Author: John Gardener
Publisher/Date: Polemic, Vol. 1, No. 7, January, 1990
Title: An Introduction to Psychological Warfare and Propaganda
The political use and misuse of information has existed for many thousands of years. However, this century -- which has seen the proletariat and working class throw off the chains of capitalist exploitation in many countries throughout the world -- has seen the bourgeoisie, in the remaining capitalist countries, forced into information control on a scale undreamt in the 19th Century. The information control capability contained within the regulated capitalist state has never been greater.
The basis of this information control has, as one of it's essential needs, the requirement that the real machinery of control remains hidden, and out of political sight. Control is only possible when the control machinery remains invisible to the proletariat and the working class, when the political method of dissemination does not represent a political element of the information disseminated. Once this element of the control machinery becomes visible, then the information it disseminates is increasingly questioned, and the social control ability is lost. It is only possible to lie and be believed when the listener is unaware that the speaker is a liar.
Many of the means of information control were not even in existence in the 19th century. The technological development of these means of class domination has in itself been driven by this international clash between classes: the processes of information control have been revolutionised several times, just this century. Cinema, invented only late in the 19th century, was widely superseded by the international growth of radio transmission and ownership of radio receivers; radio was then gradually superseded by television. All of these technological revolutions have -- under Imperialism and finance-capital -- been primarily grasped and used as a method of controlling the proletariat and working classes. They are merely means of indoctrinating their audience with the ideology and in the political interests of Imperialism and finance-capital. The capitalist ownership of the means of information dissemination means that all information is censored to protect the class rule of the exploiting classes. Capitalist control attempts -- at every opportunity -- to prevent the working classes from realising their own interests. However, there are many other elements to the means of bourgeois information control as well, many of which have been in existence for centuries.
The education system, for example: one of the primary goals of the education system -- apart from conditioning and educating the proletariat and working classes for it's role in the capitalist production process -- is the political aim of breaking down class relationships and smashing class interests. Capitalism prepares it's wage-slaves well: it indoctrinates a bourgeois curriculum and ideology designed and engineered to isolate children from their parents, from their class, from their peers and from their own best interests. As much as possible, it attempts to induce a passive consciousness into the new proletarians, by divorcing them from reality and truth, and by separating them from their peers by competitive means: by dividing the potential proletariat, by attempting to dissipate their class consciousness, a passive consciousness is indoctrinated.
As well, there have been marked 'scientific advances'
in the use of information as a weapon of war: psychological warfare. It must be acknowledged that the
The increasing non-military use of psychological warfare techniques has become commonplace: the barrage of psychological warfare tricks advertising and media corporations use to beguile the naive and the susceptible are only one element. The use of legal and illegal drugs as a method of political control, exhaustively investigated during clinical or military research, (1) is increasing, and there is ample evidence that Imperialist countries directly play a covert or overt role in either their manufacture and distribution. (2 )
The use of many of these control techniques -- some originally intended purely for military application -- essentially means that the proletariat and working classes exist in the modern capitalist State under a constant psychological assault. This state of perennial class warfare is directed, and consciously aimed by those in control of capitalism, at preventing any class opposition to the dictatorship of capital and exploiter relations, both within national boundaries and externally.
What is Psychological Warfare?
Psychological warfare is the use of information as a weapon of war.
