Propaganda and ideology:
Propaganda is not another term for ideology...
that they are different in theory and in emphasis; namely that ideology was focused upon an end/object: the coherence and presentation of its critique of other ideologies and society and its vision of a better society…and if it got a large audience, so much the better,
propaganda is a process of
persuasion by any means necessary – it does not have to worry about the
coherence of the message and the arguments a la ideology. If a pottage of
exciting images and sounds accompanied by the item/value that is being promoted
Equally we can look at the concept of mass society and its links to Propaganda – that is, esp from a sceptical European tradition that, the notion the emergence of a mass society where meaning attachments (class/community/status/traditions) are breaking down into the condition of anomie and detached individuals were open to adopting a new leader/messiah/life-plan.
Thus alienated mass man is open to any old cult/faith/form of fascism so long as they re-gain a sense of purpose/meaning..and this is as true of stuff – goods –consumables in their lives as it is of new leaders. US notions of Mass Soc were more optimistic – that it meant they were flexible and open to new positive ideas about better future society and ways that could be shaped by well-meaning elites.
But whichever, propaganda - the recruiting of support for ideas and visions can be seen as a function of mass society, that is, people without firm structured reflexively grasped and maintained values and beliefs. (Is this right?)
Cold War politics and Propaganda: The image we have of the
Brief over view of US rels to anti-leftism:
Indeed the question of why socialism was so weak or had such
a chequered career in the
Werner Sombart: Why there is no soc in the
By the eve of World War I, poor working and living
conditions in American cities helped clear the way for socialism. In
1912, Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs won 6 percent of the
popular vote. And there were hundreds of Socialist elected officials in
cities and towns across the country. Unlike the socialists, who were
utopian and suspicious of the country's major political parties, labor unions generally worked with the Democrats and the
Republicans to win higher wages and better living standards.
Before the WW1 socialism had been strong within the 3 main unions: Knights of labour, IWW, American Fed of Lab and the struggles and strikes for better conditions led to big companies to pressure the authorities and the police to break strikes and spy on the trouble makers.
The Socialist movement was able to gain strength from its ties to labour. "The [economic] panic of 1907, as well as the growing strength of the Socialists, IWW, and trade unions, speeded up the process of reform." However, corporations sought to protect their profits, and took steps against unions and strikers. They hired strikebreakers and pressured the government to call in the national militia when workers refused to do their jobs. A number of strikes dissolved into violent confrontations.
In June 1917, President Woodrow Wilson’s Espionage Act which included a clause providing prison sentences for up to twenty years for “Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty… or willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment of service of the United States” The Socialists’s war-opposition, led to their being the target of persecution Those who struck in war-related industries were seen as subversives and IWW especially were prosecuted under the Esp Act.
This combined with Lenin’s invite for the SP to become part
of the 3rd International led to the first real Red Scare in the
Equally immigration fears across the 20s
and 30s of people from
So the US across the 20th C saw an escalation and more importantly an embedding of anti-communism in both official as well as populist circles promoted by the corporate capitalist and the state interests along with a state run anti-C intelligence gathering operation under the almost paranoiac anti-C future head of the FBI who held that post from the founding of the FBI n 1935 to his death in 1972.
Largely the FBI used intelligence gathering and harassment
of leftists from the 30s through to the 60s and beyond. As such propaganda was not their thing - the
The Inter-war anti-communist efforts and propaganda were not only aimed at indigenous 'un-American' political activities but at 'alien' persons and their socio-political ideas in a time of isolationist foreign policy.
But what you had in the 20th C is not only a struggle to suppress left wing social movements in the US but the rise of an intellectual struggle between socialism and capitalism that came from the myriad of organisations, pressure groups, think tanks and parties especially emergent after the 2nd WW
and this is in many ways an emergent struggle and propaganda battle not only over the state of US-Soviet relations and how they should be understood but about the character of US hegemony in the immediate post-war period as a reflection of the Truman/Eisenhower doctrine and symbolised by the Marshall Plan.
