Cold war American propaganda

Documentation on Early Cold War U.S. Propaganda Activities in the Middle East from the National Security Archive.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Security Archive at George Washington University today published on the World Wide Web documents concerned with an early Cold War campaign to win hearts and minds in the Middle East, launched 50 years before current efforts to achieve United States “public diplomacy” goals in the region.

    Soon after the events of September 11, the administration of George W. Bush announced a wide-ranging campaign to improve the image of America in Arab countries and in the greater Muslim world. One year later, its results appear unimpressive: a recent Pew Research Center poll found increasingly unfavorable international views of the U.S., “most dramatically, in Muslim societies.”

    The documents collected here describe an earlier program to expand and revitalize American propaganda directed at the Middle East, and the methods that were utilized, including graphic displays, manipulation of the news, books, movies, cartoons, activities directed at schools and universities, and exchange programs. U.S. propaganda efforts were assisted by collaborating governments, the news media, academics, publishers, and private associations. The documents show that many of the factors that generated resentment of the U.S. during the 1950s, and that impeded the effectiveness of U.S. propaganda, have persisted into the 21st century.

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