It has been used as far back
as the time of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Even the Bible contains many
historical references. The Book of Joshua in the Old Testament contains an
instructive example: Joshua effectively used naive psychological warfare
techniques to break down the resistance of the besieged inhabitants of
Ghengis Khan was -- and has remained -- justifiably quite infamous for his astute political use of psychological warfare. Khan's tactics were elementary but effective: he sent 5th columnists ahead of his advancing troops, who encouraged rumours and spread disinformation amongst the local people, convincing them of the invincibility of his army. The talk and rumours spread by the advance agents normally propagandised that Khan and his troops gave lenient treatment to those who surrendered but killed those who resisted. The tactics were undoubtedly successful, as Khan's armies conquered large areas of the world. (3 )
One historian, in The Psychological War, gave an historical
example of the use of such warfare techniques when he noted that '...Plutarch's writings contain this very instructive
historical episode. When the news reached
Many battles between the Athenians and the Hellenes were notable for their use of psychological manipulation; there are surviving manuscripts that adequately describe the use of disinformation and psychological warfare during various wars of their times. (5) Alexander the Great fully understood the use of psychological warfare techniques: he often attempted to kill or capture the enemy king as quickly as possible, and this strategy underlined his military tactics. By quickly capturing or killing the enemy king he weakened the leadership and morale of the enemy troops, and thus shortened the overall length of the campaign. (6 )
Julius Caesar had also fully grasped the principles
of psychological warfare. In Civil Wars, a work that was one of the mainstays
of the high school Latin curriculum for many years, he gave an interesting
example of the use of psychological warfare. He wrote of a
disinformation campaign by his political rival, Pompeius,
that nearly succeeded in eradicating his political support after a military
loss at the battle of Dyrrachium:
'...letters...(were)...sent by Pompeius through all
the provinces and communities after the battle at Dyrrachium,
couched in a more exaggerated and inflated style than the facts warranted, a
report had spread abroad that Caesar had been beaten and was in flight with the
loss of nearly all his forces. This rumour had made the routes full of
danger, and was drawing off some of the communities from their friendship with
him...(In one town, Thessaly)...a few months before, the people had voluntarily
sent envoys to Caesar bidding him use (of) all their resources, and had asked
him for a garrison of troops. But the rumour...about
the battle at Dyrrachium, which it had considerably
exaggerated, had already outstripped him. And so...(
The Catholic Church was also no stranger to the use of disinformation and the suppression of information. Thousands were executed and tortured during the period of the Holy Inquisition, for questioning church proclamations. Many scientists were excommunicated or murdered for attempting to find objective, scientific truth. The Church's control over information was very, very thorough; so thorough, in fact, that it impeded human development and progress -- in some areas of political, medical and scientific research -- for centuries. This was almost entirely due to the effects of disinformation and thought control, which in some countries was controlled or influenced -- almost exclusively -- by the Church. Engels wrote of the period that '...the clergy was the only educated class. It was therefore natural that Church dogma was the starting point and basis of all thought. Jurisprudence, natural science, philosophy, everything was dealt with according to whether it's content agreed or disagreed with the doctrine of the Church...' (8 )
However, it must be noted that Catholicism was not
alone in it's attempts to politically control
information. Oliver Cromwell was certainly no stranger to information control
and psychological warfare techniques, as he quite ably demonstrated during
Psychological Warfare and Propaganda during the First World War
During the First World War, capitalist propaganda and psychological warfare techniques were honed to a fine edge. Propaganda was needed to continue the enlistment of machine-gun fodder into the armed services, while psychological warfare was needed to sap the fighting will of the opposite side.
In England, several weeks after the start of the war,
State propaganda organisations were already in existence and churning out
anti-German newspaper articles, photographs, cartoons and interviews. Many of
the horrific tales of the atrocities committed by German soldiers and their
inherent barbarism were completely fabricated, or were
actual events that had been falsified completely beyond recognition. (9 ) The working classes and the proletariat in
However, this innocence was
gradually dispelled as proletarians became aware of the horrific
conditions under which trench warfare was being waged. In
State censorship of mail was also needed, to prevent any private criticism: the mail of both servicemen and a large number of civilians was censored. (11) However, as war casualties mounted, anti-war and proletarian consciousness grew correspondingly and the State measures were increasingly ineffective at maintaining the necessary number of recruits and the necessary level of war hysteria: by 1916 enlistment figures were only a percentage of the comparative late 1914-early 1915 figures.
