Liberal Studies Degree Program, Georgetown University, Spring 2007 Instructor: Dr. John H. Brown Research Associate, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy Georgetown University E-mail:

"Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."

--Pope Gregory XV, founder of the Propaganda Fide, a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church having the care and oversight of foreign missions (established in 1622), quoting Mark 16:15

“Tell all the truth, but tell it slant -- Success in circuit lies… The truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind”

--Emily Dickinson

“Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie Und gruen des Lebens goldner Baum.” [Grey, dear friend, is all theory/and green the golden tree of life.]


Course Summary

Since World War I propaganda has been an essential element of international relations, used by governments and non-state actors to pursue their interests by influencing and manipulating foreign public opinion. A word with negative connotations for many, propaganda is nevertheless one of the defining concepts of the modern era. Indeed, in the aftermath of 9/11, terrorism has been called “propaganda, a bloody form of propaganda” by RAND expert Brian Jenkins.

The purpose of this course is to examine the nature, history, use, and morality of propaganda. The organization is chronological, and it focuses on how propaganda has been employed in U.S. foreign policy during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The relationship of propaganda to traditional, public, and cultural diplomacy is examined in detail. The use of propaganda by totalitarian states and terrorist groups is studied. By taking this course students should have a better understanding of propaganda and its problematical but important role in the world today.

Students are expected to read not only historical materials on propaganda, but also contemporary treatments on the subject from the mass media and specialized journals. Roughly one third of the class period is devoted to present-day issues pertaining to propaganda; the remaining time focuses on the historical evolution of the use of propaganda, primarily by the U.S. government.

Course Objective

This course will focus on the following questions:

• What is propaganda and how did it evolve? • What is the relationship between war and propaganda? • How does propaganda relate to traditional diplomacy? • What is the link between domestic and foreign government propaganda? • How do the United States government and the American public view propaganda? • How do propaganda and public diplomacy differ? Are they alike? • Who is a propagandist? What motivates his/her actions? What are his/her the moral choices? • What are the concepts and techniques of propaganda? • How does one judge the effectiveness of propaganda? • What is the purpose and relevance of propaganda in an era of instant communications, advanced technology, and international terrorism? • How are major media covering propaganda issues today?

Course Outline

(See below for detailed description and assigned readings)

(I) Course Procedures; Introduction: History, Diplomacy, Total War, Propaganda (1/16)

(II) What is Propaganda? (1/23)

(III) Carrying the Gospel of Americanism: Advertising Wilsonian Ideals in World War I (1/30)

(IV) The US Anti-Propaganda Movement between the Wars; Nazi Propaganda (2/6)

(V) Victory is Our Aim: US Information Programs in World War II; mid-term exam (2/13)

(VI) Telling America’s True Story: US Public Diplomacy in the Cold War (2/20)

(VII) Twentieth-Century USG Propaganda: Did It Make a Difference? (2/27)

(VIII) Terrorism and U.S. Public Diplomacy (3/13)

(IX) Guest speaker; Final Exam (3/20)

Course Readings

Books to be Purchased:

George Orwell, 1984. Note: Students should begin reading 1984 at the start of the course and be ready to discuss it during class (VII).

Frank Ninkovich, U.S. Information and Cultural Diplomacy (1996)

All other materials are available on reserve at the Lauinger Library. Important note: The reading assignments listed below may be revised between now and the beginning the class in Spring 2007.

Graduate students (but not undergraduates) are expected to read/skim carefully the “Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review” (PDPBR) compiled on a near daily basis by their instructor which will be sent to them by e-mail. Undergraduates however will be expected to read the PDPR for a week when they are assigned to give a report on it; one report max: see below, “News Reports.”

The PDPBR can be found at:

Course Requirements and Basis for Grades

Role playing/class debate

Students have an opportunity to take part in role-playing or in a class debate. For the presentation in the role playing/mock debate, each student should prepare a two-page paper consisting of the talking points he/she will make.

Class Reports

For each class, two students will produce reports on what was discussed in the previous class, with one report on the first half of the class and the other on the second half. Students may be asked to summarize their reports orally to the class.

News Reports

For each class, two student will prepare a three-page (max) news reports that highlights the most important item in the daily Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review (see “Course Readings” above) during the week. The news reports should consist of summaries of items dealing with the following subjects:

• Public Diplomacy

• Propaganda

• Cultural Diplomacy

• Foreign public opinion

• Anti-Americanism

• Individual State Department information, educational, and cultural programs (e. g., Fulbright, International Visitors)

• New information technologies

• Global impact of American culture

• U.S. government policies as they relate to the items mentioned above.

Mid-term Exam

A 45-minute mid-term

Grade distribution

• Summaries/Debate Role Playing/Class reports/News reports 30%

• Other class participation 5% • Mid-term Exam 25%

• Final exam 40%

English Expression

While this course is not a course on English composition/grammar, written and oral work will be judged and graded not only by mastery of the subject matter, but also by how accurately and succinctly students express themselves about the topics (s) at hand.

Consultations with Students

While your instructor does not hold office hours, he will be glad to meet with individual students at mutually arranged times.

Questions to Ask for Weekly readings

In the course of your weekly readings, please keep the following questions in mind while examining how propaganda was carried out during the historical period under consideration (e.g., WWI, WWII, Cold War, the present):

• When?

What is the nature of the historical setting in which the propaganda we are considering is being conducted? How does this setting differ from the previous period? What are the forces of changes, of continuity?

• Who’s in charge?

Who are the propagandists? How are they selected? What are their motivations? How do they justify their actions? What impact do their individual actions have on policy? What organizations handle propaganda? How were these organizations established and how did they evolve? How are they structured? How do propaganda organizations coordinate with other state/government/private entities, including the executive and legislative branches? What is their rapport with intelligence services and the military?

• What’s the message?

