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date: 21 August 2017

Propaganda in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations

Summary and Keywords

From the revolutionary era to the post-9/11 years, public and private actors have attempted to shape U.S. foreign relations by persuading mass audiences to embrace particular policies, people, and ways of life. Although the U.S. government conducted wartime propaganda activities prior to the 20th century, it had no official propaganda agency until the Committee on Public Information (CPI) was formed in 1917. For the next two years, CPI aimed to generate popular support for the United States and its allies in World War I. In 1938, as part of its Good Neighbor Policy, the Franklin Roosevelt administration launched official informational and cultural exchanges with Latin America. Following American entry into World War II, the U.S. government created a new propaganda agency, the Office of War Information (OWI). Like CPI, OWI was disbanded once hostilities ended. But in the fall of 1945, to combat the threats of anti-Americanism and communism, President Harry S. Truman broke with precedent and ordered the continuation of U.S. propaganda activities in peacetime. After several reorganizations within the Department of State, all U.S. cultural and information activities came under the purview of the newly created U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in 1953. Following the dissolution of USIA in 1999, the State Department reassumed authority over America’s international information and cultural programs through its Office of International Information Programs.

Keywords: propaganda, public diplomacy, psychological warfare, U.S. foreign policy, information campaigns, cultural exchange, cultural diplomacy


Defined as “any organized attempt by an individual, group, or government verbally, visually, or symbolically to persuade a population to adopt its views and repudiate the views of an opposing group,” propaganda has long been an integral element of U.S. foreign relations.1 Cognizant that many associate propaganda with authoritarianism and deceit, U.S. officials have often adopted euphemisms for activities designed to shape public opinion. While privately acknowledging the manipulative nature of “propaganda,” “psychological warfare,” “political warfare,” and “psychological strategy,” they publicly described these activities as “information.” “Information,” they claimed, connoted an impartial recounting of facts, not precisely calibrated communication that shaped popular attitudes.

Because propaganda is used for a variety of purposes and is closely aligned with other forms of mass persuasion such as political communication, advertising, and public relations, it is notoriously difficult to define with precision. Terminology is further complicated by different types of overt and covert propaganda including “black” propaganda, which falsely identifies its source; “gray” propaganda, which has an unattributed origin; and “white” propaganda, which correctly and openly identifies its sponsor. There are additional distinctions made between “slow” and “fast” propaganda based on the medium used to convey information. “Slow” propaganda is designed to cultivate attitudes over a long period of time through methods such as books and educational and cultural exchange programs. By contrast, “fast” propaganda seeks a more immediate response and utilizes modern communications tools such as television and radio broadcasts, film screenings, newspaper stories, and international exhibitions.2 Whatever its source or method, propaganda is not necessarily inaccurate, despite pejorative connotations of the term. U.S. officials have frequently contended that truthful depictions of U.S. policies and society, even if unflattering, are more effective means of mass persuasion than deception.

Propaganda tactics are wide-ranging. They include placement of stories into media outlets; radio broadcasts; films; pamphlets; tours by artists, athletes, and performers; world’s fairs and trade shows; and scientific and technological exchanges. These diverse techniques share the common aim of inspiring targeted audiences or participants to reach desired conclusions.

The Revolutionary Era, Abolitionism, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War

Propaganda played a critical role in America’s successful quest for independence from Great Britain.3 In the mid-1760s, colonists opposed to new British taxation schemes began mobilizing. Through pamphlets, broadsides, sermons, poems, plays, and letters, they built popular opposition to “taxation without representation.” In an early example of gray propaganda, a few protest leaders wrote under multiple pseudonyms to make it appear that anti-British sentiment was more extensive than it actually was. Repetition of evocative rhetoric about freedom and slavery proved highly effective in generating mass support for revolutionary ideas, but independence was not the initial goal. For example, John Dickinson’s “Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer” lambasted the Townshend Acts (1767) and corruption within the current political regime, but defended the British system of governance and commitment to individual rights.4

But over time, radicals like Sam Adams grasped the value of propaganda in portraying British rule as tyrannical, and calls for independence arose. In 1770, after British soldiers shot and killed five Americans who were part of a mob harassing the troops, Adams christened the incident the “Boston Massacre,” an image reinforced by a widely disseminated engraving made by Paul Revere.5 Six years later, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense used simple language to make the case for rejecting British monarchy and embracing American independence.6 Paine subsequently wrote sixteen pamphlets called The Crisis (1776–1783) urging the Continental Army to maintain its commitment to independence during the difficult war against the British.7 A masterwork of mass persuasion, Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776) had transnational and enduring ramifications, inspiring both his contemporaries and future revolutionaries across the globe.8 After the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, pamphleteers debated the terms of the Treaty of Paris and the Articles of Confederation. During the heated debate over ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison wrote the eighty-five essays in The Federalist Papers (1788) advocating a new system of government, while anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry wrote equally vigorous treatises opposing it.9

In the aftermath of the American Revolution, private citizens organized a transnational propaganda campaign against slavery. Where the revolutionaries had used slavery as a metaphor for British tyranny, the abolitionists denounced literal servitude. Originating in England, the antislavery movement published first-person narratives from former slaves such as Olaudah Equiano and data on the transatlantic slavery trade compiled by Thomas Clarkson to persuade politicians like William Wilberforce to champion abolition. In 1807, Britain and the United States outlawed the international slave trade, but not slavery itself. Antislavery agitation thus continued. In 1829, David Walker, a free black abolitionist who owned a clothing store in Boston, published An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, a strident call for slaves to overthrow their masters. In 1831, William Lloyd Garrison, an advocate of immediate emancipation for slaves without compensation for their owners, launched the newspaper The Liberator.