And for some on the right this hegemony was itself a sign of 'socialist' corporatism that had to be opposed:
If left wing ideas were largely emergent from left pol parties and organised labour movements that were drifting, you got a new-con right that emerges.
As George Nash puts it: “In 1945 no
articulate, coordinated, self-consciously conservative intellectual force
existed in the
First, there were “classical liberals,” or “libertarians,”
resisting the threat of the ever expanding State to liberty, private
enterprise, and individualism. Convinced that
Concurrently and independently, a second school of thought was emerging: the “new conservatism” or “traditionalism” of such men as Richard Weaver, Peter Viereck, Russell Kirk, and Robert Nisbet. Shocked by totalitarianism, total war, and the development of secular, rootless, mass society during the 1930s and 1940s, the “new conservatives” urged a return to traditional religions and ethical absolutes and a rejection of and produced an intolerable vacuum that was filled by demonic ideologies.
Third, there appeared a militant, evangelistic anti- Communism, shaped decisively by a number of influential ex-radicals of the 1930s, including Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Frank Meyer, and many more. These former men of the Left brought to the postwar Right a profound conviction that the West was engaged in a titanic struggle with an implacable adversary—Communism—which sought nothing less than conquest of the world.”
Through a proliferating network of journals, books, organizations, and political alliances, the intellectual Right steadily approached maturity and recognition— until, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it achieved its long-sought breakthrough.” (Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945) and see here a critique of Nash that argues that Anti-C was not the cement that held together a neo-Com movement in the 50s onwards
Many of these neo-Con organisations that emerged were sponsored or funded by wealthy businessmen and corporations and small payments from supporters and students who bought the magazines and pamphlets, especially in the 60s ad 70s.
Perhaps the odd thing is that the Neo-Cons of the
50s/60s/70s did not seem to be covertly supported by anti-communist orgs incl
Arguably the reason for this was that there were at least three politico-psychological tendencies in the new right of the post-war years.
1) the intellectual conservative right: somewhat of a European cast of mind, often from Euro-parentage or university training, or exiles – Leo Struass, Voegelin, Viereck et al.
2) the libertarians: individualists, isolationists, anti-statists and thus anti-war radicals, some were anarchists, disagreed with big Govt and this with the very idea of US as a global anti-commie force.
Rothbard, Chodorov, encouraged by exiled ultra-liberal Austrian economists – von Mises and Hayek
3) hard statist
right – the anti-commie brigade who did see a post-war global
engaged in a lot of rightist a/c propaganda. Many were a/c
populists who disliked the agencies of the state for being liberal east coast
weak on commies. Were even suspicious of
So the first two of these types were not really interested
in the Cold War politics of the new post-war globalising order in which
Curiously anti-C in
Suspicious or paranoiac?
By the 40s you had the FBI on the prowl for evidence of
right and left subversion but of course you had no real US intelligence service
other than the Office of Strategic services that was the forerunner of the
The closeness of the Allied powers mean that OSS spying on
what the soviets were up was problematic yet it was precisely this that let the
OSS and then the
It would perhaps be a mistake to see the US after the war as
cohesively anti-commie and looking for red under the beds – FBI yes; part of the neo-con movements –
yes; the public yes in terms of a general attitude/feeling, but OSS/
Radio Propaganda in the Cold War: VOA, RFE, RL, Radio
The cold war background and the formation of the Eastern Bloc
The Eastern European territories liberated from the Nazis and occupied by the Soviet armed forces were added to the Eastern Bloc by converting them into satellite states such as East Germany the People's Republic of Poland, the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the People's Republic of Hungary, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People's Republic of Romania and the People's Republic of Albania.
At the Potsdam Conference (July 16 to August 2, 1945), after Germany's unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945,the Allies divided "Occupation Zone Germany" into four military occupation zones — France in the southwest, Britain in the northwest, the United States in the south, and the Soviet Union in the east.
