Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks 9780755694334, 9781784533571

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Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks
 9780755694334, 9781784533571

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Essays in memory of Philip M. Taylor, 1954–2010.

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

1.1

Stills from The Battles of the Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

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1.2

Pride in the local defence volunteers is revealed in the number of times it appeared as an image on Falkland Islands stamps

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1.3

A postcard that commemorates the Falkland’s Battle Memorial

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1.4

Stamps from 1937 and 1964

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1.5

Stamp marking the fiftieth anniversary of the battle

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2.1

ATTILA (to Little Willie) (Punch, 12 August 1914)

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2.2

‘Bravo, Belgium!’ (F.H. Townsend, Punch, 12 August 1914)

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2.3

Remember Belgium

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2.4

‘Swelling Wisibly’ (Jack Walker, The Daily Graphic Special War Cartoons, No. 4, 1914)

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‘The Kaiser’s Dream: The End of the World’ (Jack Walker, The Daily Graphic Special War Cartoons, No. 2, 1914)

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2.6

Punch’s Almanack for 1915 (F.H. Townsend, December 1914)

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2.7

‘The Kaiser’s Garland’ (Edmund J. Sullivan, 1915)

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2.8

‘The Prussian Butcher’ (Edmund Sullivan, 1915)

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2.9

‘Latest German invention – the Red Cross machine gun’ (The War Illustrated, September 1914)

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2.10 ‘Big and Little Willie’s Christmas Dinner’ (W.K. Haselden, Daily Mirror, December 1914)

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2.5

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2.11 ‘The Damp Squib’ (Jack Wallace, The Daily Graphic Special War Cartoons, 1915)

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2.12 ‘The Return from Essex – You did your best and “nearly” killed a baby in Colchester. So here’s an iron cross for you’ (Sidney Strube, Daily Express, January 1915)

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2.13 ‘Murdered by the Huns. ENLIST and Help Stop Such Atrocities’ (1915, Imperial War Museum)

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2.14 ‘Men of Britain! Will You Stand This? Enlist Now’ (1914, British Library)

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2.15 ‘Lend Your Five Shillings to Your Country and Help Crush the Germans’ (1915, British Library)

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2.16 ‘Put Strength in the Final Blow – Buy War Bonds’ (1918, Imperial War Museum)

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2.17 ‘Once a German – Always a German!’ (1918, Imperial War Museum)

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5.1

Nazi Propaganda Aims

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5.2

Goebbels’ speech on Total War (Deutsche Wochenshau, 27 February 1943)

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5.3

‘Hard Times, Hard Duties, Hard Hearts’ (1943)

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5.4

‘Victory or Bolshevism’

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8.1

Safe Conduct Pass, Operation Desert Storm (1991)

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8.2

NATO leaflet: Why not ask Milosevic?/Why are our factories burning?

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A Coalition leaflet dropped over Iraq in 2003 encouraging Iraqis to listen to Information Radio

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8.3

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NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

Cristina Archetti is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Media at the University of Salford. She is author of Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media: A Communication Approach (Palgrave, 2012) and Explaining News: National Politics and Journalistic Cultures in Global Context (Palgrave, 2010). Her research interests are multidisciplinary and cover political communication, security, international communication and journalism. She won the 2008 Denis McQuail Award for Innovating Communication Theory. Stephen Badsey is Professor of Conflict Studies at the University of Wolverhampton. Among his books are The Gulf War Assessed (with John Pimlott), The Media and International Security, The Falklands Conflict Twenty Years On (with Rob Havers and Mark Grove), Doctrine and Reform in the British Cavalry 1880– 1918, and The British Army in Battle and Its Image 1914–18. He has advised or addressed numerous academic, military and government organisations, his writings have been translated into five languages, and he appears frequently on television and in other media. His personal website is www.stephenbadsey.com. Daniel Burgess was Intelligence Officer for US Forces Korea. James Chapman is Professor of Film at the University of Leicester. His research focuses on the history of British popular culture, especially cinema and television. His books include The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939–1945 (I.B.Tauris, 1998), Licence To Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films (I.B.Tauris, 1999; 2nd edn, 2007), Past and Present: National Identity and the British Historical Film (I.B.Tauris, 2005) and Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of ‘Doctor Who’ – A Cultural History (I.B.Tauris, 2006; 2nd edn, 2013).

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He is a council member of the International Association of Media and History (IAMHIST) and editor of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. Mark Connelly is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kent. His research interests include the image of the armed forces in British and Commonwealth societies, war and commemoration and military history. Among his recent publications are: We Can Take It! Britain and the Memory of the Second World War, Steady the Buffs: A Regiment, a Region and the Great War, The Edwardian Army: Recruiting, Training and Deploying the British Army, 1902– 1914 (with Tim Bowman). David Culbert is John L. Loos Professor of History, Louisiana State University. He is the editor of The Future of the Book & the Public Interest (2012). He is co-author of Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encylopedia, 1500 to the Present (2003) and was interviewed by cspan-3 in November 2012 concerning John Huston’s pioneering film, Let There Be Light (1946) about psychoneurotics in the US Army. The interview is on YouTube. Nicholas J. Cull is Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he directs the masters programme in public diplomacy. Originally from the UK he studied at Leeds under Phil Taylor in the 1980s as both a BA and PhD student. His single-authored works include Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American ‘Neutrality’ in World War II (1994), The Cold War and the United States Information Agency (2008) and The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency (2012). He has also co-authored a series of film history books with James Chapman: Projecting Empire: Imperialism in Popular Cinema (2009) and Projecting Tomorrow: Science Fiction in Popular Cinema (2013). Further titles will be forthcoming. He is president of the International Association for Media and History. Jeffrey B. Jones was Senior Director for Strategic Communication and Information at the National Security Council. Daniel T. Kuehl is Associate Professor of Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University, in Erie, Pennsylvania. Prior to this he was a professor of Information Operations for nearly two decades at the National Defense University in Washington DC.

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Notes on Contributors

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Gary D. Rawnsley is Professor of International Communications at the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds. His research interests are propaganda, public diplomacy, soft power and strategic communications generally, within an East Asian context. He is the author and editor of a dozen books, two of which have been translated into Chinese. He is currently completing a study of Taiwan’s public diplomacy and soft power and is the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Media (2013). Gary Rawnsley has held visiting positions in Australia, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and was the founding Dean of the University of Nottingham, Ningbo China. Jeffrey Richards is Professor of Cultural History at Lancaster University. His most recent works include Hollywood’s Ancient Worlds (2008) and Cinema and Radio in Britain and America 1920–1960 (2010). Piers Robinson is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester. He specialises in political communication and international politics and is author, along with Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray and Philip Taylor, of Pockets of Resistance: British News Media, War and Theory in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Manchester University Press, 2010) and The CNN Effect: The Myth of News, Foreign Policy and Intervention (Routledge, 2002). Russell Rochte (LTC, US Army, retired) has been a senior faculty member for Info Ops & Cyber Intelligence in the School of Science & Technology Intelligence, National Intelligence University, in Washington DC, since 2005. Prior to this, he taught information operations and information assurance as Professor of Systems Management alongside Daniel Kuehl at the National Defense University, also in Washington. Edward M. Spiers is Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of Leeds. He is the author or editor of ten books on military history, most recently the coedited volume, A Military History of Scotland (2012) and another five books on chemical and biological warfare, including A History of Chemical and Biological Weapons (2010). Kate Utting is a graduate of the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds and is Senior Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London and at the Defence Academy of the UK where she teaches military officers (UK and overseas) at postgraduate level across the three services. She is a Co-Convener of the International History Seminar at the Institute of

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Historical Research. Her research interests include British propaganda and strategic perception management, British foreign and imperial policy in the twentieth century, British counter-insurgency and professional military education. As a subject matter expert she supported the work of the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre in writing Joint Doctrine Note 1/11, Strategic Communication: The Defence Contribution. Her latest book Propaganda and the End of British Rule in Palestine 1945–48 will be published by Routledge in 2013. David Welch is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for the Study of War, Propaganda & Society at the University of Kent. His books include Germany, Propaganda and Total War, 1914–1918 (2000) and The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda (2002). He is co-author of Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encylopedia, 1500 to the Present (2003) and editor (with Jo Fox) of Justifying War. Propaganda, Politics and the Modern Age (2012). He co-curated the 2013 exhibition at the British Library and authored the accompanying book: Propaganda. Power and Persuasion. .

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‘OPENING PANDORA’S BOX’: PROPAGANDA, POWER AND PERSUASION David Welch

Propaganda came of age in the twentieth century. The development of mass and multi-media offered a fertile ground for propaganda, and global conflict provided the impetus needed for its growth. As electorates and audiences have become more sophisticated, they have begun to question the use of propaganda in history and its role in contemporary society. However, propaganda has become a portmanteau word, which can be interpreted in a number of different ways. With rapidly changing technology, definitions of propaganda have also undergone changes. Propaganda has meant different things at different times, although clearly the scale on which it has been practised has increased in the twentieth century. What are the characteristic features of propaganda, and how can it be defined?1 Despite the controversy over definition, the subject continues to grow and attract widespread interest. The importance of propaganda in the politics of this century should not be underestimated. The most obvious reason for the increasing prominence given to propaganda and its assumed power over opinion is the broadening base of politics which dramatically transformed the nature of political participation. Of course the means of communication have correspondingly increased, and the growth of education and technological advances in mass communications have all proved contributory factors. We are now witnessing the explosion of ‘information superhighways’ and digital data networks, and legitimate concerns have been expressed about the nature of media proprietorship and access and the extent to which information flows freely (what Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman have referred to as the ‘manufacture of consent’).2 Propagandists have been forced to respond to these changes; they must assess their audience and use whatever methods they consider to be most effective. Over the past 100 years, ‘opinion management’ has become a central preoccupation of states at war and in peace. The series of essays in this volume trace the development of techniques of ‘opinion management’ from World War I to the current conflict in Afghanistan and the establishment of WikiLeaks. They reveal how state leaders and spin-doctors operating at the behest of the state sought to

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shape popular attitudes – at home and overseas – seeking to harness new media with the objective of winning hearts and minds. The volume provides compelling evidence of how the study and practice of propaganda today is shaped by its history. It will offer, therefore, a special resonance for contemporary audiences. As Philip Taylor wrote in the preface to his Munitions of the Mind: ‘The challenge [of the modern information age] is to ensure that no single propaganda source gains monopoly over the information and images that shape our thoughts. If this happens, the war propagandists will be back in business again.’3 It is fitting that Taylor’s work is cited, for the essays included in this volume are intended to be a tribute to Taylor’s pioneering legacy in the field of propaganda studies. Philip Taylor, who was the first Professor of International Communications in the UK, died in 2010 at the age of 56.4 He leaves behind a towering body of scholarship that has set the benchmark for research combining history with communications. Although the scale on which propaganda is practised has increased dramatically in the twentieth century, the origin of the word can be traced back to the Reformation, when the spiritual and ecclesiastical unity of Europe was shattered and the medieval Roman Catholic Church lost its hold on the northern countries. During the ensuing struggle between the forces of Protestantism and those of the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church found itself faced with the problem of maintaining and strengthening its hold in the non-Catholic countries. Pope Gregory XIII established a commission of cardinals charged with spreading Catholicism and regulating ecclesiastical affairs in heathen lands. A generation later, in 1622, when the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) had broken out, Pope Gregory XV made this commission permanent as the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Holy Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) charged with the management of foreign missions and financed by a ‘ring tax’ assessed upon each newly appointed cardinal. Within a few years, in 1627, this charge took the form of the College of Propaganda (Collegium Urbanum), which was established to educate young priests who were to undertake such missions. The first propaganda institute was therefore simply a body charged with improving the dissemination of a group of religious dogmas. The word ‘propaganda’ soon came to be applied to any organisation set up for the purpose of spreading a doctrine; then it was applied to the doctrine itself; and lastly to the methods employed in effectuating the dissemination. From the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries we hear comparatively little about propaganda. From the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Western Europe remained largely at peace and there were few occasions where propaganda on a national scale was called for. Historically propaganda was associated with periods of stress and turmoil during which violent controversy over doctrine accompanied the use of force. In the struggle for power, propaganda is an instrument to be used by those who want to secure or

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retain power just as much as by those wanting to displace them. In Philip Taylor’s phrase, ‘for the smoke to rise, there must first be a spark which lights the flame’. Propaganda is that spark. The link between propaganda and war is the theme that binds the following chapters together. Since the late nineteenth century war, propaganda and the mass media have undergone a long, intricate relationship. Indeed, the history of changing communication technology is often pegged to certain conflicts. This volume begins with World War I. There is a very good reason for that. Whilst the use of war propaganda dates back 2,400 years to Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War, World War I witnessed its first use by governments in an organised, quasi-scientific manner. Between 1914 and 1918 the wholesale use of propaganda as an organised weapon of modern warfare transformed it into something more sinister. One of the most significant lessons to be learned from the experience of World War I was that public opinion could no longer be ignored as a determining factor in the formulation of government policies. Unlike previous wars, this was the first ‘total war’ in which entire nations rather than just professional armies were locked in mortal combat. The war served to increase the level of popular interest and participation in the affairs of the state. The gap between the soldier at the front and the civilian at home was narrowed substantially in that the full resources of the state – military, economic and psychological – had to be mobilised. In a state of total war, which required civilians to participate in the war effort, morale came to be recognised as a significant military factor, and propaganda slowly emerged as the principal instrument of control over public opinion and an essential weapon in the national arsenal, culminating in the establishment in Britain of the Ministry of Information in 1918 under Lord Beaverbrook and a separate Enemy Propaganda Department at Crewe House under Lord Northcliffe. By means of strict censorship and tightly controlled propaganda campaigns, the press, films, leaflets and posters were all utilised in a coordinated fashion (arguably for the first time) in order to disseminate officially approved themes. The volume begins with Mark Connelly’s account of the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914. Connelly points to the contemporary significance of the Falkland Islands and how, in 1914, it was used to promote the idea that every part of the British Empire was actually engaged in protecting values of civilisation (as defined by the British); this time against German aggression.5 The Battle of the Falklands Island in 1914 was used for propaganda purposes to serve a number of agendas and carry a range of messages and equally importantly it was played out on the new medium of film newsreels. Connelly shows how, decades later in the 1980s, the battle could be reshaped to fit an entirely different set of circumstances. During the Great War, however, the battle and the manner in which it was reported helped emphasise the supremacy of the Royal Navy and provide reassurance to the Empire. In the immediate post-war years it was celebrated as one of the last set-piece naval clashes untroubled by new methods

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of modern warfare. The Battle of the Falkland Islands portrayed combat as glorious, exhilarating and honourable. David Welch’s chapter takes up the theme of an honourable, ‘Just War’ and shows the importance of the ‘stereotype’ in asserting the righteousness of one’s own cause. The identification of the enemy is of great importance in wartime propaganda in that it offers the target audience a ready-made scapegoat. Welch shows how the stereotype of the German ‘Hun’ came about and how it was used to reinforce British values and contrast such values favourably against German aggression and barbarism. The image of the enemy was a crucial aspect of wartime propaganda and served to justify British war aims, encourage enlistment, help raise war loans, strengthen the fighting spirit of the armed forces and bolster civilian morale. Despite major tensions, Britain’s wartime consensus generally held up under the exigencies of war. One explanation for this was the skilful use by the government of propaganda and censorship. After the War, however, a deep mistrust developed on the part of ordinary citizens, who realised that conditions at the front had been deliberately obscured by patriotic slogans and ‘atrocity propaganda’ consisting of obscene stereotypes of the enemy and their dastardly deeds. The populace also felt cheated that its sacrifices had not resulted in the promised homes and a land ‘fit for heroes’. Propaganda was associated with lies and falsehood. Even politicians were sensitive to these criticisms; as a result, the Ministry of Information was immediately disbanded. The British government regarded propaganda as politically dangerous and even morally unacceptable in peacetime. It was, as one official wrote in the 1920s, ‘a good word gone wrong – debauched by the late Lord Northcliffe’. The impact of propaganda on political behaviour was so profound that during World War II, when the government attempted to ‘educate’ the populace regarding the existence of Nazi extermination camps, it was not immediately believed since the information was suspected of being more ‘propaganda’. In spite of the British government’s reluctance to become too closely associated with official propaganda, Jeffrey Richards shows how the commercial cinema was used to disseminate British propaganda overseas in the interwar period. The cinema was now the most potent form for the dissemination of propaganda and was the mass medium of the first half of the twentieth century. Richards traces the career of the largely forgotten British actor George Arliss and shows how he cornered the American market in biopics. Arliss was not only an actor but what the French call the auteur of his films – and he liked his films to have a propaganda message. At the height of the Great Depression he made a series of films celebrating the romance of capitalism and in his two greatest successes, Disraeli (1929) and The House of Rothschilds (1934), he linked his affirmations of capitalism (in the face of international challenges from both communism and fascism) to a celebration of the achievements of the Jews. This, at a time when Hollywood moguls feared that to highlight Jewish themes might provoke an anti-Semitic backlash. Famously the 1937 Warner

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Brothers film The Life of Emile Zola, which dealt with the Dreyfus affair, made no mention of Jews or the anti-Semitism that underpinned the scandal. For three of his British films made in the 1930s, the plus value was their consistent support for the policy of peace and appeasement which was the approach of the interwar British governments to foreign policy, a policy that Richards claims was widely supported by the people, desperate to avoid a return to world war. According to Philip Taylor, World War II ‘witnessed the greatest battle in the history of warfare.’6 All the belligerents employed propaganda on a scale that dwarfed that of other conflicts, including World War I. Britain’s principal propaganda structures were the Ministry of Information (MOI) for home, allied and neutral territory and the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) for enemy territory. James Chapman’s chapter explores the little known institutional and ideological rivalry that emerged in Britain between the MOI and the British Council. Founded in 1934, the British Council arose in the Foreign Office and was inspired by the recognition of the importance of ‘cultural propaganda’ in promoting British interests, following the success of similar official cultural organisations established by the French, Germans and Italians in the late 1920s. The council worked out of the various British consulates, but then began opening its own offices in various countries, starting with Egypt in 1938. The overseas associates of the British Council collected information about local conditions, opportunities and openness to British initiates, which information was compiled in London. These ‘information’ functions were transferred to the MOI at the start of World War II.7 Chapman shows how competition between institutions with different ideological agendas led to a contested struggle over how British propaganda should be projected overseas. Chapman’s analysis provides a rare insight into how differences over the nature and function of propaganda can become entangled within institutional politics and petty jealousies – with important consequences for the British propaganda effort during the war. When the MOI information was set up at the outbreak of war, it was, to some extent, making up for lost ground. Morale would obviously be a crucial factor in enduring civilian bombing or a war of attrition and the MOI would have to compete with a German propaganda machine under Joseph Goebbels that had been the first ministry to be established when the Nazis had come to power some six years previously in 1933. Ironically, the experience of Britain’s propaganda effort during World War I provided the defeated Germans with a fertile source of counter-propaganda directed at the postwar peace treaties and the ignominy of the Weimar Republic. Writing in Mein Kampf, Hitler noted: ‘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 now see the effects of this gradual seduction. Our soldiers learned to think the way the enemy wanted them to think.’ By maintaining that the German army had not

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been defeated in the field of battle but rather had been forced to submit due to the disintegration of morale from within, which had been accelerated by skilful British propaganda, Hitler (like other right-wing politicians and military groups) was providing historical legitimacy for the ‘stab-in-the-back’ theory. Regardless of the actual role played by British (or Soviet) propaganda in helping to bring Germany to its knees, it was generally accepted that Britain’s wartime experiment was the ideal blueprint according to which other governments would subsequently model their own propaganda apparatus. According to Hitler (again writing in Mein Kampf), ‘Germany had failed to recognise propaganda as a weapon of the first order, whereas the British has [sic] employed it with great skill and ingenious deliberation.’8 Convinced of the essential role of propaganda for any movement determined to assume power, Hitler saw propaganda as a vehicle of political salesmanship in a mass market; it was no surprise that the Ministry of Propaganda was the first to be established when the Nazis assumed power in 1933. The function of propaganda, Hitler argued, was to focus the attention of the masses on certain facts, processes and necessities ‘whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision’. Accordingly, propaganda for the masses had to be simple and concentrate on as few points as possible, which had to be repeated many times, with an emphasis on such emotional elements as love and hatred. Through the continuity and sustained uniformity of its application, Hitler concluded that propaganda would lead to results ‘almost beyond our understanding’.9 Unlike the Bolsheviks, however, the Nazis did not distinguish between agitation and propaganda. In Soviet Russia agitation was concerned with influencing the masses through ideas and slogans, while propaganda served to spread the communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism. The distinction dates back to Georgi Plekhanov’s celebrated 1892 definition: ‘A propagandist presents many ideas to one or a few persons; an agitator presents only one or a few ideas, but presents them to a whole mass of people’ (emphasis added). The Nazis, on the other hand, regarded propaganda not merely as an instrument for reaching the party elite but as a means of persuading and indoctrinating all Germans. Welch’s chapter on Nazi propaganda juxtaposes the heightened political and military ambitions of the regime at the outbreak of the war with the declining effectiveness of Nazi propaganda in the final two years of the conflict. When the war started to turn against Hitler in the winter of 1941–2, it would take some time before military reverses had any noticeable effect on his popularity. However, following the catastrophe of Stalingrad, a defeat for which Hitler was held responsible, his popularity began to decline. Stalingrad marked a turning point in Nazi war propaganda as it allowed Joseph Goebbels finally to implement his drive for the total mobilisation of all Germany’s human resources for the war effort. Welch argues that the Nazi Propaganda Minister failed in his attempts to mobilise the German nation for total war and to convince them that ultimate victory was assured. This is a prescient, corrective point in the light of the perhaps

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excessive ‘power’ bestowed on propaganda during the Cold War period. Welch demonstrates that even in a text-book totalitarian police state, propaganda had its limitations when it so patently failed to square with the everyday experiences of citizens encountering ‘total war’. If the two world wars demonstrated the power of propaganda, the post-1945 period witnessed the widespread utilisation of the lessons drawn from the wartime experience within the overall context of the ‘communications revolution’. With the rapid deterioration of wartime alliances into what came to be known as the Cold War, a new type of conflict emerged. This was a war of the mind, a contest of ideologies, a battle of nerves, which for the next 44 years was to divide the world into a bipolar competition that was characterised by a battle for ‘hearts and minds’ but sinisterly underpinned by the threat of nuclear annihilation. Propagandists on both sides utilised their own interpretation of the truth in order to sell an ideological point of view to their own citizens and to the world at large. In 1950, US President Harry S. Truman described the conflict as a ‘struggle above all else, for the minds of men’. In 1953, American information activities were separated from the State Department and the United States Information Agency (USIA) was formed. Cultural exchange programmes, international trade fairs and exhibitions, and the distribution of Hollywood films were some of the activities designed to extract propaganda value from the appeal of America’s way of life, particularly its popular culture and material success. Nick Cull reconsiders the final decade of the USIA and why it was closed down in 1999. The answer is revealing not only for the history of public diplomacy in the United States but also for the wider insight it provides into the use of propaganda in contemporary foreign policy. Cull examines why the US cut back on cultural diplomacy. The USIA, with its emphasis on ‘soft power’, lost most of its Arts Ambassadors projects and its centres and libraries. During 1993–2001 the budget for educational and cultural exchanges fell by more than one-third in real terms. The USIA, on the other hand, felt that America’s commercial culture could not provide a substitute for planned cultural outreach. There are obvious parallels here with the tensions between the British Council and the Ministry of Information during World War II. An important feature of propaganda, certainly since the mid-1930s, has been the use made of state broadcasting (radio propaganda played an important part in the activities of the USIA). World War II demonstrated the potential of international radio broadcasting to act as an apparatus of political destabilization and popular mobilization within specific political contexts. The Cold War established the parameters of the consequences that governments and international organisations might reasonably expect from its deployment. Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty were created as functionaries of the Cold War with support from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Their target audiences lived in those areas of Europe under communist rule, and they were designed not only