In 1833, after a slave insurrection in Jamaica, the British ended slavery throughout their global empire. By contrast, the American South, responded to a slave revolt in Virginia and a burgeoning U.S. antislavery movement by imposing new laws that restricted the lives of slaves and outlawed abolitionist activities. Undeterred, abolitionists escalated their campaigns and increasing numbers of women and former slaves joined the movement. British advocates helped to finance anti-slavery activities in the United States. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a novel that humanized slaves and castigated their owners. It became a best-seller and was also dramatized in theaters across the nation, demonstrating the power of fiction and performance as tools of mass political persuasion.10

When the inability to resolve differences over slavery plunged the United States into civil war in 1861, the Union and the Confederacy used propaganda to solicit foreign support. Through individual agents sent abroad and articles placed in European newspapers, both sides attempted to win political and economic allies. Henry Shelton Sanford, the U.S. minister to Belgium, bribed European journalists to publish pro-Union stories. But President Abraham Lincoln was the Union’s best propagandist. To refute Confederate claims that the British textile industry would suffer without its U.S. cotton supply, he wrote personal letters to British industrialists and union leaders. His Emancipation Proclamation (1862) and Gettysburg Address (1863) transformed the war from a battle to reunite the country into a moral crusade to end slavery and preserve representative democracy—a tactic that helped solidify European support for the Union.

The Confederacy also waged international propaganda campaigns. In Britain, Henry Hotze engaged in gray propaganda, writing articles and then providing them to British journalists who sold them to newspapers under their own names. Hotze also hired several British writers at his own weekly pro-Confederate newspaper, The Index. At the same time, Edwin De Leon engaged in similar activities in France, bribing French newspapers to publish pro-Confederate editorials. But neither the British nor the French efforts succeeded. With alternative sources of cotton emerging in India and Egypt and with strong popular antipathy toward slavery, European governments were not persuaded of the economic or political value of recognizing the Confederacy.11

In the late 19th century, propaganda produced by the tabloid press played a significant role in triggering American entry into Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain. At a time when Americans were adjusting to the dislocations of urbanization, industrialization, and immigration, many began to view a war with Spain as a means of diffusing domestic tensions, reinvigorating masculinity, and affirming U.S. greatness.12 In 1895, when longstanding tensions between the Cubans and the Spanish reignited, journalists emphasized the parallels between the Cuban insurgency and colonial America’s revolt against Great Britain. Tabloid publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer printed sensationalized accounts of Spanish atrocities against Cuban civilians that prompted U.S. citizens to demand governmental action in defense of the Cuban rebels. When General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, commander of the Spanish forces on Cuba, instituted the reconcentrado policy relocating the civilian populace to guarded compounds with terrible living conditions, Hearst and Pulitzer publications termed the general the “Butcher.”

Spanish mistreatment of Cuban women was a frequent element of this “yellow journalism.” Hearst’s stories about Evangelina Cosio y Cisnernos, the seventeen-year-old niece of the first president of the provisional government of Cuba, were particularly evocative. While Cisnernos was held in a notorious women’s prison awaiting trial for alleged insurgent activities, Hearst’s reporters depicted her as the “Cuban Joan of Arc.” The publisher organized petition drives on her behalf. After efforts to bribe her Cuban jailers to release her failed, Hearst sent journalist Karl Decker to break Cisneros out of prison and smuggle her to the United States. Upon her arrival in New York, Cisnernos was celebrated as a heroine in Cuba’s noble quest for freedom.13

Although Spain granted Cuba autonomy, it remained steadfast in its refusal to grant the island independence, and rebel protests continued. To quell the unrest, the United States dispatched the U.S.S. Maine to Havana Harbor. On February 15, 1898, the Maine exploded and sank, killing 266 U.S. sailors. The New York World and other sensationalist newspapers immediately blamed Spain (inquiries later concluded that a faulty boiler was the probable cause). Capitulating to the “war fever” consuming the nation, President William McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war on April 19, 1898. The “splendid little war” resulted in U.S. acquisition of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, and fewer than four hundred American soldiers died in the short conflict.14

During the Spanish-American War, the new medium of film emerged as a powerful propaganda tool. Alfred E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton of Vitagraph made a short film in which they used models to reenact the sinking of the Maine and recreated the funeral procession for the sailors who died. Filmmakers also helped to publicize the military exploits of Teddy Roosevelt and the “Rough Riders.”15 Roosevelt’s celebrity proved invaluable in his subsequent campaigns for governor of New York, vice-president, and president.

World War I, the Interwar Period, and World War II

World War I ushered in the modern era of propaganda used by governments as a sophisticated weapon. All of the combatant governments produced and disseminated information campaigns to win domestic and international support. Tactics included stories accusing enemies of sabotage, rape, and atrocities and use of military recruitment posters. With the advent of smaller cameras that could more easily be used on battlefields, government censors suppressed or doctored disturbing images of combat realities.

When the Great War erupted in Europe in August 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared that because there was no difference among the belligerents’ war aims, the United States would remain neutral “in thought and in deed.” German and British propagandists bombarded Americans with materials designed to win their support. Each side tailored its campaigns to appeal to certain U.S. constituencies. Germany targeted Irish Americans who distrusted Great Britain and recent immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. The British invoked common Anglo-American linguistic and cultural ties and depicted the Germans as barbarians.16

After favoring the British and French in its financial dealings and several clashes over Germany’s unrestricted use of submarines, the United States entered World War I in April 1917. With the U.S. population still bitterly divided in its views on the war, Wilson issued an executive order creating the Committee on Public Information (CPI), America’s first official propaganda agency. Headed by George Creel, the CPI was charged with mobilizing domestic and international support for the war effort and U.S. war aims. CPI used a combination of tactics including press censorship, films, newspaper articles, advertisements, and pamphlets. CPI commissioned hundreds of posters, the most famous of which was James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic “I Want You” (1917) portrait of Uncle Sam pointing directly at the viewer. CPI hired seventy-five thousand “four-minute men” who toured the United States making pro-war speeches and selling war bonds at public events. Abroad, the CPI attempted to win enemy loyalties in thirty nations by disseminating materials emphasizing U.S. anti-imperialist aims. To erode enemy morale, the CPI emphasized the superior equipment and food of American soldiers.