Does the propaganda message(s) have an overriding theme? How does the message fit with overall policy plans? How truthful and accurate is the message? How is it developed and formulated? On what information, assumptions, traditions is it based? How is the message presented and “packaged”? What methods are used to “soften” a “tough” message? What emotions does the propaganda appeal to?

• What’s the purpose?

What are the specific and general aims of the propaganda? Why is it being used?

• What are the methods/tools?

What communications tools are used? What is new /unique about them? What propaganda medium (oral, visual, print, electronic) predominates in a given historical period? Does the medium "fit" the message/purpose?

• What’s the audience?

To what segments of a society is the propaganda directed: elite groups -- “class” or large entities -- “mass”? Is the audience foreign and/or domestic? What is the size and specific make-up of the audience? What is the reaction of the audience to the message? How well do the propagandists know their audience?

• What’s the result?

Has the propaganda persuaded, or changed the behavior of, the audience? How are the results of the propaganda measured/evaluated? What is its short-term and long-term impact?

Your Instructor

Biographical Information (short)

John Brown is currently a Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, where he has taught courses about public diplomacy. A consultant for the Library of Congress’s “Open World” exchange program with the Russian Federation, he is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, providing it with a “Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review” that is posted on its homepage. Brown is a member of the Public Diplomacy Council affiliated with George Washington University.

In recent years Brown has given lectures at NYU, University of the Pacific, The University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, George Washington University, The Hillwood Museum, the State University of New York (SUNY), The Ohio State University, and The George Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, as well as at conferences dealing with public and cultural diplomacy.

Brown was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service from 1981 until March 10, 2003 and has served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow, specializing in press and cultural affairs.

Brown received a Ph.D. in Russian History from Princeton University in 1977. He then worked at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington, and served as an editor on a joint U.S.-Soviet publication, The Establishment of Russian-American Relations, 1765-1815. Articles of his have appeared in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, The Moscow Times, and American Diplomacy. 202-363-7208

Postings and Publications

On Going Projects

• The Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review, posted on a near-daily basis at Note: This posting was cited as one of ten “Best Blogs of 06,” by David E. Kaplan of the U.S. News & World Report.


A) Scholarly, historical, literary

• “The Perils of Propaganda: Lessons from the Cold War” [review of three new books on propaganda in the Cold War] (Place Branding: A Quarterly Review of Branding, Marketing and Public Diplomacy for National, Regional and Civic Development, 2006) • “Art for Art’s Sake?” [review of Fallout Shelters for the Human Spirit: American Art and the Cold War by Michael L. Krenn, The University of North Carolina Press, 2005] Foreign Service Journal, December 2006, pp. 76-78. • “Arts Diplomacy: The Neglected Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy,” in William P. Kiehl, Editor, America’s Dialogue with the World (Public Diplomacy Council, 2006) • Reply to question: First, What Was the Best Single Episode of Public Diplomacy Ever, and Secondly, What Has Been the Most Influential Element of Soft Power of All Time? (Other respondents include Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Nicholas Cull, Patricia Kushlis, Nancy Snow), Beacon: Soft Power in the 21st Century -- and More, July 24-28) • “Two Ways of Looking at Propaganda” (Public Diplomacy Blog, University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, June 29, 2006) • “A Russian Dream in Washington: The Hillwood Museum,” English [Journal for Russian Teachers of English], No. 7 (1-15 April) 2006, p. 56-57; posted at • “Fight against Terror Is a Latter Day Edition of Indian Wars” (San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2006) ; fuller version: “’Our Indian Wars Are Not over Yet’: Ten Ways to Interpret the War on Terror as a Frontier Conflict” – (January 19, 2006) • “Three Schools of Thought on Culture and Foreign Policy during the Cold War” (Place Branding: A Quarterly Review of Branding, Marketing and Public Diplomacy for National, Regional and Civic Development, Issue 4, November 2005); also at • “Doing as Little Mischief as Possible” (Part of the series, “Joining the Foreign Service, How and Why” (American Diplomacy, September 2005) • “‘A Boot Stamping on a Human Face’: Orwell’s 1984 as a Process of Defacement,” English [Journal for Russian Teachers of English], No. 15 (1-15 August) 2005, p. 33-35]; also on line at • “American Public Diplomacy in the Cold War [book review]” (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter/Spring 2005), pp. 125-130 • “Changing Minds, Winning Peace”: Reconsidering the Djerejian Report,” American Diplomacy (September 5, 2004) • “Historical Patterns of US Government Overseas Propaganda, 1917-2004” (Phil Taylor's Web Site, the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, UK) • “The Lessons of Jazz [Review of Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War by Penny M. Von Eschen]” Foreign Service Journal, March 2005, 55-56) • “Is the U.S. High Noon Over? Reflections on the Declining Global Influence of American Popular Culture” (Cultural Commons, Center for Arts & Culture, July 2004); longer version in English (Journal for Russian Teachers of English, No. 7, 16-22 February 2004, pp. 28-29) • “The Anti-Propaganda Tradition in the United States,” (Public Diplomacy Web Site, Sponsored by United States Information Agency Alumni Association) • Comments on the history of the United States Information Agency (USIA), published in Arts & Minds: Cultural Diplomacy amid Global Tensions (2003) • “The Purposes and Cross-Purposes of American Public Diplomacy” (American Diplomacy, August 2002) • “The Disappearing Russian Embassy Archives, 1922-49” originally published by Prologue, Volume 14, 1982), pp. 5-13 and republished in Russian translation in the Russian Academy of Sciences’ journal SShA (June 2001) • “Mobilność i etika: czyli uwag na temat amerykańskiego charaketeru narodowego” [“Mobility and Morality: Some Observations on the American National Character”], Tygodnik Powszechny (January 7, 1990) • “The Free Economic Society and the Nobility, 1765-96: Some Observations,” Canadian-American Slavic Studies (Fall 1980), pp. 427-35 • “The Publication and Distribution of the Trudy of the Free Economic Society, 1765-1796,” Russian Review (July 1977), pp. 341-50 Free Economic Society,” The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, volume 12