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to spread news, information and opinion forbidden by these communist governments, but also to circulate American values of democracy, liberty and free market capitalism. Gary Rawnsley takes up these themes and examines the effects of international broadcasting on the Chinese government’s attempts to create a ‘harmonious society’. The idea of the harmonious society was first introduced in 2004 to deal with the underlying problems associated with China’s extraordinary pace of modernisation and by 2007 the harmonious society was enshrined as one of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mainstream guiding ideologies. Rawnsley focuses on the US radio station Radio Free Asia (RFA). The analysis presented here is situated not only in the context of modern China, but also within the wider framework of post-Cold War international radio broadcasting. Rawnsley argues that although RFA is not an exact prototype of RFE/RL, it has similar aims and objectives. By providing an alternative source of news – particularly news of disharmony and dissent – RFA (which broadcasts in nine languages) undermines the monopoly on information the Chinese government enjoys, and challenges its control of the discourses. Rawnsley concludes that, at a time when international radio broadcasting stations in the West are under pressure to impose severe cuts in their operations,10 the RFA remains a thorn in the side for the CCP by continuing to provide alternative sources of information. The far-reaching impact of the Cold War led to new political and sociological theories on the nature of man and modern society. Political scientists, sociologists and journalists theorised about the nature of man and modern society – particularly in the light of the rise of totalitarian police states. Individuals were viewed as undifferentiated and malleable, while an apocalyptic vision of mass society emphasised the alienation of work, the collapse of religion and family ties, and a general decline of moral values. Culture was reduced to the lowest common denominator for mass consumption, with the masses generally seen as politically apathetic yet prone to ideological fanaticism, vulnerable to manipulation through the media and the increasing sophistication of propagandists. Accordingly, propaganda was viewed as a ‘magic bullet’ or ‘hypodermic needle’ by means of which opinions and behaviour could easily be controlled. This bleak view was challenged by a number of American social scientists, such as Harold Lasswell and Walter Lippmann, who argued that within the context of an atomised mass society propaganda was a mechanism for engineering public opinion and consent and thus acted as a means of social control (which Lasswell referred to as the ‘new hammer and anvil of social solidarity’).11 In 1965 the French sociologist Jacques Ellul took this a stage further and suggested that the technological society has conditioned people to a ‘need for propaganda’. In his view propaganda is most effective when it reinforces previously held opinions and beliefs.12 The ‘hypodermic needle’ theory has largely been replaced by a more complex ‘multi-step’ model that acknowledges the influence of the mass media yet also recognises that individuals seek out opinion leaders within their

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own social class and gender. Most writers today agree that propaganda confirms rather than converts – or at least is more effective when the message is in line with existing opinions and beliefs of most consumers. Writing in 1936, Aldous Huxley observed that ‘the propagandist is a man [who] canalises an already existing stream; in a land where there is no water, he digs in vain’.13 This shift in emphasis underscores a number of common misconceptions connected with the study of propaganda. There is a widely held belief that propaganda implies nothing more than the art of persuasion, which serves only to change attitudes and ideas. This is undoubtedly one of its aims, but it is usually a limited and subordinate one. More often propaganda is concerned with sharpening and focusing existing trends and beliefs. A second basic misconception is the belief that propaganda consists only of lies and falsehood. In fact, it operates on several levels of truth – from the outright lie to the half-truth to the truth taken out of context. (Officials in the British Ministry of Information during World War II referred to this as the ‘whole truth, nothing but the truth – and as near as possible the truth’!) Many writers on the subject see propaganda as essentially appeasing the irrational instincts of man – and this is true to a certain extent – but because our attitudes and behaviour are also the product of rational decisions, propaganda must appeal to the rational elements in human nature as well. The preoccupation with the former ignores the basic fact that propaganda is ethically neutral, that is, it may be good or bad. In all political systems policy must be explained, the public must be convinced of the efficacy of governmental decisions (or at least remain quiescent), and rational discussion is not always the most useful means of achieving this, particularly in the age of mass society. The changing nature of international crises from the Cold War to a post-Cold War context, together with rapidly changing technology, has transformed both the nature of warfare and its reportage.14 At the end of the 1980s as the Cold War was coming to an end, the term ‘information warfare’ started to gain currency. NATO has been engaged in the projection of information wars since the first year of the alliance in 1950 and as such it provides an institutional link between conventional warfare and new forms of conflict (such as asymmetrical warfare). Edward Spiers traces some of NATO’s information operations from Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq to the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya. He argues that the conflict in Kosovo was the defining experience. Having declared war on Serbia, NATO sought to justify its mission by stressing the humanitarian aspect of its aerial bombing campaign and the accuracy of its briefings to the world media. Both sides in the conflict (including Slobodan Milosevic) understood the importance of manipulating real-time news (and the internet) to their own advantage. Although NATO’s military strategy was ultimately vindicated, the conflict in Kosovo forced NATO to recognise that if it was to continue to be considered as a remotely credible actor in a modern media environment then it had to become more professionalised.

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If Kosovo marked the decline of the ‘old news’ (network television, broadsheet newspapers and current affairs journals) in favour of ‘new news’ (satellite and cable television, tabloid newspapers and television and radio chat shows), the military itself became increasingly concerned about image management and with ‘information control’. The military have recognised that technology has not only freed the media from the physical constraints under which war correspondents used to labour, but also that with 24-hour rolling news and the proliferation of international news agencies such as Al-Jazeera, the world media are going to be present in large numbers and have therefore to be factored into their own strategic thinking. The chapter by Jeffrey Jones et al. is written from an American military perspective and focuses on the experience of Afghanistan and Iraq. The 1991 Gulf War and the launch of the World Wide Web were accompanied both by a new importance for the place of the media in military thinking and by new doctrinal concepts based on electronic warfare. In the mid-1990s the concept was considerably broadened to become information operations, by including psychological operations (Psyops), which had already played an important part in the 1991 Gulf War. In Iraq in 2004, Psyops ranged from providing warnings about dangerous munitions, to broadcasting deadly insults in Arabic by loudspeaker in order to provoke unwise enemy attacks into a killing zone, or the sounds of women and children screaming or cats fighting, played at night at impossibly loud volume. The distinction between Psyops units as purveyors of essentially neutral or helpful information and Psyops as a weapon against the enemy became increasingly blurred in US military thought through the 1990s, and in 2010 US Psyops was renamed ‘military information support operations’. The authors of Chapter 9 point to the ‘indispensable’ role now played in military-media relations by the combatant commanders in winning ‘hearts and minds’. Particularly important in this context is what they refer to as the ‘Influence Cycle’ and the imperative need to understand the culture of the target audience. Crucially, this process will not happen quickly; the measurement period will not be hours or days – it will probably be years to decades. This is not a tool for tactical impact on short-period crises, but is a strategic weapon for employment in long-term campaigns such as the ‘war of ideas’. The authors conclude that in the light of recent military engagements, strategic communication is still not pervasively integrated into operational plans and therefore they set out a blue-print consisting of 21 recommendations to redress this failure in military thinking. Kate Utting takes up these points in her insightful overview of the growing importance of propaganda in current British military doctrine and strategy. Utting suggests that the military is going through a period of introspection and reflection after a decade of mixed success in Afghanistan and Iraq and following the more recent experience in Libya. Critics of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan point to a failure of communications. Utting quotes Joseph Nye’s dictum that ‘it is not whose army wins, but whose story wins’ as the new maxim taken up by the

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British military. To meet the challenges of the digital information age, the military have adopted soft power ideas (‘it’s smart to be soft’) and the need to take a more psychological approach to the idea of influence as the central idea and purpose of all military activity. Utting identifies four new doctrinal developments: ‘influence’, ‘strategic communication’, ‘information activity’ and ‘outreach’. The military consensus on strategic communication during the Libyan campaign seems to be that the new ways of thinking and organisation worked and produced success. The implementation from theory into practice will be a challenge and clearly a campaign such as Afghanistan that demands strategic patience like Afghanistan has different pressures to a shorter campaign like Libya. Nevertheless, Utting identifies a sea change in British military thinking in which propaganda and psychological factors can no longer be relegated to supporting roles. Stephen Badsey’s chapter complements Utting’s piece by comparing US information operations in US military doctrine during the Iraq War. Badsey concentrates on the two Battles of Fallujah in 2004. These battles were critical both for the impact on the war itself (2003–11) and for what they reveal about US military attitudes towards the world’s media. Badsey analyses critically the motives behind the actions including the deeper US military culture that came into force in the absence of political and strategic direction. After the first Battle of Fallujah in April 2004, a number of official studies noted that many in the US military believed ‘that the battle was lost solely in the IO [information operations] arena’, while others also demanded more troops and firepower. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in his memoirs described the US defeat in the First Battle of Fallujah as ‘asymmetric warfare in its purest form’, the use of global political and propaganda power by insurgents to defeat an otherwise successful attack.15 The information operations methods used in the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004 were intended to address this problem, and the battle represents the high point of ‘aggressive information operations’ (including the control and exploitation of the US and international news media) to secure a local victory. It has, according to Badsey, been seen by many as a pointer to the future of warfare. The doctrinal controversies generated by these battles and the information operations methods used to help fight them not only contributed to the disputed history of the Iraq War but remain unresolved in the West’s on-going ‘war on terror’. But what do we mean when we speak of a ‘war on terror’? Following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration justified its response by announcing the ‘Global War on Terror’ arguing that it had the right and ability to pursue al-Qaeda and any other state or group which harboured them and their leader, Osama bin Laden. By declaring a Global war on terror, the West invoked Article 51 of the UN Charter (the right to self-defence) and in the process empowered the terrorists with the status of ‘warriors’ – something that groups such as al-Qaeda shrewdly exploited in their own counter-propaganda against the West.

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In the final part of the book, Cristina Archetti undertakes a critical analysis of the role of Western propaganda, persuasion and communication in the fight against international terrorism. She makes the point that, since early 2009, the ‘war on terror’ has been downplayed in official documents both in the UK and the US as it was recognised that, through the amplification provided by global media channels, it was fuelling the terrorists’ rhetoric of a Western ‘crusade’ against Islam. Archetti calls for a more rigorous understanding of the relationship between the media and extremism. It is no coincidence that she refers to ‘(Mis-)Communication Wars’ when referring to the West’s attempt to counterpropaganda disseminated by Islamic fundamentalist groups. It is certainly true that fundamental changes in the nature of warfare have also affected both the ability to cover wars and the style of reporting. Asymmetric warfare is going to be the dominant form of conflict in the modern age, simply because of the lack of enemies capable of contemplating a conventional war against the major industrial power. So, in the face of conventional firepower, the weaker state or organisation uses different weaponry.16 Archetti cites the case of al-Qaeda as the first guerrilla movement to migrate from physical space to cyberspace. We are now entering a new phase in which small groups, operating without overt state sponsorship, are able to exploit the vulnerability of ‘open’ societies. Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda represent a new and profoundly dangerous type of organisation, a ‘virtual state’, borderless but global in scope. Groups and organisations such as al-Qaeda now have access to the means of communications through the internet (and other social networks) and this changes the dynamics of the propaganda war. In the past, governments could largely control the coverage and shape the narrative. For this reason, Archetti concludes that one cannot understand terrorism in the twenty-first century – let alone counter it effectively – unless we understand the process of communication and the nature of the propaganda that underpins it. The notion of cyberspace and the phenomenon of WikiLeaks are addressed by David Culbert in the penultimate chapter of this volume. Since the advent of total war, belligerent nations have deployed the twin weapons of censorship and propaganda to impose a rigid control over public perceptions about how and why wars were being fought. In 2006 a new phenomenon, WikiLeaks, was founded by Julian Assange with the declared intention of encouraging more ‘open forms of governance’. In theory, WikiLeaks represents a threat to traditional forms of state censorship and propaganda – particularly in time of war. David Culbert examines this new phenomenon and traces some of the major revelations prior to 2006 (such as the Pentagon Papers). What changes, if any, has the disclosure of over 250,000 American diplomatic cables made either to the practice of history, diplomacy or to the information age in general? Culbert concludes that while WikiLeaks may have a nebulous connection to public diplomacy and to public disinformation campaigns it has had only a minor impact on the world of

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propaganda, power and persuasion. Indeed, ironically it may have had the unintentional affect of tightening cyberspace and the flow of classified information. Culbert’s chapter reminds us that the advent of total war changed forever the relationship between old-style diplomacy and the need for secrecy, and the ‘new’ media, whose power to shape public opinion politicians most fear. This in turn is why they try to shape the media agenda: which brings us back to propaganda and the relationship between public opinion and politics. But what role do the media actually have in shaping public opinion and how real is this power? Lord Beaverbrook, who was placed in charge of the new Ministry of Information in early 1918, considered propaganda to be ‘the popular arm of diplomacy’ in which ‘the munitions of the mind (my stress) became not less vital for victory than fleets or armies’.17 In his (my stress) Munitions of the Mind, Philip Taylor concluded by arguing that in democracies politicians had nothing to fear from propaganda. Taylor argued that propaganda is merely a process of persuasion that forms a normal part of the political dynamic and as such we need more propaganda, not less.18 In the final chapter of the volume Piers Robinson takes up this theme and examines how, in contemporary warfare, states have attempted to influence the media (‘telling it like it is’) through what the military termed ‘perception management’ – a euphemism for propaganda. Robinson traces how the military learnt the lesson of the Vietnam War in order to become experts at managing the media. By the time of the Gulf War in 1991, the military were firmly in control of the media. By 2003 and the invasion of Iraq, power had shifted to politicians who, according to Robinson, were now in control of state–media relations and the information environment. Robinson argues that ten years of fruitless war in Afghanistan together with the contested history of the Iraq War have resulted in an unprecedented concentration of ‘communication power’ within a political elite. Furthermore, the current ‘war on terror’ continues to shape domestic public and political perceptions toward a chronic sense of insecurity. By focusing in his essay on the normative implications of media-management by the state, Robinson challenges Taylor’s point of view by concluding that we need less not more propaganda. As we have seen, since the end of World War I, propaganda has acquired largely pejorative connotations and has been associated with lies and falsehood. In the aftermath of the war, nation states and individual leaders (such as Lenin, Mussolini and Hitler) believed that overt political propaganda was a new phenomenon that could act as an ‘opium for the masses’. Pandora had unquestionably opened the box and we continue to live with the consequences. The historical function of propaganda has often been to fuel fear and profit from ignorance and it has reinforced its bad name for doing so. Creating an atmosphere of fear is an old prerequisite to justify war or indeed a terrorist act. There is nothing new in employing such tactics and it is still used today. Some critics, for example, have suggested that the American government stoked a fear of terrorism after the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11. Nancy Snow, once a ‘propagandist’ for the USIA,

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has claimed that, despite the revelations discrediting Bush’s administration for going to war with Iraq, You may wonder why it is that a majority of Americans still link Saddam to 9/11 … . The reason for such a belief is because the American people were repeatedly told by the President and his inner circle that Saddam’s evil alone was enough to be linked to 9/11 and that, given time, he would have used his weapons against us. With propaganda, you don’t need facts per se, just the best facts put forward. If these facts make sense to people, then they don’t need proof like one might need in a courtroom.19

Snow argues that the US government succeeded in ‘driving the agenda’ and ‘milking the story’, thereby maximising media coverage by the cynical use of media management techniques. Yet the media were largely complicit in disseminating this agenda. After all it is not surprising that when a nation is at war the news media should ‘rally around the flag’. In the case of the Iraq War, the Bush administration applied extra pressure by forcing the media to take sides.20 In such a situation, the ‘fourth estate’ is in danger of becoming an additional arm of government – mere disseminators of political propaganda – rather than what we should expect; namely, a healthy scepticism as both observers and critics of the status quo. Put simply: a check on executive power. However are objectivity, impartiality and balance possible when a nation is at war? Should, for example, balance extend to depicting the war from the opponent’s point of view? How much coverage should be given to dissent and opposition to war at home? In terms of military–media relations, one of the consequences of the increasing sophistication of the military’s media operations that we have witnessed since the lessons were learnt in the aftermath of the Vietnam War is the accusation of ‘spin’ or manipulation. The rise of professional military communicators since 2001 (and the shift to what the Pentagon termed ‘perception management’) created a situation whereby the media became part of the problem and not the solution. Equally, in the pursuit of balance and objectivity, the media have a responsibility not to be misled by an adversary’s ‘propaganda’. Technology may have changed the way in which wars are now reported, but is has also introduced new tyrannies: the need to service 24-hour rolling news channels (‘the tyranny of time’), editorial interference from a distance, greater visual gimmicks and less interest in the wider context. This has led to charges that current war journalism produces less detailed and analytical information than in the past (often referred to as ‘infotainment’).21 In this information age it is not unreasonable to expect governments and other groups to conduct propaganda and censorship – both in times of war and peace (for example, the Bush administration’s ban on photography of coffins returning to the United States with the bodies of soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq). Equally, it is not unreasonable to insist that citizens and consumers should

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be able to hold the global elite media to account by demanding viewpoints and perspectives from across the spectrum of public opinion, disseminated by open and diverse channels of communications. Arguably, propaganda is most effective when it is less noticeable. In a totalitarian regime – indeed any ‘controlled’ society – propaganda is more obvious and visible and largely tolerated for the fear of the consequences. In a so-called ‘open’ society propaganda is much more problematic when it is hidden and integrated into the political culture. Once exposed, people feel duped and betrayed and this serves only to reinforce the pejorative association with the practice of propaganda, which is not supposed to be part of an open society. Too often, however, effective propaganda is associated with the control of the flow of information and duplicity and falsehood. But propaganda has the potential to serve a constructive purpose. Writing in 1928, Edward Bernays (the father of modern advertising) argued that: ‘Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realise that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.’22 So there you have it. Propaganda is ethically neutral – it can be good or bad. Citizens have to be more informed and arm themselves with a greater understanding of the nature and process of the information age. An editorial in the New York Times on 1 September 1937 observed: ‘What is truly vicious is not propaganda but a monopoly of it.’23 Perhaps more focus should be placed on the intention behind the propaganda and not exclusively on the propaganda itself. Understanding the ‘message’ also requires widening access to information in order that informed opinion can be shaped. What these essays reveal is that – whatever term we choose to use or, indeed, whether we need more or less propaganda – we have been living through the age of propaganda. The relationship between government, military, media and the public is both complex and controversial. As this volume shows, the study and practice of propaganda today is shaped by its history. It is a relationship that has changed in the light of new technology and different types of warfare. ‘Propaganda, power and persuasion’ is all about winning ‘hearts and minds’ and that remains as relevant today as it did at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Notes 1. For my own attempt at outlining the changing definitions of propaganda see, Welch, ‘Definitions of Propaganda,’ in N. Cull, D. Culbert and D. Welch (eds), Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encyclopedia 1500 to the Present (ABC-Clio California, 2003), 317–23. 2. E.S. Herman and N. Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York, 1988). 3. P.M. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind: A History of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day (Manchester University Press, 1995), preface to the 1995 edition, ix. 4. This volume developed out of an international conference held at the Leeds in December 2011 in memory of Philip M. Taylor that was jointly sponsored by the Institute of

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5.

6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11.

12. 13. 14.

15. 16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

Propaganda, Power and Persuasion Communication Studies (Leeds) and the Centre for the Study of War, Propaganda & Society (Kent). For a wider discussion of the outbreak of the First World War as a war of ideas and the extent to which the conflict reflected irreconcilable conceptions of government, society, culture and progress see, D. Welch, ‘War Aims and the “Big Ideas” of 1914,’ in D. Welch and J. Fox (eds), Justifying War. Propaganda, Politics and the Modern Age (Palgrave, 2012), 71–94. My argument is that as with the Second World War, the Great War became a war for humanity and civilisation and as such it became a means not of continuing past political practice, but of changing the existing status quo. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, 210. See F.L. Donaldson, The British Council: The First Fifty Years (London, 1984). A. Hitler, Mein Kampf (London, 1939), 169. For a more detailed analysis of Hitler’s views of the failure of Imperial war propaganda and for his own views on the importance of propaganda in a political state, see, Welch, Hitler: Profile of a Dictator (London, 2001), 27–30. Ibid., 165. In 2011, for example, the BBC World Service was required to make savings of 16 per cent and after 60 years closed its mandarin-language radio broadcasts to China. H. Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (New York, 1927), 217. See in particular Lasswell’s entry on ‘Propaganda’ in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vols 11–12 (New York, 1950), 521–22. Walter Lippmann had written propaganda pamphlets during World War I and in the immediate post-war years published Public Opinion (1922) and The Phantom Public (1925); both works took a bleak view of how the public could be manipulated by the media. J. Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (New York, 1965). A. Huxley, ‘Notes on Propaganda,’ Harper’s 174 (December, 1936), 39. See M. Connelly and D. Welch (eds), War and the Media: Reportage and Propaganda, 1900–2003 (London, 2005); M. Milena and J. Gow, War, Image and Legitimacy: Viewing Contemporary Conflict (London, 2007). D. Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown: A Memoir (New York, 2011), 533. See P. Bobbitt, The Shield of Achilles: War and Peace and the Course of History (London, 2002). Memorandum by Beaverbrook, ‘The organisation and functions of the Ministry of Information,’ September 1918. PRO/ INF 4/5. See also, A.J.P. Taylor, Beaverbrook (London, 1972), 145. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, 303. N. Snow, Propaganda Inc; Selling America’s Culture to the World (New York, 1998). See R. Johnson, ‘Justifying the Iraq War and Managing the Media: A Comparative Historical Analysis,’ in Welch and Fox (eds), Justifying War, 342–61. See D. Welch, ‘ “Winning Hearts and Minds”: The Changing Context of Reportage and Propaganda, 1900–2003’ in Connelly and Welch (eds), War and the Media, ix–xxi. E. Bernays, Propaganda (New York, 1928, 1955, 2005). Quoted in N. Snow (ed.), Information War. American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since, Vols 9–11 (Toronto, 2003), 150.

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1 PROPAGANDA, MEMORY AND IDENTITY: THE BATTLE OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS, DECEMBER 1914 Mark Connelly

The victory of the Royal Navy over its Imperial German rival at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914 achieved a status out of all proportion to its significance and played a high profile role in naval propaganda during the Great War and beyond. The Battle was also used to promote the idea that every part of the British Empire was actively engaged in protecting the values of civilisation against German aggression. It was a message of particular importance to Falkland Islanders, as the clash was utilised in the colony to highlight the loyalty and resourcefulness of its inhabitants. This narrative was recast in the 1920s in order to stress that the Germans were an honourable enemy worthy of respect. However, the story was rewritten once again in the winter of 1939 when a second South Atlantic naval engagement, this time at the mouth of the River Plate, was presented as another chapter in the unfolding history of the Battle of the Falkland Islands. In 1982 an epilogue was added with the 1914 Battle conjured up as a reminder of the islands’ significance to Britain and the nation’s obligations to its inhabitants. Thus, the Battle was used to serve a number of agendas and carry a range of messages. The growth of Anglo-German naval rivalry in the years before the Great War had conditioned the British people into thinking that a great clash of the two fleets was inevitable if war ever broke out.1 This expectation soon became a problem for the Royal Navy as the war at sea appeared like a damp squib comprising few significant incidents compared with the drama of the situation unfolding on the continent. Worse still, after emerging victorious in the action of Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914, the Royal Navy suffered some embarrassing reverses such as the sinking of the warships Hawke, Cressy and Aboukir to the same German submarine on 22 September and just over a month later another German

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submarine sank the Audacious off the coast of Ireland. Disquiet began to grow in the press that the Admiralty was always a step behind the Germans. It was a feeling that grew when German commerce raiders appeared to strike with impunity in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The dismay intensified when it became known that Admiral Cradock’s squadron had been wiped out in action against Admiral von Spee in the Battle of Coronel off Chile on 1 November. An angry editorial in The Times forcefully expressed the concern: ‘we think the succession of episodes we have noted suggest that there have been shortcomings. These shortcomings seem to imply, among other things, unsatisfactory Staff work and defects in the control exercised by Whitehall.’2 In an atmosphere of increasing disquiet, the Admiralty despatched Admiral Sturdee with the battle cruisers Inflexible and Invincible to crush von Spee immediately. Fortunately, Sturdee quickly exacted revenge destroying the German squadron off the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914. This was good news indeed, and helped to deflect public attention from the German shelling of the East Coast towns of Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough. The popular tabloid the Daily Express referred to the victory in a front page article entitled ‘How the Loss of Admiral Cradock was Avenged’, and an editorial noted that ‘the destruction of the German squadron off the Falkland Islands has practically destroyed the enemy’s power to intervene with our ocean-borne commerce’.3 Of perhaps even greater significance than its effect on the home front was the boost to British prestige across the Empire and among influential neutrals. The New Zealand Herald alleged that it was summing up the grateful thanks of the Empire in recording the ‘intense satisfaction’ expressed in Sydney, the ‘unprecedented enthusiasm prevailing in Melbourne’, and the ‘great rejoicing throughout Canada’.4 The Times was pleased to note that the action was ‘received in the United States with undisguised satisfaction’, while the mouthpiece of the British trading community in Argentina, the Buenos Aires Herald, dedicated a full page of its broadsheet to the Battle and its beneficial implications.5 Winston Churchill, in his role as First Lord of the Admiralty, was equally quick to celebrate the victory telling the Commons that ‘the victory off the Falklands terminated the first phase of the Naval War by effecting a decisive clearance of the German flag from the oceans of the world’.6 For the Royal Navy the Battle was to become a touchstone used to reinforce its public image as a formidable force underpinned by its qualities of technical brilliance, tradition, expertise and professionalism. This narrative became increasingly important for the Navy during 1915 and 1916 as it seemed unable to achieve further clear-cut victories. First was the failure to force the passage of the Dardanelles in March 1915, and then the enormous anticlimax of the Battle of Jutland in May 1916.7 As a result, the victory off the Falkland Islands maintained a profile out of proportion to its overall importance and became a key component of naval propaganda. In 1915 Oxford University Press published