At home, the CPI fueled a wave of intense anti-German sentiment. Publicizing German atrocities in Belgium, the committee depicted the Germans as “Huns, rapists, and pillagers.” Schools stopped teaching German language courses and banned books by German authors such as the 18th-century writer and literary critic Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Orchestras refused to play works by J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms. Restaurants renamed hamburgers “liberty sandwiches” and sauerkraut “liberty cabbage.” There were instances of violence targeting German immigrants.17

After Wilson issued his Fourteen Points outlining a vision for the postwar world, CPI launched the first global advertising campaign. Shells stuffed with leaflets were lofted over enemy lines and dropped from biplanes. CPI placed articles extolling Wilson’s ideas in newspapers all over the globe, a tactic that encouraged peoples aspiring to escape colonialism and choose their own systems of government. War-weary masses across Europe and Russia were inspired by Wilson’s statements on disarmament, equality of nations, resolution of several territorial disputes, and creation of a new League of Nations built on collective security. After Wilson compromised or abandoned many of his ideas at the Paris Peace Conference following the war’s end, many of those influenced by CPI campaigns were bitterly disillusioned. In June 1919, wary of the dangers of propaganda and unwilling to give a peacetime president such a powerful tool for swaying public opinion, Congress disbanded CPI.18

In the 1920s, the psychology of shaping public opinion became the subject of concerted study. Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays warned that because ill-informed masses could easily be manipulated, it was essential that thoughtful experts shape popular views.19 The birth of public relations and the rise of the advertising industry fueled demand for professionals trained to use prose and imagery to shape public opinion and to sell products. These experts quickly exploited the power of new radio networks in reaching broad audiences. Hollywood studios also capitalized on the international allure of American popular culture, and films became another means of shaping language, style, and consumerism.20 At the same time, scholars like political scientist Harold Lasswell examined the techniques of American, British, French, and German propagandists in World War I. Revelations that the British had fabricated tales of German atrocities to generate U.S. support for entering the war solidified views that propaganda was duplicitous.

In the 1930s, as militaristic regimes gained power in Germany, Italy, and Japan, wariness of propaganda informed U.S. policies and popular opinion. When news of Nazi atrocities against Jews first began reaching the United States, many Americans responded with incredulity. In 1938, fearful that disinformation campaigns could trigger U.S. intervention in another devastating war, Congress passed legislation requiring all foreign propagandists to register with the federal government. After war erupted in Europe in September 1939, Americans fiercely debated whether the United States should maintain its official posture of neutrality. Over eight hundred thousand Americans joined America First, a pro-neutrality organization that argued that intervention would permanently militarize U.S. society and would erode civil liberties. The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies became the leading interventionist group, claiming the United States could not survive if its political and economic partners were controlled by fascist regimes. Both sides used rallies, petitions, publications, and films to advance their position.21

While carefully monitoring public opinion, President Roosevelt pushed for revision of U.S. neutrality laws and took steps to aid democratic nations threatened by Nazi Germany. In 1938, to foster hemispheric unity, the administration began sponsoring educational and cultural exchanges in Latin America. In 1940, Roosevelt named Nelson Rockefeller the director of the newly created Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics, renamed the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) the following year. While publicly promoting “Pan-Americanism” and “international understanding,” CIAA also attempted to combat fascist propaganda through news articles, radio broadcasts, films, and advertising. A wide variety of U.S. performers toured Latin America as goodwill ambassadors, including Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, and George Balanchine and the American Ballet Theater. Concurrently, the administration created the Office of Government Reports and the Office of Facts and Figures to compile and disseminate war-related information to U.S. audiences. Roosevelt also appointed playwright Robert Sherwood to direct the newly established U.S. Foreign Information Service (FIS). In December 1941, after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor quelled noninterventionist sentiments and the United States formally entered the war against Germany and Japan, Sherwood hired theater producer John Houseman to lead radio broadcasts to Europe from the New York headquarters of FIS, and additional broadcasts to Asia were initiated from a second FIS studio in San Francisco.22

World War II and the Cold War

In February 1942, after William Harlan Hale opened his German-language broadcasts by declaring, “The Voice of America speaks,” the phrase stuck and became the introduction on all FIS broadcasts. By the war’s end, Voice of America (VOA) transmitted radio programming around the globe in forty different languages. In June 1942, seven months after the United States entered World War II, it consolidated Voice of America and its other propaganda operations into the Office of War Information (OWI). Roosevelt also established the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and authorized OSS to engage in black and gray propaganda operations abroad. The creation of OWI sparked controversy. Recalling the anti-German activities of the Committee on Public Information (CPI) during World War I, some Americans feared the agency would demonize certain groups and quash dissent. Pointing to the perfidy of Nazi propaganda, others contended that a central propaganda agency was inappropriate and dangerous for a democratic society.

Operating from June 1942 to September 1945 under the leadership of Elmer Davis, OWI produced radio broadcasts, posters, films, photographs, and publications. Its core mission was to foster “an informed and intelligent understanding, at home and abroad, of the status and progress of the war effort and of war policies, activities, and aims of the [U.S.] Government.”23 Its domestic branch produced several films such as This is Our Enemy (1942) and Hasten the Day (August 1943). OWI also collaborated with Hollywood studios on feature films that depicted Allied heroism and civilian participation in home front activities that helped the war effort such as gardening and scrap metal drives.24

OWI’s Overseas Branch operated on an enormous scale. It based its U.S. Information Service (USIS) officials at diplomatic outposts across the globe. It published entire newspapers and airdropped millions of leaflets. Its Psychological Warfare Branch targeted enemy troops. In addition to traditional propaganda tactics, OWI disseminated “specialty items” such as packets of seeds, matchbooks, and soap paper emblazoned with pro-Allies or anti-Axis messages. At the same time, the U.S. Army ran its own psychological warfare operations aimed at convincing Axis troops and civilians to surrender.25