B) Current Affairs

• “How the World Will See the Surge” (Common Dreams, January 9, 2007) • “Washington's Iraq Chimeras” (with Ray McGovern) (, November 22, 2006) • “Improving America's Image” (, November 2, 2006): • “Reading Fyodor D. at The Pool: Laura Bush's Affection for a Russian Novelist” - (San Francisco Chronicle, October 15, 2006 ; also at • “Willie Horton Redux: Karen Hughes Breaks Her Silence” (, Center for Media and Democracy, September 15, 2006) • “Why We Fight: Rumsfeld Turns to France for Inspiration” (Common Dreams, September 1); fuller version at • “Questions for Karen Hughes” (Common Dreams, August 20, 2006) • “Elected Silence Sing to Me: Karen Hughes on the Middle East (Truthout, July 18, 2006) • “Bush the New Internationalist? Don’t Count on It” (Common Dreams, June 6, 2006) • “America's Fading Glow” (, June 5, 2006) • “On Waking Up Sleepless in the Middle of the Night” [Memo to President Bush Regarding Iraq] (TomDispatch, April 23, 2006) • “Has Bush L-IED Again?” (Common Dreams, March 16, 2006) • “Bush and Milosevic” (Common Dreams, March 13, 2006) • “Of Propaganda and Policy,” (March 10, 2006) • Spreading Bush's Gospel (, January 30, 2006) • “Bushprop Strikes (Out) Again” (, December 21, 2005) • “Morality Mission: How Karen Hughes Sees Her Job” (Common Dreams, November 23, 2005) • “What’s WHIG all about? An Open Letter to Karen Hughes” (Common Dreams, October 19, 2005) • “A Failed Public Diplomat” (, October 6, 2005) • “Bush's Story Isn't History” (, September 9, 2005) • “Defending the Neocon War” (, July 26, 2005) • "Fear as Foreign Policy" (, June 14, 2005) • “Fixing Alhurra: Some Small Steps" (American Diplomacy, June 2005); also posted in Arab News (June 8, 2005) as "Some Thoughts on How to Fix Al-Hurra" • “Diplomatic Joy Ride” (Moscow Times, May 24, 2005) • “Memo to Karen Hughes” (Common Dreams, April 24, 2005) • “Why World War IV Can’t Sell” (, March 30, 2005) • “Mr. Bush, Tear down That Metaphor!” (, March 18, 2005) • “Bush Has No Foreign Policy” (Moscow Times, January 21, 2005) • “Options for Ukraine” (Foreign Policy in Focus, December 20, 2004) • “Don’t Brand the U.S., Uncle Sam -- The Backlash against Charlotte Beers’s America-Branding” (Common Dreams, December 13, 1004) • “The 4 Schools of Thought on Why Bush Won” (Moscow Times, December 2, 2004) • “Selling Uncle Sam” (, December 1, 2004): • “A New Generation’s Political Coming-Out Party” (Moscow Times, November 3, 2004) • “The Return of the World Warriors” (, October 7, 2004) Longer version posted at • “George Was Moored, John Carried the Day” (Moscow Times, October 7, 2004) • “Bush Is Turning U.S. Politics into a Pep Rally” (Moscow Times, September 9, 2004) • “Washington Is Turning into a Fortress of Fear,” Moscow Times (August 12, 2004) • “John Kerry and St. Paul’s School -- An Outsider's Recollections” (Common Dreams, August 3, 2004) • “They're Supersizing the Baghdad Embassy. Big Mistake,” Washington Post (Sunday, July 11, 2004); earlier version posted as “New US Embassy, Baghdad: Mother of All Dead Time Factories?” Common Dreams (posted July 8, 2004) • “In Search of Rumsfeld’s 5,000 Iraqi Small Businesses” (The Nation on line, posted November 14, 2003) 

• “Why I Resigned” (Foreign Service Journal, September 2003) • “The Tangled Tale of 1,000 Iraqi Schools,” (The Washington Post, Sunday, August 31, 2003); Page B02 • “The Toppling of the Saddam Statue,” (Counterpunch, April 12, 2003) • “Why Uncle Ben Hasn't Sold Uncle Sam” (Counterpunch, April 8, 2003); see also “Branding America,” (Worldview, April-June 2003, 28-29)

D) Presentations

• Public Diplomacy Fall Speaker Series: John Brown with Ann Wright and Brady Kiesling (University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, September 27, 2006): a roundtable discussion of "Anti-Americanism in the World Today." • Introductory remarks at the conference, “Public Diplomacy as a Global Phenomenon” (Mershon Center, The Ohio State University, April 28, 2006) • “American Culture and anti-Americanism in Russia” (Mershon Center, Ohio State University, May 7, 2005) • Public Diplomacy or Propaganda? – Briefing (Elliott School of International Affairs)

C) Satirical

• “Ambassadorial Suicide Initiative” (Common Dreams, June 15, 2006) • “Tomgram: John Brown Helps the President Address the Nation” (, June 12) • “Text of President Bush’s Televised Address to the Nation: Illegal Immigrants Are the Newly-found WMD” (Selves and Others, May 15, 2006) • “Welcome to Guantanamo’s Exercise Program!” (Selves and Others, March 5, 2006)

• “An International Visitor Program for Iraqi Media Leaders: Sponsored by the State Department (Selves and Others, December 18, 2005) • “Implanting Democracy in the Middle East: Thirteen Easy Steps from the Bush Administration” (Selves and Others, December 5, 2008) • “New Karen Hughes Public Diplomacy Initiative: A Telegram from the State Department to Ambassadors. Five instructions from the State Department to Ambassadors following Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes’s visit to the Middle East” (Selves and Others, November 7, 2005)