State attempts to introduce conscription were beaten twice, due to effective socialist and
proletarian agitation and the rise in proletarian consciousness: this was
despite Billy Hughes using all the political means of propaganda and censorship
at his disposal to minimise the No vote. (12)
Hughes even suppressed the publication of referendum results of soldiers
Immediately after the First World War and following
the October Revolution, Australian capital had a ready use to put the
propaganda experience it had gained during the war years. The capitalist media
-- it's aims and interests identical with those
interests threatened by Marxist-Leninism -- quickly rushed to fill the void:
the techniques of anti-German propaganda it had learnt were quickly transferred
to Lenin, the
During the Soviet Intervention, in the capitalist media Soviet communists were often portrayed as thieves and murderers; Humphrey McQueen quotes an article from the period that describes Trotsky as 'Dirty, unkempt, with coal-black nails, a ragged collar, and hair which suggested that it had not been combed for a year'. (14 )
Lenin, of course, was scathing in his criticism of anti-Soviet propaganda, which was similar in tone in practically every capitalist country. One acerbic, astute comment he made of the anti-Soviet propaganda of the time: '...one chorus, one orchestra. It is true that such orchestras are not conducted by one man with a score. International capital uses less conspicuous means than a conductor's baton, but that it is one orchestra should be clear...' (15 ) is as true today as it was then.
In other parts of the capitalist world, capitalist
propaganda organisations were built to combat the
increase in trade unionism and the growing proletarian aspirations for freedom.
Between the wars, capitalist propaganda concentrated
on it's new enemy: communism and the
However, the anti-Soviet propaganda barrage served capital in two primary ways: it not only acted as anti-communist and anti-Soviet propaganda, it also attacked proletarian living standards and increased the exploitation rate.
The Second World War
The Second World War saw the use of propaganda and
psychological warfare on a scale unimaginable in the previous world conflict.
The American music industry also churned out a
constant stream of pro-war propaganda. (18)
It must be noted, though, that until the attack on
Some have argued that George Orwell based Nineteen Eighty-Four on his experiences as a State propagandist at the BBC during the war years, with the Ministry of Information thinly disguised as the Ministry of Truth and Brendan Bracken (BB) the then Minister of Information being depicted in the novel as Big Brother. (22 )
The BBC and it's world-wide audience became an instrument of British military and foreign policy, under the direct control of the MOI. One wartime member of the British political warfare units later remembered the close links between the BBC and the warfare units; he wrote '...Each day I assiduously read the intelligence reports on Nazi Germany...(and then)...I walked two floors down from our office in Bush House to join in the work of the BBC's broadcasts to Nazi Germany...' (23 )
The 'V' campaign where BBC broadcasts encouraged European listeners to write the letter 'V' on walls, factories, schools etc -- was started under the guidance of the political warfare units, and caused BBC bureaucrats to announce radio as a 'new weapon of war'. (24) One writer noted that '...When the British government gives the word, the BBC will cause riots and demonstrations in every city in Europe...The above gives a quite inadequate description of what can be done with this unique weapon if it is properly developed...' (25) However, the campaign was unsuccessful: on the date designated for civil disturbances to occur in Nazi-occupied Europe, nothing happened, and the '...whole thing collapsed like a pricked balloon...' (26) as one psychological warfare expert later remembered.
The British Political Warfare units had arisen from similar units existing within British military and intelligence organisations, although the 'enemy' had changed somewhat: before 1938-39, most of these organisations had been waging psychological warfare on Marxist-Leninism and the USSR.
The political warfare units were supplemented with people from other organisations as well: some members were recruited from a crypto-fascist group, Section D, which was an '...entirely private organisation of many years standing...(that was)... a group of men and women dedicated to fighting Communism...' (27) The experience in disinformation and deception which organisations like these had learnt from years of attempting to destroy Marxist-Leninism and the USSR was well used in the political warfare units. The psychological warfare units were riddled with former Nazi and fascist sympathisers.