OWI operations suffered from poor coordination and allegations of partisanship. Military authorities’ censorship of some aspects of combat realties and sensitive operations clashed with OWI’s professed commitment to providing truthful information. After accusing OWI’s domestic branch of promoting Roosevelt and the New Deal more than U.S. war aims, Congress slashed the agency’s budget and greatly restricted its domestic operations. Shortly after VJ Day, President Harry Truman issued an executive order abolishing OWI effective September 15, 1945. The OWI’s foreign operations and USIS were transferred to the Department of State, as were VOA and Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA) broadcasts. In 1946, Truman signed the Fulbright Act, creating America’s premiere educational and cultural exchange program.26 After 1947, the covert propaganda work conducted by the OSS fell under the purview of the newly created Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).27

As Soviet-American relations deteriorated after World War II, each nation launched worldwide propaganda campaigns to win allies and to promote their respective ways of life. Through radio shows, films, and publications, U.S. policymakers propagated a carefully constructed narrative of progress, freedom, and happiness. With mixed results, they presented their vision to the world in hopes of persuading foreign peoples to reject communism and to adopt democratic capitalism. U.S. information experts carefully tailored their methods and tactics to appeal to different countries and meticulously described aspects of American political, cultural, social, and economic life.28

Throughout the Cold War, U.S. propagandists also struggled to maintain legislative support and adequate funding. Associating propaganda with authoritarian regimes, many federal lawmakers opposed U.S. information and cultural activities. In 1948, with Cold War tensions escalating and after a very contentious debate, Congress passed the Smith-Mundt Act, authorizing U.S. propaganda programs. To prevent replication of the partisan and divisive legacies of the domestic branches of CPI and OWI, the legislation barred the dissemination of American information materials within the United States. In April 1950, Truman called for a “Campaign of Truth” to refute communist lies. Eight months later, alarmed by the outbreak of war in Korea, Congress expanded the budget for the State Department’s information apparatus to $79.1 million, a sum more than twice the previous year’s amount.29 By 1951, U.S. information officials targeted ninety-three countries, distributed over sixty million pamphlets, and orchestrated VOA broadcasts in forty-five languages.30

While American information officers intensified their rhetorical attacks on communism, the Truman administration became increasingly dismayed by the lack of coordination among U.S. propagandists. In addition to the State Department, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Economic Cooperation Administration, and the Technical Cooperation Administration were also conducting information activities abroad. Turf wars, muddied lines of authority, and repetition undermined their efforts. On April 4, 1951, in an attempt to impose order on this chaos, Truman established the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), an autonomous body charged with coordinating all government-affiliated psychological operations worldwide. Directed by Gordon Gray, the president of the University of North Carolina and a former secretary of the Army, the PSB was comprised of representatives from the State Department, the Defense Department, and the CIA. Stalwart believers in the power of ideological warfare to win the Cold War, the PSB pledged to roll back Soviet power, inspire revolutions behind the Iron Curtain, and generate global support for U.S. policies. Over the next two years, though the PSB produced an avalanche of studies, it clashed frequently with U.S. foreign policy experts and ultimately achieved few of its grandiose goals.31

The era’s volatile political climate inspired many anti-communist liberals to join the U.S. government’s fight against communism. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Sidney Hook, Nicholas Nabokov, and many others played critical roles in “private” groups like the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE) and the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). Subsidized by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), such organizations stemmed from close relationships among non-communist liberals working at the highest echelons of American industry and government. Encompassing public officials, businesspeople, journalists, labor leaders, and others, this “state-private network” was instrumental in the U.S. information war against communism. The CIA placed support of the non-communist left at the core of its political operations. For the next two decades, the CIA covertly subsidized dozens of counter-protests at international communist gatherings and organized festivals and conferences throughout the world. Wittingly or unwittingly, hundreds of non-communist leftists aided the CIA’s strategy for winning the cultural Cold War.32 Although its role was kept secret until the late 1960s, the CIA also operated Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, propaganda stations staffed by Eastern Europe and Soviet emigres and exiles that targeted the East Bloc and the Soviet Union, respectively.33

An advocate of psychological warfare throughout his military career, President Dwight D. Eisenhower believed that effective propaganda could help ensure world peace and promote democracy. He accorded information activities—both overt and covert—the same stature as military, economic, and diplomatic operations. He became the only president ever to appoint a propaganda advisor to his cabinet.

Eisenhower ordered a sweeping reorganization of U.S. information activities. In June 1953, he created the United States Information Agency (USIA) as an independent propaganda organization and consolidated all information operations from the State Department, the Technical Cooperation Administration, the U.S. occupation forces, and the Mutual Security Agency. While USIA assumed control of Voice of America and U.S. libraries and information centers abroad, the Fulbright exchange program remained in the State Department. Eisenhower abolished the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), created an Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) to organize security affairs, and left covert operations under the jurisdiction of the CIA.

Nonetheless, USIA struggled in its early years. Following a 36 percent reduction in operating funds from fiscal 1953, the USIA’s staff fell from 12,877 to 9,281. USIS posts declined from 255 in eighty-five countries to 217 in seventy-six countries. USIA did not obtain membership in either the National Security Council (NSC) or OCB until 1955, and Eisenhower did not include the USIA director in cabinet meetings until 1956.34

At the same time, U.S. officials weighed how best to respond to the instability engulfing the Soviet leadership and Eastern Europe in the wake of the death of Joseph Stalin. After the Soviets quashed uprisings in East Germany in June 1953, the administration adopted a policy of “peaceful coexistence,” moving away from attempts to force the disintegration of the Soviet empire. But its adoption of policies and rhetoric calling for the “liberation” of “captive nations” subjugated by communist regimes posed contradictions that became glaringly apparent during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Inspired by Radio Free Europe broadcasts, many Hungarians violently resisted Soviet troops sent to quash their protests on the expectation that U.S. aid would be forthcoming. When the Eisenhower administration refused to intervene, the rebels were outraged and the Soviets crushed their uprising.

