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David Romo

2016-2017

Mellon Resident Scholar

Affiliation at time of award:
Summerlee Fellow
Department of History
Southern Methodist University

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

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

 

Mexican Nazis & Global Pachucos: Propaganda, Intelligence and the Production of Border Invasion Anxiety During World War II

Dobkin Boardroom, SAR Administration Building
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

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 José Cruzado Coronel.

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