Many later prominent people were introduced to psychological warfare in the British political warfare units: for example, Richard Crossman -- later to become a minister in Harold Wilson's government; Patrick Gordon-Walker -- another who became a Labour government minister; Alexander McKendrick -- later a prominent British film director; Tosco Fyvel -- later a well-known British journalist, editor and broadcaster. (28) Hugh Greene, later to become Director General of the BBC, also worked in the political warfare units and liaised with the BBC: before being made Director General, however, he had been prominent in psychological warfare operations against communists in the long Malaysian insurrection! (29) The disinformation skills these people learnt during their period in the psychological warfare units were well used after the war ended, when capital's enemy reverted once again to Marxist-Leninism and when capitalism required the destruction of the proletariat's aspirations of freedom from capitalist slavery.
One member of the units later wrote:
'...As the war came to an end many of those who had been responsible for
launching the Big Lie...returned to civilian life. Some went back to Fleet
Street and it's counterparts in
The Nazi Propaganda and Psychological Warfare Machine
The Nazis built one of the largest propaganda machines in the capitalist world after they came to power in the early 1930s; both Hitler and Goebbels had fully realised the political importance of propaganda in fulfilling their psychopathic ambitions. After dissolving parliament by way of the 'Enabling Act' and declaring Hitler an unchallenged dictator for four years, Goebbels was made 'Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda'. Hitler and the Nazis then completed the task of erecting an extraordinary propaganda machine, that was highly centralised and under complete political control. Goebbels, a failed author, later came to consider himself '...one of the greatest propagandists of all time...' (31)
The Nazis task of creating a national system of propaganda newspapers and magazines was relatively easily achieved given the legislative and dictatorial powers that the Nazis then possessed. The Nazis publishing company, Eher Verlag, was normally the only bidder for any newspapers that the Nazis had suppressed, and most suppressed newspapers were purchased for next to nothing. The Nazis thus picked up a huge printed propaganda organisation for a tiny sum. By the early-1940s, Eher Verlag controlled almost 70% of the German press. (32) However, even given a virtual monopoly on newspapers was not enough: the Nazis propaganda line was enforced by a strict system of censorship acting on any remaining 'independent' newspapers as well. (33)
The control of radio broadcasting was
made easier for the Nazis, by virtue of all radio in
The Nazis had introduced a relatively inexpensive radio the Volksempfanger which was widely owned. (36) By 1939, it was estimated that 70% of German households owned a radio. (37) The widespread ownership of these radios gave the Nazis a direct propaganda line into many German homes. However, as the war progressed, some elements of the Nazis radio propaganda backfired, and were counter-productive.
For example, following the Soviet victory at
The Soviet radio, as it had before and throughout the war, truthfully reported the news, and broadcast both Soviet victories and defeats: many, many Germans tuned in to Soviet radio to hear of the real conditions under which their soldiers were actually fighting. Goebbels wrote in his diary that '...There are reports...that many people are listening to foreign radio broadcasts. The reason for this...is our totally obscure news policy which which no longer gives any insight into the war situation. Also, our reticence regarding Stalingrad and the fate of our missing soldiers there naturally leads the families to listen to Bolshevik radio stations, as these always broadcast the names of German soldiers reported as prisoners...' (38)
The number of Germans listening to foreign radio stations Soviet, British or Swiss became a serious problem for the Nazis very early: in 1939, Hitler enacted an ordinance outlawing unauthorised listening to foreign radio broadcasts. However, in practice, the law was virtually impossible to police effectively. The illegal listening was widespread: some have argued that spare parts for broken radio receivers were withheld in areas where the Nazis suspected many broke the foreign radio laws. (39) Some have argued that the British propaganda stations were exceptionally effective in creating social unrest, especially amongst Nazi U-boat crews, who often listened to British propaganda stations out of preference. (40)
The British propaganda stations also developed the technique of cutting in on the same wavelength as German radio stations during bombing operations: the Nazi stations had to stop broadcasting when bombers were in the vicinity to prevent their radio signals being used as direction finding beacons by British or American aircraft. The British propaganda stations were able to create great unrest, with German listeners often completely unable to tell whether they were listening to legitimate broadcasts: the British propagandists would countermand previous instructions and create other deceptions and diversions, that in some cases created absolute chaos. (41)
Film was also extensively used as a means of Nazi indoctrination. The German cinema underwent a boom period from the time Hitler came to power until the early 1940s, when war damage and production took it's toll on film stock, equipment and technical staff.