While continuing to define communism negatively, the USIA also tried to convey the positive aspects of the United States. A massive campaign called “Atoms for Peace” emphasized Eisenhower’s support for nuclear disarmament and the non-military applications of nuclear energy in agriculture, medicine, and electricity. To combat Soviet depictions of the United States as a nation of semi-barbarian materialists ill-suited for political leadership, the USIA embarked on a new series of overseas lectures, exhibits, concerts, films, and radio and television programs. To capitalize on foreign interest in American popular culture, the USIA began sending popular jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong on international tours. Eager to capitalize on global interest in U.S. consumer products, Congress subsidized international exhibits that highlighted the standard of living in the United States.35

Under the provisions of a historic cultural exchange agreement signed in 1958, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to host exhibitions highlighting their Cold War opponent’s industry, culture, and society. While the Soviet exhibition in New York highlighted heavy equipment and fell flat with audiences, the American National Exhibition in Moscow was a tremendous success. Over six weeks, almost three million Soviets streamed through the thirty-thousand-square-foot display marveling at frozen foods, radios, color televisions, phonographs, and other consumer goods. On July 24, 1959, while standing in the kitchen of a model American house, Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had an impassioned exchange on the merits of their respective ways of life. The “Kitchen Debate” gained worldwide attention and exemplified the larger ideological battle of the Cold War.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed renowned journalist Edward R. Murrow to direct USIA. Until his death in 1964, Murrow elevated the agency’s public profile considerably. That same year, Congress passed the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act), consolidating all U.S. international educational and cultural exchange activities into a newly created Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Department of State. In 1964, USIA’s first feature-length documentary, John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, was screened in 117 countries and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Congress granted a special exemption to the Smith-Mundt Act so U.S. audiences could view the film. In 1965, Edmund Gullion, a retired Foreign Service officer and the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, popularized the term “public diplomacy” to describe government-sponsored cultural and information activities designed to influence popular attitudes. Long dismayed by the negative connotations of the term “propaganda,” U.S. officials quickly embraced the new descriptor.36

At the same time, as U.S. military involvement in Vietnam escalated, USIA replaced USIS Vietnam with the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO) in Saigon to centralize all official U.S. communication activities in the country. From 1965 to 1972, JUSPAO ran joint civilian-military operations aimed at counterinsurgency. The participating entities found the arrangement cumbersome, and when U.S. forces withdrew from Vietnam, JUSPAO was disbanded and USIS Vietnam reactivated.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter authorized the creation of the United States International Communication Agency (USICA), a merger of USIA and the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. USICA’s mission was to “reduce the degree to which perceptions and misunderstandings complicate relations between the United States and other nations.” In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Charles Wick director of USICA and gave the agency a leading role in pressuring the Soviet Union. Throughout the 1980s, USIA’s annual budget exceeded $500 million. In 1982, Reagan issued an executive order abolishing the USICA and recreating the USIA, a move that constituted little more than an official name change. In 1983, USIA launched WORLDNET Film and Television Service, and VOA undertook a worldwide modernization of its programming and transmitting equipment. In May 1985, the agency launched Radio Martí and began broadcasting to Cuba. In May 1987, as Soviet-American relations significantly improved, the Soviets ceased jamming VOA.37

The Post-Cold War Era

The end of the Cold War had a significant impact on U.S. public diplomacy. In April 1992, after finishing United States Information Agency (USIA) exhibits in Seville, Spain, and Genoa, Italy, the agency closed its Exhibits Service, retaining an advisory role for U.S. participation in world’s fairs but surrendering all other tasks to the private sector. From 1993 to 2001, the budget for the State Department’s cultural and educational exchanges dropped 33 percent, from $349 million to $232 million. From 1995 to 2001, the number of participants in cultural exchanges dropped from forty-five thousand to twenty-nine thousand. The Voice of America radio network and U.S. overseas libraries experienced similar cutbacks.38 In April 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the International Broadcasting Act of 1994, establishing the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) within USIA and placing all U.S. government radio and television broadcasts services under the purview of an independent agency called the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). In October 1998, Clinton signed legislation abolishing USIA as an independent agency and assigning its broadcasting operations to the BBG and its informational and cultural activities to the Department of State effective October 1, 1999.39

The 9/11 attacks potently illustrated that the global popularity of U.S. goods and American culture did not create universal acceptance of U.S. foreign policies and the American way of life. Indeed, the U.S. wars in Iraq, the demise of the Soviet Union, the rise of Internet technologies, and globalization greatly increased international criticism of American power and culture.40 This political climate triggered substantial increases in funding for U.S. international information activities. In 2005, the State Department spent $1.36 billion on its international information, cultural, and broadcasting activities, an almost 35 percent increase over 2002 expenditures.41

Charlotte Beers, President George W. Bush’s first appointee as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, attempted to reorient U.S. information activities toward combatting terrorism. Beers urged the State Department to make its campaigns more emotional and to improve its use of radio, television, and other media. She ordered revisions of the government’s main web site on 9/11 ( In sections called “Response to Terrorism” and “Islam in the U.S.,” Beers added poignant photographs of Muslim-American candlelight vigils for 9/11 victims and a map highlighting the eighty nations that incurred casualties in the attacks.42 Throughout 2002, Beers worked to better integrate public diplomacy into the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy and to earn greater recognition for specialists in public diplomacy.43 In March 2002, IBB launched Radio Sawa (“together” in Arabic), a 24-hour, commercial-free radio network featuring a mix of Arabic and Western popular music and Arabic-language news updates aimed at the ninety-nine million Middle Easterners aged 15 to 34—nearly 60 percent of the region’s population.44 Two years later, IBB launched Al Hurra (Arabic for “The Free One”), an Arabic-language satellite television station intended to present “accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news” to Middle Eastern viewers.45