Shortly after World War II,
The intended governing body of
Berlin Blockade 1948.The
day after the 18 June 1948 announcement of the new Deutsche Mark, Soviet guards
halted all passenger trains and traffic on the autobahn to Berlin, delayed
Western and German freight shipments and required that all water transport
secure special Soviet permission. On 21 June, the day the Deutsche Mark was
introduced, the Soviets halted a
That same day, a Soviet representative told the other three
occupying powers that "We are warning both you and the population of
The continued success of the Airlift humiliated the Soviets,
and the "Easter Parade" of 1949 was the last straw. On
The Truman Doctrine set forth by the U.S. President Harry Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere was the first in a series of containment moves by the United States, followed by economic restoration of Western Europe through the Marshall Plan and military containment by the creation of NATO in 1949.
American policymakers, including Kennan and John Foster Dulles acknowledged that the Cold War was in its essence a war of ideas.
The scene was set for a cold war to be prosecuted largely by
intelligence work, politico-economic treaties, cooperation between western
states or the furthering of relations between
Along with the broadcasts of the
Radio Propaganda and the efforts to set up an anti-soviet/commie broadcasting service.
The partitioning of Europe after the war, the partitioning of Berlin and an aggressive Stalinist soviet union who wished to draw more countries under its sway meant that western powers who were ideologically opposed to communism anyway and who were worried that post-war Euro communism might let in commie govts felt justified in forming 1949 NATO of course resulted in the soviet response of forming the Warsaw Pact alliance.
Equally the Truman Doctrine set forth by the U.S. President
Harry Truman in a speech on
The ideological division between capitalism and communism as economic, political and social systems would be crucible in which the cold war at the propaganda end would be fought.
So the language of prop would be organised around peace, justice, democracy, freedom, humanity….each side claiming their socio-political systems best fulfilled these notions.
The circulation of these ideas and the contrasts between the
two systems for the home consumption was noted earlier done by neo-con
materials and education: the schools ad
the universities pushed the ideas further, + in the 50s by McCarthyism that
but across borders….
Voice of America had been created for reflecting American values and
culture as propaganda
during the war but afterwards in a form of détente with Stalin’s Russia, the VoA budget was slashed with strong feeling that now the war had ended so should the
propaganda efforts. However, it survived and by the nid-50s was expanded to
Programming was broadcast from production centres in
In 1946, Voice of America was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
In 1947, VOA started broadcasting to the Soviet citizens in Russian under the pretext of countering "more harmful instances of Soviet propaganda directed against American leaders and policies" on the part of the internal Soviet Russian-language media,”
1950 resumption of Arab service,
and 1952/53 increased services to
If the Cold War is to be fought in terms of politics and not military then:
Radio propaganda via US –VoA;
RFE; RL really gets going in 1949 as such it was never
really surprising that somewhere along the line there would be
1949 is the crucial year – over an above the NATO we get the
partition of German into West G and the
The increasing anxiety in
Taking it form from RIAS – Radio in the American Sector (Berlin in 46) aimed at the German population to counter soviet propaganda, May Day 1951 first proper brdc of Radio Free Europe, a station staffed by many exiles throughout it history was aimed at the satellite states and esp at Czecho as that was thought to be the EE state with the strongest orientation to democracy and there fore in the words of CD Jackson former operative in psy-ops in WW2 and now President of National Committee for Free Europe – sponsor of RFE- it may encourage defectors.
During the Cold War, Radio
What marks out RFE in particular is that it was unashamedly
propagandist and unusually at that time it did not, as did VoA,
...but rather deliberately and sometimes in a rather rasping anti-commie tone, discuss, attack, criticise their target countries.
The aggressive tone was often the work of EE exiles who because of their exilic status and feeling against commies really went for it. Puddington’s study describes ones of their brodcs ‘Peroutka’ as the brass-knuckles approach. Initially thinking that ‘in yer face’ anti-c would help contribute to a rapid implosion of a thoroughly nasty set of regimes, RFE and RL both had to calm down and had to accept that they were in for the long haul much as was the soviet bloc itself.
Swiatlo affair 1953 - senior agent
in Polish intelligence defected and alter took part of many RFE progs and this had measurable success in
The people who were in the founding committee of RFE/RL such as George Kennan, Allen Dulles, and Frnak Wisner amongst others had ties to each other from university as well as from their days in the military and their links toe ach other as senior advisers in govt – in the case of Dulles, his bro was Sec Of St – the latter seeing the sate of affairs as one in which Western Civilisation is on the defensive.