Goebbels was instrumental in establishing the 'Reich Film
Chamber' very early in his role of propaganda minister, and he remained in
control until the end of the war. Goebbels took an
extensive interest in film production, and one of his homes was equipped with it's own cinema, on which he used to view -- before it's
public release -- almost every film produced in
For example, the film, Jud Suss ( The Jew Suss), which was directed by and featured some of the best known names then working in German cinema, is rated by some as the most extreme piece of racist propaganda ever made. (43) This film and Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), were two of the films that politically prepared it's audience for the 'Jewish-Bolshevik' final solution that was to follow.
The propaganda methods the Nazis used followed closely in the propaganda tactics devised by Hitler, who had written in Mein Kampf that '...The success of any advertisement, whether in business or politics, is due to the continuity and consistency with which it is employed...' (44) This tactical consideration ran throughout all elements of Nazi propaganda: if you tell a lie loudly and often enough, eventually it becomes accepted as truth.
The initial period of Nazi propaganda saw the Nazis repeating and politically emphasising not only rabid anti-semitism and anti-communism but also the 'socialism' contained in their 'doctrine' of 'national socialism'. This, as could be expected, was an attempt to brutally divert political support from German social-democratic and communist parties, and arguing for some socialist policies did eventually gain the Nazis a tiny degree of support from extremely gullible sections of the German proletariat. During 1927-28, for example, they emphasised the Nazis' newspapers as the 'voice of the persecuted'. (45)
Of course, the talk of socialism was merely a particularly blatant lie designed to fool the naive and the uneducated: the fledgeling Nazi Party had received both financial and logistical support from members of the German military, of whom Hitler had been a member. (46)
Before his criminal rise to dictator began, he had been employed within the Political Department of the German Army's Press and News Bureau, and was actually acting on official orders when he attended his first meeting of the German Worker's Party, later to become the Nazis: he was on the army's pay-roll as a political agent. (47) The Nazis financial support from the wealthiest strata of German and international finance capitalists also began fairly early; the rich saw the Nazis as a bulwark against communism, and their support in capitalist newspapers and the media paved the way for Hitler's eventual takeover. (48)
Naturally, the 'socialist' propaganda period abruptly
ended once the Nazis had attained dictatorship: it must be remembered that in
the final election held in pre-Nazi
Another propaganda theme then emerged:
alongside Hitler and the Nazis' brutal anti-communist and anti-Jewish
diatribes, this new theme emphasised the 'peaceful aims' of the Nazis,
obviously intending to persuade the international bourgeoisie that the Nazis
weapons were only aimed at the
This empty lie was believed by many sections of the criminally insane international bourgeoisie: for example, King Edward VIII, one of Hitler's best known political supporters, was forced to abdicate the British throne by sections of the British bourgeoisie because of his pro-Nazi and anti-proletariat views; (50) even R.G.Menzies was known to publicly comment quite favourably on the state of Hitler's Germany. (51) However, the Nazis propaganda wasn't swallowed by many proletarians internationally, especially after the Spanish Civil War when the Nazis and the international bourgeoisie rallied to the aid of Franco's murderous fascists.
This period also saw the emergence of a large Nazi
organisation specialising in one area of propaganda, devoted exclusively to
'fighting' Marxist-Leninism, both in the
The Antikomintern included a very large research department, studying in close detail Soviet society, the Comintern and Marxist-Leninism. However, the organisation was little more than a thinly disguised arm of the Nazi Party, at one stage during the Spanish civil war even propagandising a situation that had no relation to reality, arguing that '...Franco...had not attempted a Fascist coup against the legal government: the Soviet Union had invaded the country...'! (54) In 1936, the Nazis launched a propaganda assault on other capitalist countries in Europe, that was based, essentially, on the 'threat of communism', and was designed to '...create an anti-Communist psychosis in Europe in the same way it had created one inside Germany in the years 1932 and 1933...' (55)
The third period of Nazi propaganda emerged after these years: this was psychological warfare aimed at destroying the will to resist Nazi aggression, and to create internal dissension and unrest.
