The Campaign of Truth: a Populist Propaganda

  • Gary D. Rawnsley


The ‘Campaign of Truth’ has received little serious attention from students of the Truman Presidency, and this is unfortunate since it marked a period of transition and development, not only in terms of America’s approach to Cold War propaganda, but also in the foreign policy which such propaganda was designed to reinforce. For one thing, propaganda finally became a much more ‘acceptable’ activity among State Department officials who were suspicious of its potential intrusion upon the sensitive worlds of foreign policy and diplomacy which they inhabited. However, the deterioration of the international situation after 1948 and the hardening of the Cold War, symbolized by the Berlin blockade, the consolidation of Stalinist rule in Eastern Europe, and the outbreak of war in Korea, convinced the Truman administration that a more concerted and certainly more militant propaganda effort was required. Containment had called for the American political establishment to accept a degree of passivity in its foreign policy, reflected in Senator Wiley’s description of the strategy as ‘pantywaist diplomacy’.2 Other denunciations of containment were much more forceful but no less colourful. Congressman Charles J. Kersten believed it was ‘immoral and unchristian to negotiate a permanent agreement with forces which by every religious creed and moral precept are evil’.


Foreign Policy Iron Curtain American Foreign Policy Soviet People State Department Official 
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    Bennet Kovig, The Myth of Liberation: East-Central Europe in U.S Diplomacy and Politics Since 1941 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), p. 102.Google Scholar
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    See Simon Ollivant, ‘ProtocolM’, in David A. Charters and Maurice A. J. Tugwell, (eds), Deception Operations: Studies in the East—West Conflict (London: Brassey’s, 1990), pp. 275–96.Google Scholar
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© Gary D. Rawnsley 1999

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  • Gary D. Rawnsley

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