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A. Neville Hilditch’s pamphlet, Coronel and the Falkland Islands, which played up the significance of the battle by referring to it as ‘the first decisive naval contest of the war’ which had ‘removed a formidable menace’.8 Soon after the abandonment of the naval bombardment against the Gallipoli forts, the British Columbian poet, Charles Moore, celebrated the work of the Royal Navy in a poem entitled ‘The Empire’s Fight’. Four of the six stanzas referred to the Battle of the Falkland Islands and used the archaic high diction so many war poets thought appropriate for such lofty and noble deeds: Cape Horn’s stormy seas, lies aft, many a seaman’s mile;/ Spee’s squadron of ‘Five cruisers’ fit, steer straight for Falkland’s Isle;/ There to raid Port Stanley’s site, and knock her wireless down;/ Unaware of Sturdee’s ‘fleet’, who guarded well the town./ ‘Gneisenau’ and ‘Nurnberg’ closed in, to strike, at station’s mast;/ But bouted ships on shell fire, and seaward steamed quite fast./ The Flag for ‘Action close’, brought cheers from British crews;/ Whose shot found mark on German foes; the Chilean coast to rue. The ‘Nurnberg’ went under, close on two hours’ time; / Followed by the flagship ‘Scharnhorst’ sent to the sunken line;/ The ‘Gneisenau’ stood firm five hours, before she fired her last;/ ‘Leipzig’ saw six hours of light, ere waters covered her mast;/ The ‘Dresden’ rushed an opening, so for time escaped;/ The ‘Liners’ for the fleet were sunk by ‘Macedonia’ and ‘Bristol’ after chase./ ‘Dresden’ caught off Crusoe’s Isle; now rests on hidden rocks;/ So Sturdee! Bravest of the Brave, wiped clear, the Chilean Slate from shock.9

The Battle was also given a leading role in the newsreels. In 1916 the official British newsreel, Topical Budget, covered the laying up HMS Kent’s flag in Canterbury Cathedral in a ceremony commemorating the victory.10 A year later, the warm reception given to one of the ships engaged in the clash, HMS Glasgow, in Buenos Aires was featured in another reminder of the Battle’s significance.11 Despite the attention given to the clash at Jutland in 1916 and the threat caused by German submarines, the battle did not slip into obscurity in the interwar years. In fact, it could be argued that the dour nature of Jutland and the slow slog against the submarine helped to maintain the lustre of the battle, for the action was far more glamorous and exciting than most of the subsequent naval operations. The clarity of victory at the Falkland Islands then allowed it to be recast as the long-awaited second Trafalgar rather than the much bigger, but indecisive, action at Jutland. A 1927 work was certainly prepared to offer this judgement referring to it as ‘undoubtedly the greatest naval engagement fought since Trafalgar’.12 The histories written in the 1920 also agreed that the battle was a timely tonic for a Britain shocked by the Navy’s sluggishness. Commander Rudolf Verner produced a handsome volume as a memorial to his son, a veteran of the battle who had died of wounds sustained at Gallipoli. Resurrecting the reservations at the seeming failures of the Navy in the autumn of 1914, he admitted ‘that the victory came at an opportune moment … for a time there was

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some anxiety as to the security of our naval position’.13 Of greatest significance was the ability to cast the battle as a traditional fleet action demanding all of the Royal Navy’s time-honoured skills and strengths. Two veterans of the action produced accounts tingling with excitement, drama and dash. Henry SpencerCooper recalled the hoisting of the first battle signals: ‘“Enemy in sight”. What a thrilling message for us all! We could scarcely believe our ears. “What a stroke of luck!” was the general comment.’14 A very similar statement was made by Lloyd Hirst: ‘No more glorious moment do I remember in the War than when the flagship hoisted the signal at 10 am for “General Chase”.’15 By interpreting the story according to the established genre of naval history, such texts reveal that a language of disillusioned modernism was by no means unchallenged, nor even dominant in interwar Britain. These works show that it was still possible to write of war as a thrilling adventure and as such it appealed to a cross-section of Britons brought up on a diet of Navy League propaganda and a myriad of images about the history and role of the Navy. The glamour of the battle lay in the fact that it was a classic naval engagement, a fact identified by Spencer-Cooper. Writing in 1919 he appears to have grasped that the Battle of the Falkland Islands was the type of encounter rapidly sliding into the pages of history: ‘The Battle of the Falkland Islands was, perhaps, more like the old-time naval engagements fought by sailing ships of the line than any other naval battle that is likely to take place nowadays. There were no submarines, no destroyers, no aeroplanes or Zeppelins, nor any other of the manifold death-dealing devices that tend to make war so much more hideous than in days gone by. In a word, it was open fighting.’16

The emphasis on the traditional nature of the engagement also allowed it to be seen as a moment of mutual respect between honourable foes; a rare quality in British interpretations of the Great War. Indeed, the story of von Spee’s gallantry was even current in wartime Britain. Much of the British press commented positively on von Spee and the way in which he accepted battle against a superior force off the Falkland Islands rather than flee. Hilditch lavished praise on the German commander in his 1915 pamphlet stating that when von Spee’s flagship, the Scharnhorst, sank, it went ‘to an ocean grave bearing 760 brave men and a gallant admiral, whose name will deservedly rank high in the annals of German naval history’, while its sister ship, the Gneisenau, also fought on ‘gallantly’ until the end.17 It was an enduring theme repeated by Spencer-Cooper in the first postwar history of the battle to be published. He opined that the ‘gallant Admiral Count von Spee’ and his sons who fought to the death conducted themselves according to ‘the best traditions of naval history’.18 The acceptance of von Spee’s bravery and chivalrous behaviour was probably in part a reaction against his sheer success in the months preceding his defeat. Any attempt to belittle von Spee would have raised further questions about the competence of the Royal Navy.

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This celebration of mutual gallantry reached its apogee in the 1927 dramadocumentary film The Battles of the Coronel and Falkland Islands. The production was made by British Instructional Films and was part of a series including The Battle of Jutland (1921), Armaggedon (1923), Zebrugge (1924) and Ypres (1925).19 British Instructional Films was formed in 1919 and quickly built up a reputation for innovative documentaries on scientific and historical subjects. This expertise and its desire to act as an unofficial propagandist on behalf of the government ensured privileged access to military resources which gave its series of battle reconstructions great authenticity and drama. The Battles of the Coronel and Falkland Islands was the most lavish production in the company’s history. A vast tank was specially constructed to hold huge models of the ships and the producers were allowed to purchase eight tons of high explosives for the effects.20 The production was further enhanced by the extensive assistance given by the Admiralty including permission to shoot scenes in naval bases at Malta, Portsmouth, Devonport and Weymouth. Some 40,000 naval ratings and dockyard personnel were also involved as extras and in assisting the production. When the production crew travelled to Malta for shooting, they were allowed on to ships of the Mediterranean squadron with the Barham playing the role of Inflexible, Ceres the Gneisenau and Coventry the Scharnhorst. In total 35 Royal Navy ships were used. Anxious to show off their credentials, British Instructional Films fed the press regular updates on the production and advertised the film as ‘the Epic Naval Drama made with the full co-operation of the Admiralty’.21 Perhaps even more significant, and revealing the mid-twenties thaw in relations between the wartime protagonists, was the fact that four German actors were cast and expert advice was sought from German veterans.22 On completion it was given a royal premiere at Balmoral, extensive coverage in the national dailies and lavish treatment in the Illustrated London News including a double-page spread of stills.23 The film was certainly of high quality and reveals flashes of Eisenstein in its use of rapid editing and montage especially when depicting the rapid despatch of Sturdee’s squadron before reaching the climactic naval battle. But perhaps the most striking moment comes in the scenes, based on a true incident, depicting von Spee’s arrival in Valparaiso following his victory over Cradock at the Coronel. Invited to a grand luncheon by the German merchant community, one particularly boorish and drunken German proposes the toast, ‘Damnation to the British Navy’. Von Spee eyes the man coldly, refuses to raise his glass, turns away and drinks instead to ‘a gallant enemy’. Thus, the film captured perfectly what has been referred to as the ‘Locarno honeymoon’ in European relations.24 Critics were full of praise. C.A. Lejeune, on her way to becoming one of the most influential British film critics, compared it favourably with highlights of cinema such as Metropolis, Battleship Potemkin and La Roue.25 The Illustrated London News supported this statement referring to the film’s high artistry: ‘the whole thing has been seen and moulded with such rare vision that at times it

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rises to the height of tragic beauty’ before adding that Hollywood would have made the whole thing far too sentimental.26 Two MPs were so moved by the film they urged that it be distributed at government expense across the colonies in order to promote the image of the Navy and the value of the British Empire.27 However, not all were so enamoured. The pacifist, centre-left film critic ‘Bryher’ (Winifred Ellerman), who had emigrated to Switzerland soon after the end of the war in disgust at the atmosphere of revenge and retribution, took the film to task in the avant-garde film magazine, Close Up. Rather than seeing it as an improvement upon Hollywood she condemned its facile depiction of masculine, warrior values as dangerous and pernicious. She referred to the film’s approach as a ‘nursery formula [in which] to be in uniform is to be a hero’ full of a ‘sentimentality that Hollywood even would not dare to offer a Middle Western audience … [a] mixture of a Victorian tract for children and a cheap serial in the sort of magazines one finds on the beach. We want a race that understands what acceptance of war means. By all means let us have war films. Only let us have war straight and as it is; mainly disease and discomfort, almost always destructive … that brutality and waste are not to be condemned provided they are disguised in flags, medals and cheering.’28

But, Bryher’s voice was by no means that of the majority. The film met the public taste. The Battle of the Falkland Islands was too firmly fixed in its rhetorical framework of heroism and glory.

Figure 1.1 Stills from The Battles of the Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927). Note the disdain of von Spee, bottom right image, for the xenophobic German merchant community of Chile.

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However, the meaning of the Battle could change subtly. By 1935 the first hints of the newly aggressive and confident Nazi Germany were palpable, which seems to have helped marginalise the position of von Spee and re-emphasise the fundamentally flawed nature of the nation he served. At a service to mark the laying up of Inflexible’s battle ensign from the Falklands in Portsmouth Cathedral, the Bishop dropped any reference to mutual gallantry telling the congregation that in a world ‘where strong tyrannies were being urged on men and often accepted by them … the ensign which had been presented symbolised the association of duty with freedom’.29 This reconnected the narrative with the core message of the Royal Navy as the bastion of free peoples across the globe; the victory over wicked enemies at the Battle of the Falkland Islands was part of its continual struggle against injustice and aggression. This traditional vision of the Royal Navy was buttressed by a BBC radio documentary on the battle broadcast in 1936. The Daily Mirror’s wireless column recommended the programme wholeheartedly and remarked that ‘if there is anybody in these islands, young or old, who does not feel a thrill at it then his veins are filled not with good red blood, but with tepid water’.30 Then, in December 1939, the story was brought full circle when almost 25 years to the anniversary day the pocket battleship named in the great admiral’s honour, Graf Spee, was lost in the same region. However, on this occasion the commander, Captain Langsdorff, chose not to face his British enemies but scuttled his ship instead giving the British an enormous propaganda victory in the Battle of the River Plate.31 The most distinctive propagandist narrative that emerged from the battle is its role in Falkland Islander identity and sense of self-worth. Far from being an unimportant outpost of the British Empire, the battle was perceived as something which revealed both the strategic value of the islands and the great determination of Falkland Islanders to do their bit in their own, and by extension, imperial defence. In the process a series of stereotypes was created that many authors and interpreters of the battle have been happy to perpetuate. The first attribute of Falkland Island identity highlighted in virtually all histories is the assertion that the islands feel peculiarly Scottish. Writing in 1915 Hilditch stated, ‘As New Zealand is said to be the most English of British possessions, the Falklands may perhaps be appropriately termed the most Scottish. Their general appearance resembles that of the Outer Hebrides … The Government House might be taken for an Orkney or Shetland manse.’32 D.O. Sloan and F.C.A. Goodman referred to it as ‘the Scot’s Colony in the Southern Seas’, and John Buchan took up a similar theme in his multi-volume history of the war for Nelson’s press: ‘The Falklands, with their bare brown moors shining with quartz, their endless lochs, their prevailing mists, their grey stone houses, and their population of Scots shepherds, look like a group of the Orkneys or Outer Hebrides in the Southern Seas.’33 One of the few commentators to take a slightly different tack was Spencer-Cooper who stated that Stanley ‘is very much like one of the small towns in Canada’.34

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After the emphasis on Scottishness, most of the histories strongly underline the strategic value of the colony by reference to the value of Stanley’s safe anchorage, coaling facilities and wireless station all of which made it so attractive to von Spee.35 In turn, this made all keen to stress the disaster that would have befallen British power and prestige had the Germans effected a successful landing on the islands. Writing in 1960, the popular historian Barrie Pitt summed up these sentiments in his book on the battle when he noted: ‘And around the Horn, like a plum for the picking, awaited the main British base and coaling station in the South Atlantic, the virtually unprotected Falkland Islands . . . while to the north lay the thronging trade lanes of the Plate upon whose inviolability depended the supply of much of Britain’s war material and more of her food.’36 Of great importance to the islanders was the fact that they had played a part in their own defence. This deflection away from a purely naval action was a significant part of the islanders’ narrative and ensured that the world did not see them as passive spectators in the battle. Most of the histories stress the role played by the local defence force in posting sentries to keep sharp watch on all movements at sea, rehearsals for anti-invasion tactics and collaboration with the Royal Navy ships harbouring in Stanley.37 Indeed, the first sightings of the German squadron were made by islanders. Frank Andreassen, a member of the Falkland Islands Volunteer Corps, on Sapper Hill saw the ships, and this was backed up by Mrs Felton of Port Pleasant. She had sent her maid and house-boy to the top of the ridge to keep look out. On sighting the ships, they rushed back to the house and she telephoned Stanley thus buying Sturdee’s ships vital time to get steam-up and sail out to meet the threat. Such was the Admiralty’s sense of gratitude to Felton that it presented her with a silver salver, her maid with a silver tea-pot and Andreassen with a gold watch.38 The intense pride locals felt in their role is palpable in many of the histories. In 1917 Charles Hobley, Vicar of Stanley, wrote a guide to the islands in which he noted, ‘The story of the battle is … wellknown … but our Falklanders are always proud to point to the fact that a local man was the first to sight the approach of the enemy’s cruisers.’39 This theme was taken up by Sloan and Goodman who noted that the Volunteer Corps: Did sterling service in guarding the Colony, especially at the critical period of the Falkland Islands Battle – when the approach of the German Fleet was first notified by one of their outposts – and for the three years following, when the Colony was never free from the possibility of a descent on it by one of the raiders who were roaming the ocean … From the ranks of the Corps, also, as many went for active service overseas as could be spared.40

The Volunteer Corps was also depicted in the film, The Battles of the Coronel and the Falkland Islands. This particular vision then became embroiled in a controversy which revealed the sensitivity of the islanders regarding their status in the Empire and their desperation to prove that they were not passive bystanders

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while others endeavoured to save them. The point of contention was the decision by Walter Summers, director of the film, to use the Volunteer Force as a moment of light relief between the dramas of the naval actions. He therefore made the men appear as highly patriotic, enthusiastic and well-meaning, but amateurish and mildly comical. When knowledge of this reached the islands there was a good deal of indignation and it led to the Governor requesting that the film be withdrawn world-wide. In a letter to the Colonial Office, he expressed his deep concern that the men of the volunteer force were ‘held up to buffoonery, ridicule, and contempt’. C.M. Woolfe, the Managing Director of British Instructional Films, was summoned to the Colonial Office to account for this perceived slight. He expressed his deep regret and immediately agreed to produce a specially edited version for exhibition in the islands, which was duly despatched.41 This version appears to have gone down well in Stanley, but obviously still rankled with some of the volunteers, as the scientist, E.R. Gunther, found when he visited Stanley for the unveiling of the memorial to the battle along with other members of the Antarctic survey ship, William Scoresby.42 The emphasis on the islanders as unsophisticated rustics was expressed in a highly mannered way by the playwright Keith Phillips in his 1938 work, Coronel. Revealing a lack of interest in modernist literary forms, the piece is extremely self-conscious in its style deploying Elizabethan blank verse and glories in presenting Falkland Islanders as honest, hardy, rustic pastoralists very similar to Rutland Boughton’s depiction of the shepherds of the Holy Land as medieval English peasants in his folk opera, Bethlehem (1915). A scene set the night before the Germans are spotted concerns two shepherds discussing the plans to meet the threat. Musing on what forces the British have to repel the expected assault, one remarks: All too few/ To meet the pick of five ships’ companies, / Advancing under cover of their guns, / And keep this English soil inviolate/ our plight, with all the threatened consequence/ of the new peril, has been duly weighed/ In conference between the Governor/ And our head men, and such expedients/ As in our power lie, have been devised to baulk the enemy/ . . . . Women and children are parcelled off, / Stores and provisions hidden near the town, / And public money, documents and books/ Carried to safety. Then with horse and gun, / A fine guerrilla dance we’ll lead our friends/ Across the moors and bogs.43

The choice of language and imagery is extremely interesting for it bucks the trend of Scottishness instead referring to ‘this English soil’, but then implies that the islanders are almost clan-like in social structure through use of the term ‘our head men’, which also serves to reinforce the supposedly simplistic and archaic lifestyles of the islanders. Unsurprisingly given the importance of the event to the islanders, postwar it was decided to erect a memorial to commemorate the battle in Stanley. Equally

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Figure 1.2 Pride in the local defence volunteers is revealed in the number of times it appeared as an image on Falkland Islands stamps.

unsurprisingly, although concentrated on Sturdee, his ships and men, the islanders wished to ensure that it was also linked to their own role. Contained within the islanders’ narrative, of which the memorial was a significant component, was a further distinct variant on the mainstream histories for this one was much less forgiving towards the Germans. For the Falkland Islanders, von Spee was far from a gallant foe; to them he represented the very real threat of invasion. Given Stanley’s wireless installations, coal and oil reserves, there was great fear that a German landing force would indulge in widespread destruction and forced requisition. These fears became much more pronounced after the defeat of Cradock which prompted the Governor to take emergency measures including the evacuation of women and children from Stanley, the stockpiling of provisions in the interior and detailing the Volunteer Corps to construct defences.44 That the threat of invasion left a deep mark can be detected in the initial deliberations over the memorial. Instigated by the Falkland Islands Company, one of the largest

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landowners and employers on the islands, the initial fund raising circular noted that the scheme would appeal to all, for ‘the inhabitants … were saved from the horrors of Belgium and Northern France’. Thus, the victory ensured that there would be no German atrocities on a far-away patch of British soil.45 Much deliberation then followed over the precise form and location of the memorial before agreeing on a granite obelisk with bronze plaques at its base and the sculpture of a sailing ship on its peak.46 The iconography of the memorial made a number of allusions. First, the obelisk form consciously echoed the memorials erected on the South Foreland of Kent and at Cap de Gris Nez in France to commemorate the wartime work of the Dover Patrol, as well as the three towering obelisks designed by Sir Robert Lorimer for the Royal Navy’s manning bases of Chatham, Portsmouth and Devonport.47 Second, the bronze plaques emphasised the global scale of the British Empire and the concomitant degree of naval obligations, for they contained bas reliefs showing the Navy in peace and war. The image of the Navy at peace depicts warships set against a huge sun on the horizon thus bringing to mind the motto, ‘the Empire on which the sun never sets’. Finally, the sculpture at the top of the memorial is of an Elizabethan sailing ship which makes deliberate allusion to the assertion that it was the English navigator, John Davis, who in 1592 first sighted and recorded the existence of the islands, and that Elizabeth’s reign saw the origins of English-British naval supremacy. ‘This is the type of ship contemporary with the discovery of the Falkland Islands’, a Colonial Office report on the memorial stated, ‘and is intended to symbolise the beginning of the British Navy.’48

Figure 1.3 A postcard that commemorates the Falkland’s Battle Memorial.

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The memorial formed part of a commemorative scheme which included a plaque in the cathedral and a Cross of Sacrifice at the main entrance to Stanley cemetery. Both memorials contained the names of all islanders lost in the conflict. The Cross of Sacrifice was completed first and unveiled on 1926 Armistice Day, and the Battle Memorial and cathedral plaque were unveiled and dedicated within a few months of each other in 1927. Thus all three memorials were officially brought into the life of the islands in a six month period. Such an intense period of commemorative activity reinforced the centrality of the battle in the island’s war history and the importance of its own inhabitants in that key event.49 When congratulating the islanders on the unveiling of the memorial, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Leo Amery, took care to refer to them as active participants in their own defence. He telegraphed that he had ‘heard with much satisfaction [about the memorial marking their] … deliverance from an imminent peril by the gallantry of the Royal Navy aided by their own watchfulness’ (emphasis added).50 The unveiling proved to be the largest public event in the Falklands to that date with people flooding into Stanley from across the archipelago, which was carefully noted in a report for Amery by the Governor.51 The decision to attend the ceremony indicates an enormous degree of commitment for the Falkland Islands have no tarmacked roads outside Stanley and the outlying settlements are linked to the capital by only the roughest of tracks. For those living on West Falkland and the outlying islands, the journey was an even greater logistical challenge. The battle then maintained its focal role in Falkland life as its anniversary was deemed a public holiday marked by a wreath-laying at the memorial followed by a service in the cathedral; an observation which continues to this day.52 The centrality of the memorial to Falkland Island identity is further evidenced by the number of times it has appeared in postcards of the islands, and on its stamps.53

Figure 1.4 Stamps from 1937 and 1964.

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As a touchstone of the Falkland Islands, the Battle became particularly important during the 1970s when successive British governments seemed on the verge of transferring sovereignty to Argentina. For those who were concerned by these developments the battle was proof of the islands’ continuing strategic value to Britain and the fierce loyalty of the islanders. A typical comment was that made by Michael Hutchings MP to the Commons in 1978 when he reminded the house that: ‘In two world wars the islanders showed their loyalty, and circumstances proved the value of their base – in 1914 at the Battle of the Falkland Islands and in the last war at the battle of the River Plate.’54 Rear-Admiral Royer Dick echoed these comments in a letter to The Times in December 1980: It is 66 years ago today that the Battle of the Falkland Islands was fought and the Royal Navy was indeed thankful for that sure and friendly base from which to operate. That the enemy was equally conscious of its value was demonstrated by their attempt to seize the Islands, which was the immediate case of the action … as probably one of the very few today still alive who were present at the battle – in a lowly capacity I hasten to say – and with some sense of obligation to those who took part, it seems appropriate to stress yet again what the Islands have meant to this country in practical terms, let alone in terms of loyalty to this their land of origin. Let us therefore not waver in the stated determination to act only in accordance with the overall wishes of the Islanders themselves.55

Unsurprisingly, the conflict of 1982 saw the battle referred to yet again with Enoch Powell and the Earl of Selkirk alluding to it during debates in parliament.56 While its deep impression on Falkland Islander culture can be seen in the fact that one little girl is alleged to have pointed at the Argentine soldiers and said

Figure 1.5 Stamp marking the fiftieth anniversary of the battle.

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to her brother, ‘The Germanys are coming’.57 Thus, decades after it was fought, the clash could be reshaped to fit an entirely different set of circumstances. The Battle of the Falkland Islands has therefore served a number of agendas since it was fought in December 1914 in a remarkably enduring afterlife. During the war it helped emphasise the supremacy of the Royal Navy and was reassuring to a Britain and Empire worried that the Navy untested since Trafalgar might just have got a bit rusty. In the postwar years it was celebrated as an example of the last, great, set-piece fleet clash untroubled by new methods of warfare and as proof that combat could still be glorious, thrilling, exhilarating and honourable. Falkland Islanders gave the battle a distinct local twist interpreting it as an important reflector of the value of the islands and the qualities of the inhabitants – independent-minded, dependable, stoic and thoroughly loyal to the motherland and Empire. These narratives were presented through a wide range of media – newspapers, books and pamphlets, cinema, radio and memorials. Much of this activity was not directly orchestrated by the state, but was carried out by independent agencies pursuing aims consistent with the wishes of the British government. It was believed and accepted because it reinforced preconceptions and thus, like all good propaganda, worked most effectively when it was consistent with the pre-existing culture.

Notes 1. See Jan Rüger, The Great Naval Game: Britain and Germany in the Age of Empire (Cambridge, 2009). 2. The Times, 23 November 1914. 3. Daily Express, 12, 26 December 1914. 4. Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge (hereafter CAC), GBR/0014/SDEE/5 press scrapbooks of Admiral Doveton Sturdee. 5. The Times, 11 December 1914; CAC GBR/0014/SDEE/5 press scrapbook. 6. Debates, House of Commons, 15 February 1915. Vol 69, cc. 919–79. 7. For details see Paul G. Halpern, A Naval History of World War I (London, 1995), 109–122, 310–28. 8. A. Neville Hilditch, Coronel and the Falkland Islands (Oxford, 1915), 37. 9. CAC, GBR/0012/SDEE/5 press scrapbook, Charles F. Moore, British Empire’s Fight, 14 April 1915. 10. Topical Budget, 254–51, 5 July 1916. See also Daily Mirror, 3 July 1916 for press coverage of the event. 11. Gaumont, 5 November 1917. 12. D.O. Sloan and F.C.A. Goodman, A Short History of the Falkland Islands and its Stamps (Birmingham, 1927), 31. 13. Colonel Willoughby Verner, Commander Rudolf Verner, RN, HMS Inflexible, The Battle Cruisers at the Action of the Falkland Islands (London, 1920), 1. 14. H. Spencer-Cooper, The Battle of the Falkland Islands Before and After (London, 1919), 88.

