David Romo

Mellon Resident Scholar

2016–2017

A Global Microhistory of El Paso and Ciudad Juaréz: Axis and Allied Intelligence and Propaganda along the U.S. – Mexico Border, 1933 to 1945

David RomoDavid RomoDavid Romo

Dr. Romo’s project explores the role of Allied and Axis propaganda and intelligence in shaping the U.S.-Mexico border between 1933 and 1945. During World War II, drug smuggling became conflated with Axis plots to subjugate America; Mexican braceros were no longer portrayed as unwanted aliens but rather hailed by U.S. government officials and propagandists as heroic “soldiers of production” in the battle against global fascism; and the Zoot Suit movement of Mexican American barrio youth became a symbol of disloyalty. Although much of the contemporary literature characterizes the so-called globalization of the U.S.-Mexico border as a relatively recent development linked to current immigration issues, drug smuggling and militarization, Romo argues that World War II marked an important turning point in these developments. It is a period in which the global discourse of war left an indelible mark on the border’s political, economic, and cultural landscape.



COLLOQUIUM
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free
Mexican Nazis & Global Pachucos: Propaganda, Intelligence and the Production of Border Invasion Anxiety During World War II
Dr. Romo will explore the impact of German, Japanese, British, American and Mexican propaganda and intelligence activities along the U.S.-Mexico border before and during World War II. During this period, cross-border drug smuggling became conflated with Axis plots to subjugate America; Mexican braceros were no longer portrayed as unwanted aliens but rather hailed by U.S. government officials and propagandists as heroic “soldiers of production” in the battle against global fascism; and the Zoot Suit lifestyle of Mexican American barrio youth became a symbol of disloyalty. Axis propagandists paid close attention to such developments along the border region and frequently exploited the region’s issues in their short-wave radio broadcasts to Latin America as a means of undermining Pan-Americanism.



Videography by Jose Cruzado.

Affiliation at time of award:
Summerlee Fellow, Dept. of History, Southern Methodist University


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