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American Cold War Propaganda Efforts during the First Eisenhower Administration

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Part of the Global Conflict and Security since 1945 book series (GCON)

Abstract

No US president during the Cold War understood or exploited propaganda as well as Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was no accident, as Eisenhower had a deep appreciation of what propaganda could and could not accomplish from his days as Supreme Allied Commander in the Second World War. As soon as Eisenhower took office in 1953, he began to focus on the political warfare issue by appointing a high-level commission, the Jackson Committee, to study and make recommendations regarding US information and psychological warfare programs.1 Eisenhower’s activity in the political warfare arena continued until his last days in office, when another committee headed by New York industrialist Mansfield D. Sprague, titled the Committee on Information Activities Abroad, reported to Eisenhower on the progress and future direction of American propaganda programs.2 This report provided the incoming Kennedy Administration in 1961 with a blueprint of the goals and requirements for American information programs that shaped American propaganda policy into the 1960s.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Information Program Iron Curtain Soviet Bloc National Security Council 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    On Eisenhower and the use of propaganda, see Osgood, Total Cold War; Cook, The Declassified Eisenhower; Stern, Propaganda In the Employ Of Democracy; Parry-Giles, The Rhetorical Presidency, Propaganda, and the Cold War, 1945–1955; and Parry-Giles, “The Eisenhower Administration’s Conception of the USIA”. A broader look at Eisenhower foreign policy can be found in Dockrill, Eisenhower’s New Look National Security Policy, 1953–1961; Robert. A. Divine, Eisenhower and the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981)Google Scholar
  2. C. D. Pach and Elmo Richardson, The Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas, 1991).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Martin J. Medhurst, “Eisenhower and the Crusade for Freedom: Rhetorical Origins of A Cold War Campaign,” Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 27 (Fall 1997), pp. 646–61 and Parry-Giles, The Rhetorical Presidency, Propaganda, and the Cold War, 1945–1955.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    H. W. Brand Jr., Cold Warriors: Eisenhower’s Generation and American Foreign Policy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), p. 118.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Quotations of the Eisenhower speech are from Martin J. Medhurst, Dwight D. Eisenhower: Strategic Communicator (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993), pp. 141–4.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    David W. Guth, “From OWI to USIA: The Jackson Committee’s Search for the Real Voice of America,” American Journalism, vol. 19 (2002) no. 1, p. 25.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    Leo Bogart, Cool Words, Cold War: A New Look At USIA’s Premise for Propaganda, Revised Edition (Washington DC: University Publishing Association, 1995), p. xv.Google Scholar
  8. 35.
    Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), pp. 316–17.Google Scholar
  9. 54.
    Anthony Adamthwaite, “Introduction: The Foreign Office and Policy-making,” in John W. Young (ed.), The Foreign Policy of Churchill’s Peacetime Administration (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1988), p. 23.Google Scholar
  10. 78.
    Emmet, J. Hughes, The Ordeal of Power: A Political Memoir of the Eisenhower Years (New York: Macmillan, 1963) p. 101.Google Scholar
  11. 85.
    John W. Young, Winston Churchill’s Last Campaign: Britain and the Cold War 1951–5 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 97.
    For example, see Richard H. Immerman, “Confessions of an Eisenhower Revisionist: An Agonizing Reappraisal,” Diplomatic History, vol. 14, no. 3 (Summer 1990) pp. 335–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 109.
    Mark Pittaway, “The Education of Dissent: The Reception of the Voice of Free Hungary, 1951–1956,” Cold War History, vol. 4, no. 1(October 2003) pp. 97–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 145.
    On the Planning Coordination Group, see James Marchio, “The Planning Coordination Group: Bureaucratic Casualty in the Cold War Campaign to Exploit Soviet-Bloc Vulnerabilities,” Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 4, no. 4 (Fall. 2002) pp. 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Lowell H. Schwartz 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RAND CorporationUSA

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