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Propaganda, Memory and Identity 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23.

24.

25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41.

35

Lloyd Hirst, Coronel and After (London, 1934), 177. Spencer-Cooper, Falkland Islands, 134. Hilditch, Coronel, 31. Spencer-Cooper, Falkland Islands, 105. For further details about British Instructional Films see http://www.screenonline. org.uk/film/id/543966/; Samuel Hynes, A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture (London, 1990), 443–47; Michael Paris, (ed.), The First World War and Popular Cinema, 1914 to the Present (Edinburgh, 1999), 56–57. Illustrated London News, 1 October 1927. The Times, 30 September 1927. See also Daily Mirror, 23 April 1927 for a good example of press coverage of the production process. The Times, 11 May 1927. Daily Express, 16 September 1927; Manchester Guardian, 16 September 1927; The Times, 7 September 1927; Illustrated London News, 10 September 1927. The specialist cinema press was equally impressed. See, Kine Weekly, 22 September 1927; Picturegoer, November 1927. For mid-twenties international relations and the ‘Locarno honeymoon’ see Anthony D’Agostino, The Rise of Global Powers: International Politics in the Era of the World Wars (Cambridge, 2011), 192–93. Manchester Guardian, 15 October 1927. See also Briony Dixon, BFI Screen Guides: 100 Silent Films (Basingstoke/London, 2011), 19–20. Illustrated London News, 1 October 1927. Debates, House of Commons, 5 December 1927, Vol 211, 953–54. Quoted in Paris (ed.), Popular Cinema, 56–7. The Times, 4 March 1935. Daily Mirror, 9 October 1936. For details of the Battle of the River Plate and its propaganda value see Correlli Barnett, Engage the Enemy More Closely: The Royal Navy in the Second World War (London, 1991), 81–9; Mark Connelly, We Can Take It: Britain and the memory of the Second World War (London, 2003), 37–42. Hilditch, Coronel, 3–4. Sloan and Goodman, Falkland Islands, 67; John Buchan, Nelson’s History of the War, Vol. 4 (London, n.d. c. 1924), 318–19. Spencer-Cooper, Falkland Islands, 82. See Buchan, Nelson’s History, 218; Hilditch, Coronel, 1–4; Barrie Pitt, Coronel and Falkland (London, 1960), 22, 92, 160–61. Pitt, Coronel, 29. Hilditch, Coronel, 5, 7, 19–20, 23; Sloan and Goodman, Falkland Islands, 22; Spencer-Cooper, Falkland Islands, 82, 86, 88; Pitt, Coronel, 45. Spencer-Cooper, Falkland Islands, 88. Charles Macdonald Hobley, Falkland Islands, South America (Stanley, F.I.: Cathedral Press, Church House, 1917), 36. Sloan and Goodman, Falkland Islands, 22. TNA CO 78/177/5 Letter from Arnold Hodson, Governor, to Leo Amery, 9 November 1927; Letter from Woolfe, 27 October 1927; TNA CO 78/178/1 Letter from Hodson to Amery, 3 May 1928; Jane Cameron Archives Centre, National Archives of the

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36

42.

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53.

54.

55. 56. 57.

Propaganda, Power and Persuasion Falkland Islands (hereafter JCNAFI), Falkland Islands Magazine and Church Paper (hereafter FIM), March, July 1928. I am deeply grateful to the National Archivist, Tansy Bishop, for her help in identifying material in the Falkland Islands archives. E.R. Gunther, Notes and Sketches Made during Two Years on the Discovery Expedition, 1925–1927 (Oxford, 1928), 34. The filmic depiction has much in common with the way the Home Guard is presented in the highly popular BBC comedy series, Dad’s Army. Keith Phillips, Coronel (An Account, in Dramatic Form, of the Naval Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands, 1914) (London, 1938), 74. Hilditch, Coronel, 5–8. JCNAFI, FIM, October 1919. For a good history of the gestation of the memorial see Stephen Palmer, ‘The building of the 1914 battle monument,’ Falkland Islands Journal, 2005, 122–39. JCNAFI, FIM, October 1919. The National Archives, Kew (hereafter TNA), CO 78/175/3 Battle Memorial dedicated at Stanley, Falkland Islands. TNA CO 78/175/3 Battle Memorial; CO 78/177/10 Unveiling of Battle Memorial in Stanley Cathedral, 2 July 1927. JCNAFI 306/19, Telegram from Colonial Secretary to Acting Governor, 24 February 1927. TNA CO 78/175/3 Battle Memorial; CO 78/177/10 Battle Memorial, report by Colonial Secretary, n.d. c. June 1927. M.B.R. Cawkell, D.H. Maling, E.M. Cawkell, The Falkland Islands (London, 1960), 159. Henry and Frances Heyburn, Postcards of the Falkland Islands: A Catalogue, 1900– 1950 (Chippenham, 1985); Stanley Gibbons: Falkland Islands and British South Atlantic Islands (London, 1985). Sloan and Goodman’s book claims that the Stanley Post Office and its collection of stamps would have been a key objective of von Spee had he landed: ‘I have to tell you frankly,’ wrote the author, ‘that if this action had taken place my collection would not to-day be to the fore. I certainly would never have retained in my possession any British stamps bearing the imprint of the Hun’. And, moreover, because of Sturdee’s victory, ‘I prize my collection all the more,’ Falkland Islands, 32. Debates, House of Commons, 1 November 1978, Vol 957, 91–94; for similar parliamentary comment see 20 April 1977, Vol 382, 222–66; House of Lords, Vol 425, 167–71. The Times, 12 December 1980. Debates, House of Commons, 3 April 1982, Vol 21, cc. 644–45; House of Lords, 29 April 1982, Vol 42, 991–93. Guardian, 16 March 2012.

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2 IMAGES OF THE HUN: THE PORTRAYAL OF THE GERMAN ENEMY IN BRITISH PROPAGANDA IN WORLD WAR I David Welch

One of the most important stylistic devices in propaganda is the use of contrasts. Not only do strong contrasts contain a greater emotional intensity than the more subtle nuances, but they also guide the audience’s sympathies with more certainty. This aspect of propaganda is full of confrontations between good and evil, beauty and the beast, order and chaos; in each case the contrast serves to force the individual into the desired and firmly established commitment. In this ultimate purpose, propaganda is aided by man’s psychological need for value judgements in simple black and white terms. This is particularly so if a country is in a state of crisis, or war, when there is an increasing need for a simplification of the issues. Political propaganda is at its most effective in times of uncertainty, and hatred is generally its most fruitful aid. In any society a people cannot be kept too long at the highest level of sacrifice and conviction. Even in regimes that demanded a relentless fanaticism, such as the Third Reich or the Soviet Union, some form of diversion was needed. Hatred of the enemy was manipulated to fulfil this need as it is probably the most spontaneous of all reactions, and in order to succeed, it need only be addressed to the most simple and violent of emotions and through the most elementary means. It consists of attributing one’s own misfortunes to an outsider. Frightened or frustrated people need to hate because hatred when shared with others is the most potent of all unifying emotions. Heine wrote, ‘What Christian love cannot achieve is affected by a common hatred.’ Such propaganda has its best chance of success when it clearly designates a target as the source of all misery or suffering, providing the target it chooses is not too powerful. The aim of propaganda is to provide the object of this hatred in order to make it a reality.

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The Hun: Constructing an Image of the Enemy One of the most striking means by which propaganda has influenced social attitudes – changing or reinforcing opinions – has been through the use of stereotypes. By that I mean conventional figures that have come to be regarded as representative of particular classes, races, and so on. The American social scientist Walter Lippmann developed the term ‘stereotype’ to describe the knowledge men thought they possessed. That is, knowledge based on myths or dreams. Lippmann believed in the power of the myth or stereotype to arouse popular enthusiasm. He argued that abstract ideas and concepts like national pride are more real to the masses than actual realities.1 In this context, propaganda gives the individual the stereotype which he no longer takes the trouble to work out for himself; it conveys it in the form of slogans or labels (a recent example of this might be the manner in which asylum seekers have been depicted in sections of the British press). The recognition of stereotypes is an important part in understanding the use of anti-symbols and the portrayal of the enemy in propaganda. The identification of an enemy is of great importance in propaganda – particularly in times of war – for not only does it provide a target that can be attacked, but it also offers a scapegoat, the easiest means of diverting public attention from genuine social and political problems at home. Stereotypes have invariably evolved, whether consciously or subconsciously, over a considerable period of time. They frequently attach themselves to myths associated with other nations, races or groups. One only has to think about antiJewish motifs in Nazi propaganda or anti-Bolshevik/Soviet motifs in American propaganda during the Cold War to illustrate the point. In this study I want to examine how the ‘Hun’ was portrayed in British propaganda during World War I. It was during this conflict that governments took their first tentative initiatives in using propaganda to depict their enemies. In Britain, the government could rely upon official and commercial organisations to present Germany in unflattering terms. Germany proved to be the ‘perfect enemy’ and whenever enthusiasm for the war began to flag there was an endless stream of (alleged) German atrocities to strengthen national resolve.2 The term ‘Hun’ became a derogatory name for Germans despite the fact that the original Huns were actually Mongols from Central Asia. By 1914 in Britain, both soldiers and civilians would have been familiar with the destructive nature of the Hun which became inextricably linked with barbarian invasion and destruction.3 The association, fuelled by a relentless propaganda campaign, became extremely potent when the Germans laid waste places of cultural significance such as Louvain and Rheims. The association of the Hun and contemporary Germans continued throughout the war with the Kaiser and his sons sometimes portrayed as Attila the Hun. In the 1918 cartoon (Figure 2.1) Attila addresses the Kaiser’s son as ‘One barbarian to another’ and offers strategic

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advice (the signpost indicates Châlons sur Marne, the scene of a major French counter-offensive in 1918). While public opinion of Germany was transformed by propaganda during the war, the negative stereotype had been in construction since the late nineteenth century. Much of British propaganda was built on the premise that Germany was the unprovoked aggressor in the war and that Britain was taking up arms reluctantly for deeply held principles. The demonisation of Germany was, however, a relatively recent phenomenon. The label of Prussian militarism only came about in the twentieth century. In the nineteenth century, France had long been regarded as the hereditary enemy, while the French reciprocated with bitter contempt for the ‘perfidious Albion’.4 Britain initially welcomed the inception of the German Empire in 1871 as a counterbalance to France. Indeed, Germany was generally held in high regard throughout the nineteenth century and widely recognised for

Figure 2.1 ATTILA (to Little Willie): ‘Speaking as one barbarian to another, I don’t recommend the neighbourhood. I found it a bit unhealthy myself.’ (Attila’s victorious progress across Gaul was finally checked on the plains of Chalons.)

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its ground-breaking achievements in science, culture and social welfare. France continued to be perceived as the major threat to the British Empire until the Anglo-French entente of 1904, by which point Germany had moved into the position of imperial arch-rival.5 The rise in Germanophobia in Britain was a result of the growing fear of losing imperial prestige and territories. Massive expansions in the British Empire occurred in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, raising the question of how a trained army of 200,000 men would be able to defend the homeland as well as 12 million square miles of imperial territory against local insurrection and rival Empires.6 Of course German naval rearmament from the late nineteenth century did not go unnoticed and was perceived by many to represent a real challenge to Britain’s naval supremacy. The turn of the century marked a new era for Britain, and the growing obsession with imperial defence was found not only within the military elites, but pervaded all strands of society. This paranoid fear of a homeland attack spawned a new range of juvenile literature in Britain between 1871 and 1914, commonly referred to as ‘invasion literature’. The ‘great war to come’ became a popular theme in stories of this period and helped introduce the youth of Britain to xenophobic and imperialistic ideologies, which were necessary for an enthusiastic rally to arms when the time came. Fuelled by such literature and an increasingly nationalistic press, many had become convinced that every country in Europe – but particularly Germany – envied the wealth and culture of imperial Britain.7 The Russian, French and Germans all in turn took on the role of invading aggressors in future-war literature, usually coinciding with Britain’s current state of foreign relations. However, from 1906, the main perpetrator tended to be the Germans.

The Prussian Bully Given the social tensions that existed in Britain in the years leading up to 1914, one of the first tasks of the British government after the declaration of war against Germany on 4 August was to justify to an apparently divided nation the efficacy of the government’s war aims. The German invasion of neutral Belgium was the pretext for an anti-German campaign which rapidly mobilised widespread support amongst all sections of the population. The invasion of Belgium changed the demeanour of the British and gave this war a purpose. On 6 August Prime Minister Herbert Asquith informed the House: ‘I do not believe any nation ever entered into a great controversy … with a clearer conscience and a stronger conviction that it is fighting, not aggression, not for the maintenance even of its own selfish interest, but … in defence of principles the maintenance of which is vital to the civilisation of the world.’ The violation of Belgian neutrality represented a moral issue of the kind to which British liberalism would habitually respond. The war now became a crusade to be fought by crusaders.8

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Figure 2.2 ‘Bravo Belgium!’ F.H. Townsend.

Belgium was depicted as a vulnerable and inoffensive country, often either as a defenceless child or a woman ravaged by brutal Prussian militarism. The Punch cartoon, ‘Bravo Belgium!’ by F.H. Townsend, conjures a David versus Goliath struggle with the little shepherd boy representing the brave and ‘inoffensive’ Belgium dwarfed by the threatening and overbearing Prussian bully whose shadow is already spreading into neutral territory (‘No Thoroughfare’). One of the most famous cartoons of the Great War, it was published when the comparatively tiny forces of the Belgians appeared to be resisting the German advance. The contrast between the huge raised club wielded by the German and the small lowered stick held by ‘Belgium’ could not be more obvious and would have appealed to the traditional British feeling of support for the underdog. One of the most popular songs of 1914 was ‘Three Cheers for Little Belgium’ (sung by Violet Lorraine).9 The government was able to rely on individuals and groups (such as the Central Committee for National Patriotic Organisations and the British Empire

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Union) to perpetuate the anti-German propaganda that had started with the escalation of the German naval programme and culminated in the implementation of the Schlieffen Plan that demanded safe passage through Belgium for the German army. In order to keep the Belgian issue alive, British propagandists sought to exploit any material that would help sustain the moral condemnation of the enemy.10 Such a theme, however, was not inexhaustible. Much of the material related to the actions of the Germans during the initial invasion, but the continued occupation ensured that the issue remained alive throughout the war. The cinema was also used to make the enemy as villainous as possible. The theme of the Prussian Bully was taken up by Lancelot Speed and his animated cartoons (known as ‘lightning sketches’) which sought to ridicule the Kaiser and German military might. They proved to be a great success with British audiences. Speed’s cinematic cartoons contained many topical references. In The Bully Boy (1915) the audience were shown the German shelling of Rheims

Figure 2.3 ‘Remember Belgium’ (1914).

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cathedral – thought at the time to be the height of German barbarism. Speed (who can be seen in the film) draws a picture of Rheims cathedral and across the sketch writes: ‘The World’s Greatest Gothic Work’. He then draws a large artillery weapon similar to Big Bertha that destroys the cathedral with the title: ‘The Work of the World’s greatest GOTH!’ The Kaiser appears with a devil emerging from his Prussian helmet to exclaim: ‘Do I hear any Cheers?’ In an interview in 1914, Speed revealed that an exaggerated drawing of Lord Kitchener’s drooping moustache had provided the inspiration behind the image of the British bulldog who would remain the implacable guardian of the British Empire and could always be relied upon to eat the German bratwurst seen in the film and also dangling from the pocket of the Prussian bully in the Punch cartoon. The bratwurst became, in British propaganda, a shorthand for German barbarism!11 The emotional appeal of a violated Belgium was expressed in many forms. Stereotypes deeply embedded in national sentiment were invoked to justify Britain’s entry into the war and to persuade young men to enlist. In an early recruiting poster, ‘Britain Needs You at Once’, St George can be seen slaying the German dragon.12 Figure 2.4 shows an early example of the British Bulldog symbolising the British army.13 With its feet in Belgium and France the British bulldog has just eaten a plate of ‘reinforcements’ and is ready for battle: ‘Reinforced Bulldog: NOW where is that cultured Dachshund?’

Figure 2.4 ‘Swelling Wisibly’.

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World Domination The German desire for global hegemony, it was argued, could be traced back to the works of its nineteenth century philosophers and the historical determination to spread German culture. An interesting variation of this theme recurs in a number of cartoons during the early period of the war; namely, the extent to which German foreign policy had been influenced by the military theory set out in 1912 by General (retired) Friedrich von Bernhardi in his work Germany and the Next War. Published in 1912 in English and widely read in Britain where it caused a sensation, it contained von Bernhardi’s claim that a European war was inevitable and that Germany must either conquer or perish. Since they would have read this work in conjunction with the spate of ‘invasion literature’ at the time, it is not surprising that cartoonists picked up on this source once war had been declared. In this cartoon of 1914 by Jack Walker (Figure 2.5), the Kaiser, in full military uniform, is about to eat Great Britain having already consumed half the globe. On the table is Bernhardi’s sauce which it is claimed ‘produces a prodigious appetite’. Similarly, Townsend in this Punch cartoon (Figure 2.6) shows a manic Bernhardi armed to the teeth (sword in mouth, gun in hand) with busts of Bismarck and the Kaiser and maps of Armageddon and Golders Green as the site for concrete bases for field guns. On his desk can be seen the first drafts of Germany and the Next War.

Figure 2.5 ‘The Kaiser’s Dream: The End of the World’.

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Figure 2.6 Punch’s Almanack for 1915.

Edmund Sullivan’s typically brutal cartoon takes up the theme of death and destruction brought about by the Kaiser’s desire for global hegemony (Figure 2.7). It depicts Bernhardi’s book upon which sits the Kaiser’s skull wearing the pickelhaube helmet, upon which perches the skeleton of the German imperial eagle. The spider’s web implies the Kaiser’s failure to implement these ambitions and the royal seal and torn-up scraps of paper (‘guarantee of Belgium neutrality . . . Wilhelm’) denote Germany’s disregard for the sanctity of international treaties. Vilification of the Kaiser and his Weltpolitik (often referred to as ‘kaiserism’) and accusations of German brutality were hallmarks of British propaganda throughout the war. The German policy of Schrecklichkeit (based on the idea that ruthlessness shortens war) continued during their advances into Belgium and was widely reported in the British press. The popular press needed no encouragement from the government to publish stories of German atrocities and as a result public opinion, whipped up by such stories, was prone constantly to hysteria. Adrian Gregory, writing about the British press in the early stages of the war, attributes the proliferation of atrocity reports to the recruiting panic after the Battle of Mons, but more significantly the sacking of Louvain. ‘Louvain was an undoubted cultural jewel, a perfect site for proposing a powerful thesis that the German army was a real enemy of civilisation.’14 Gregory points out that Louvain provided a unique opportunity for the verification of atrocity stories, since it was briefly recaptured and photographs were taken. While 248 citizens were killed and one-sixth of the town’s buildings were destroyed, it was a far cry from ‘Louvain has ceased to exist’ as The Times proclaimed.15 British propaganda disseminated many tales of brutalised Belgium refugees, violated nuns, babies with hands cut off, boiled corpses to make soap, priests used as clappers in church bells, etc. Edmund Sullivan’s horrific cartoons were in a similar style to those of the Dutch cartoonist, Louis Raemaekers. Sullivan’s

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Figure 2.7 The Kaiser’s Garland.

wartime images caricatured Germans as bloated, half-human, militaristic monsters and dramatised their alleged atrocities. ‘The Prussian Butcher’ became an ape like figure (see Figure 2.8) and the ‘Gentle German’ bayoneted the angel of mercy. Film propaganda continued to identify German atrocities in ‘The Clutches of the Hun’ and ‘Under German Yoke’. Similarly, in September 1914, The War Illustrated took up this theme by printing graphically how ‘Belgian Miners Formed a Living Shield for Germans’ (‘This may be Teutonic cunning, but who can imagine the Allies adopting such barbarous methods?’) and also a drawing of the ‘Latest German Invention – The Red Cross Machine Gun’ (Figure 2.9) revealing the Kaiser as the driver of the vehicle. In depicting the enemy’s brutality and barbarism there were a number of constant themes of virginal women, innocent children and defenceless old people being violated and tortured. ‘There are only two divisions in the world today’, Rudyard Kipling wrote, ‘human beings and Germans’.16 The British excelled themselves in portraying the ‘Hun’.

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Figure 2.8 The Prussian Butcher.

Cartoonists and songwriters occasionally employed humour to mock the imperial ambitions of the Kaiser. Interestingly they never focused on his disability – presumably because it might have elicited sympathy. In 1915 Alf Ellerton wrote the popular recruitment song ‘Belgium Put the Kibosh on the Kaiser’. The song comprised a straightforward parody of Wilhelm II and a celebration of the British war effort in responding to Belgium’s aid. The first and final verses were as follows: A silly German sausage Dreamt Napoleon he’d be, Then he went and broke his promise, It was made in Germany.

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He shook hands with Britannia And eternal peace he swore, Naughty boy, he talked of peace While he prepared for war. For Belgium put the kibosh on the Kaiser; Europe took the stick and made him sore; On his throne it hurts to sit, And when John Bull starts to hit, He will never sit upon it any more.

Figure 2.9 ‘Latest German invention – the Red Cross machine gun’.

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The cartoonist W.K. Haselden, who worked in a multi-frame format for the Daily Mirror, produced a long running series of comic episodes of the Kaiser and his son the Crown Prince known as the ‘Big and Little Willie’ series in which they were depicted as vain, ridiculous figures.17 In this example published on Christmas Eve 1914, the Kaiser and his son dream of world domination (a globe with the German Imperial eagle perched on the top) and their Christmas stockings contain the flags of vanquished nations. However when they awake the following morning for their Christmas dinner, the plate is empty (Figure 2.10). In Jack Walker’s 1915 cartoon ‘The Damp Squib’, the Kaiser’s ‘bid for world supremacy’ has been dampened by the weather which has extinguished his ‘Krupp’s matches’, much to his obvious annoyance (Figure 2.11).

Figure 2.10 ‘Big and Little Willie’s Christmas Dinner’.

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Figure 2.11 ‘The Damp Squib’.

At a time when Zeppelins were bombing English towns and U-boats challenged the Royal Navy’s supremacy at sea, humour was an important element that helped maintain morale and diffuse the fear of the enemy. Heath Robinson’s crazy cartoons and the antics of Bruce Bairnsfather’s immortal ‘Old Bill’ kept the British upper lip resolutely stiff. Haselden’s cartoons were part of this tradition. As indeed were Sidney Strube’s cartoons for the Daily Express. In this cartoon (Figure 2.12), which combines both humour and implied acts of atrocity following an unsuccessful air-raid on Essex, Strube mocks the Kaiser and Prussian militarism. Kaiser Bill is depicted as a tiny figure in boots that are too big for him dispensing iron crosses as if they were confectionary. Note the duck perched on his pickelhaube. The intention was to lampoon Wilhelm and Prussian militarism and the effects were often hilarious and ridiculous, but the fear of this enemy and its military might was real. The reduction of a frightening enemy to the level of visibility and ridicule is, in psychological terms, a means of achieving magical power over him.18 With an eye on the propaganda war, the government was also swift to exploit alleged German atrocities in occupied Belgium for enlistment purposes.19 In October 1914, Percy Illingworth, chief government whip, addressed a recruiting meeting and assured his audience that the terrible atrocities in Belgium were being investigated and when they were revealed ‘all mankind would stand aghast’.20 A few months later, Prime Minister Asquith appointed Lord Bryce, the former Ambassador to the US, to investigate the allegations. The Bryce Report

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Figure 2.12 ‘The Return from Essex – You did your best and “nearly” killed a baby in Colchester. So here’s an iron cross for you’.

