whether through diplomacy, trade, culture, or conflict resolution using live fire.

With thanks and credit to YouTube sources linked.

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