During Ramadan 2002, Beers’s office began its Shared Values Initiative with the release of five mini-documentaries featuring Muslim Americans describing their lives in the United States. The films sought to disprove widely held stereotypes of Americans as decadent, faithless, and anti-Islamic. But only Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Kuwait allowed the videos to air. Jolted by a chorus of outrage in the Muslim world, the U.S. government yanked the ads.46 In March 2003, amid extensive coverage of the Bush administration’s push for war with Iraq, Beers resigned because of unspecified health problems. Her departure coincided with enormous anti-American protests held worldwide.47

In the months following the American invasion of Iraq, the debate on public diplomacy intensified. In December 2003, Margaret Tutwiler, a former State Department spokesperson and former U.S. ambassador to Morocco, succeeded Beers. She inherited a program beset by limited funding and inadequate personnel.48 In March 2004, a survey documenting attitudes toward the United States in nine countries found increasing discontent with America and its policies, especially those pertaining to the Iraq War.49 A month later, Tutwiler resigned from the State Department to become executive vice-president for communications and government relations at the New York Stock Exchange.50

The top public diplomacy post remained unfilled for almost a year before President Bush appointed Karen Hughes, a former television reporter and a long-time Bush advisor, as Tutwiler’s successor.51 After a National Intelligence Estimate warned of the increasing threat posed by radical jihadists using the Internet to indoctrinate and train recruits, Hughes created a Digital Outreach Team where specialists challenged anti-Americanism espoused online. She also commissioned Disney to produce “Portraits of America,” a cheerful film shown at airports and U.S. embassies.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States continued its efforts to combat radical terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. It also worked to lift Cold War-era restrictions on Cuba and to reestablish U.S.-Cuban cultural relations. The global proliferation of smart phones, satellite television, and social media has made the task of crafting and disseminating official propaganda about the United States more complicated and time-sensitive than ever. U.S. officials can more quickly reach foreign audiences, but must also respond to crises that can originate from a host of state and non-state actors and which can spread widely and rapidly through forums like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Discussion of the Literature

There is an extensive literature on the history of American propaganda. While the first wave of scholarship was largely narrative, more recent works explore how mass audiences interpret and respond to information campaigns, the ways that state and private actors have collaborated—and competed—in efforts to sway popular opinion, and the impact of integrating propaganda into the foreign policymaking process.

For the Revolutionary era, the seminal text is Philip Davidson’s Propaganda and the American Revolution, 1763-1783.52 Offering broad surveys, Susan Brewer and Eugene Secunda and Terence P. Moran hone in on America’s uses of war propaganda from the late 19th century to the present.53

Assessments of U.S. propaganda in World War I begin with George Creel’s memoir detailing his leadership of the Committee on Public Information (CPI).54 James Robert Mock and Cedric Larson provide a much more objective history of CPI.55 Although there is certainly enough primary source material and scholarly interest to merit one, there is no volume devoted exclusively to the overseas dimensions of CPI’s campaigns.

In a rich body of work on U.S. propaganda during World War, Allen Winkler’s The Politics of Propaganda remains the core text on the Office of War Information.56 Holly Shulman explores the early years of Voice of America.57 John Dower brilliantly illustrates the ways that racism infused American and Japanese propaganda and popular culture in ways that affected each side’s conduct of the war and perceptions of the enemy.58 Clayton Laurie investigates overseas U.S. propaganda operations directed at Nazi Germany.59 Steven Casey’s extensive examination of American information operations during the Korean War is first-rate.60

Covering the late interwar period through 1953, Frank Ninkovich and Justin Hart provide essential volumes on the origins of cultural and information programs as critical tools of U.S. foreign policy.61 In two authoritative volumes, Nicholas J. Cull traces the history of the United States Information Agency (USIA).62 Gregory Tomlin takes a more concentrated approach and focuses on Edward R. Murrow’s leadership of the USIA during the Kennedy administration.63 The anthology Reasserting America in the 1970s includes essays delving into several aspects of the agency’s work in this pivotal decade.64

A closely related body of work focuses on the U.S. government’s efforts to export American culture and ideas as part of a broader Cold War foreign policy. Walter Hixson, Scott Lucas, and Gregory Mitrovich have produced excellent studies on the strategic objectives and tactics of U.S. policymakers targeting audiences behind the Iron Curtain. Shifting the geographic prism to “The Free World,” Kenneth Osgood’s magisterial volume situates the U.S. propaganda offensive within the larger context of the mass communications revolution of the 1950s.65

Others have emphasized specific cultural programs in America’s ideological offensive against communism. Naima Prevots, Michael Krenn, Damion Thomas, David Caute, Yale Richmond, and Penny Von Eschen illuminate how dance, art, sports, film, literature, and music became critical elements of the cultural Cold War. While U.S. officials primarily viewed these programs as tools with which to diffuse Soviet allegations of American racism, cultural vapidity, and parochialism, performers and athletes often used their status as cultural ambassadors to make trenchant critiques of U.S. political culture.66

Primary Sources

Primary sources on American propaganda are legion. Some of the best repositories on the antebellum and Civil War eras include numerous collections at the Library of Congress and the “history by era” gateway at the Gilder Lehman Institute of American History.67 Sources on the transatlantic abolitionist movement can be found at the University of Liverpool’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery, the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, and the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.68 The Library of Congress has compiled extensive printed, photographic, and film resources about the Spanish-American War in its World of 1898 and The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures collections.69 The National Archives houses the records of the Committee on Public Information, the Office of Inter-American Affairs, the Office of War Information, the U.S. Department of State, and the United States Information Agency. Each collection has a searchable online catalog and detailed finding aid. Some documents and audio-visual materials are digitized.70 There are also information and cultural program resources at the presidential libraries. Examples include the files of the Psychological Strategy Board at the Harry S. Truman Library and the C.D. Jackson papers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.71 The University of Arkansas houses records of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, documenting the U.S. Department of State’s educational and cultural exchange activities, including those of the Fulbright program.72 Tufts University is home to the papers of Edward R. Murrow, director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) from 1961 to 1964.73 The U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) volumes are an indispensable resource on American foreign policy. The series began in 1861 and is continuously expanded. Digital, searchable versions of many volumes are available.74 The American Presidency Project at the University of California and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia have created exhaustive online archives of oral histories, speeches, executive orders, press conferences, and other materials.75