(Committee on Alleged German Outrages) published its finding in 30 languages in May 1915 and concluded that German troops had committed atrocities against Belgian civilians as part of a conscious strategy of terror. Taken alongside the Zeppelin raids, the use of poison gas, the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915 and the execution in Brussels in October 1915 of the British nurse Edith Cavell, the Bryce Report provided a powerful and influential indictment of German war crimes and helped the government’s recruitment drive.21 Although the press was probably the most important ‘unofficial’ source of propaganda, the government relied heavily on the poster to put across its message. Industrialisation during the nineteenth century had utilised posters for mass persuasion and this had proved extremely effective. With the outbreak of war, the poster came of age. In a world without radio and television, and where newspapers were still the preserve of a literate middle class, the poster

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was an important instrument of mass communication. Posters contained numerous advantages; they were relatively cheap to produce, they had been tried and tested, and they were a medium accepted and understood by the masses. For governments of all the belligerent nations, it was an obvious means of communication to disseminate propaganda. Typical was the black and white poster of the ‘angel of mercy’, Nurse Edith Cavell (Figure 2.13).22 The government also used images of the destruction of Belgium to warn what might happen if Britain were invaded such as ‘The HUN and the HOME’and ‘Back Up the Men Who Have Saved You’. In December 1914, German naval units shelled British coastal defences on the Yorkshire coast (the first air-raid bombings occurred in January 1915). The raid shocked British public opinion,23 and served to add impetus to the atrocity campaign against Germany. In this famous recruitment poster (Figure 2.14) the destruction of Scarborough is shown in graphic detail (drawn

Figure 2.13 ‘Murdered by the Huns. ENLIST and Help Stop Such Atrocities’.

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from a widely circulated photograph). A small girl cradling a baby emerges from the ruins above the claim that 78 women and children were killed and 228 injured. The Times referred to the outrage as a ‘blessing in disguise by stimulating recruitment and rousing every man in the British Isles to active perception of the necessity of supreme allied action’.24 Horatio Bottomley, following the German naval bombardment, called for a vendetta against anyone with German connections, warning against misplaced sentiment: ‘You cannot naturalise an unnatural beast, a human abortion, a hellish fiend … but you can exterminate it’.25 The enthusiasm stimulated by the early recruitment campaigns was visibly in decline after the introduction of conscription in 1916. Moreover, despite heavy German losses, the Somme offensive had not led to the anticipated military breakthrough. As a result, still greater sacrifices would be required from the civilian population.

Figure 2.14 ‘Men of Britain! Will You Stand This? Enlist Now’.

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One of the most important themes disseminated by propaganda posters was the need to raise money to pay for the war by means of war bonds. Not surprisingly, atrocity stories and inflammatory images of the Hun were widely utilised for this purpose. After the initial passion of war had cooled, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote to The Times urging that civilians should not be allowed to forget the atrocities committed by the Hun. With a view to strengthening their resolution to prosecute the war to a finish, Sir Arthur asked: ‘Why should we recall these incidents? It is because Hate has its uses in war as the Germans have long discovered. It steels the mind and sets the resolution as no other emotion can do.’ This sort of hate, according to Conan Doyle, would be especially valuable among munitions workers who have ‘many small vexations to endure’ and whose nerves ‘get sadly frayed’.26 To this end, posters urged the population to ‘Lend Your Five Shillings to Your Country and Help Crush the Germans’ (see Figure 2.15). A recurring theme specific to war loans posters was the portrayal of money (coins and banknotes) as an active force in military engagement. In this poster, the five shilling piece flattens the German soldier leaving St George triumphant. The most notorious of all war bonds posters, as shown in Figure 2.16, was designed by Frank Brangwyn. It is a superb example of the artist-lithographer’s approach. This is particularly unusual in that it actually portrays the viciousness of war. Brangwyn’s brutal image, which shows a British soldier bayoneting a German over a precipice, shocked the National War Savings Committee who had commissioned it for their autumn 1918 loan drive. They overcame their initial reservations and published it, agreeing that no image was too extreme in the fight against Germany. The poster captures the message that by investing in war bonds, citizens were making a real contribution to the defeat of the enemy. One of the most successful propaganda campaigns aimed at keeping German atrocities in the public realm was the ‘German Crimes’ calendar. Launched by the newly established National War Aims Committee (NWAC) in 1917, the calendar depicted a German atrocity for each month of the year with the actual date of each ‘crime against humanity’ circled in red. Crimes relating to Belgium, the burning of Louvain, the execution of nurse Cavell, the sinking of the Lusitania, the bombardment of Scarborough and the Zeppelin raids were cited, all of which were firmly familiar to the British public. In May 1917, Lancelot Speed extended the length of his lightning sketches to 15 minutes in a film entitled U Tube. The film mocks German industrial and military prowess. An expedition is mounted by the Kaiser to tunnel under the North Sea and come up in Birmingham – at the centre of Britain’s industrial heartland. But the German obsession with militarism leads the plan to go wrong and the U Tube is diverted off course to the North Pole where the Kaiser and his son Willy ‘end up a pole’ with the polar bears for company! The attitude of the film reflected the moral superiority

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Figure 2.15 ‘Lend Your Five Shillings to Your Country and Help Crush the Germans’ (1915).

of the ‘home-side’: even little children and dogs could out-smart the enemy – that’s if they were not defeating themselves! Commercial propaganda, independent of the government, also continued to pursue its anti-German tone. The poster illustrated in Figure 2.17 was produced in January 1918 by the British Empire Union (founded in 1916 after changing its name from the Anti-German Union) to ‘Destroy German Influence, Prohibit German Labour and Boycott German Goods’. This is a typical example of the many ‘hate’ posters produced by the British even towards the end of the war.27 It pulls no punches either in visual or written form and like the German

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Figure 2.16 ‘Put Strength in the Final Blow – Buy War Bonds’.

crimes calendar contains a veritable liturgy of crimes committed by Germany against humanity. The poster reveals caricatures of Germans, including wartime scenes of past violence, cruelty and drunkenness, and then a charming German businessman of the day. There is also a vignette of martyr Edith Cavell’s grave and the caption, ‘1914 to 1918. Never again!’ The poster’s message anticipates peace and a call not to do business with Germany (‘Remember! Every German employed, means a British Worker idle!’).28 Such propaganda coincided with a renewed German offensive on the western front in May 1918 (the Ludendorff offensive) and alarming fears of a German military victory. A measure of the frailty of British public opinion in 1918 was the publicity generated by the infamous ‘Pemberton-Billing’ libel case. Noel

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Figure 2.17 ‘Once a German – Always a German!’.

Pemberton Billing, an independent MP for Hertford, had published in his Imperialist magazine a series of articles claiming that the German High Command had a dastardly plan to corrupt the British war effort through syphilis and sodomy. Following the discovery of an alleged ‘Berlin Black Book’ he revealed that the Germans planned on ‘exterminating the manhood of Britain’ by luring men (and women) into homosexual acts. According to Pemberton Billing, the secret Black Book recorded that mendacious German agents were blackmailing 47,000 ‘highly placed British perverts’. Pemberton Billing’s journal was then renamed Vigilante, and in 1918 it published a second article, ‘The Cult of the Clitoris’

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which implied that the dancer/actress Maud Allen, then appearing in a private production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, was a lesbian associate of the conspirators. This led to a sensational libel case, at which Billing represented himself, packed the court with wounded soldiers, and won. (Lord Alfred Douglas, a former lover of Oscar Wilde, testified in Billing’s favour.) Billing’s victory in this case created significant popular publicity and hysteria, and he was re-elected to parliament in the coupon election later that year.29 As the Great War came to an end, the defeat of Germany was celebrated in different forms such as Frank Holland’s famous cartoon in John Bull showing the gravestone for Prussianism (‘Died 1918’) with the words ‘Unwept, Unhonoured, and Unsung’. There was little evidence of pity for a defeated foe. In Wilton William’s cartoon ‘Victory’ (1918), the goddess of victory has slain the beast of Kaiserism (still wearing the pickelhaube that had been replaced in 1916) and holds aloft the laurel wreath – the traditional symbol of victory. One of the most significant lessons to be learnt from the experience of World War I is that public opinion could no longer be ignored as a determining factor in the formulation of government policies. Unlike previous wars, the Great War was the first ‘Total War’ in which whole nations, and not just professional armies, were locked together in mortal combat. The war served to increase the level of popular interest and participation in the affairs of state. The gap between the soldier at the front and civilian at home was narrowed substantially in that the entire resources of the state, military, economic and psychological, had to be mobilised to the full in a fight to the finish. ‘Total War’ required that civilians must also ‘fall-in’ and participate in the war effort. The introduction of conscription, the recruitment of women into the munitions factories, Zeppelin raids in the south of England and the attempts of German submarines to starve Britain into submission were all traumatic experiences for a nation learning the rules of modern warfare. In such a struggle, morale came to be recognised as a significant military factor and propaganda began to emerge as the principle instrument of control over public opinion and an essential weapon in the national arsenal. The image of the enemy (and the epithet ‘Hun’) was a crucial component of British propaganda and served many objectives: to justify the war, to encourage enlistment, help raise war loans, strengthen the fighting spirit of the armed forces, and to bolster civilian morale throughout the conflict. The receptiveness of the British public to atrocity stories and rumour deprived war-time society of much of its perspective on events. It became capable of believing almost anything. It is quite extraordinary that the majority of the British people ended the war as they had begun it – their determination to defeat ‘the Hun’ possibly more passionate, even more implacable that it had been in August 1914. The idea of Teutonic brutality and ruthless inhumanity encapsulated in the phrase ‘Prussian militarism’ continued unabated throughout the war and played a significant role in shaping opinion in Britain vis-à-vis Germany in the immediate postwar years.

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Notes 1. W. Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York, 1945). 2. J.M. Bourne, Britain and the Great War 1914–1918 (London, 1989) 210. Atrocity stories committed by the Hun were also exploited to strengthen the fighting spirit of soldiers and to rouse the necessary ‘blood-lust’. For two revealing examples written from the firsthand experiences of British generals see, Sir Ian Hamilton, The Friends of England (London, 1923) and F.P. Crozier, A Brass Hat in No Man’s Land (London, 1930). 3. Another reason given for the British use of the term was the motto Gott mit uns (God with us) on German soldiers’ belt buckles during World War I. ‘Uns’ was mistaken for Huns, and entered into slang. 4. See, D. Welch, ‘ Napoleon and Nelson, Painting, Propaganda and Patriotism in the Napoleonic Era,’ History Today (July 2005). 5. See M.F. Connors, Dealing in Hate. The Development of Anti-German Propaganda (London, 1996). 6. M. Paris, Warrior Nation: Images of War in British Popular Culture (London, 2000), 83. 7. In 1899 both the German and the French supported the Dutch Boer War uprising in South Africa against the British. See, I.F. Clarke (ed.), The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871–1914: Fictions of Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come (Syracuse, 1996); G. Parfitt, Fiction of the First World War: A Study (London, 1988). An interesting case study can be found in B.F. Woods, Propaganda and the Fiction of William Le Queux (www.etext.org/Zines/Crtique/article/lequeux.html). Le Queux was one of the most prolific writers of the ‘invasion’ genre’ whose works included classics such as: Spies of the Kaiser. Plotting the Downfall of England (London, 1909). 8. The war was justified as a simple dichotomy between good and evil, or rather, civilisation and barbarism. London buses were covered in posters with extracts from Pericles’ ‘Funeral oration’ from the Peloponnesian War. The message was clear: Britain stood for the cultured, democratic Athenian Empire, while Germany represented the despotic, militaristic Sparta. G. Robb, British Culture and the First World War (London, 2002), 4. 9. Such words and images served to reinforce the emotional justification for Britain to resurrect the treaty of 1839 that guaranteed Belgium neutrality and was often used in recruitment posters: ‘ “The Scrap of Paper” The Germans have broken their pledged word and devastated Belgium. Help to keep your Country’s honour bright by restoring Belgium her liberty. ENLIST TO-DAY.’ The ‘scrap of paper’ referred to a remark that German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg made to Sir Edward Goschen, the British ambassador in Berlin: ‘Just for a word, “neutrality” – a word that in wartime has so often been disregarded – just for the sake of a scrap of paper (the 1839 treaty) Great Britain is going to make war on a kindred nation, which desires nothing better than to be friends with her’. Bethmann- Hollweg’s remarks were widely reported in the British press as an example of German duplicity. 10. Bonar Law, the Colonial Secretary, referring to British patriotism, told an American correspondent, ‘It is as well to have it properly stirred by German frightfulness.’ While Lord Northcliffe (proprietor of The Times) informed his editors that ‘The

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11.

12.

13. 14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

Propaganda, Power and Persuasion Allies must never be tired of insisting that they were the victims of a deliberate aggression.’ Cited in P. Knightley, The First Casualty .From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth (New York, 1975), 83. For two interesting analyses of the use made of animated cartoon for propaganda purposes see, P. Wood, ‘Distribution and trade Press Strategies of British Animated Propaganda cartoons of the First World War Era,’ Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 25, 2, (June 2005), 189–201; D. Huxley, ‘Kidding the Kaiser: British Propaganda Animation 1914–1919,’ Early Popular Visual Culture, Vol 4, 3, (2006), 307–20. British propagandists continued to use the symbolism of St George slaying the German dragon. One of the most extraordinary examples of this is the colour cartoon by F.H.Townsend for the front cover of the Punch Almanack for 1915 featuring Mr Punch and the Kaiser in the respective roles. See M. Bryant, World War I in Cartoons (London, 2006), 147. Presumably this is a reference to Dickens. In Pickwick Papers, Sam Weller said ‘she’s a swellin’ wisibly before my very eyes’. A. Gregory, ‘A Clash of Cultures: The British Press and the Opening of the Great War,’ in T.R.E. Paddock (ed.), A Call to Arms: Propaganda, Public Opinion and Newspaper in the Great War (London, 2004), 29. Times, 29 August 1914. Interestingly, this is the first that The Times applied the name ‘Huns’ to the Germans in connection with this ‘atrocious act,’ recalling the Kaiser’s injunction fourteen years earlier to act like Attila’s Huns. Cf. also. J. Horne & A. Kramer, German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial (Yale, 2001), 38. Morning Post, 22 June 1915 cited in Knightley, 84. Horatio Bottomley the colourful editor of John Bull (‘the soldier’s friend’) invariably attacked the Kaiser and his subjects as ‘Germhuns’ and called for the internment of all Germans living in Britain. J. Symons, Horatio Bottomley (London, 1955), 166–67. On 2 October 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War, Haselden returned to political subjects with a Daily Mirror cartoon featuring the German Kaiser and his son the Crown Prince, captioned ‘Sad Experience of Big and Little Willie No. 1.’ This was the first of a long series of comic episodes, which in 1915 were reprinted in book form as The Sad Experiences of Big and Little Willie, and led to Haselden being seen as the father of the British newspaper strip cartoon. He later tried other wartime characters, including Colonel Dug-Out, Joy Flapperton, and Burlington Bertie, but none had the same success. For a general account of the how caricature was employed for propaganda, see E. Demm, ‘Propaganda and Caricature in the First World War,’ Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 28 (1) (1993), 163–92. For a wider discussion of the use made of the enemy in Propaganda, see D. Welch, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion. (London, 2013), 151–88. A pamphlet entitled The Kaiser and His Barbarians carried on its back cover the royal seal and the admonition: ‘Your king and country needs you. Another 100,000 men wanted.’ W. N. Willis, The Kaiser and His Barbarians (London, 1914). Daily Mail, 6 October 1914.

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21. Count Zeppelin was called a ‘wholesale contriver of murder’ and compared to Herod in his capacity as a ‘baby-killer.’ Pall Mall Gazette, 3 February 1916, 9 March 1917. See also, Daily Mail, 4 February 1916. Note the religious references. For Bryce Report, see J.M. Read, Atrocity Propaganda 1914–1919 (New York, 1972) 200– 9. Sir John French, noted in his journal shortly after the publication of the Bryce Report that the ‘outrages’ committed by the Germans had aroused the ‘blood-lust’ of his men. G. French, The Life of Field Marshal Sir John French (London, 1931), 304. 22. This poster was part of a major recruiting campaign that was launched with considerable success after her death. In September 1915 71,617 men enlisted as volunteers began to wane. In October when Cavell was executed, the figure rose to 113,285 and reached its peak the following month with 121,793 recruits. 23. The Guardian referred to it as either attempted terrorism or sheer brutality.’ Guardian, 5 January 1915. 24. Times, 26 December 1914. Interestingly, it was Hartlepool, not Scarborough, that bore the brunt of the naval raid; 86 were killed in Hartlepool, 18 at Scarborough and 2 at Whitby. The media chose to focus on Scarborough because it was a nationally recognised sea resort and symbolic of the British way of life. Hartlepool did not have the same capacity to rouse emotion. 25. Symons, Horatio Bottomley, 166. 26. Times, 27 December 1917, cited in Read, Atrocity Propaganda, 7. 27. Letters were still being written to newspaper editors on the idea of strengthening civilian resolve by cultivating hate as late as the summer of 1918. Cf. Times, 24 May 1918. Patriotic and virulently anti-German songs also remained popular. ‘Hunting the Hun’ (Arthur Fields, HMV) was one of the most popular songs of 1918 and contained the refrain: ‘First you get a gun. Then you look for a Hun’. 28. The Ministry of Information also produced a film The Leopard’s Spots which contained a caption; ‘Once a German Always a German’ The film told the story of two barbaric German soldiers who, after the war, became commercial travellers selling pots and pans in Britain. The final caption issued by the MOI warned: ‘There can be no trading with these people after the war!’. 29. Herbert Asquith, who together with his wife, was also implicated, dismissed the trail as only for ‘persons of low intelligence and high credibility’. Details taken from, B. Stoney, Twentieth Century Maverick: The Life of Noel Pemberton Billing (East Grinstead, 2004).

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3 GEORGE ARLISS: THE SUPERSTAR AS PROPAGANDIST. BRITISH PROPAGANDA IN THE INTERWAR PERIOD Jeffrey Richards

One of the most potent vehicles for the dissemination of propaganda has been cinema which was able to manipulate opinion both on an official and an unofficial level. In interwar Britain official propaganda overseas was conducted by the Foreign Office, the British Council and the BBC. But unofficial propaganda was carried out by the commercial film industries both in Britain and America. This sometimes revolved around stars and their vehicles. One such star was George Arliss. If George Arliss is today remembered at all, it is as an elderly British character actor who in the early 1930s cornered the market in biopics, successively incarnating Disraeli, Alexander Hamilton, Voltaire, Mayer and Nathan Rothschild, Cardinal Richelieu and the Duke of Wellington. But Arliss was a much more significant figure than that. I can think of very few actors who like Arliss became major stars at the age of 60 and retained their star status until the end of their careers. In Hollywood’s golden age only Marie Dressler, Monty Woolley and Sydney Greenstreet spring to mind. Arliss also won the best Actor Oscar for 1929–30 for his performance in Disraeli. John Sedgwick, using his POPSTAT formulation based on individual film showings, has calculated that in Britain between 1932 and 1937 Arliss was the fifteenth most popular box office star, ahead of such notable performers as Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford and James Cagney.1 Arliss, however, was not only an actor; he was what the French call the auteur of his films. In the 1960s, French film critics defined the politique des auteurs when they sought to identify the central creative force in films. They assigned that role to the director and that idea has prevailed ever since, hence the credit now on all films ‘a film by James Cameron/Quentin Tarantino/Peter Jackson’, or

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whoever the director happens to be. But in a study of James Cagney, published in 1975, Patrick McGilligan advanced the idea of the actor as auteur, arguing that in Hollywood’s heyday films were constructed around the personality and attributes of the stars and often the director was not the most significant figure in shaping the film.2 In the case of Warner Brothers’ films, besides Cagney, one might also cite Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and George Arliss. Arliss had become a stage star not in Britain but in America. He was born George Augustus Andrews on 10 April 1868 in Bloomsbury, London. His father, a small-time printer and publisher, was called William Arliss Andrews and George adopted Arliss, an old family name, as his stage surname. A keen amateur actor from boyhood he got his first stage job as a ‘super’ (or extra) at the Elephant and Castle theatre. From there his career developed in the provinces before he made his first major impact playing with Mrs Patrick Campbell in The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith and The Second Mrs Tanqueray in 1901. He went with Mrs Campbell to America and was first hailed as a star there. He stayed in America for 20 years, achieving a great personal success in Ferenc Molnar’s The Devil in 1908. It was Arliss who suggested to producer George Tyler the idea of a play about Disraeli. Louis N. Parker was commissioned to write it. The play was developed in discussion with Arliss. It opened in Montreal in 1911 and was to run for five seasons. Parker left an account of Arliss’ performance. In his autobiography he wrote: Arliss is one of the subtlest actors I have ever seen. He can express more with a twitch of his eyebrow or a crook of his finger than more robustious actors with a violent gesture. There is no danger of missing his finest expression, as his magnetism rivets the spectator’s attention. I should liken him to a miniaturist, but that would be inadequate, as he can inspire terror, and convey fierce passion. In Disraeli his toying with the female spy always sent a shudder through the house. On the other hand his tenderness towards Lady Beaconsfield . . . and his playful and caressing banter with the little heroine, Clarissa . . . were delicious.3

All these qualities can be seen in his film performances. In the 1920s he achieved two huge successes, playing the Rajah of Rukh in William Archer’s melodrama The Green Goddess which he did in the United States in 1921–3 and in London in 1923–4 and Sylvanus Heythorp in John Galsworthy’s Old English which he played for three triumphant seasons in America from 1924. He then took on his only major Shakespearean role, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice which he performed in New York in 1928 and was planning to take to London when Warner Bros. stepped in to offer a movie contract. This was the time when the introduction of the talkies initiated a rush by the studios to sign established stage stars who could handle dialogue in a way that many silent stars without stage training could not. Arliss was evidently regarded as a great catch when he signed. He was routinely billed in the film credits as Mr George Arliss – only John Barrymore,

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another established stage star, was accorded similar respect. Arliss was given story approval in his contract. He also had unofficial casting approval. He was evidently considered the best judge of his own scripts, particularly as his first three Warner Brothers’ sound films were based on his three greatest stage successes, Disraeli, The Green Goddess and Old English. Furthermore, John Galsworthy, the author of Old English, only agreed to sell the film rights to Warners on condition that any changes in the text were approved by Arliss. The first three Warner films were directed by Alfred E. Green, who Arliss described as ‘a most understanding man’. At Arliss’ request, he shot the films more or less in sequence, causing Arliss to record: ‘I was always grateful to Al Green for saying, in reply to my question about something I wished to do, “Mr Arliss, whatever you did on the stage we can do on the screen; just say what you want to do, and we’ll do it!” . . . It was largely due to simple and straightforward direction that the effects we had made on the stage were so faithfully maintained when transferred to the screen. Al Green believed in telling the story cleanly and unbrokenly, not cluttering it up with extraneous shots introduced to exploit the director at the expense of the story.’4

In other words, the star and the story – or in Arliss’ case, the play – took precedence. John Adolfi, who directed the remaining seven films Arliss did at Warners and who was an ex-actor himself, self-evidently adopted the same policy as Al Green, ensuring that Arliss was the centre of attention. Arliss’ approach to film was rooted in theatre and 12 of his 18 talkies were based on stage plays. But despite this approach, neither the films nor Arliss’ performances were excessively stagey. This was partly because even on stage Arliss was a master of the art of underplaying, an art whose most celebrated exponents were in England Sir Gerald Du Maurier and in the United States William Gillette. Arliss had already performed three of his stage hits, The Devil (1921), Disraeli (1921) and The Green Goddess (1923) for the silent screen, along with The Man Who Played God (1922), The Ruling Passion (1923) and Twenty Dollars a Week (1924). All except The Devil and The Green Goddess are now believed lost but he had learned an important lesson about screen acting on The Devil. As he wrote later: I had always believed that for the movies, acting must be exaggerated, but I saw in this one flash that restraint was the chief thing that the actor had to learn in transferring his art from the stage to the screen ... The art of restraint and suggestion on the screen may anytime be studied by watching the acting of the inimitable Charlie Chaplin.5

What his silent films lacked to show case his talent and what Arliss’ vehicles needed was dialogue and that was available once the talkies came in. He remade all his silent films except The Devil as talkies. Arliss in particular benefitted from

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the fact that the arrival of sound led the Hollywood studios to turn to the theatre for tried and tested stage properties and for stage-trained actors who could deliver dialogue. But Arliss not only delivered dialogue, he wrote it. He was the author of two successful stage-plays, both comedies, There and Back and Widow’s Weeds, and he had rewritten Mary Hamlin’s play Alexander Hamilton when she submitted it to him as a possible stage vehicle. It was staged in 1917 but the US run was cut short by the 1918 influenza epidemic. He worked without credit on the scripts of virtually all his films for, like his plays, his films were specifically tailored to fit his talent and personality. He wrote: I always spend several weeks on the manuscript with the assistance of Maude Howell before beginning rehearsals of any picture. This will explain why I am not popular with writers either in London or Hollywood. I spend too much time interfering in other people’s business. But I contend that writers . . . should be very patient and forbearing with the actor who has to carry the play or story on his shoulders ... It is one thing to write words and quite another to speak them. I try to convince writers that I do not alter their manuscripts necessarily because I think my changes are better, but because I think they are better for me; and if they are better for me, they are likely to be better for the picture. The star on the stage or screen becomes the responsible person in the mind of the audience just as soon as he walks on. An actor may not have constructive ability, but his contact with audiences is likely to make him a good judge of how a situation should be led up to and how a point can be most effectively phrased in order to ‘put it over.’6