Nazi radio broadcasts played a special, tactical role
during the phoney war and the invasion of
The English blackshirt
William Joyce, known as Lord Haw-Haw, was recruited and delivered a stream of
anti-Churchill propaganda across the
Writing of the period, George Orwell noted that the
Nazi radio broadcasts aimed at
The Nazis' propaganda was designed to create internal dissension, and attempted to do so in a particularly subtle way. It attempted to realign those interests hostile to British Imperialism, and firmly place them in the service of the Nazis' own political and military ends. This was a standard Nazi psychological warfare tactic: by emphasising the conflicting interests of some political groups, the Nazis attempted to split any united opposition.
Closely following the invasion of the
One bourgeois historian noted that the Nazis
propagandists had '...two broad choices before them. They could identify the
Soviet regime with the peoples over which it ruled, and declare a ruthless
fight on them. They could work, on the other hand, for the creation of a system
of selective alliances with certain social groups and nationalities, and devote
their energies to driving a wedge between Stalin...and the people of
The actual method was quite simple: '...Goebbels set up a secret station that specialised in
One of it's first official acts was to begin preparations to commence official State shortwave propaganda broadcasts throughout the South Pacific region: this was only done, though, after requests from British Imperialism. The Australian propaganda station was meant to blend with and counter-point standard BBC propaganda, to assist the propaganda broadcasts of British Imperialism by acting as an alternate voice.
The only major overseas shortwave broadcasts had been
experimental overseas transmissions by AWA, starting around 1927, which could be received in
W. MacMahon Ball, then a well known bourgeois academic, was made the head of the new shortwave propaganda section: he was also well known for his regular news commentaries broadcast on the ABC during the 1930s. (64) He was influential in establishing the original aims and propaganda norms of the station: the station attempted to transmit propaganda on an academic, scholarly level as could be expected, with an emphasis on 'truth'. Ball maintained that credible propaganda explored different points of view, to '...enhance the station's credibility in the eyes of the enemy...' (65)
These views were in line with his pronounced bourgeois-liberalism: he had been involved with anti-censorship activities in the 1930s, and extensively lobbied Menzies to remove the political bans on the importation of books by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. He had also been involved in the creation of the first independent news gathering service for the ABC, which had previously been forced to rely on the 'news-gathering capabilities' of the capitalist newspapers: ABC newsreaders normally read extracts and articles from capitalist newspapers over the air. This gave selected finance-capitalists direct propaganda control over much of the propaganda broadcast on the ABC! (66)
By early 1940, the shortwave propaganda station was
broadcasting in several languages French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Afrikaans
to different areas of the world the
Ball, at that stage, had virtually complete control of the station. He arranged, within the Shortwave Department, the creation of a listening post section, designed to monitor all overseas shortwave transmissions: this was to give the station the capability of countering German and Japanese propaganda broadcasts. However, the listening post had some other serious problems, apart from it's transmission strength, as well: there were only a handful of people in the entire country whose Japanese language skills were up to the task of monitoring and translating Japanese radio broadcasts into English or broadcasting in Japanese. (69) The shortage was so acute that some Japanese-speaking soldiers were later transferred from the US Army, to work in the listening post or as broadcasters. (70)
The Shortwave Division was
transferred to the ABC in early 1942. More Asian languages were added to
it's transmissions -- Malay, and Chinese -- and
broadcasts increased to these countries. (71) Also, Japanese
transmissions were included, for the first time. However, with
After the war ended, the shortwave service was used in it's propaganda role for Australian and American Imperialism. It received it's post-war baptism of fire during the Indonesian struggle for independence.