D) Books

• Brown, John. Propaganda and US Foreign Policy: A Historical Overview (forthcoming, Praeger Publishers, 2007/8) • Grant, Steven A. and Brown, John H. The Russian Empire and Soviet Union: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1981; 632 pp.) • Brown, John, one of the Russian and American editors for The United States and Russia: The Beginning of Relations, 1765-1815 [Washington: GPO, 1980]. This 1184-page volume also appeared in a Russian edition. E) Interviews

• “My Favorite Russian Expression: ‘Pozhar idet po planu,’” English [Journal for Russian Teachers of English], No. 23 (1-15 December 2006) p. 38-40 • Interview with Stan Correy, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 31, 2006 • State Department Defends America's Image Abroad - Steve Inskeep (NPR, March 27) • The People's Diplomat: An Interview with John H. Brown -- Mark Hand (Press Action, January 11, 2006) • “Houston, We Have an Image Problem...”- E-mail Interview regarding public diplomacy with William Fisher (Inter Press Service, April 15, 2005) • Interview with John H. Brown, Ret. State Department, Foreign Service Officer – (Echo Chamber Project, July 15, 2004): Contains comments on public diplomacy and propaganda.

Detailed Course Outline

Note: Some of the reading assignments may change between now and the beginning of the course


1/16 Course Procedures; Introduction: History, Diplomacy, Total War, Propaganda

Topics: Reasons for your interest in the course. Talents to be developed by course: Asking pertinent questions from a text, reporting, and use of the historical imagination. Absolute necessity of class participation. Other requirements and grading. Instructor’s career in public diplomacy.

The value of the historical approach, of “thinking in time.” Propaganda and ancient rhetoric: War and propaganda in history. The rise of public opinion. Domestic and foreign government propaganda. Traditional diplomacy and propaganda.

Our main approach to dealing with the topic: Penetrating the mind, motivations, and challenges of American officials involved in supporting U.S. foreign policy through propaganda and public diplomacy during different historical periods.

• Definitions of/observations on “Propaganda” (see syllabus appendix) • Definitions of “Propaganda” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989) • “Collegio di Propaganda Fide” – illustrations at • Richard Holbrooke, “Get the Message Out,” The Washington Post, October 28, 2001 • Plato, Gorgias (selected passages) [will be read aloud in class] • Dean Acheson, “The American Image Will Take Care of Itself,” The New York Times Magazine (February 28, 1965) • Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (1973) (table of contents, xix-xxii) • Leonard Doob, Propaganda: Its Psychology and Technique (1925), table of contents.


1/23 What is Propaganda?

Topics: Distinctions between propaganda, education, and advertising. Propagandistic practices before the twentieth century. The Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide. When the word “propaganda” acquired its modern meaning. Towards a working definition of propaganda.


• Lindley Fraser, Propaganda (1957), 3-14 • Terence H. Qualter, Opinion Control in the Democracies (1985), 107-144 • Philip M. Taylor, Foreword to the Encyclopedia of Propaganda (1998), xv-xix • Harold D. Laswell, “Propaganda,” Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1937), vi. 11, 521-528 • Walter Joyce, “Can a Moral People Use Propaganda,” in The Propaganda Gap (1963), 66-73 • Daniel Lerner, “Policy and Propaganda Process,” in Psychological Warfare Against Nazi Germany (1949), 2-6


1/30 Carrying the Gospel of Americanism: Advertising Wilsonian Ideals in World War I

Topics: American isolationism vs. the U.S. missionary tradition. Antecedents to WWI U.S. propaganda: the Declaration of Independence as a “propaganda” document. The Wilson Administration and its explanations of U.S. war aims to foreign publics. The role of the Committee on Public Information. George Creel: America’s first professional government “publicist/propagandist.”

Class Exercise: Historical role-playing, 50 minutes, three speakers, each to speak ten minutes and then answer questions from the audience, i.e. the rest of the class:

• Date: May, 1917. Place: Committee on Public Information. Setting: Per instructions from the White House, three CPI representatives are meeting with a group of American academics, writers, and filmmakers to persuade them to offer their talents to support America’s propaganda campaign in World War I -- a campaign not only directed against Germany, but also aiming to convince neutral countries (e.g., Switzerland) to join the Allies’ war effort. The audience is eager to know what propaganda is and if it can be used for honorable purposes, given what they have heard about German propaganda. The audience is also not sure why the U.S. has entered the war, and why it is in American national interests to be involved in a bloody European conflict.


• “American Revolution,” Wikipedia • The US Declaration of Independence • Walter Isaacson, “A Declaration of Mutual Dependence" • David Krugler, “Precedents for Propaganda, 1890-19[20s],” in The Voice of America and the Domestic Propaganda Battles (2000), 14-23 • “World War I” Wikipedia • Woodrow Wilson, “Second Inaugural Address” (Monday, March 5, 1917) • Woodrow Wilson, “War Message” (April 2, 1917) • Peter Britenhuis, “The Selling of the Great War,” The Canadian Review of American Studies (Fall 1976), 139-150 • Aaron Delwiche, "Wartime Propaganda: World War I Demons, Atrocities, Lies" • George Creel, How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information that Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe (1920), ix-xviii, 3-15, 237-249 • Harold D. Laswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (1938), 195 (starting at second paragraph)-196 (ending with third paragraph), 214-221 • Gregg Wolper, “Woodrow Wilson’s New Diplomacy: Vira Whitehouse in Switzerland, 1918,” Prologue (Fall 1992), 227-239.