He recalled that there was only one occasion when a script delivered to him ‘was at once satisfactory to me – this I believe is regarded by all other writers who have worked for me as a miraculous feat.’ This was The Last Gentleman, adapted by Leonard Praskins and Maude Howell from Katherine Clugston’s play The Head of the Family.7 Maude Howell was crucial to Arliss. She had been his stage manager since 1920 and she moved with him into films, working only for him and retiring when he did. She received a writing credit on all but three of Arliss’ film scripts and came to function in the unique role of ‘associate director’ in his later films, acting as his eyes and ears on the set beside the director while Arliss was performing in front of the camera. The existence of such a role and the fact that it was filled by a woman in a male-dominated industry says much for Arliss’ influence with the studios. He paid tribute to her in his autobiography: Maude has a keen, analytical mind which discovers the barren spots in a scenario with surprising accuracy. The first instinct of the writer is to resent her, but he always ends by freely admitting the value of her advice. She can cut and prune and revamp better than anyone I know, and she has an uncanny instinct of what will go with an audience and what is likely to fall flat; she has the happy faculty of being able to gain the confidence of the people with whom she works, and after a time

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even the most dictatorial of directors will confer with her without any apparent fear of losing his dignity. No star has ever had a more faithful and valuable lieutenant than I had in Maude Howell.8

Things did not, however, always go smoothly with this arrangement. The script for Cardinal Richelieu was written by Nunnally Johnson who had turned Bulwer-Lytton’s old Victorian theatrical warhorse, premiered in 1839, into a fastmoving costume thriller about high politics and court intrigue in seventeenthcentury France but in so doing had omitted many of the fondly remembered set-pieces from the play, in particular ‘The Curse of Rome’ scene. Arliss insisted they be put back, and Nunnally Johnson withdrew from the project and had his name removed from the credits. Cameron Rogers, Maude Howell and W.P. Lipscomb all worked on the script Arliss wrote: ‘Finally some sweeping cuts and changes were made by (Darryl) Zanuck and Ray Griffith (the producer and associate producer), and we were off.’9 Also reminiscent of the theatre is Arliss’ habit of using the same actors, a virtual repertory company, in film after film. He recalled: I like acting with people I know and who have worked with me before. I suppose if I had no one to control me, I should have almost the same cast in every picture I make. As it is, the casting director always says ‘I suppose you want Simmy’ (that is Ivan Simpson). Of course I want Simmy. I know that he will give a fine performance; and the better the actor I work with, the better I shall appear to be.10

Ivan Simpson, Charles Evans, Helena Phillips, Murray Kinnell, David Torrence and, above all, his beloved Flo, his wife Florence Arliss, nee Montgomery, a mediocre actress but a shrewd career adviser, were his regular cast. Flo played his wife in four of his talkies. But he also gave important opportunities to up and coming talent: James Cagney, Bette Davis and Dick Powell among them. Arliss always insisted on two weeks rehearsal before shooting started, treating the film script like a play and going through lines and moves until everything was perfect. He liked as far as possible to shoot the films in sequence. It was an approach that Edward Arnold, playing Louis XIII in Cardinal Richelieu, disliked, explaining in his autobiography that it inhibited spontaneity.11 Arliss made ten films for Warner Brothers but when head of production Darryl Zanuck left after a salary dispute to set up in 1933 Twentieth Century Pictures, releasing through United Artists, Arliss went with him. As he explained in his autobiography: ‘Although I had been very happy with Warner Brothers, I made my next contract with Zanuck; this was an obvious step for me to take, since my association had been entirely with him since I started in talking pictures’.12 Arliss made three films for Zanuck: The House of Rothschild, The Last Gentleman and Cardinal Richelieu. It was while he was filming The Last Gentleman that Arliss was approached by Gaumont British with an offer to make a film in England. Joseph Schenck, Zanuck’s partner at Twentieth Century, tried to dissuade

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him. Evidently Gaumont British made Arliss an offer he could not refuse. When Michael Balcon, head of production at Gaumont, wrote his own autobiography, he made it clear that Arliss was signed by the company despite his opposition and that they did not get on. Arliss’ manager negotiated a contract that gave him story, director and cast approval, and a limited working day. Balcon hated this, writing that: It stripped me of virtually all the prerogatives that must be exercised by a producer if he is to do his job properly. Dealings with Mr Arliss, despite the atmosphere of old-world courtesy in which they were conducted, were by no means easy. Bluntly, he had that exaggerated self-importance which is just pomposity . . . and he certainly tried to convey the idea that he was conferring a great favour on us to be working at all. His contract called for very substantial payments, in fact more than we had ever paid to an artist, yet by the time he came to us the Arliss novelty was beginning to wear off and I am afraid the films we made with him (which were, in fact, the films he made with us) . . . were not very distinguished works.13

Arliss evidently responded to Balcon in a similar fashion. With studied and icy formality he refers to him throughout his autobiography as M.E. Balcon and there are none of the warm words he bestowed on Zanuck. Describing Zanuck as ‘a born leader’, he spends six pages praising his energy, enthusiasm, inventiveness and wisdom.14 Arliss made five films for Gaumont British plus a guest appearance as the British Prime Minister in the futuristic epic The Tunnel (1935) before retiring in 1937 after Gaumont British, overtaken by the film crisis when many companies abruptly ceased production, announced that in view of their failure to break into the world market they were ceasing active film production, closing Lime Grove Studios and concentrating on distribution. But Arliss was probably aware of his falling box office appeal. John Sedgwick has calculated that Arliss’ first British film, The Iron Duke, was the fourth biggest box office draw of the year in Britain, but thereafter East Meets West was only 89th, Doctor Syn 71st and His Lordship did not even make the top 100 list.15 Also it was becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable roles for the ageing star. Scripts for films based on the lives of Samuel Pepys, Cecil Rhodes and the magician Cagliostro were prepared and rejected. There were no more films after 1937. Arliss published his second volume of autobiography, George Arliss By Himself (published in the US as My Ten Years in the Studios) in 1940 and died in 1946 aged almost 78. Arliss liked his films to have what he called ‘plus value’ and that usually meant a propaganda message. What is remarkable about Arliss’ Hollywood films is not that he undertook a gallery of biopics but that at the height of the Great Depression he made a series of films celebrating the romance of capitalism and in two cases, perhaps his two greatest successes, Disraeli and The House of Rothschild, he linked his affirmations of capitalism to a celebration of the achievements

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of the Jews. In its heyday, Hollywood was notoriously chary about depicting the Jews and Jewish history. The movie moguls, the majority of them Jewish, feared that to highlight Jewish themes might provoke an anti-Semitic backlash. Famously the 1937 Warner Brothers film The Life of Emile Zola, which dealt with the Dreyfus affair, made no mention of the anti-Semitism that lay behind it and had no character utter the word ‘Jew’. However, the word was used freely throughout Disraeli and The House of Rothschild, produced, as it happens, by the only Hollywood mogul who was not Jewish – Darryl F. Zanuck. Both projects were the result of direct initiatives by Arliss. He had suggested the writing of the play Disraeli and had worked with Louis N. Parker on it. He had suggested that Warner Brothers purchase the play which became the basis of the Rothschild script. Zanuck acquired it from Warners when he moved to Twentieth Century and in the usual manner Arliss and Maude Howell worked on the screenplay. Arliss attested in his autobiography to his philo-Semitism: ‘The Jews have always been good and faithful adherents of mine both in the theatre and the cinema. No-one has a keener appreciation of what the world of science and art and literature owes to the Jews than I, and no-one has greater sympathy with them in their unequal fight against savagery and ignorance’.16 His only Shakespearean stage role of note had been Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, a notably sympathetic portrait of a character Arliss described as ‘the only gentleman in the play.’17 Disraeli (1929) opens with his detractors both on Hyde Park soap boxes and in the upper class Liberal Club denouncing him: ‘A Jew whose grandfather was an Italian – an outsider, unfit to rule’; ‘An unprincipled politician interested only in power’; ‘A dreamer, a dangerous visionary reaching out for Empire with greedy hands.’ But the film shows him to be highly principled. His principles rest on his desire to protect Britain’s Empire from Russian aggression. But he seeks to achieve his ends not by war (‘War is never a solution. It is an aggravation’) but through capitalism. The film focuses on his purchase of the Suez Canal to ensure Britain’s speedy access to India. When Sir Michael Probert, the overtly anti-Semitic Governor of the Bank of England, refuses to advance the funds for the purchase, Disraeli defies him and says he will go to the Jews. Jewish banker Hugh Myers (a fictional surrogate for the real life Lionel Rothschild) advances the money. But when Myers is threatened with bankruptcy after the loss of a vital gold shipment due to Russian machinations, Disraeli browbeats Probert into supporting Myers financially by threatening to withdraw the charter of the Bank of England. The film ends with parliament endorsing the purchase, Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India and Disraeli vindicated. The same linkage of capitalism, peace and patriotism informs The House of Rothschild (1934), a powerful and moving account of the rise of the Jewish banking family. The film opens in the Frankfurt ghetto where the Rothschilds are victims of anti-Semitic prejudice. On his death-bed Mayer Amschel Rothschild

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(Arliss) advises his five sons to form branches of an international banking house in five different countries and to act together to defend themselves and their people against tyranny and persecution ‘Money is power. Money is the only weapon the Jew has to defend himself’. The film then focuses on the activities of Nathan Rothschild (also played by Arliss) in London. Nathan funds Wellington’s campaigns against Napoleon. But after Napoleon’s defeat and exile to Elba, Nathan’s bid to handle the postwar loan for the reconstruction of France is rejected because he is a Jew. So he manipulates the stock market, creates a panic, causes the new bond issue to fail and ensures that he gets the French loan anyway. When Napoleon escapes from Elba and offers the Rothschilds a huge rate of interest to back him financially, Nathan insists on backing Wellington and the Allies. He says they must forget profit and help defeat Napoleon for if he wins, Europe will be in a state of permanent war (‘We must stand as we have always stood for peace not war’). He risks the bank’s entire existence by maintaining English credit, buying when everyone else is selling, until news of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo vindicates his stance and he is rewarded with a peerage. Intertwined with this capitalist thriller is a hard-hitting attack on anti-Semitism. The persecution of the Jews in Prussia is instigated by the viciously anti-Semitic Baron Ledrantz (Boris Karloff). The symbolism of casting horror star Karloff as the leading anti-Semitic is obvious, it is Ledrantz who blocks Rothschild’s bid for the French loan and when he is outwitted, initiates a pogrom, glorying in news of the destruction of the Dresden ghetto and the attack on the Frankfurt ghetto. The Rothschilds say that he is spreading lies and propaganda to stir up the Christian population. However when news of Napoleon’s escape from Elba arrives, he is forced to halt the persecution and guarantee Jewish freedom and equality. In the circumstances of 1934, this has to be seen as a direct response to the rise of Nazism in Germany. Both Disraeli and Rothschild were massive hits at the box office. Disraeli earned a million and a half dollars in domestic and foreign revenue and Warner Bros a profit of $626,000, 78 per cent profit after costs.18 Rothschild was the outstanding hit of Twentieth Century Pictures’ first year and, according to John Sedgwick, was the top box office success of the year in Britain.19 Like Disraeli it is a piece of positive pro-Jewish propaganda. Capitalism and patriotism are also the keynotes of Alexander Hamilton (1931). 0ut of all the events in a colourful life this film concentrates on the bid by Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury to create a national bank and national debt in order to establish United States credit internationally. He is opposed by Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, who are hostile to centralisation. Hamilton’s plans are jeopardised by a sexual scandal got up by the fictional Senator Roberts, who had offered to support Hamilton’s bill in return for appointment as US minister in Paris. Hamilton had rebuffed him saying that he lacked the integrity to represent his country, having been involved in shady business dealings. Hamilton

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survives the scandal, his bill to establish a national bank is passed and he predicts the opening of the floodgates of prosperity which will establish the United States as the most powerful country on earth, a bold statement of confidence in the capitalist system at the height of the Depression. Alexander Hamilton was Arliss’ least successful American film in box office terms. Costing $562,000 to produce, it raked in a meagre profit of only $24,000, in marked contrast to the success of Disraeli.20 But this was in line with the persistent antipathy of audiences to films dealing with the politics of the American War of Independence, which traditionally failed to score at the box office, rather than rejection of its capitalist message. He interspersed his biopics with a trio of modern dress capitalist parables. In The Millionaire (1931), a remake of The Ruling Passion (1922), Arliss plays James Alden, the millionaire owner of an automobile works, who is portrayed as the ideal capitalist. He created the firm himself, is a hands-on engineer, insists on the maintenance of quality and knows his employees by their Christian names. He expresses his contempt for Carter Andrews, who is courting his daughter Barbara. Andrews’ grandfather had made his fortune as a working industrialist but Carter is an idle playboy who is squandering it. Ordered by his doctor to rest, Alden hands over his firm to two of his employees to run and tries to take it easy. Bored, he goes into partnership with an unemployed young architect Bill Merrick to run a gas station, only to discover that they have been swindled. Peterson, the man who sold them the gas station, knew that a new highway was opening and he has a gas station on it, making the old gas station worthless. Alden and his partner sell the land, buy a site opposite Peterson, undercut him and force him to buy them out, enabling Merrick to resume his career as an architect. Barbara switches her affection from the undeserving Carter to the much more worthy Merrick and Alden returns to running his automobile works. The film underlines the positive virtues of capitalist enterprise, shows unacceptable business practices being punished and sees deserving members of the younger generation perpetuating the worthwhile values of the older generation. A Successful Calamity (1932), based on a 1917 play which had starred William Gillette on Broadway, took up the idea of the need for the younger generation to learn proper values. Arliss plays the financier Henry Wilton, special representative of the President, who at the start of the film returns to the United States after a year in Europe sorting out the financial complications arising from war debts and settling the issue of foreign bonds. Arriving home he finds his son Eddie busy playing polo, his daughter Peggy playing contract bridge for money and his young second wife Emmie become a pretentious snob. They are all too busy with their social lives to resume the quiet family life and family meals that Wilton craves. When he returns to work, as a broker, he discovers that businessman Partington has reneged on a verbal agreement to sell him shares because they have gone up in price. Partington now demands more money;

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Wilton refuses. To bring his family to their senses, he announces that he has lost all his money. This shock leads them to rally round. All social engagements are cancelled, Eddie gets a job, Emmie pawns her jewellery and Peggy plans to marry her stuffy fiancée, until learning of the family’s ruin he backs out, and she can marry a decent and upright polo player (Randolph Scott). At the same time rumours of Wilton’s ruin cause Partington’s shares to fall, Wilton buys them up cheaply and explains to the mortified Partington that he wanted to teach him a lesson in honest dealing. He reveals to the family that he is not poor when they too have learned the lesson of the emptiness of upper-class social life and the value of hard work, family life and traditional values. The Working Man (1933), a remake of $20 a Week, has Arliss as John Reeves, another millionaire, this time a shoe manufacturer. He puts his nephew in charge of his firm and goes fishing in Maine. There he encounters Jenny and Tommy Hartland, the children of his old business rival Tom Hartland. Discovering that following their father’s death they have become frivolous party animals, getting drunk, ignoring the business, allowing themselves to be swindled by their servants and their manager, he gets himself appointed their trustee, puts Tommy to work, reorganises the shoe factory and exposes the chicanery of their duplicitous manager who is dismissed. He turns both children into good, hardworking capitalists. Taken together all three films emphasise the positive capitalism values of hard work, integrity and experience while at the same time exposing villains who pursue greed, self-interest and seedy business practices displaying the ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’. All three films made healthy profits at the box office.21 The only one of Arliss’ British films to involve the romance of capitalism is the delightful comedy The Guv’nor (1935) (US: Mr Hobo) a remake of a French film called Rothschild and retitled to avoid the obvious confusion with his earlier film. The title character is a philosophical tramp, whose real name is François Rothschild, known as The Guv’nor and no relation to the banking family. Edmond Barsac, the crooked head of a Paris bank (aware that it is facing bankruptcy), takes advantage of the coincidence of the names to make him president of the bank in order to ensure market confidence. He plans to get out of the bank before the inevitable collapse and to make a fortune by acquiring the failing Granville iron ore mines and iron works, whose owners believe have been worked out and are unaware of a newly discovered seam of ore. The Guv’nor finds out about his plans and tries to thwart them but fails. He is exposed by Barsac as a tramp and disappears. Suicide is suspected. This is believed to be due to business reasons; shares in the Granville Company, acquired by Barsac, collapse and he is ruined. But The Guv’nor turns up, having bought up the shares as everyone was selling them and returns them to the Granville family before resuming his life on the open road. The film shows how the whole stock market is built on confidence and that a mere name can inspire such confidence. It also shows how

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a clever man can manipulate the stock market by rumour. But the clever man in this case is a good man, set on exposing an unprincipled capitalist. Set in Liverpool in 1905, Old English (1930) is a robust and affectionate character study of an old-style Victorian capitalist. Arliss’ performance as an octogenarian shipping company owner is a positive tour de force. Sylvanus Heythorp is a Regency rip, a shameless but lovable old reprobate who had fathered an illegitimate son in Ireland, indulges in a love of port and cigars and preaches a philosophy of carpe diem (seize the day). Faced with bankruptcy, he sweet-talks his creditors into accepting deferred repayment of his debts. He persuades his board to buy four ships, a good investment, but insists on an illicit payment in order to make a settlement on his son’s widow and their children. Threatened with blackmail by a crooked lawyer who has found out about the payment, he defies him, embarks on a spectacular final meal and dies happy. The King’s Vacation (1933), at 60 minutes the shortest of Arliss’ films, is basically an elaborated anecdote, but it is done with warmth and charm. Arliss plays King Philip, the ruler of an unnamed European country. Putting his country’s needs ahead of his own, he abdicates in order to avoid revolution and bloodshed. Years before he had undertaken a marriage of state in order to fulfil his duty and to succeed to the throne. His wife, Queen Margaret, now encourages him to divorce and to remarry the wife he had been forced to give up. When he is reunited with his first wife Helen, he discovers that she desires all the pomp and panoply of a monarch’s wife that he had gratefully given up. He then discovers that after all he and Margaret had grown to love each other over the years and they are reunited. For 20 years Arliss had sought a viable play on Voltaire, even trying unsuccessfully to interest Bernard Shaw in writing one. Eventually E. Lawrence Dudley, a lawyer, and novelist George Gibbs produced such a play and Arliss revised it. But his stage producers declared it uncommercial and would not put it on. Arliss got Warners to buy it and, with a film script produced by playwright Paul Green and Maude Howell, he starred in Voltaire (UK: The Affairs of Voltaire) in 1933. Voltaire is portrayed as a prophet of democracy, the man who ‘educated the masses to think and act’, the harbinger of the French Republic. He stands for the values of liberty, tolerance and justice. Set in 1762, it shows Voltaire writing pamphlets to protest about the oppression of the people, the corruption of the Establishment, and the suppression of human rights. The King, Louis XV, is profligate and self-absorbed, claiming to rule by divine right, and his minister, Count de Sarnac, runs a police state with torture, rigged trials and political executions. Voltaire urges the King to listen to the voice of the people and introduce reform. In order to get rid of him, de Sarnac frames Voltaire for selling military secrets to Prussia and Voltaire is imprisoned in the Bastille. But Voltaire’s servant is able to prove that it was de Sarnac who was selling state secrets. Voltaire is pardoned but the King refuses to listen to him and a final montage shows how this led directly to the French Revolution and the introduction of Voltaire’s values.

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In Cardinal Richelieu (1935), handsomely designed, vigorously staged and impeccably acted, the seventeenth-century French chief minister Richelieu, played by Arliss, stands for patriotism, national unity and good government. He has to use all his guile, energy and ecclesiastical authority to foil the continual machinations of greedy and self-seeking Feudal nobles, who want the freedom to exploit and oppress the people, and are willing to cooperate with foreign invaders to gain their ends. Richelieu succeeds and is finally backed by the capricious and vacillating king, Louis XIII. For three of his British films, the ‘plus value’ was their consistent support for the policy of peace and appeasement which was the approach of the interwar British governments to foreign policy, a policy widely supported by the people, desperate to avoid a return to world war. The Iron Duke (1935), directed by Victor Saville, was Arliss’ first British film after his return from Hollywood, but it was a lacklustre effort, falling below the lively standard of his American vehicles. Arliss was in any case a curious casting for the role of the Duke of Wellington. A slight, round-shouldered figure with equine features and flared nostrils, he lacked the physical authority of almost all the other actors to have played the part – and they include Laurence Olivier, C. Aubrey Smith, Christopher Plummer, John Neville and Torin Thatcher. Arliss contented himself with interpreting Wellington as a wise, sly, witty, old gentleman in exactly the same mould as his Disraeli and Voltaire. Saville recalled that ‘Arliss was a good actor and had mastered the underplaying values of effective screen acting.’22 The film was clumsily put together, overburdened with explanatory titles and weighed down with a lengthy opening narration which only confused matters further. But its interest lies in the fact that, apart from a scrappily staged battle of Waterloo shot, according to Saville, by a second unit in Scotland it concentrates on Wellington’s role as a peacemaker rather than a warlord.23 He advocates the rebuilding of France and opposes the levying of an indemnity, territorial confiscations and the shooting of Marshal Ney. He consistently declares his commitment to peace and defends his stance in the House of Lords by saying that England got out of the war with France what she went into for – to rid the world of an unexampled tyranny. It is difficult not to view this film in the context of the Treaty of Versailles, the severe treatment meted out to Germany by the Allies and the growth of sympathy for Germany, which led to the abandonment of her war reparations payments in 1932 and the failure of Britain and France to do anything about the reoccupation of the Rhineland. Saville reported that Gaumont’s decision to import Arliss paid off. ‘The Iron Duke brought revenue from its American exhibition, more revenue than infinitely superior pictures, such as I Was a Spy or Evergreen had produced.’24 East Meets West (1936) is best described as a diplomatic thriller and Arliss gives a tour de force of a performance as the Sultan of the strategically important Malayan state of Rungay. In the film, both Britain and Japan are seeking to

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establish naval bases in Rungay. The Sultan plans to sell his friendship to the highest bidder, using the money to effect internal improvements in his state. The film’s principal concern is to promote the idea of international peace. The British government rejects the idea of sending a gunboat to enforce its will on Rungay and eventually agrees to pay one million pounds in return for a guarantee of no Japanese base. Arliss had proposed the title Hands Off for the film and saw it as reflecting directly on the current European situation. He wrote: I liked the title of Hands Off because my chief reason for doing the picture was that I thought it might, in a peaceful and picturesque way, express the idea that we have a right to expect honourable dealings between nations just as we look for it between individuals; that when one nation feels the need for expansion (the time-honoured excuse) instead of stealing territory from another nation, it might at least consider the possibility of buying its expansion with real hard cash.25

His Lordship (1936) (US: Man of Affairs) was another diplomatic thriller. When the Emir of Kasra is murdered – apparently by a British citizen – his ministers demand the handover as reparation of the mines, oil wells and railways of Kasra which the British run. The core of the film is the diametrically opposed views being expressed by twin brothers, both stylishly played by Arliss. Foreign Secretary Viscount Dunchester is an old fashioned jingoist prepared to use force to deal with Kasra. ‘There are only two ways of dealing with these Orientals – try persuasion and if that fails, we’ll send an armed force.’ He addresses a dockland constituency meeting of working men, using all the old imperial rhetoric and arguing for war to defend Britain’s national interests. He is shouted down by his working-class audience who want peace. His twin brother Richard Fraser is a raffish and whimsical remittance man living in Kasra. He speaks Arabic, understands the Arabs and seeks peace for the region and good government for the Emirate. He takes his brother’s place at a vital cabinet meeting, exposes the Kasran ministers as the true assassins, averts both war and the nationalisation of British assets and secures the installation of a public-school educated, pro-British ruler on the throne. His commitment to peace coincides with that of Prime Minister Stevenson, a statesmanlike and judicious figure made up and dressed to look like Stanley Baldwin. Like the people, Stevenson wants peace. Just as in the 1935 election, the people voted for Baldwin and peace. Although neither film did particularly well at the box office, that may be related to Arliss’ declining appeal rather than antipathy to the films’ message. In his final film, Doctor Syn (1937), playing the Vicar of Dymchurch who has a hidden past as the pirate captain Clegg, Arliss seemed uncharacteristically subdued. ‘It had no plus value’ he recalled, ‘but it was entertaining and one of Russell Thorndike’s best sellers. It had for me a special appeal because the story was laid in my beloved Kent’.26 Directed by Roy William Neill, it is a spirited and stylish costume adventure and a not unfitting role in which to bow out.

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In these days when wisdom in the West is widely seen to reside with youth, it is a salutary lesson to watch the Arliss films in which every time wisdom, experience and understanding of life, values and human nature are seen to reside squarely with the elderly – as indeed they do.