The station supported the Indonesian nationalists --
Sukarno, Hatta, et al. -- against Dutch rule, which
attempted to maintain the colonialist control it had before the 2nd war. The
shortwave station, it's signal audible throughout much
However, the station's propaganda stance was publicly censured by some bourgeois politicians, who assessed that Australian support for the Dutch was necessary; (72)but most bourgeois-liberals including Chifley supported either publicly or privately the nationalists, who realised the political gains that were to be had from an end to Dutch rule. However, the station's propaganda stance was criticised by many conservatives, although the voices raised against the station were quickly silenced once Menzies gained office.
The station was returned to the ABC after Menzies abolished the entire
Department of Information. (73) P.C.Spender,
a minister in charge of the station during the early years of the Menzies
government, realised the propaganda potential that Radio Australia represented
for Australian capital. He placed Radio
itself was more popular in
-- then Radio
there are many propaganda moves afoot to increase Radio
critical stance on
At the end of
the 2nd war, American Imperialism emerged in a
stronger economic position than it had been at the start. The war had
necessitated a massive increase in production capacity, and this excess capacity
required increased markets. The end of the war had supplied them: increased
markets were available in
The growth of
proletarian consciousness, both in the
The tactics represented two facets of Imperialism: one facet, was the propaganda marked direct anti-communist aggression, while the other facet gave respectability to the continuing American military occupation of the world. The diversionary tactics were relatively successful, exactly as they had earlier been for the Nazis. Writing of the period, one American bourgeois academic noted: '...A spectacular excursion into mind management...was the successful effort in 1945 to convince the American people that their daily existence was threatened by the war-devastated and totally drained Russian economy...' (78)
war losses were indeed immense: around 10% of the total population had died
during the Nazi invasion, and much of the country lay in ruins. The
impossibility of any Soviet military threat was obvious to all, excepting
lunatics from the extreme right, naturally. However, the facts were brushed aside by US Imperialism, and aided at almost every
hand-in-hand with attempts to reconstruct much of the Nazi and Fascist
anti-communist forces. In post-war capitalist
The rebuilding of the Nazi propaganda radio stations also quickly occurred, under US, French and British guidance: as one participant noted in the case of Radio Hamburg, which transmitted in several languages, '...the interval between the last Nazi-controlled and the first British-controlled broadcast was barely twenty-four hours...' (81) While the ownership of the stations had changed, the propaganda targets of the stations fairly quickly changed from communism -- under the Nazis -- to the Nazis -- when initially under Allied control -- and then back to communism and the USSR! The change occurred quickly after Truman and Churchill's post-war anti-communist diatribes.
anti-communist psychosis Imperialism attempted to impose on the world almost
immediately paid off: global attention was elsewhere during major Imperialist
overt and covert interventions in various parts of the world. After 1945, the
US, Britain and France backed reactionaries or sent troops to Albania, Algeria,
Burma, China, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia,
Kenya, Korea, Malaya, Morocco, Palestine, the Philippines and Vietnam, and many
other countries. By 1949, the Americans had so successfully picked up where the
Nazis had stopped that the
1960s, Imperialist psychological warfare was increasingly
applied in nearly every country in the world. American Imperialists
increased the amount of propaganda directed at
build-up to the Vietnam war, American disinformation
experts began preparations to prepare the American public for the American
The war's accompanying propaganda fanfare suffered quite a few setbacks along the way: just before the Tet offensive, Imperialist propagandists were proclaiming that the war was virtually won, but the heroic communist offensive during 1968 the Tet offensive destroyed any political credibility American propagandists had remaining. (85)
He noted the general tactics he would later use when he was in control of the BBC when he said '...If propaganda is to give proper support to policy it seems very important at the present stage to exclude from broadcasts to Russia any trace of the cold war mentality and any talk of 'liberation'. This does not mean that one should not take account of, and carefully exploit, the existence of certain categories of people in the Soviet Union who tend to be to some extent disaffected: for instance people who have been in forced labour camps, 'Teddy Boys' (Stilyagi) and adventurous young people generally, the lowest paid workers who resent the wage and class differences, and people who are against the regime from personal conviction either because they disapprove of Communism or because they think the regime has betrayed Communism. All these people will tend to be receptive and attracted in different ways by the freedoms of the West. They and other listeners to our broadcasts can help to form a Soviet public opinion not unfriendly to the West and there are some signs now that such a public opinion is being formed...' (86)
psychological warfare has been in existence for thousands of years, it must be acknowledged that the
The research was conducted with financial backing from the
Hypnotic states, effects of psychotropic drugs on consciousness and qualitative techniques of social manipulation have all been examined and researched at great depth over the preceding decades. Many talented 'social scientists' were drawn to the research by a combination of factors, notably, engaging in 'patriotic research work in the national interest' and the extremely high salaries offered. The long-term results of the research were distributed to intelligence agencies, the White House, pharmaceutical companies, the Pentagon and manufacturers of defence equipment.