2/6 The US Anti-Propaganda Movement between the Wars; Nazi Propaganda

Topics: Negative U.S. public opinion toward propaganda following WWI. Walter Lippmann and public opinion. The Institute for Propaganda Analysis. “Scientific” propaganda research. Nazi Propaganda: How does it differ from the propaganda of the democracies in the period under consideration?

Class Exercise: Historical role-playing, 40 minutes, two speakers, each to speak max ten minutes and then answer questions from the audience, i.e. the rest of the class:

• Date 1937. Place: The Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Setting: a group of students from Columbia University that is interested in propaganda has come to the Institute to learn more about what propaganda is and how it functions. Two speakers from the Institute will brief the students on this topic. True to the stated purpose of the Institute, the speakers should expose the dangers of propaganda and warn against the methods it uses. They should also examine how democracy and propaganda are not compatible, as well as underscore the differences between education and propaganda. Finally, the speakers should discuss the threat posed by Nazi propaganda, specifying how it is used to control and manipulate publics for evil purposes. The students -- the class -- should react critically to the speakers’statements that propaganda is not to be trusted.


• Erika G. King, “Exposing the ‘Age of Lies’: The Propaganda Menace as Portrayed in American Magazines in the Aftermarth of World War II (Journal of American Culture, Volume 12, Spring 1989, no. 1), 35-39 • George Sylvester Vierek, Spreading Germs of Hate (1930), 3-39 • J. Michael Sproule, Propaganda and Democracy. The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion (1997), 16-21, 129-150 • Stephen Vaugh, “Prologue to Public Opinion: Walter Lippmann’s Work in Military Intelligence,” Prologue (Fall 1983), 151-163 • Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (1922), 29-32, 248-249. • Philip Taylor, “Propaganda in International Politics, 1919-39,” in P. Finney, The Origins of the Second World War (1997) • Hideya Kumata and Wilbur Schramm, “The Propaganda of the German Nazis,” Four Working Papers on Propaganda Theory (1955)


2/13 Victory is Our Aim: US Information Programs in World War II

Topics: FDR’s attitude toward propaganda. The ideas that led the U.S. into war. The role of the Office of War Information (OWI). The World War II propagandist.


• “World War II,” Wikipedia • “Chronology,” 1939-1945 (4 pages) • Thomas Sorensen, The Word War, 8 (beginning with last paragraph) – 21 (to end of second paragraph) • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “The Four Freedoms” • Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, “The Atlantic Charter” • Elmer Davis, “OWI Has a Job,” Public Opinion Quarterly (Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 1943), 5-14. • Joseph Barnes, “Fighting with Information: OWI Overseas” Public Opinion Quarterly (Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 1943), 34-45. • Alan M. Winkler, The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942-1945 (1948), 149-157 • Clayton D. Laurie, The Propaganda Warriors: America’s Crusade against Nazi Germany (1996), pp. 233-240. • “What is Propaganda” [Constructing a Postwar World: The G.I. Roundtable Series in Context] (can be skimmed) • W[illiam] E. D[augherty], “The Creed of a Modern Propagandist,” in William E. Daugherty, ed, A Psychological Warfare Casebook (1955)

Mid-Term Exam (on Classes I-V): The exam will consist of matching questions and topical questions requiring succinct responses.


2/20 Telling America’s True Story: US Public Diplomacy in the Cold War

Topics: U.S. Information and Cultural Programs, 1946-1953; Smith-Mundt Act (1948); Truman’s “Campaign of Truth.” The CIA’s involvement in cultural propaganda in the early Cold War. The establishment of USIA (1953). Propaganda and public diplomacy: similarities and differences.


• “Cold War,” Wikipedia • George V. Allen, “Propaganda: A Conscious Weapon of Democracy,” The Department of State Bulletin (Volume XXI, no. 546, December 19, 1949), 941-943 • Harry Truman, “Going Forward with a Campaign of Truth,” Department of State Bulletin, May 1, 1950, 669-672 • Hans Tuch, “A Concise Chronology of the U.S. Information Agency,” in USIA: Communicating with the World in the 1990s: A Commemorative Symposium (1994), 35-44 • “Smith-Mundt Act” Wikipedia • Lois W. Roth, “Mission of the United States Information Agency” (Adopted by the President and the NSC, October 22, 1953); “The Kennedy Statement of Mission” (January 1963); “Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (CU): The CU Program Concept” (March 12, 1974); “The White House – memorandum for: Director, International Communication Agency” (March 13, 1978) – Appendix I-IV, in Public Diplomacy and the Past: The Search for an American Style of Propaganda • Frank Ninkovich, U.S. Information and Cultural Diplomacy (1996), 17-35 • Nicholas J. Cull, “Public Diplomacy’ before Gullion: The Evolution of a Phrase” (Public Diplomacy Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, April 18, 2006) • Mary Gawronski, “Definitions of ‘Public Diplomacy” • United States Information Agency: A Commemoration [can be skimmed] • Madeleine Albright, “The Importance of Public Diplomacy to American Foreign Policy, U.S. Department of State Dispatch (October 1999), 8-9 • Reorganization Plan and Report -- Submitted by President Clinton to the Congress on December 30, 1998, Pursuant to Section 1601 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, as Contained in Public Law 105-277 III. The Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Missions • Dell Pendergrast, “State and USIA: Blending a Dysfunctional Family” • Arthur A. Bardos, “’Public Diplomacy’: An Old Art, A New Profession,” The Virginia Quarterly Review (Summer 2001), 424-437 • John Brown, “The Purposes and Cross-Purposes of American Public Diplomacy” (American Diplomacy, August 2002) • Kenneth A. Osgood, “Hearts and Minds: The Unconventional Cold War,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 4, no. 2, Spring 2002, 85-107 • John Brown, “Should the Piper be Paid? Three Schools of Thought on Culture and Foreign Policy during the Cold War” The Public Diplomacy Press Review (July 4-7, 2005) For full text, please scroll down to section C. • Thomas W. Braden. "I'm Glad the CIA is 'Immoral.'" The Saturday Evening Post, 20 May l967

Class Exercise: Historical role-playing, 60 minutes, four speakers, each to speak max ten minutes and then answer questions from the audience, i.e. the rest of the class:

Place and date: American Embassy Paris, 1952. The CIA station chief has approached the Ambassador to inform him that the Agency has been provided with special funds to support cultural presentations and programs, including concerts, exhibits, and lectures throughout France. Agency funds are also available to support magazines, even of the left, that would generally support the United States and its policies and be critical of the Soviet Union. The source of the funding would not be disclosed to the public. Congress would not be told either, so as to avoid criticisms on the Hill. Only a few top State Department employees would be told of the funding.

