COVERT ACTION

Psychological and Propaganda Operations Generally

M - R

Macdonald, Scot. Propaganda and Information Warfare in the Twenty-First Century: Altered Images and Deception Operations. London: Routledge, 2007.

From publisher: This book analyzes "how the technology to alter images and rapidly distribute them can be used for propaganda and to support deception operations. In the past, propagandists and those seeking to conduct deception operations used crude methods to alter images..., which could usually be detected relatively easily. Today,... computers allow propagandists to create any imaginable image,... with appropriate accompanying audio. Furthermore, it is becoming extremely difficult to detect that an image has been manipulated, and the Internet, television and global media make it possible to disseminate altered images around the world almost instantaneously."

Manning, Martin, with Herbert Romerstein. Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004.

Includes a "Chronology of Important Events in American Propaganda, 1622-2003."

Matthews, John P.C. "The West's Secret Marshall Plan for the Mind." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 16, no. 3 (Fall 2003): 409-427.

The author, a participant in the program, tells the story of the Free Europe Press (FEP) and its mailing program to East Europe and the Soviet Union, which lasted from 1956 to 1993. He concludes his article with the somewhat wistful thought of the importance of George Minden's extensive files sitting in Washington or a country warehouse somewhere.

Needell, Allan A. "'Truth Is Our Weapon': Project TROY, Political Warfare, and Government-Academic Relations in the National Security State." Diplomatic History 17 (Summer 1993): 399-420.

Osgood, Kenneth. Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2006.

"Total Cold War Roundtable: Review" (chaired by Scott Lucas and with reviews by Sarah-Jane Corke, Chris Tudda, and Hugh Wilford), dated 26 Feb. 2007, at http://www.h-net.org/~diplo/roundtables/PDF/TotalColdWar-complete.pdf, provides multiple reviews of Osgood's work.

In his introduction, Lucas suggests that "any success of psychological operations under Eisenhower was not that they fulfilled a global strategy that encompassed both American positions of strength such as Western Europe and disputed areas in Europe, Asia, and beyond but that they covered up the tensions and contradictions that were present in the strategic approach throughout the 1950s." (4)

Corke, despite some "quibbles" over the author's use of specific terminology, says that this "masterful ... book is a must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between policy, strategy and operations." Osgood "demonstrates scholarship of the highest quality," and he "has a firm grasp of the subtleties and nuances of psychological warfare." [See also, Sarah-Jane Corke, "The Eisenhower Administration and Psychological Warfare," Intelligence and National Security 24, no. 2 (Apr. 2009): 277-290.]

For Tudda, this work is a "significant contribution to our understanding of how psychological warfare can fit into national security strategy,. However, the "weakest part of Osgood’s analysis is his examination of the Eisenhower administration's psychological warfare program."

Wilford notes that Eisenhower "emerges from Osgood's account as a tireless advocate of 'psy-war' methods in the fight against communism." An "extremely impressive array of primary materials" is used to support Osgood's "powerful arguments." However, the book does not address "the actual impact of psychological warfare on its target populations."

The material here concludes with a gentle reply by Osgood to some of the issues raised by the reviewers.

Paddock, Alfred H., Jr. "Legitimizing Army Psychological Operations." Joint Forces Quarterly 56 (1st Quarter 2010): 89-93.

The author looks at the development in the U.S. Army of propaganda/psychological warfare (PSYWAR)/psychological operations (PSYOPS) from World War I to the present. He argues strongly that the term propaganda is a neutral one and should continue to be used, as should the historically well-established PSYWAR and PSYOPS, rather than "a steady stream of euphemisms..., usually with the word information attached." (Italics in original) He believes that "aggressive institutionalizing ... can and should be done by all PSTOP individuals ... to prevent a loss of identity for their craft."

Parry-Giles, Shawn J. "The Eisenhower Administration's Conceptualization of the USIA: The Development of Overt and Covert Propaganda Strategies." Presidential Studies Quarterly 24 (Spring 1994): 263-276.

Parry-Giles, Shawn J. The Rhetorical Presidency, Propaganda, and the Cold War, 1945-1955. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

Post, Jerrold M. "Psychological Operations and Counterterrorism." Joint Forces Quarterly 37 (2d Quarter 2005): 105-110.

"There has been little attention to the potential of strategic PSYOP in undermining the enemy to prepare the battlefield.... Terrorism is a vicious species of psychological warfare waged through the media.... One does not counter psychological warfare with high-tech weapons.... [T]he way to counter psychological warfare is with psychological warfare, and PSYOP should be the primary weapon in the war against terrorism."

Rawnsley, Gary D., ed. Cold-War Propaganda in the 1950s. New York: St. Martin's, 1999. London: Macmillan, 1999.

From advertisement: "This volume concerns the origins, organization and method of British, American and Soviet propaganda during the 1950s. The authors discuss propaganda's international and domestic dimensions, and chart the development of a shared Cold War culture."

Watt, I&NS 15.4, says that Rawnsley "has the instincts of a true historian," but faults him for "not display[ing] any knowledge of the 40-odd years of twentieth century literature on propaganda in war and peace written before 1945."

Reisch, Alfred A. Hot Books in the Cold War: The CIA-Funded Secret Western Book Distribution Program Behind the Iron Curtain. Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2013.

For a perceptive overview of this still classified covert operation, see Benjamin B. Fischer's review article, "The Best Kept Secret: An Untold Story of a Cold War Operation," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 27, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 397-427. As Fischer notes, Reisch was a participant in "the book program." He rightly "gives Poland a pride of place in his account," since Poland "is the best case for the argument that the book program, and covertly-funded publishing in general, made a major contribution to ending the Cold War."

Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2014), finds that even though the author "does not mention the Zhivago project," this "is a meticulously documented study of a successful CIA covert action program that has received little scholarly attention until now. A very valuable contribution to the intelligence literature."

Risso, Linda. "A Difficult Compromise: British and American Plans for a Common Anti-Communist Propaganda Response in Western Europe, 1948–58." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 2 & 3 (Apr.-Jun. 2011): 330-354.

From Abstract: This article examines how the British IRD worked with the CIA's International Organizations Division "in shaping the foundation and early activities" of the Western Union and the NATO Information Service in coordinating "the Western response to Soviet and Soviet-inspired propaganda campaigns." It seeks to explain "why, in the early Cold War, the West struggled to produce a coherent and fully coordinated propaganda response to communism."

Return to PsyOps Table of Contents

Return to Covert Action Table of Contents