Notes 1. John Sedgwick, Popular Filmgoing in 1930s Britain (Exeter, 2000), 189–90. 2. Patrick McGilligan, Cagney: the actor as auteur (Cranbury, New Jersey, 1975), 197–213. 3. Louis N. Parker, Several of My Lives (London: 1928), 236. 4. George Arliss, George Arliss by Himself (London: 1940), 43. 5. Arliss, George Arliss, 289. 6. Arliss, George Arliss, 206–7. 7. Arliss, George Arliss, 177. 8. Arliss, George Arliss, 159–60. 9. Arliss, George Arliss, 211. 10. Arliss, George Arliss, 113. 11. Edward Arnold, Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood (New York, 1940), 260–61. 12. Arliss, George Arliss, 174. 13. Michael Balcon, A Lifetime of Films (London, 1969), 88–89. 14. Arliss, George Arliss, 144–50. 15. Sedgwick, Popular Filmgoing, 269, 274, 276. 16. Arliss, George Arliss, 175. 17. Arliss, George Arliss, 10. 18. Robert M. Fells, George Arliss: the man who played God (Lanham, Maryland, 2004), 42. 19. Sedgwick, Popular Filmgoing, 267. 20. Fells, George Arliss, 108. 21. Fells, George Arliss, 76, 80, 87. 22. Roy Moseley, Evergreen: Victor Saville in his own words (Carbondale, 2000), 83. 23. Moseley, Evergreen, 83 24. Moseley, Evergreen, 83. 25. Arliss, George Arliss, 222. 26. Arliss, George Arliss, 243.

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4 ‘WAR’ VERSUS ‘CULTURAL’ PROPAGANDA: INSTITUTIONAL AND IDEOLOGICAL TENSIONS OVER THE PROJECTION OF BRITAIN DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR James Chapman

The emergence of propaganda history as a field of scholarly enquiry since the 1970s has laid the ghosts of many misconceptions about the role of propaganda and mass persuasion in the twentieth century. In particular the pejorative connotations of the word ‘propaganda’ are no longer a barrier to studying propaganda policies and techniques. The idea that propaganda was inherently a bad thing was summed up by American social scientist L. W. Doob in 1935 when he wrote that ‘the word propaganda has a bad odour. It is associated with war and other evil practices.’1 Another misconception – largely arising from that ‘bad odour’ – was the view that propaganda had no proper place in liberal democracies. As the American media historian Erik Barnouw once remarked: ‘Propaganda was what others did, especially the Germans.’2 And Duff Cooper, a reluctant ministerial incumbent at the British Ministry of Information during the Second World War, later said: ‘I believe the truth of the matter to be that there is no place in the British scheme of government for a Ministry of Information.’3 Yet Britain was one of the first nations to recognise the need for an official agency to project the national case not only during both world wars but also in periods of international ideological struggle such as the 1930s and the Cold War. One of the earliest examples of this was the formation of the British Council in 1934. As Philip M. Taylor demonstrated: ‘The British Council was created and developed as a democratic response to the new and urgent problems caused by the emergence of the totalitarian states in Europe . . . The totalitarian use of propaganda, powerfully and deliberately directed against British interests abroad, forced Britain onto the defensive by offering foreign audiences an alternative ideology.’4

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Another general misconception is that propaganda, especially when it is practised by official agencies, is institutionally monolithic and ideologically homogeneous. It used to be a given, for example, that all cultural production in Nazi Germany was so completely under the control and direction of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels that all ‘Nazi’ films could be read unproblematically as expressions of the official state and party ideology. However, this view has been challenged by media historians who have demonstrated that, like other aspects of government, the direction of propaganda policy has often exposed ideological tensions, institutional differences and personal rivalries. It has since been established, for example, that Goebbels clashed with Leni Riefenstahl over the making of Triumph of the Will (1935): Goebbels disliked this most notorious of Nazi propaganda films, and Riefenstahl was able to complete it only because of the personal support of Hitler.5 And in Britain during the Second World War the relationship between the government and the commercial film industry, while largely harmonious, included some points of conflict and dissent: the best-known example is Winston Churchill’s personal intervention over The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943).6 This chapter explores another, little-known case of such tension and conflict: the institutional and ideological rivalry that emerged in Britain between the Ministry of Information and the British Council during World War II. It will show how the existence of competing institutions with different ideological agendas led to a bitterly contested struggle over the projection of Britain, focusing on the cultural films produced by the British Council for overseas distribution.

Institutional Contexts The Ministry of Information (MOI) had been set up at the outbreak of war in September 1939 as the official organisation for the direction of British propaganda policy at home and abroad. Its turbulent early history that saw four ministers within the space of 20 months has been well documented and need not be rehearsed again here.7 Suffice it to say that the MOI was dubbed the ‘Ministry of Dis-Information’ and the ‘Ministry of Muddle’ on account of many blunders and misunderstandings that occurred early in the war. The problems included a lack of co-ordination with the Service departments over the issue of news and the erratic exercise of censorship. Lord Halifax, Foreign Secretary at the outbreak of war, described the MOI as ‘a body without a head and not very effective limbs either’.8 Its early attempts to mobilise popular support for the war effort were ineffective to say the least: the infamous propaganda poster declaring ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution, Will Bring Us Victory’ could almost have been calculated to perpetuate class divisions rather than promote national unity and social cohesion. In October 1939 a report by the independent social survey organisation Mass-Observation found that ‘the source

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of all Government publicity, the Ministry of Information, is almost universally discredited in the eyes of the masses.’9 So disastrous was the MOI’s start to the war that it came close to being disbanded altogether. In the event it relinquished some of its responsibilities: a Press and Censorship Bureau was set up under Sir Walter Monckton, reporting to the Home Office rather than the MOI, while responsibility for propaganda to enemy countries was transferred to the Foreign Office.10 Much of the criticism of the MOI centred on its Films Division, which exemplified in microcosm the problems that beset the MOI as a whole. Sir Joseph Ball, the first Director of the Films Division, did not prove an effective leader, while the division itself seems to have been gripped by institutional inertia.11 The documentary film-maker Paul Rotha complained that ‘a film tended too often to become a file rather than a film’.12 Another critic was Sir Robert Vansittart, the former Permanent Under-secretary of State at the Foreign Office who now occupied an honorary post as Chief Diplomatic Adviser to His Majesty’s Government: I am rather disturbed at our total failure to use the film weapon effectively. It is in fact the most effective of the lot. So far, although the war has been in progress for nearly two months, we have made only one film, other than documentaries, and that is the Korda film that has been on private view this week. This film was made entirely on Mr Korda’s own initiative and at his own expense. We ought of course to have had a number of these by now.13

The film to which Vansittart referred, Alexander Korda’s The Lion Has Wings (1939), was a patriotic tribute to the fighting power of the Royal Air Force. It was a special case: Korda had rushed it into production at the outbreak of war and by stitching together newsreels and old documentary films with some new studio sequences had completed it within six weeks. The idea that several such films could have been made was unrealistic. Nevertheless there was a widely held view that the Films Division was ineffective and leaderless. It was during this early period of the ‘Phoney War’ that the first broadside was fired in what would become a long-running inter-departmental rivalry. In November 1939 Charles Peake, Head of the Foreign Office News Department, wrote a memorandum criticising the work of the MOI Films Division to date and arguing for its demotion within the institutional hierarchy of Whitehall: ‘The Films Section [sic] of the Ministry of Information has now been in existence for over two months, and so far as can be seen astonishingly little has been achieved. The reason would seem to be because the Films Section is not working to any co-ordinated policy.’ Peake compared the British film propaganda effort unfavourably with Germany and was critical of the lack of guidance for film producers regarding the making of propaganda films. He attached particular importance to film propaganda overseas, suggesting that the Films Division should take its

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lead from the MOI’s Foreign Publicity Division: ‘If the view stated above is correct than it follows that the Films Section should work as the “servant” of the Foreign Publicity Division so far as policy is concerned and its chief function should be, by virtue of the specialist knowledge which it should possess and of its contacts with the film industry, to put into effect the policy laid down by the Foreign Office, [and] the Colonial and Dominions Office.’14 This was nothing less than an attempt to reduce the Films Division to a production liaison office, removing its executive responsibility for film propaganda policy. While Peake’s proposal went no further, it demonstrates that from an early stage in the war there was animosity between the Foreign Office and the MOI. The Foreign Office’s antipathy towards the MOI should be understood in the context of institutional politics. The Foreign Office, parent body of the British Council and an organisation which also ran its own service for the promotion of British interests overseas, resented the upstart new ministry. In particular the Foreign Office wanted to reserve for itself all responsibility for overseas publicity and propaganda. This institutional jealousy surfaced in disputes over specific aspects of policy. The Foreign Office was upset, for example, when the MOI supported Alexander Korda’s visit to the United States late in 1939 to publicise The Lion Has Wings. It chastised the MOI for apparently breaking the British government’s pledge not to undertake any propaganda activity in America: ‘This film, The Lion Has Wings, seems to be the first definite breach in this guarantee to the Americans, and I think it will be extremely difficult to defend it if it gets challenged.’15 The Foreign Office felt that the incident ‘reveals a disastrous lack of liaison within the Ministry’.16 A further disagreement occurred in the summer of 1940 over a proposal by the Warner Bros. Studio in Hollywood to make a film of C. S. Forester’s Captain Horatio Hornblower from a script by the author. In return for making what would effectively be a pro-British propaganda film, Warner Bros. had asked to withdraw the revenues it accrued in the British market. At this time the British earnings of American films were ‘frozen’ by the Treasury: they could not be withdrawn from Britain but could be reinvested in British production activities. The Foreign Office supported the idea and urged that Treasury restrictions be lifted for this film; however, the MOI refused to go along with the proposal.17 The ‘Hornblower’ incident once again revealed institutional differences between the MOI and the Foreign Office over film propaganda. These differences were about to escalate in a dispute over the activities of the British Council.

The Controversy over British News The British Council had been established in 1934 ‘for the purpose of promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the English language abroad, and for the purpose of benefitting the

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British Commonwealth of Nations’.18 Since before the outbreak of war it had been supplying films for the British Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York. These included a fortnightly newsreel entitled British News, which was a composite of items from the five British newsreel companies: Gaumont-British News, British Movietone, British Pathé, British Paramount and Universal. British News had been well received by visitors to the pavilion and the British Council wanted to continue with it when the World’s Fair closed in October 1940. Its plan was to distribute the newsreel throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth. When the MOI heard that a copy of the newsreel had been sent to South Africa, it resented the fact that it was not consulted. The Director of the MOI’s Empire Division felt ‘bound to question both the necessity and the wisdom of this attempt . . . It is, indeed, very remarkable that this move by the British Council appears to have been made without any reference either to the Empire Division or to the Films Division of the Ministry of Information.’19 The MOI pointed out that it, rather than the British Council, was responsible for propaganda in the Dominions and that the issue of an official newsreel there would undermine the activities of the commercial companies. The British Council did not take kindly to the MOI’s intervention. Neville Kearney, Head of the Council’s Films Committee, wrote to its Secretary General Sir Philip Guedalla: ‘This is obviously meant to make trouble . . . The Ministry’s concern for the legitimate commercial interests of the newsreel companies is amusing. We well know the extent of those interests and are working with all the companies.’20 The incident escalated to the point of ministerial intervention. In a letter to the Colonial Secretary Lord Lloyd, Duff Cooper insisted that any official newsreel should rightly be the responsibility of the MOI: In my view, the British newsreel in war-time is both news and propaganda in the fullest sense. Consequently, the distribution of British newsreels overseas is essentially a responsibility of my Department and cannot be divorced from other film problems. It is emphatically not a cultural matter; and it seems to be quite accidental that the Council should have become responsible for the composite shown at the New York World’s Fair and for the distribution of this newsreel in the Colonies.21

Cooper feared ‘that real harm may be done if our two Departments exercise a dual responsibility for newsreel activities in the Empire and in foreign countries’ and suggested that the MOI should take over the production and distribution of British News. On this occasion the British Council got its way: it was allowed to continue with the production of British News. The MOI was unable to assert itself as its own position was not strong enough at the time. In the summer of 1940 the MOI was under investigation by the Select Committee on National Expenditure – a powerful Whitehall committee charged with scrutinising government spending to ensure value for money. In August 1940, when the British News controversy

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erupted, the Select Committee had criticised the MOI for ‘the lack of clearly defined objectives.’22 It was particularly critical of the Films Division for its decision to provide financial support for commercial feature film production (though in fact the only commercial feature supported in this way was 49th Parallel) and recommended that it should only commission films on behalf of other departments – a recommendation which, had it been implemented, would have emasculated the Films Division in much the same way as the Foreign Office had suggested in November 1939. One of the Select Committee’s specific recommendations was that the British Council should continue to produce and distribute British News: ‘The British Council’s newsreel should be the official British newsreel for all countries abroad and substituted for the Ministry’s newsreel service where it exists.’23 The MOI accepted this recommendation grudgingly, declaring that ‘it is doubtful policy to provide any “official” newsreel’ and suggesting that for propaganda purposes ‘an “official” newsreel is merely a newsreel that courts disbelief.’24 At this stage, clearly, following its many problems during the first year of the war, the MOI was not in a position to impose its own view. Even so it continued to complain about British News. It now switched tack to the British Council’s lack of any proper distribution mechanism. Cooper wrote to R.A. Butler, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs: ‘The British Council have at present no machinery for distributing their newsreel to foreign countries and it could only lead to overlapping and wasteful expenditure if we attempted to distribute this newsreel in addition to our own.’25 Neville Kearney countered that the Council had ‘reasonable distribution overseas for the Council’s documentary films.’26 A compromise of sorts was reached whereby it was agreed ‘that the production and distribution of British News for the Colonies shall continue, and that both production and distribution shall be effected by the Council – either directly on behalf of the Colonial Office or semi-directly as “agent” for the MOI and/ or the CO.’27 The MOI accepted its defeat and waited for its next opportunity: it would not be long before that opportunity arose.

The MOI, the British Council and the ‘Documentary Boys’ The MOI and the British Council both had responsibility for the production and distribution of documentary films, commissioned either from external producers or, in the MOI’s case, from the GPO Film Unit, which came under its control in 1940 and which at the end of the year became the Crown Film Unit. Until the British News issue arose there seems to have been no liaison between the two bodies. Kearney acknowledged that the British Council was ‘completely ignorant of the Ministry’s plans for overseas distribution of documentaries in either theatrical or non-theatrical form’ and instigated a meeting ‘to try and flatten out the practical problems that arise and endeavour to arrive at a practical working

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solution.’28 It was agreed at a meeting between representatives of the two agencies in July 1940 (known as the Clark-Guedalla agreement after Sir Kenneth Clark and Sir Philip Guedalla) that the MOI would be responsible for ‘war’ propaganda while the British Council would concern itself solely with ‘cultural’ propaganda. The problem here was that the distinction was not clearly defined. As Kearney remarked following a meeting with Jack Beddington, his opposite number at the MOI Films Division: ‘The Ministry was putting a little more water in its wine, whereas we were putting a little more wine with our water.’29 It soon became apparent that the distinction between ‘war’ and ‘cultural’ propaganda was difficult to implement in practice. Kearney became increasingly exasperated by what he regarded as the MOI’s tendency to trespass upon the British Council’s turf. After seeing the short Religion and the People, produced for the MOI by Arthur Elton, for example, he wrote: ‘So far as the film itself is concerned I did not think much of it, but that is by the way. This film had no sort of relationship whatever to the War and could in no sense be considered as War propaganda, although it might be deemed “cultural” propaganda as showing our tolerance for all religious denominations and activities.’30 On another occasion he complained of ‘an increasing tendency on the part of the Ministry of Information to describe any subject which would normally be a Council subject as rightly reserved to the Ministry because it is to be treated as a “War” subject.’31 Kearney was in no doubt of the reason for the MOI’s insistence on claiming all ‘war’ subjects, no matter how tangentially related to the war, for themselves: ‘There would seem to be a concerted effort on the part of the M of I Films Division and the “Documentary Boys” to try and get everything into their own hands so that at the end of the War there will be nobody else to carry on but themselves.’32 The reasons for the growing rift between the MOI and the British Council were both personal and ideological. Jack Beddington, the third Director of the MOI Films Division, came from an industry background having previously been Assistant General Manager and Director of Publicity for Shell Mex. Documentary News Letter, a small but influential publication that represented the voice of the progressive documentary movement, welcomed Beddington’s appointment as it felt that he ‘will bring to his new post both taste and a sense of public need – two qualities only too rarely associated with commercial ability.’33 Beddington’s success as Director of the Films Division lay in the fact that he recognised that both commercial producers and documentarists needed to be brought into the fold: his two predecessors had alienated either the documentary movement (Sir Joseph Ball) or Wardour Street (Sir Kenneth Clark).34 It was under Beddington that several prominent documentarists were recruited to the Films Division, notably Arthur Elton as Supervisor of Production and Thomas Baird to oversee the MOI’s non-theatrical film distribution programme. Kearney, in contrast, as a former secretary of the Newsreel Association, was very much a Wardour Street

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man. He exhibited an extreme antipathy towards the documentarists, particularly those associated with Film Centre, an independent documentary group noted for its left-wing leanings. A recurrent theme of Kearney’s memoranda about the MOI Films Division was that ‘the Film Centre attitude and atmosphere pervades the whole outfit.’35 The personal animosity that Kearney felt towards some members of the MOI Films Division mapped onto a broader ideological tension over the nature of film propaganda. This can broadly be summed up as that between ‘entertainment’ and ‘propaganda’: between those (largely in the commercial film industry) who believed that film’s primary role during the war should be to provide escapism for the masses and those (including the more progressive members of the commercial film industry as well as most documentarists) who advocated the use of film as a medium of social and political comment. The leading advocate of the latter position was Documentary News Letter, which argued that propaganda for democracy ‘must be a policy which provides for the screen examination of social issues, whether controversial or not’.36 Documentary News Letter was an outspoken critic of official film policy, and, in the early years of the war especially, would often lambast ‘the inefficiency, muddle-headedness and downright stupidity of the Films Division.’37 But at least it accepted the necessity of the MOI, unlike the British Council’s Films Committee: Typical of the spinelessness of British film propaganda is the continued survival of the British Council’s Film Committee. This Committee must go. It represents an old-fashioned and reactionary outlook which can do this nation nothing but harm amongst free and progressive peoples all over the world . . . The British Council as a whole, tied as it is to the ill-laundered apron strings of the Foreign Office, is not an organisation of which the British people have any reason to be proud; and its Film Department certainly represents an attitude of mind which is entirely divorced from the urgencies of the moment.38

In light of such hostility it is perhaps little wonder that Kearney should become rather paranoid about what he saw as the documentarists’ undue influence over the MOI. As he complained to the Foreign Office in December 1940: ‘One cannot avoid the suspicion that the ultimate object is eventually to centralise in the hands of one body – i.e. Film Centre “Documentary Boys” – the whole influence of film in the reordering of things social both during the war and when it comes to an end.’ 39 The ideological differences between the MOI Films Division and the British Council can also be seen in their relations with the British Film Institute (BFI). Early in the war the MOI had spurned offers of assistance from the BFI, which had put itself forward as an expert authority on all matters relating to film. Sir Kenneth Clark, during his time in charge of the Films Division early in 1940,

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had formed the opinion ‘that the Film Institute is incompetent and Mr Oliver Bell [the BFI’s Director] a muddle-headed busybody.’40 Jack Beddington was more circumspect but equally sceptical: ‘The offers of service made by the British Film Institute have meant, in the last analysis, that Government should subsidise the British Film Institute to employ relatively less competent persons to perform the work undertaken by relatively more competent persons in the Films Division.’41 The MOI regarded the BFI as a conservative body whose Board of Governors was controlled by trade interests. It is perhaps no surprise to learn that Neville Kearney was himself a member of the Board of Governors of the BFI or that Oliver Bell would find a role as films adviser to the British Council. Thus the personal differences between the British Council and the MOI became institutionalised.

The Marginalisation of the British Council The institutional and ideological tensions between the British Council and the MOI came to a head during the winter of 1941–2. Ostensibly this concerned four particular British Council films, but it soon became a set-piece rehearsal of the ideological differences between the two organisations over the representation of the British war effort. An MOI report on the four films – Kew Gardens, English Inns, Western Isles and Song of the Clyde – was extremely critical on the grounds that they did not show the impact of war on British society: The British Council’s work is confined to ‘culture’. But ‘culture’, if it means anything, is a reflection of the intellectual and emotional life of a country. It is therefore a fatal weakness to suggest that peacetime culture persists unchanged in a war, because this implies that the people are not spiritually at war at all . . . The marked avoidance of war in the films will create the impression that we are afraid to face the issues of war. A film on the Clyde which does not show a single warship, a single sailor or even a convoy, will come as a shock to every neutral.42

The report argued that the films should not be shown overseas, claiming that ‘they will seem to be living proof of Goebbels’s statements that the British are frivolous, or that they have lost the intellectual, moral and industrial lead which they once held’. ‘An accumulation of films such as these,’ it went on, ‘could go far towards bringing neutral countries in on the German side and allied countries and the Empire to cynicism.’ The tone of the report – with its hysterical exaggeration of the potential effect of films about Kew Gardens and the Western Isles of Scotland on neutral opinion – would suggest that what was at stake was not the films themselves but rather competing claims to the projection of Britain on screen. It now became clear that what the MOI wanted was to take control of all official film propaganda at home and abroad. This is evident from an accompanying letter from Brendan Bracken,

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the Minister of Information, to the Council’s chairman Sir Malcolm Robertson, pointing out that the MOI’s plans for film production ‘are continually hampered by the fact that adequate manpower is no longer available to make all the films we should like’ and suggesting that the Council’s film activities were a drain on precious resources: ‘In this connection I should like very much to have a word with you about the film-making activities of the British Council. I am very doubtful whether their propaganda value is in any way commensurate to the resources put in to the making of them.’43 The British Council responded robustly to the MOI’s criticism. Robertson replied that ‘the presentation in the Empire and foreign countries of a picture of the British way of life, thought and achievement . . . is bound to form an essential part of any intelligently conceived policy of short-term wartime propaganda and it is the very essence of long-term peacetime propaganda.’44 Robertson was reminding Bracken, in other words, that, unlike the MOI, the work of the British Council was expected to continue after the war. Kearney was in no doubt about the MOI’s motives: ‘From the first the Ministry’s Film Division has been antagonistic and jealous of the Council’s activities . . . They have tried by every means to bring about a complete cessation of our production and distribution activities, and have even themselves produced many films which are not war propaganda and should be made by us, on the pretext that they relate to this and that “in wartime”.’45 Early in 1942 the tension between the two bodies boiled over into outright conflict. The usually mild Sir Malcolm Robertson was prompted to complain to Bracken about ‘the persistently hostile attitude of the Ministry’s Film Division towards the Council’s Film Department, the closing down of which seems to be their main interest in life’. He continued: We are, after all, all engaged in the war effort and I feel that we should endeavour to pull together. This we certainly are not doing at present, in so far as films are concerned. If you would instruct your Film Division to cease from their persistent and wearisome efforts, chiefly foul and pernickety, to have mine suppressed, though their knowledge of foreign of countries is quite clearly elementary, if indeed it can be rated so high, we might be able to start doing some real good between us. For Heaven’s sake let us try!46

It is a quite extraordinary letter that clearly indicates Robertson’s frustration at the situation. The MOI now made its move to take over the Council’s film activities. Bracken suggested that ‘for the future the production of films for both propaganda organisations should be placed in the hands of the Ministry with an annual programme of British Council films agreed in advance and worked out from preliminary conception to completion in close touch with those of your officers who are concerned.’47 This was rejected by the Council. Instead a compromise was reached whereby the veteran producer-director Thomas Bentley – best known as ‘the great

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Dickensian character impersonator and scholar’48 – was appointed as Supervisor of Production for the British Council. The MOI approved of his appointment: ‘The proposal to have someone in this capacity is universally welcomed and, as regards Thomas Bentley himself, everyone who knows him appears to be of the same view that he is a highly competent producer and director, although one or two seem to think that he may not be very imaginative.’49 This clearly suited the MOI’s agenda. The MOI had succeeded in effectively marginalising the British Council. Its mandate to produce ‘war’ propaganda ensured that the Council’s films were restricted to subjects of limited interest for wartime audiences. At the same time, however, the Council did not help itself. Seeking an external review of its film activities, the Council turned to none other than the ‘muddle-headed’ Oliver Bell and one A. G. Highet, a civil servant who once had been responsible for the GPO Film Unit and whose bureaucratic penny-pinching had antagonised the ‘Documentary Boys’: Harry Watt derided him as ‘a pompous Scot . . . whose total creative problems had been bounded by whether to paint the Post Office at Nether Wallop white or pink!’50 Bell and Highet simply recommended maintaining the status quo: We recommend that, as a matter of principle, the British Council should continue to adhere to its present policy of presenting Britain to the foreigner on a long-term basis, i.e. that it should not seek primarily to show the life of Britain as it has been superficially altered by the impact of war, but rather concentrate on showing the fundamental qualities of the nation and the traditional heritage of the people so that the foreigner can begin to understand why we react in a particular manner to a particular set of circumstances and that our so-called illogicality is in reality the result of definite reasoning.51

Bell and Highet therefore distanced themselves from the view that the war had brought about fundamental and far-reaching social change in Britain and instead recommended that British Council films should ‘show that our country has a living past and is in continual development rather than sudden change’. Their suggestions for suitable topics included ‘National Health’, ‘Social Assurance’, ‘Garden Cities’, ‘Country Policemen’ and ‘Animal Welfare’. In effect Bell and Highet’s report demonstrated the same cultural conservatism that the Council had long been accused of perpetuating. The Council was accepting its own marginalisation. This suited the MOI: if it had not succeeded in closing down the Council’s Film Department, it had at least ensured that the content of its films would be heavily proscribed.