The Ambassador, a political appointee, is unsure whether the Embassy should accept these funds for its cultural program. In a classified memorandum, he asks members of the Public Affairs Section to advise him what to do.

In a meeting attended by the Ambassador (your humble instructor) and the heads of Sections at the Embassy (political, economic, consular, etc -- i.e., the rest of the class) two members of the Public Affairs Section argue that the Embassy should accept the funds; two argue that the Embassy should not. Each speaker should speak no more than ten minutes and then be ready to answer questions from the Ambassador and the rest of the “Embassy.”

Items -- presented here in no particular order -- for role-players to keep in mind as they prepare the talking points:

• Soviet propaganda has been on the offensive in Western Europe since the Cold War began and we must fight it with every available means. • French intellectuals, generally of the left, are often critical of American culture, which they see as vulgar and commercial. • The U.S.S.R. has a multitude of admirers in France. For many Frenchmen, not only did the Soviet Union help defeat Nazism, but it has created an equitable social system where workers are duly rewarded for their work. • There is a strong possibility that the Communists could gain power in France, thereby giving the Soviet Union increased international influence, if not tipping the Cold War in its favor. If France goes Communist, other western European countries could do so as well. • The Soviets covertly support cultural events. Why shouldn’t we? • State Department funding for cultural programs is miniscule, especially in comparison with the Soviets. Congress is unlikely to fund more cultural activities because it believes the government should stay out of culture, which is a private matter. • Many seasoned foreign policy practitioners consider the use of culture as a tool for promoting national interests a waste of time and money. Better would be better spent on information programs that deny the falsehood perpetrated by the U.S.S.R. about the United States. • If CIA funding is “leaked” publicly, what would be the consequences? • Isn’t covertly subsiding culture, even for the best of purposes, turning it into propaganda? And are we not lying to those who would receive CIA funding by not telling them who is really paying them? • The Soviets constantly accuse the American Embassy of being a nest of spies. If the Cultural Section uses CIA money, aren’t these accusations at least in part correct?


2/27 Twentieth-Century USG Propaganda: Did It Make a Difference?

Topics: Discussion of Orwell’s 1984 as an effort to understand the nature of twentieth-century propaganda. New communications technologies and their impact on propaganda. The meaning of “soft power.” Is twentieth-century propaganda still viable and relevant in a globalized world with rapidly improving information technologies?


• George Orwell, 1984 (read as course progressed) • Stanley B. Cunningham, The Idea of Propaganda: A Reconstruction (2002), 203-207 • Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (1973), ix-xviii • James Shanahan, “The End of Propaganda?” in James Shanahan, ed., Propaganda Without Propagandists (2001), 1-9 • Aldous Huxley, “Propaganda in a Democratic Society” • John Brown, “Two Ways of Looking at Propaganda” (Public Diplomacy Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy (June 29, 2006) • Ralph K. White, “Resistance to International Propaganda,” in William E. Daugherty, ed, A Psychological Warfare Casebook (1955), 617-625 • Ralph K. White, “Propaganda: Morally Questionable and Morally Unquestionable Techniques,” Propaganda in International Affairs (The Annals of The Academy of Political and Social Science, volume 398, November 1971), 26-35 • Frank Ninkovich, U.S. Information and Cultural Diplomacy (1996), 46-63


3/13 Terrorism and U.S. Public Diplomacy

Topics: What is terrorism? How is it related to propaganda? The war on terrorism. Recent criticisms of U.S public diplomacy in effectively dealing with the Arab world. Brief discussion of what is required for final exam.

Class debate: Resolved: “The War on Terrorism Cannot Be Won without Public Diplomacy”

Six students will take part in the debate (three pro, three con), each speaking seven minutes, and then entertaining questions from the audience (the rest of the class). The speakers should define public diplomacy and terrorism, and base their arguments on news reports dealing with U.S. actions against the terror network headed by bin Laden.


• “War on Terrorism,” Wikipedia [note caveat] • George W. Bush, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People” • Harry Henderson, Terrorism (2004), 3-30 • Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993, 72/3, 1993) • Samuel P. Huntington, “If Not Civilizations, What? Samuel Huntington Responds to His Critics (Foreign Affairs, November/December 1993) • Public Diplomacy: A Review of Past Recommendations: CRS Report for Congress (September 2, 2005)


Guest Speaker; Final Exam 3/20

Guest Speaker: Richard Schmeir: Practicing Public Diplomacy in Iraq(45 minutes, comments with questions)

Richard Schmierer is a State Department Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service, rank of Minister-Counselor. He began his diplomatic career in 1980. His first Foreign Service tour was in the Federal Republic of Germany, where he served in Bonn, Frankfurt and Hamburg, from 1980 through 1984. Following a year of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies in Washington, D.C., Mr. Schmierer then served a three-year assignment as the Public Affairs Officer at the American Consulate General in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1985-88).

