The Early Years of Radio Liberty, 1953–60

Part of the Global Conflict and Security since 1945 book series (GCON)


One of the differences between British and American propaganda efforts was the centrality of private-public partnerships to US propaganda operations. Among the most famous of these were the Congress of Cultural Freedom, Radio Free Europe (RFE), and Radio Liberation/Radio Liberty (RL), all of which were part the CIA’s “liberal conspiracy” launched by the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) under the leadership of Frank Wisner.1 As noted in Chapter 2, Britain’s Cultural Relations Department (CRD) and the IRD did foster public-private anti-Communist organizations but these operations were never central to British propaganda strategy. In the US an entire division of the CIA, the International Organization Division (IOD), which was formed after OPC propaganda operations were brought under the control of the CIA in 1952, was devoted to gray propaganda operations. These operations were designed to influence European intelligentsia on both sides of the Iron Curtain.2


Radio Station Minority Language Radio Liberation Soviet Regime Soviet Society 
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  1. 7.
    Arch Puddington, Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2000), p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Boris Shub, The Choice (New York: Duell, Sloane, & Pearce, 1950).Google Scholar
  3. 50.
    Joseph G. Whelan, Radio Liberty: A Study of Its Origins, Structure, Policy, Programming, and Effectiveness (Washington DC: Library of Congress Research Service, 1972), p. 188.Google Scholar
  4. 57.
    Michael Scammell, Solzhenitsyn (New York: W. W. Norton, 1984).Google Scholar
  5. 66.
    Lazarsfeld’s early work on the use of radio in the Second World War can be found in Paul Lazarsfeld and F. N. Stanton (eds), Radio Research: 1942–1943 (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1944).Google Scholar
  6. 73.
    The 1940s and 1950s was a period of great advancement in assessing the effectiveness of propaganda and advertising. In addition, researchers began to understand the limitations inherent in the field for scientifically proving a cause and effect relationship between exposure to mass communications and changes in attitude and behavior. Some of the most famous mass communications research of the period includes Carl Hovland’s experimental work at Yale University. See Carl Hovland, Communications and Persuasion: Psychological Studies of Opinion Change (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953)Google Scholar
  7. Leon Festinger’s original work on cognitive dissonance in Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1957).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lowell H. Schwartz 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RAND CorporationUSA

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