Legendary "Wild Bill" Donovan, CIA directors Allen Dulles and William Casey, journalists Stewart Alsop and James Reston, diplomat John McCloy, philanthropist Paul Mellon, playwright Robert Sherwood, theatrical great John Houseman, and civil rights leader Ralph Bunche were among the thousands of people who led or participated in America's massive propaganda campaign against Nazi Germany. In The Propaganda Warriors Clayton Laurie fully unveils for the first time this unprecedented, ambitious, and embattled wartime enterprise.
Laurie details the creation, evolution, and field operations of the overseas branch of the Office of War Information (OWI); the Morale Operations Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS); and the Army-dominated Psychological Warfare units (PWB and PWD) serving the Allied forces in Europe. These agencies, Laurie shows, were as much at war with each other as with the Third Reich, largely due to FDR's failure to establish an official propaganda policy or to enunciate precise war and postwar aims. Within this vacuum, each agency eagerly developed its own distinct form of propaganda.
The propagandists at OWI and OSS (forerunner of the CIA) were especially at odds with each other. The OSS was led by Machiavellian "realists," conservatives, and Republicans who wanted American values to dominate the international order and believed that any means—including the Nazi's own subversive "black" propaganda—justified that end. By contrast, the OWI was led by liberals, New Dealers, and those in the media and arts who adhered to Wilsonian ideals and believed that the truth about America, as they perceived it, would win out through the sheer power of its message. They detested the Nazi regime every bit as much as their OSS counterparts but refused to emulate Nazi tactics.
Despite these conflicts, American propaganda did accelerate the drive toward victory, thanks to the emergence of the PWB and PWD, which after 1943 controlled the production of American propaganda against Germany, bending ideological agendas to serve the military's purely tactical objectives. But, as Laurie makes clear, all three agencies played a vital role in this crucial effort, even as their conflicts foreshadowed future ideological disputes during the Cold War.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations Introduction 1. American Perceptions of Nazi Propaganda, 1933-1941 2. The American Private Sector Mobilizes, 1938-1941 3. The Federal Government Defines a Propaganda Role, 1939-1941 4. Taking the Offensive: The COI, 1941 5. The Self-destruction of COI, 1941-1942 6. The Menagerie of the Old Guard of the New Deal: The OWI Overseas Branch 7. The Bargain Basement of the Military: The OSS MO Branch 8. Controlling a Rear Echelon Insanity: The U.S. Army and Psychological Warfare, 1941-1943 9. The Final Ideological Clash, 1944 10. The OSS Morale Operations Branch in Action, 1943-1945 11. White Propaganda Operations, 1942-1945 Conclusion Notes Selected Bibliography Index