In 1988, Mr. Schmierer returned to Washington, D.C., and served at the headquarters of the U.S. Information Agency through 1992, first as the head of the Middle East office of the International Visitor Program, and later in the Agency’s Office of European Affairs. In 1992, Mr. Schmierer returned to Germany, where he served until 1996 as the Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn. After undertaking additional Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, Mr. Schmierer returned to Saudi Arabia in August 1997, where he served as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, until June 2000. From June 2000 through June 2004 he served as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany. In June 2004 Mr. Schmierer transferred to Baghdad, Iraq, where -- with the reestablishment of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on June 28 -- he assumed the position of Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs, a post he held through June, 2005. He joined the staff of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in August 2005.

Final Exam (90 minutes): To prepare properly for this exam, students should be able to answer the following questions: • What is propaganda and how did it evolve? • What is the relationship between war and propaganda? • How does propaganda relate to traditional diplomacy? • What is the link between domestic and foreign government propaganda? • How do the United States government and the American public view propaganda? • How do propaganda and public diplomacy differ? Are they alike? • Who is a propagandist? What motivates his/her actions? What are his/her the moral choices? • What are the concepts and techniques of propaganda? • How does one judge the effectiveness of propaganda? • What is the purpose and relevance of propaganda in an era of instant communications, advanced technology, and international terrorism? • How are major media covering propaganda issues today?


• John Brown, “Historical Patterns of US Government Overseas Propaganda, 1917-2004” (Phil Taylor's Web Site, the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, UK)


PROPAGANDA (quotations and observations [Note: abridged here])

“[T]he images of [Saddam’s] execution and his body seem to point to a new era in the way images are used politically, what might be called a post-propaganda era. So many images that were supposed to have such profound impact on public perception -- the now infamous ‘Mission Accomplished"’photo op or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's bloody head tastefully framed for the cameras -- have failed to connect with the reality of either public opinion, or the facts on the ground. This image means progress, we're told, but there isn't any progress. This image is a final chapter, but the blood still flows. For a public media campaign to work, at least some of the politically calculated captions placed on images must, in the end, turn out to be true.”

--Philip Kennicott, “For Saddam's Page In History, A Final Link On Youtube “ (Washington Post, December 30, 2006):

“‘[Senator] Fulbright had outspokenly opposed international propaganda in our government. When he coldly queried [USIA Director Leonard] Marks on the meaning of propaganda, Marks replied respectfully, "If I say you are chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that's a fact; whereas if I say you are the finest chairman in the history of the Senate, that's propaganda." Fulbright shot back: "No, you're wrong -- that's a fact!’"

--Cited in Fitzhugh Green, American Propaganda Abroad (1988 ), p. 54

“[Propaganda] came to be used by English and Continental writers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when some who were anticlerical and anti-Catholic identified this type of material with the publications of the [De Propaganda Fide]." "Propagating the faith" was judged by these writers as sheer "propaganda." However, the term lost its original connection with anti-Catholicism, and it is currently used to identify the vast body of political, partisan, and high-pressure mass communication designed to promote persons or causes in the modern world.”

--Catholic Encyclopedia (1966)

“John Adams... commented that revolutionary propagandists ‘tinge the mind of the people; they impregnate them with the sentiments of liberty; they render the people fond of their leaders in the causes, and averse and bitter against all opposers.’" quoted in

--Halsey Ross, Propaganda for War, p. 1. quoting John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Pioneer in Propaganda (1936), p. 113.

“Nothing but defeat in war will suffice to produce any change not desired by those who control publicity.”

--Philosopher Bertrand Russell, "Government by Propaganda,” in the volume These Eventful Years: The Twentieth Century in the Making as Told by Many of Its Makers; Being the Dramatic Story of All That Has Happened Throughout the World during the Most Momentous Period of All History; with 160 Full-Page Illustrations and Numerous Maps (London: The Encyclopedia Britannica Company, Ltd.; New York, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1924), p. 383.

“The war to make the world safe for democracy made democracy unsafe for America.”

--Federal Judge Hon. George W. Anderson (1920); cited in George Sylvester Vierek, Spreading Germs of Hate (New York: Horace Liveright, 1930), p. 279

“In the year 1915, the enemy started his propaganda among our soldiers. From 1916 it steadily became more intensive and at the beginning of 1918, it had swollen into a storm cloud. One could see the effects of this gradual seduction. Our soldiers learned to think the way the enemy wanted them to think.”

--Adolph Hitler; cited in Philip M. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind: War Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Nuclear Age (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England: P. Stephens, 1990), p. 172.

“I cannot convince a single person of the necessity of something unless I get to know the soul of that person, unless I understand how to pluck the string in the harp of his soul that must be made to sound.”

--Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels; cited in Richard Taylor, “Goebbels and the Function of Propaganda,” in David Welch, Nazi Propaganda: The Power and the Limitations (London & Canberra: Croom Helm; Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes & Nobles Books, 1983), p. 38.

“The injection of the poison of hatred into men’s minds by means of falsehood is a greater evil in wartime than the actual loss of life. The defilement of the human soul is worse than the destruction of the human body.”

--Lord Ponsonby (1926); cited in cited in Philip M. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind: War Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Nuclear Age (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England: P. Stephens, 1990), p. 179.

“News is the shocktroops of propaganda.”

--Sir John Reith, cited in Philip M. Taylor, “The New Propaganda Boom,” The International History Review The (Volume II, Number 3, July 1980), p. 498.

“The other day there was put into my hand a circular issued from the War Office asking officers to supply articles and stories for propaganda purposes showing admirable qualities of our troops and the bad qualities of the Germans. …. After telling what is wanted this amazing instruction is given: ‘Essential not literal truth and correctness are necessary. Inherent probability being respected the thing imagined may be as serviceable as the thing seen.’”

--Ramsay MacDonald, in a statement (1918) to the organ of the Scottish Independent Labour Party concerning British propaganda; cited in Ralph Haswell Lutz, "Studies of World War Propaganda, 1914-1933,” The Journal of Modern History, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December, 1933), p. 511

“It is difficult to suggest by what means diplomacy can mitigate the dangers of this terrible invention.”

