The CIA and Stamps

The designs being contemplated by these U.S. officials, who were normally responsible for coordinating and implementing national security policies, reflected the dual nature of the Cold War as a period of both geopolitical upheaval and scientific and cultural rivalry. In one instance, after the chief of the CIA’s clandestine service learned that the Soviet government was planning celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Leo Tolstoy’s death, he wrote an internal CIA memo on Feb. 9, 1959 endorsing the idea of a Leo Tolstoy stamp as part of the ‘Champions of Liberty’ series. After all, Tolstoy’s writings on non-violence as part of his Christian beliefs were reminiscent of how the United States tried to portray itself. (Three Soviet stamps featuring Tolstoy, but no American ones, were issued the following year.)

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