Further Reading

Casey, Steven. Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Cull, Nicholas. The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945–1989. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Davidson, Philip. Propaganda and the American Revolution, 1763–1783. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1941.Find this resource:

Dudziak, Mary. Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.Find this resource:

Hart, Justin. Empire of Ideas: The Origins of Public Diplomacy and the Transformation of U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Osgood, Kenneth. Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006.Find this resource:

Parkinson, Robert G.The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2016.Find this resource:

Saunders, Frances Stonor. The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. New York: The New Press, 1999.Find this resource:

Shulman, Holly Cowan. The Voice of America: Propaganda and Democracy, 1941–1945. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.Find this resource:

Von Eschen, Penny M.Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Winkler, Alan M.The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942–1945. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978.Find this resource:


(1.) The definition of propaganda is found in Clayton D. Laurie, The Propaganda Warriors: America’s Crusade against Nazi Germany (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1996), 6. For a helpful historical overview, see Richard Alan Nelson, “Propaganda,” in Handbook of Popular Culture, ed. M. Thomas Inge, 2d ed. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989), 1011–1123.

(2.) For an exhaustive glossary of propaganda terms, see Richard Alan Nelson, A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996), 115–276.

(3.) Key texts include Philip Davidson, Propaganda and the American Revolution, 1763–1783 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1941); Patricia Bradley, Slavery, Propaganda, and the American Revolution (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1998); and Russ Castronovo, Propaganda 1776: Secrets, Leaks, and Revolutionary Communications in Early America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

(4.) The letters are found in Archiving Early America, Varsity Tutors.

(5.) For an analysis of Revere’s image and the image itself, see “Paul Revere’s Engraving of the Boston Massacre,” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

(6.) The full text of Common Sense may be viewed at Independence Hall Association.

(7.) For The Crisis essays, see Independence Hall Association.

(8.) David Armitage, The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).

(9.) The complete Federalist Papers are posted at American History from Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond. For collected Anti-Federalist writings, also see American History from Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond.

(10.) David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006); and J. R. Oldfield, Transatlantic Abolitionism in the Age of Revolution: An International History of Anti-Slavery, 1787–1820 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

(11.) Don H. Doyle, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War (New York: Basic, 2014).

(12.) On core factors driving U.S. entry into the Cuban-Spanish conflict, see Thomas Schoonover, Uncle Sam’s War of 1898 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2003). On the gendered dimensions of these debates, see Kristin Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998).

(13.) Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood, 58–61.

(14.) For a chronology and multinational perspectives of these events, see The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War, Library of Congress.

(15.) The Library of Congress has assembled a collection of 68 of these films. See The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures, Library of Congress.

(16.) For a multinational assessment of propaganda techniques during the war, see Celia M. Kingsbury, For Home and Country: World War I Propaganda on the Home Front (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010). The classic account is Harold D. Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (New York: P. Smith, 1938).

(17.) Alan Axelrod, Selling the Great War: The Making of American Propaganda (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009); and David Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).

(18.) For the impact of Wilson’s rhetoric on colonized peoples, see Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

(19.) Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York: Free Press, 1922); and Edward Bernays, Propaganda (New York: H. Liveright, 1928).

(20.) On the international impact of American culture, see Richard Pells, Modernist America: Art, Music, Movies, and the Globalization of American Culture (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012); and Frank Costigliola, Awkward Dominion: American Political, Economic, and Cultural Relations with Europe, 1919–1933 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984), 167–183.

(21.) Manfred Jonas, Isolationism in America, 1935–1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1966); and Andrew Johnstone, Against Immediate Evil: American Internationalists and the Four Freedoms on the Eve of World War II (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014).

(22.) Justin Hart, Empire of Ideas: The Origins of Public Diplomacy and The Transformation of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); and Frank Ninkovich, The Diplomacy of Ideas: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations, 1938–1950 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

(24.) On the early years of Voice of America, see Holly Cowan Shulman, The Voice of America: Propaganda and Democracy, 1941–1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990).

(25.) Clayton D. Laurie, The Propaganda Warriors: America’s Crusade Against Nazi Germany (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1996); and John W. Dower, War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1987).

(26.) Walter Johnson and Francis J. Colligan, The Fulbright Program: A History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965).

(27.) The seminal text on the OWI is Allen M. Winkler, The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942–1945 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978).

(28.) Laura A. Belmonte, Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

(29.) For an excellent analysis of the U.S. governments domestic propaganda efforts during the Korean War, see Steven Casey, Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950–1953 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

(30.) Kenneth Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006), 43.

(31.) Osgood, Total Cold War, pp. 43–45.

(32.) The term “state-private network” is from Scott Lucas, Freedom’s War: The American Crusade Against the Soviet Union (New York: New York University Press, 1999). On these covert activities, see Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (New York: The New Press, 1999), 12–13, 51, 63–72; Lucas, Freedom’s War, 96–97.

(33.) Michael Nelson, War of the Black Heavens: The Battles of Western Broadcasting in the Cold War (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997), 46–49.

(34.) Belmonte, Selling the American Way, 57–60.