Truman in a speech called ‘Project Truth’ condemning society
use of propagandas – deceit distortion lies, he said: “We must use every means
at our command, private as well as governmental to get the truth to other
The point here is that those who set up the operation were part of a US/State approach to Truman containment doctrine of which the a/c prop of RFE was a part. They took a globalising approach to Cold War politics and not an ideologico-intellectual or basic anti-Commie approach for the home audience as did the nascent neo-Cons stuff.
Their mindset was very much part of a govt/admin high politics – centrally organised initiatives as such they were not concerned with notions of folksy America First hearth and home ordinary folks notions. And RFE/RL reflected that.
University programmes esp
in Soviet and EE studies were set up for exiles as was a Free Univ in
The strategies of RFE were to interview travellers from East Germany, target groups such as farmers, women, youth, border guards to faster listeners esp in EG. If RFE knew of named person as having done terrible things to people in the East then they would name and shame them RFE was described as a citizens adventure in the field of psychological warfare.
If RFE was a radio stations for
Crusade for Freedom – In line with the aggressive and covert aspect of radio prop one of t more peculiar episodes was CFF.
In Oct 1950 a replica of the Liberty Bell – the Freedom Bell
was displayed in
Ike had announced the formation of Crusade FF in a national
address and US citizens gave their dollars to support. It ringing in
Strangely the actual relationship between McCarthyism
Despite this RFE though not as much as VoA
came under fire usually individual brdcs who were
vulnerable as they were usually exiles and thus ultra McCarthyites
could easily accuse them of being commie as the ultra Fulton Lewis was want to
do-calling one RFE broadcaster a Stalinist collaborator and another ‘one of the
greatest mass murderers in history’ which takes them into the realm of the
shock jocks of today on Fox news. 1958-60. Oddly Lewis picked up the story that
RFE was a
Often the was a case of one excitable exiles accusing another one via selling a ling to an Ultra McC type in some other media outlet.
Begum in 1922 RM was the man radio service of the
RM used: openly identified source, and is characterized by gentler methods of persuasion than black propaganda (which purports to come from the opposite side to that which actually produced it) and grey propaganda (which has no identifiable source or author).
Culture, Propaganda and the
In many ways the strategy for Cultural propaganda esp that funded by the
The ke agency hat was
Key to the idea of the true intellectual rather than one at their party’s call were the ideas of dependence from politics and commitment to you art so tat it does not pander to popular taste. Thus elitism and a kind of isolation from the world sets up a image of the pure artist untainted..
The participants in Europe and the US within the
Arthur Schlesinger one of the great post-war
The Congress for
Cultural Freedom functioned as a clandestine endowment for the arts that
promoted cultural, intellectual, and artistic endeavours “in the West, for
the West, in the name of freedom of expression” (p. 2). The
Among the magazines funded by the agency were Survey, Preuves, Der Monat,
Partisan Review, and the highly respected Encounter.
She also shows how the
Other foundations that served as conduits
Beyond the mere act of subsidizing artistic creations the
Koestler was sidelined for being
too passionate in his anti-Communism; the
Models of the relation between Propaganda and Power
Structural - centre-periphery (Russell/Dahl etc) - based on counter-factual argument (A gets B to do what they would not otherwise do). Propaganda is action of an agent upon a mass population
Post-structural: power is 'virtual' - a micro-physics - an analytics of power (Foucault) - Propaganda is multi-dimensional struggle
propaganda is a strategy of persuasion to a target population –
perhaps with core and periphery aspects –
seeking to inculcate into the population,
a positive image as well as a set of points (‘facts’) and beliefs
about a cause or group usually political or economic in character.
However, we have seen that prop is typically deployed as the function of a unitary voice (this OR that party)
BUT…what if we were to take a rather more distributed, more post-structural theory of power – perhaps something like the idea of power that Foucault developed.