Action was taken by US intelligence agencies and the military on the strength of the research. The US Army's Psychological Warfare units were strengthened and given increased logistical support. The 1st Special Operations Command, which is a specialist unit concentrating on psychological warfare operations, was set up at Fort Bragg in the US. It operates a training school, the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Centre, which specialises in training US army personnel in the new psycho-war techniques. The army unit acts as an operations centre and has direct information and communication links with other US government agencies involved in psychological warfare, the USIA, the CIA, the Pentagon and NATO Supreme Headquarters. (87)
There are other elements to the Imperialists psychological warfare strategy as well: during President Carter's term in office, he advocated over US$25m to increasing the transmitter power of the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty (RFE-RL). (88)
These propaganda stations, relayed and broadcasting into socialist and developing countries, are intended purely as the propaganda arm of US Imperialism, and to attack any country which does not allow US corporations untrammelled freedom to rape it's economy. (89) As Herbert Schiller, the well-known American academic has noted, '...Wherever significant social change has occurred or may occur around the world, American transmitters are busy raising doubts about the new social forms and glorifying the acquisitive-consumerist system...' (90)
The amount of Imperialist interference in Warsaw Pact countries is quite extraordinary. Radio Liberty-Radio Free Europe broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, into the USSR in Russian language programmes; over 20 hours daily in the Czech and Slovak languages; 19 hours a day in Polish; 13 hours daily in Romanian; and 8 hours daily in Bulgarian. (91) Both RFE-RL were financially linked to the CIA, by no less than a bourgeois-liberal American Senator, William J. Fulbright in 1970-71. (92) Fulbright could not in any way be considered a communist sympathiser.
The Voice of
America also broadcasts into Comecon countries. The
main VOA transmitters are located in the
Imperialists also broadcast across the world, from relay transmitters located
in other countries: for example, the BBC -- apart from it's
main transmitters located in
Imperialists also established an anti-socialist, Spanish-speaking radio station
However, the attempts have so far failed, for the simple reason that Cuba
is so close to American soil that many Cubans are able to listen to mainland
American radio stations and watch American television: Cubans are well aware of
the constant stream of rubbish and disinformation that the American proletariat
are exposed to, and Radio Marti has failed in it's mission. However, the
Americans are not particularly perturbed by it's
ineffectiveness: not content with merely using radio to destabilise
organisations appear to have developed selective amnesia on the question of
Imperialist propaganda: for example, the Democratic Socialist Party -- formerly
the Socialist Workers Party -- supports
contradiction is quite startling: American interference in
1. Aldous Huxley, the bourgeois British writer, in 1936 described research with drugs and hypno-suggestion. see p38-9 in Moksha-Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience, Horowitz and Palmer, Penguin Books 1983.
9. for what seems to be a fairly typical bourgeois view of the British fabrication of German atrocities, see The Campaign of Hate in The Marsahll Cavendish Illustrated History of World War 1, Vol.3. p789-799
21. George Orwell's writings during his time at the BBC are printed in George Orwell: The War Broadcasts and George Orwell: The War Commentaries, both edited by W.J. West and published by Penguin Books.