(35.) For more on the appeal of American popular culture and consumerism among foreign audiences, see Ralph Willett, The Americanization of Germany, 1945–1949 (London: Routledge, 1989); Richard Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Richard Pells, “American Culture Abroad: The European Experience Since 1945,” in Cultural Transmissions and Receptions: American Mass Culture in Europe, eds. Rob Kroes, Robert W. Rydell, and D. F. J. Bosscher (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1993), 67–83; Reinhold Wagnleitner, The Coca-Colonization of the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994); and Robert Haddow, Pavilions of Plenty: Exhibiting American Culture Abroad in the 1950s (Washington, DC: Smithsonian, 1997). On the USIA jazz programs, see Penny Von Eschen, Sachmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

(36.) Nicholas J. Cull, “‘Public Diplomacy’ before Gullion: The Evolution of a Phrase,” CPD Blog, April 16, 2016.

(37.) The best, most exhaustive volume on USIA in these years is Nicholas J. Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945–1989 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

(38.) Peter G. Peterson, “Public Diplomacy and the War on Terrorism,” Foreign Affairs 81 (September/October 2002): 93.

(39.) Nicholas J. Cull, The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency: American Public Diplomacy, 1989–2001 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

(40.) See the Pew Global Attitudes Project, Global Opinion: The Spread of Anti-Americanism, January 24, 2005; Pew Global Attitudes Project, Views of a Changing World 2003, June 3, 2003. See also Forum on Public Diplomacy, American Quarterly 57 (June 2005): 309–354.

(41.) State Department and Related Agencies, FY2005 Appropriations and FY2006 Request, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, February 11, 2005; U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Building America’s Public Diplomacy Through a Reformed Structure and Additional Resources, 2002.

(42.) Vanessa O’Connell, “Veteran Beers Helps U.S. Craft Its Message,” Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2001, B12.

(43.) Building America’s Public Diplomacy, 3–5.

(44.) Abdalla Hassan, “U.S. Radio Broadcasts Vie for the Hearts and Minds of Arab Youth,” World Press Review Online, September 26, 2002.

(45.) Alhurra is operated by The Middle Eastern Television Network, Inc., a non-profit corporation funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the entity that also coordinates Voice of America, Radio Sawa, Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Radio/TV Martí. On the launch of Alhurra, see

(46.) For a positive appraisal of the Shared Values Initiative, see Alice Kendrick and Jami A. Fullerton, “Advertising as Public Diplomacy: Attitude Change among International Audiences,” Journal of Advertising Research 44 (September/October 2004): 297–311. For a sharply dissenting view, see Lawrence Pintak, “Dangerous Delusions: Advertising Nonsense about Advertising America,” Common Dreams News Center, August 27, 2004.

(47.) Steven R. Weisman, “Powell Aide Quits Position Promoting U.S.,” New York Times, March 4, 2003, A12; Gilgoff and Tolson, “Losing Friends?”

(48.) Christopher Marquis, “Effort to Promote U.S. Falls Short, Critics Say,” New York Times, December 29, 2003; Changing Minds, Winning Peace, Report of the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World, October 1, 2003.

(50.) Christopher Marquis, “Promoter of US Image Quits for Wall St. Job,” New York Times, April 30, 2004.

(51.) Peter Baker, “Karen Hughes To Work on The World’s View of U.S.,” Washington Post, March 12, 2005; Hughes officially took office in September 2005.

(52.) Philip Davidson, Propaganda and the American Revolution, 1763–1783 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1941.

(53.) Susan Brewer, Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); and Eugene Secunda and Terence P. Moran, Selling War to America (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007).

(54.) George Creel, How We Advertised America, rev. ed. (New York: Arno Press, 1972).

(55.) James Robert Mock and Cedric Larson, Words That Won the War: The Story of the Committee on Public Information (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1939).

(56.) Allen M. Winkler, The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942–1945 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978).

(57.) Holly Cowan Shulman, The Voice of America: Propaganda and Democracy, 1941–1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990).

(58.) John W. Dower, War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1987).

(59.) Clayton D. Laurie, The Propaganda Warriors: America’s Crusade Against Nazi Germany (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1996).

(60.) Steven Casey, Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950–1953 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

(61.) Frank Ninkovich, The Diplomacy of Ideas: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations, 1938–1950 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); and Justin Hart, Empire of Ideas: The Origins of Public Diplomacy and the Transformation of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

(62.) Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945–1989; and Cull, The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency: American Public Diplomacy, 1989–2001.

(63.) Gregory M. Tomlin, Murrow’s Cold War: Public Diplomacy for the Kennedy Administration (Lincoln: University Press of Nebraska, 2016).

(64.) Hallvard Notaker, Giles Scott-Smith, and David J. Snyder, eds. Reasserting America in the 1970s: U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Rebuilding of America’s Image Abroad (Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 2016).

(65.) Walter L. Hixson, Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997); W. Scott LucasFreedom’s War: The American Crusade against the Soviet Union (New York: New York University Press, 1999); Gregory Mitrovich, Undermining the Kremlin: America’s Strategy to Subvert the Soviet Bloc, 1947–1956 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000); and Kenneth Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Propaganda Battles at Home and Abroad (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006).

(66.) Naima Prevots, Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and Cold War (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1998); Michael J. Krenn, Fall-Out Shelters for the Human Spirit: American Art and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Damion L. Thomas, Globetrotting: African American Athletes and Cold War Politics (Urbana-Champaign: University Press of Illinois, 2012); David Caute, The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy During the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003); Yale Richmond, Cultural Exchange & The Cold War: Raising the Iron Curtain (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003); and Penny Von Eschen, Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

(67.) Library of Congress; “History by Era,” Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

(71.) Files of the Psychological Strategy Board, Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, MO; Records of C.D. Jackson, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, KS.

(72.) Records of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Historical Collection, University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.

(73.) Papers of Edward R. Murrow, Tufts University Digital Collections & Archives, Boston, Massachusetts.

(74.) For searchable versions of dozens of FRUS volumes from the post-World War II era, see Historical Documents, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State.