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Svendsen, Janna

Cold war – friendly rhetoric?

A part of the conference description that immediately caught my attention was that due to the reappearance of a Cold War concept in today’s rhetoric we can not neglect the pasts relevance on the present. My interest here lies in the Cold War rhetoric. Not from a superpower-perspective, but from a country balancing between these powers. My main questions concern how virtues like friendship and trust are used as arguments in a bipolar world? How can one talk about friendship with both Great Powers as audiences? Can this be done without loosing trustworthiness? The material I use to try to answer these questions are speeches given by former Finnish President, Urho Kekkonen, during his first official visit to the USA autumn 1961. From the Kekkonen-archive I have access to material that shows the whole speech-writing process, from descriptions of the rhetorical situations in official and unofficial programs via different versions of the same speech to the final manuscripts. These even include the Presidents notes on how to pronounce some words, where to keep breaks and last minute changes which gives me both the possibility to analyse the whole process of preparation and to explore the rhetoric of neutrality and friendship in a world of oppositions.

Thursday 29 Oct, 16.15-18.15 SESSION 3
Panel: The Transfer of Knowledge and Changing Values