--Sir Harold Nicolson, regarding propaganda; cited in his Diplomacy (Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 1988), p. 93.

“Now, by the press, we can speak to nations; and good books and well written pamphlets have great and general influence. The facility with which the same truths may be repeatedly enforced by placing them in different lights in newspapers, which are everywhere read, gives a great chance of establishing them. And we now find that it is not only right to strike while the iron is hot but that it may be very practicable to heat it by continually striking.”

--Benjamin Franklin; cited in Philip M. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind: War Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Nuclear Age (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England: P. Stephens, 1990),” pp. 117-118.

“It is necessary for America to have agents in different parts of Europe, to give some information concerning our affairs, and to refute the abominable lies that the hired emissaries of Great Britain circulate in every corner of Europe, by which they keep up their own credit and ruin ours.

--John Adams; cited in above, p. 118.

“After all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but the truth in masquerade.”

--Lord Byron, cited in John Hargrave, Words Win Wars (1940), p. 37.

"We were hypnotized by the enemy propaganda as a rabbit is by a snake"

--Erich Ludendorff, Germany's chief strategist during World War I, cited in David Welch, Germany, Propaganda and Total War, 1914-1918 (2000), p. 250

“Propaganda is the penalty we pay for democracy.”

--George Vierek, Spreading Germs of Hate (1930), p. 34

“...furious Propaganda, with her brand, Fires the dry prairies of our wide Waste Land; Making the Earth, Man's temporal station, be One stinking altar to Publicity.”

--L. W. Dodd, "The Great Enlightenment," in The Great Enlightenment: A Satire in Verse: With Other Selected Verses (1928), p. 44., cited in Alfred McClung Lee How to Understand Propaganda (1952), p. 19.

“[Propaganda was], as one official wrote in 1928, ' a good word gone wrong.’”

-- K. R. M. Short, ed., Film and Radio Propaganda in World War II. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, (1983), p. 25

“We look But at the surface of things; we hear Of towns in flames, fields ravaged, young and old Driven out in troops to want and nakedness; Then grasp our sword and rush upon a cure That flatters us, because it asks not thought; The deeper malady is better hid The world is poisoned at the heart.”

--Wordsworth, The Borderers, Act I, quoted in James Morgan Read, Atrocity Propaganda 1914-1919, no page

“Propaganda is nothing but a fancy name for publicity, and who knows the publicity game better than the Yanks? Why, the Germans make no bones about admitting that they learned the trick from us. Now the difference between a Boche and a Yank is just this – that a Boche is some one [sic] who believes everything that’s told him and a Yank is some one who disbelieves everything that’s told him. The Boche believes all this rubbish his own government has been telling him; see how he swallows a few facts. Boy, bring me a German printing press and four airplanes.”

--Stars and Stripes, January 3, 1919, cited in Captain Heber Blankenhorn, Adventures in Propaganda, p. 162.

“Formerly the rulers were the leaders. They laid out the course of history, by the simple process of doing what they wanted. And if nowadays the successors of the rulers, those whose position or ability gives them power, can no longer do what they want without the approval of the masses, they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that approval. Therefore, propaganda is here to stay.”

--Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928), p. 27

“Propaganda is an instrument; it may employ truth instead of falsehood in its operation (as Wilson did, and as the O.W.I intends to do); and it may be directed to worthy instead of unworthy purposes. To condemn the instrument, because the wrong people use it for the wrong purposes, is like condemning the automobile because criminals use it for a getaway.

--Elmer Davis, "War Information," in Daniel Lerner, ed., Propaganda in War and Crisis: Materials for American Policy (New York, George W. Stewart, 1951), p. 276.

“But what is propaganda, if not the effort to alter the picture to which men respond, to substitute one social pattern for another.” 

--Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (1950), p. 26.

“Propaganda is made first of all, because of a will to action, for the purpose of effectively arming policy and giving irresistible power to its decisions.”

--Jacque Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes (1966), p. x

Propaganda, as a technique for "controlling attitudes by the manipulation of significant symbols [is] no more moral or immoral than a pump handle."

--Harold Laswell, as quoted by Brett Gary, The Nervous Liberals: Propaganda Anxieties from World War I to the Cold War (1999), p. 64

“Hitler maintained that in Britain propaganda was regarded ‘as a weapon of the first order, while in our country it was the last resort of unemployed politicians and a haven for slackers.’"

--David Welch, Germany, Propaganda and Total War, 1914-1918 (2000), p. 254

"The cure for propaganda is more propaganda."

--Bruce Bliven, quoted by Edward Bernays (page not shown) in Doob, Propaganda: Its Psychology and Technique (1935), p. 197

“The deadliest danger of propaganda consists of its being used by the propagandist for his own edification.”

--Wallace Carroll, Persuade or Perish (1948), p. 7.

"If you're imperially-minded, which the Americans were at the time [60s, Cold War], you don't think much about whether it's wrong or not [being part of the propaganda "aparat"]. It's like the imperial British in the Nineteenth Century. You just do it."

--Stuart Hampshire, quoted in Frances Saunders, Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (1999), 378-79

"What is truly vicious" observed the New York Times in an editorial on September 1 1937, "is not propaganda but a monopoly of it."

--Alfred McClung Lee and Elizabeth Briant Lee, eds., The Fine Art of Propaganda (1939), p. 18

The way to carry out propaganda is never to appear to be carrying it out at all."

--Richard Crossman, quoted in Frances Saunders, Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (1999) introduction, no page [p. 1]

“War propaganda is a shell in which the truth rattles around somewhere. Journalists try, with varying degrees of success, to find it among the din of false echoes. Governments try to impose their meaning on the noise.”

-- Anne McEvoy, The Independent, October 10, 2001, p. 3

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