British Council Films in the United States The battle ground between the MOI and the British Council now shifted to the distribution of the Council’s films in the United States. Here there were

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constraints on the activities of both organisations. The American market for British films, especially official documentaries, was limited, to say the least, while in the early period of the war both organisations were obliged to observe the ‘no propaganda’ guarantee that Britain had made to the United States.52 As this policy was relaxed towards the end of 1940 more official British films were sent to the United States. However, the priority was for films such as London Can Take It! (1940), specifically designed to show American audiences how the British people were withstanding the Blitz, or Target for Tonight (1941), the documentary-feature that was the first to show the British not just ‘taking it’ but striking back, rather than the more cultural fare of the British Council. The MOI, reasonably enough, argued that its own films should take priority: ‘The commercial market in the USA for British shorts of any description is limited . . . MOI, whose responsibility war propaganda is, and the Treasury, who foot the bill, are entitled to insist that the market be properly nursed.’53 It soon became apparent that the British Council would face an uphill struggle to get any of its films onto American screens. The responsibility for distribution of British official films in the United States resided with British Information Services (BIS) in New York. It had been decided in 1940 that one organisation should be responsible for the distribution of both MOI and British Council films in America. The British Council soon came to regard this situation as unsatisfactory on the grounds that the Films Officer attached to the British Library of Information in New York (merged with BIS in 1941) – one Richard Ford – ‘was, in his former work, in touch with the “Film Centre Documentary movement” here, and is believed to share the views and aspirations of those connected with the movement’.54 It was certainly the case that Ford was sceptical of the value of the Council’s films. In October 1941, for example, Ford reviewed six Council films but felt that only two – Learning to Live (‘A useful addition to our excellent selection of films showing various aspects of education in Britain’) and John Bull (‘A good subject – cattle-breeding in Britain – doubtless made for the South American market, but equally interesting here’) – were suitable for America, and then only for non-theatrical distribution. His views on the other films were dismissive in the extreme: Western Waterway was ‘a dull travelogue dealing with the River Avon’, Merseyside was ‘a very dull travelogue with no human interest’, and Full Cycle was ‘a deplorable and, from the point of view of US showing, quite pointless film about coal mining in Wales’.55 Professor Charles Webster, Director of BIS, told the British Council that such films ‘create a wrong state of mind in the American people. We wish to show them there is a struggle going on in the world in which they should take part, to give them a sense of participation in the greatest of all world conflicts, and films like Western Waterway which show Bristol, now seriously blitzed, in normal peacetime activity, give an entirely wrong point of view.’56 It was the same argument as before now being rehearsed in respect of American audiences.

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Again there was a degree of personal animosity within the institutional politics. Kearney commented tartly that ‘Mr Ford’s opinions do not impress us; and his capacities for judging films (let alone the policy underlying their production) are confined to the product of the long-haired super-documentary school who are his blood brothers’.57 Robertson was more moderate in communicating his concern to the MOI: ‘I am afraid that Mr Ford’s opinions do not impress me very much. He has no idea at all of the policy underlying the production of British Council films. I am, of course, quite unaware of whether he has any real capacity for judging American tastes or for expressing opinions as to the political effect of films.’58 Ford, however, did not rise to the bait. He maintained a friendly relationship with the Council and denied that his opinions on films were ideologically motivated. When he left the post in 1943 he wrote to one Council official: ‘Although my dealings with the British Council have not always been smooth, you have given me credit for stating my views without prejudice, and in our best interests here.’59 The situation did not improve following America’s entry into the war: if anything the resistance to British Council films strengthened. BIS negotiated a deal with the major US distributors for a rota system for theatrical release of the MOI’s feature-length documentaries such as Desert Victory (1943). However, the cultural films of the British Council remained a difficult sell. It is hard to assess how far American distributors and audiences were resistant to British Council films or how far this was a convenient smokescreen on the part of BIS and the MOI. Nevertheless the arguments had a familiar ring. As Brendan Bracken wrote to Robertson in August 1942: Our people have now seen the film on the National Trust about which you wrote to me on 6th August. They were impressed with its high quality and will make every effort to secure theatrical distribution for it in the United States. The trouble is, however, that the American screen has little space for a film which does not deal with the war and there are, therefore, very limited possibilities of placing it in this way.60

The Council was caught in the same impasse: on the one hand it was told repeatedly that US audiences had no interest in non-war subjects, while on the other hand it was prevented from producing films relating directly to the British war experience. The view that BIS put little effort into promoting British Council films persisted. In 1944 Kearney complained: ‘The whole position with regard to Council films in the United States is unsatisfactory. We have sent out a large number, but none of them has received commercial showing, and the number that have secured even restricted non-theatrical showing is limited.’61 Kearney cannot have been pleased when Thomas Baird, one of the despised ‘Documentary Boys’, became the Director of the BIS Films Division. Baird, for his part, argued that BIS policy should be to distribute ‘fewer and better films’ and only those presenting

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Britain as a ‘good and trustworthy Ally and a forward-looking nation’.62 Thomas Hodge, who replaced Ford as BIS Films Officer, acknowledged ‘how difficult it is at present – even given better films – for the BIS to give time and place to the promotion of British Council subjects in the United States.’63 In view of the continuing failure to secure any theatrical release for any British Council films, there was a move for the Council to ditch BIS and attempt to sell its own films: ‘If their theory is right about what American audiences will take, most of our films will not succeed in any case, but they could hardly, I think, object to our having an independent shot at distribution, in view of their own avowed policy.’64 Kearney sounded a note of desperation: ‘I do feel that we should now demand liberty of action in the commercial field and fight to the last ditch.’65 It is an indication of the extent to which the British Council had been so completely marginalised by this stage in the war that the MOI raised no objection, merely pointing out that ‘in so far as you run under your own steam, we must leave you to find your own allocation of raw film stock’.66 The MOI, however, was having the last laugh. Kearney soon learned that ‘the film printing situation and supply of film stock in the United States was in an extra-ordinary position – even more chaotic than here . . . The chances, therefore, of getting our films distributed now in America are very slim, not because the films themselves are unsuitable but because of the difficulty of getting the distribution prints of them made.’67 It hardly seemed to matter anymore. By 1945 the end of the war was in sight and the need for either war or cultural propaganda had all but passed.

Conclusions The fraught relations between the MOI and the British Council during the World War II provide a fascinating case study of how a combination of institutional rivalries, ideological tensions and personal animosities can impact upon the direction of official policy. It offers an insight into how genuine differences over the nature of propaganda could become entangled with institutional politics and petty jealousies. It is impossible, in reading the correspondence and reports, not to echo Sir Malcolm Robertson’s injunction that ‘we are . . . all engaged in the war effort and I feel that we should endeavour to pull together’. Instead the two organisations exerted much time and energy in sniping at each other. Nevertheless this institutional and ideological struggle had important consequences for the British propaganda effort. The MOI had ensured that when it came to the projection of Britain on screen, its own views would predominate.

Notes 1. L. W. Doob, Propaganda: Its Psychology and Technique (New York, 1935), 3. 2. Quoted in the ‘Preface’ to K.R.M. Short (ed.), Film and Radio Propaganda in World War II (London 1983), 1.

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3. Alfred Duff Cooper, Old Men Forget (London, 1957), 287. 4. Philip M. Taylor, ‘British official attitudes to propaganda abroad, 1918–39,’ in Nicholas Pronay and D. W. Spring (eds), Propaganda, Politics and Film, 1918–45 (London, 1982), 39. See also Philip M. Taylor, The Projection of Britain: British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda, 1919–39 (Cambridge, 1981). 5. David Welch, Propaganda and the German Cinema 1933–1945 (Oxford, 1983), 147–59. 6. James Chapman, ‘The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) Reconsidered,’ Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 15 (1) (March 1995), 15–54. For a different take on the same episode, see Nicholas Pronay and Jeremy Croft, ‘British Film Censorship and Propaganda Policy during the Second World War,’ in James Curran and Vincent Porter (eds), British Cinema History (London, 1983), 144–63. 7. The best study of the MOI remains Ian McLaine, Ministry of Morale: Home Front Morale and the Ministry of Information in World War II (London, 1979). See also Michael Balfour, Propaganda in War, 1939–1945: Organisations, Policies and Publics in Britain and Germany (London, 1979). 8. The National Archives, Kew, London (formerly the Public Records Office) FO 371/22890: Addendum by Lord Halifax to a memorandum by Sir Robert Vansittart, 22 October 1939. 9. The Tom Harrisson Mass-Observation Archive File Report 1: ‘Channels of Publicity,’ 11 November 1939, 1. 10. McLaine, Ministry of Morale, 42. 11. There is evidence to suggest that Ball was snowed under by administrative work: he spent much of his four-month tenure engaged in reorganising the Films Division’s staff structure: ‘There is no doubt that he is badly in need of help. At present his work is much in arrears, and he does not find it possible to comply with all the requests that the Publicity-user Divisions are making to him for the preparation of films for publicity purposes.’ TNA INF 1/30: A. P. Waterfield to D.B. Woodburn, 10 November 1939. 12. Paul Rotha, Rotha on the Film (London, 1958), 234. 13. TNA FO 371/22890: Memorandum by Sir Robert Vansittart, 21 October 1939. 14. TNA INF 1/196: Memorandum by Charles Peake, undated but from internal evidence c. November 1939. 15. TNA FO 371/22840: F. R. Cowell to Forbes, 1 December 1939. 16. Ibid: Cowell to John Balfour, 7 November 1939. 17. TNA FO 371/24230 contains the correspondence over the Hornblower film. See also H. Mark Glancy, When Hollywood Loved Britain: The Hollywood ‘British’ Film 1939–45 (Manchester, 1999), 104–5. 18. TNA BW 4/17: Quoted in an undated memorandum entitled ‘British Council Film Production: Principles of New Production.’ 19. TNA BW 4/11: E.L. Hodson to A.J.S. White, 31 July 1940. 20. Ibid: Neville Kearney to Sir Philip Guedalla, 5 August 1940. 21. Ibid: Duff Cooper to Lord Lloyd, 6 August 1940. 22. Thirteenth Report from the Select Committee on National Expenditure, 21 August 1940 (London, 1940), 3.

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23. Ibid., 15. 24. TNA INF 1/59: ‘Comments by the Films Division on the Thirteenth Report from the Select Committee on National expenditure.’ 25. TNA BW 4/11: Duff Cooper to R.A. Butler, 16 October 1940, 26. Ibid: Kearney to A. A. Haigh, 22 October 1940. 27. Ibid: Memorandum by Kearney entitled ‘British News,’ 2 October 1940. 28. TNA BW 4/20: Neville Kearney to Jack Beddington, 9 July 1940. 29. Ibid: Kearney’s notes following a meeting with Jack Beddington, July 1940. 30. Ibid: Kearney to Guedalla, 4 November 1940. 31. BW 4/64: Kearney to Guedalla, 18 June 1941. He added: ‘It is, of course, possible to claim any and every subject on such grounds – e.g. the Ministry could say that Pedigree Cattle should be theirs because the bulls graze or the cows were milked in wartime!’ 32. TNA BW 4/20: Kearney to Guedalla, 4 November 1940. 33. Documentary News Letter, Vol 1 (5) (May 1940), 1. 34. James Chapman, The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939–1945 (London, 1998), 19–40. See also the excellent article by Jo Fox, ‘John Grierson, his “Documentary Boys” and the British Ministry of Information, 1939–1942,’ Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 25 (3) (August 2005), 345–69. 35. TNA BW 4/62: Kearney to Stuart, 25 April 1941. 36. Documentary News Letter, Vol 1 (3) (March 1940), 3. 37. Documentary News Letter, Vol 1 (7) (July 1940), 3. 38. Documentary News Letter, Vol 2 (10) (October 1941), 182. 39. TNA BW 63/2: Kearney to A. E. Haig h, 2 December 1940. 40. TNA INF 1/615: Sir Kenneth Clark to Lord Hood, 7 May 1940. 41. TNA INF 1/59: ‘Comments by the Films Division on the Thirteenth Report from the Select Committee on National expenditure,’ n.d. 42. TNA BW 4/64: ‘Four British Council Films’ n.d. The criticism of the Kew Gardens film for not reflecting wartime circumstances was somewhat disingenuous: it had been made in 1937! Frances Thorpe and Nicholas Pronay, with Clive Coultass, British Official Films in the Second World War: A Descriptive Catalogue (London, 1980), 209. 43. TNA BW 4/64: Brendan Bracken to Sir Malcolm Robertson, 27 November 1941. 44. Ibid: Robertson to Bracken, 8 December 1941. 45. Ibid: Kearney to Guedalla, 10 December 1941. 46. TNA BW 63/4: Robertson to Bracken, 1 January 1942. 47. Ibid: Bracken to Robertson, 14 January 1942. 48. Rachael Low, The History of the British Film 1906–1914 (London, 1949), 190. 49. TNA BW 4/64: E. L. Mercier to Kearney, 20 February 1942. 50. Harry Watt, Don’t Look at the Camera (London, 1974), 127. 51. TNA BW 4/14: ‘Recommendations on the British Council Film Production Programme: Report by Mr Oliver Bell and Mr A. G. Highet,’ March 1942. 52. British propaganda activity in the United States before Pearl Harbor is expertly documented in Nicholas John Cull, Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American ‘Neutrality’ in World War II (New York, 1995).

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53. TNA BW 63/4: Memorandum by E.L. Mercier and Sidney Bernstein, n.d. (from internal evidence probably late 1941). 54. TNA BW 4/62: ‘Memorandum relating to the distribution of Films produced for or sponsored by the British Council, with particular relation to the United States and Latin America,’ April 1941. 55. TNA BW 63/4: ‘British Council Films,’ report by R.R. Ford, 30 October 1941. The last film, Sea Scouts, was ‘an interesting subject for a limited number of US schools and youth groups. Unfortunately, the commentary is hard to understand, and is unnecessarily facetious’. 56. TNA BW 63/4: Charles K. Webster to Kearney, 2 November 1941. 57. Ibid: Kearney to Guedalla, 20 December 1941. 58. Ibid: Robertson to Bracken, 1 January 1942. 59. TNA BW 63/5: Richard Ford to A. F. Primrose, 10 August 1943. 60. TNA INF 1/598: Bracken to Robertson, 17 August 1942. 61. TNA BW 63/5: Kearney to Kennedy Cooke, 18 April 1944. 62. Ibid: Primrose to Kearney, 10 October 1944. 63. TNA INF 1/599: ‘Report on British Council Films in USA’ by Thomas Hodge, 18 September 1944. 64. Ibid: Kennedy Cooke to Primrose, 5 October 1944. 65. Ibid: Kearney to Robertson, 13 October 1944. 66. Ibid: Eric St John Bamford to Kennedy Cooke, 3 January 1945. 67. Ibid: Kearney to Kennedy Cooke, 18 January 1945.

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5 ‘TODAY GERMANY, TOMORROW THE WORLD’: NAZI PROPAGANDA AND TOTAL WAR, 1943–45 David Welch

In any state involved in war, propaganda must be constantly adjusted to the changing military situation. To some extent, this is easier in a ‘closed’ society, where the means of communication are more tightly controlled. In the case of Nazi Germany the propaganda machine had been planning to meet the exigencies of war some 18 months before war was declared in September l939. Determined to pursue territorial expansion in the east, Hitler confirmed to his military leaders in November 1937 that the preservation of the German racial community depended on ‘living space’, and this could only be achieved by force which ‘was not without attendant risk’. Germany however could only be prepared for war in the mid-1940s but, according to Hitler, could not wait that long. If an opportunity presented itself before that date, it must be taken. In order to improve Germany’s ‘politicomilitary situation’, the first objective was expansion into Austria and Czechoslovakia.1 A year later, after he had sent troops into Austria to secure the Anschluss and had acquired the Sudetenland as the Munich Settlement, Hitler summoned 400 of the regime’s leading journalists and media experts to a private address in Munich and instructed them on their future role in explaining to the people German foreign policy: ‘It was absolutely necessary to prepare the German people psychologically for the coming war and to make it clear to them that there are some things which only force, not peaceful means, must decide.’2 Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, now switched track and claimed that war was now unavoidable and was being forced upon Germany. Anticipating German expansion as a major world power, Nazi propaganda set out to prepare psychologically and to mobilise the nation into a ‘fighting community’ for war (see Figure 1.1). An ominous slogan of the period proclaimed: ‘Today Germany, tomorrow the world.’

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NAZI PROPAGANDA AIMS BUILDING THE VOLKSSTAAT

Solidarity Need For Hatred of Führerprinzip ‘National Racial Purity Enemies Community’ THE NEW ‘FIGHTING COMMUNITY’

Psychological Preparation And Mobilisation For War

Blitzkrieg

Russian Campaign

Maintaining Morale

Total war

Retaliation or Revenge

Figure 5.1 Nazi Propaganda Aims.

However, while Hitler was preparing to launch his war, Goebbels was among the few Party leaders who sought to avert it. Albert Speer relates that ‘we who were members of Hitler’s personal circle considered him (Goebbels), as well as Goring, who also counselled peace, as weaklings who had degenerated in the luxury of power and did not want to risk the privileges they had acquired’. Goebbels’ disapproval stemmed from his belief that the war would affect his own position. He is reported to have remarked that Hitler would ‘soon listen to his generals only, and it will be very difficult for me’. Goebbels fears were justified; for in the early years of the war the Propaganda Ministry would be forced to share its responsibilities with the OKW/Section for Wehrmacht Propaganda. The war imposed considerable strains on the political, social and economic structure set up by the Nazi regime. The task of propaganda was exacerbated by the distinct lack of enthusiasm for the announcement of war (compared to the kind of enthusiasm that apparently gripped the masses in l9l4). The trust in leadership which had been so carefully nurtured in the years leading up to war, had now to be preserved at all costs. In the course of maintaining an effective link with the regime’s leadership, propaganda had to convince the German people of their own cause and invincibility. But abroad it also had to win over neutral nations and at the same time undermine the enemy’s spirit of resistance. Therefore the exigencies of war demanded of Goebbels a more intense concern with the tactics of propaganda and moreover a flexibility that could respond to changing military situations. His directive ‘Guidelines for the Execution

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of NSDAP Propaganda’, issued at the outbreak of war, outlined the means he expected his staff to employ in disseminating propaganda.3 The means included the radio and newspapers, films, posters, mass meetings, illustrated lectures, and ‘whisper’ or person-to-person propaganda (Mundpropaganda). During the course of the war four major propaganda campaigns emerged – all of which were dictated by changing military fortunes. They were (l) Blitzkrieg, (2) the Russian campaign, (3) Total War and the need for strengthening morale, and (4) promises of retaliation or ‘revenge’ (Vergelting) (see Figure 1.1). The first two case studies deal with the military campaigns abroad and their affect on public opinion at home; the last two analyse the response of the regime to Germany’s changing military fortunes and the prospect of imminent defeat. My intention in this chapter is to analyse the manner in which Nazi propaganda responded to Germany’s first major military setback at Stalingrad and to gauge the impact that this had on German public opinion.

Total War and the Need to Strengthen Morale When the war came, Hitler’s astonishing run of Blitzkrieg victories, culminating in the fall of France, confirmed Goebbels’ presentation of Hitler as a military genius who even confounded his own generals. When the war started to turn against Hitler in the winter of 1941–2, it would take some time before military reverses had any noticeable effect on his popularity. However, following the catastrophe of Stalingrad, a defeat for which Hitler was held responsible, his popularity began to decline. Until Stalingrad, Hitler had been largely exempted from criticisms people had of the regime. The first sign of growing pessimism among the German people can be traced to the autumn of 1942. Stringent rationing and the heavy Allied air offensive on West German towns had begun to weaken morale – particularly among the working class. In October came news of Rommel’s defeat at El Alamein, immediately followed by the Anglo-American landings in North Africa. But above all there was still the prospect of another grim winter in Russia with no end of the war in sight. The next few months were to witness some of the most bitterly fought battles of the war. By the end of October it appeared that Stalingrad was about to fall as the German Sixth Army under General Paulus seized four-fifths of the city. The press and radio were ordered by Goebbels to exercise restraint to avoid raising unwarranted hopes on the part of the German people. The battle for Stalingrad was to be depicted as a fortress which needed to be stormed. This did not prevent Hitler from ordering the press to prepare special editions on the eventual fall of Stalingrad. In a major speech on 30 September l942, in which he stressed the great strategic importance of Stalingrad, Hitler confidently predicted that ‘The capture of Stalingrad will be completed, and you may be sure that no one will drive us out of this place again.’4

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The victory was never to be. Goebbels did not share Hitler’s optimism and had been unhappy with the bragging type of propaganda put out by the Fuhrer’s Headquarters during the Stalingrad campaign. He feared that such ‘official’ optimism was out of touch with the pessimism felt by the majority of Germans about the eventual outcome of the war. Goebbels’ dissatisfaction proved well founded when on 19 November, the Russians launched their counter-offensive. For the next month as the Sixth Army was being destroyed, Hitler was reluctant to release the news of the Soviet breakthrough. Goebbels attempted to reassure the population. In his New Year message to the nation he spoke of ‘a light in the distance’. However, he could not counter the cynicism and suspicion that was spreading throughout Germany as a result of the failure of propaganda to keep the people informed of the progress of the campaign. On 22 January l943 Hitler refused a suggestion from Paulus that as there was no longer any possibility of stopping the Russian advance he should be allowed to enter into surrender negotiations. Fearing the psychological effect of such a defeat, Hitler replied that there was to be no surrender. But time was running out for the severely battered German divisions. When they finally surrendered on 2 February, some l24,000 German soldiers had been killed in the course of the battle. German propaganda tried to explain away Stalingrad by creating the impression that the Sixth Army had fallen nobly to the last man. This propaganda line of ‘heroic death’ (Heldentod) was also pursued when Goebbels addressed a rally on 30 January, the tenth anniversary of the regime. Reaffirming the nation’s trust in Hitler in the final stages of the war against ‘Jewish-Bolshevism’, Goebbels concluded a defiant speech by declaring: ‘There is no such word as capitulation in our vocabulary.’5 The impact of Stalingrad on the morale of the German people cannot be over-estimated. It affected their attitude towards the war and created a crisis of confidence in the regime amongst broad sections of the population. Following Hitler’s refusal to speak to the nation, graffiti appeared on walls attacking Hitler as ‘the Stalingrad Murderer’. Hitherto, Nazi propaganda had always tried to give the impression that the Third Reich was waging one war with an unbending consistency. With its armies now on the defensive on three fronts it was obvious that they were in fact fighting several wars and sometimes with contradictory objectives. The capture of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad did however bring Goebbels back into the forefront of German politics and he of course did his best to give meaning to the catastrophe. In an attempt to sustain the myth of the heroic sacrifice of the Sixth Army he claimed that their ‘heroic epic’ was not in vain since it had served as the ‘bulwark of the historic European mission’ in the fight against Bolshevism. The Nazis refused to admit that the Sixth Army had surrendered; instead they claimed that the entire army had fought to the last man. The press were directed to report ‘this stirring event, which outshines every feat of heroism known to history, in such a manner that this sublime example of heroism, this ultimate,

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self-sacrificing dedication to Germany’s final victory, will blaze forth like a sacred flame’. In an effective piece of stage management the Special Announcement over the radio on 3 February 1943 (a technique that Goebbels had originally conceived to dramatise German blitz victories) opened with slow marches, followed by muffled drum rolls and by three stanzas of the German war song, ‘Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden’. Then came news of the fall of Stalingrad. After the playing of the German, Italian and Croatian national anthems there was a silence of three minutes broken by martial music and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. A three-day period of mourning was then declared and all theatres and cinemas were ordered to close. In subsequent broadcasts and press statements these clichés of heroism and sacrifice continued unabated. The myth of Stalingrad then was an attempt to evade the reality of defeat by turning it into an emotional Wagnerian celebration of a nation’s unbending will to continue the battle against Bolshevism. What it failed to reveal was that General Paulus and 90,000 men of the Sixth Army had surrendered to the Russians and were now in captivity. Stalingrad marked a turning point in Nazi war propaganda as it allowed Goebbels finally to implement his drive for the total mobilisation of all Germany’s human resources for the war effort. The fate of the Sixth Army gave impetus to the radical ideas he has been proposing for some time – the proclamation of ‘total war’.6 Goebbels was one of the few Nazi leaders who had realised as early as l942 that final victory could only be achieved by a full mobilisation of German resources which would incorporate every citizen. The Propaganda Minister envisaged a radical departure from the measures that other leaders like Bormann had established for civil defence. For Goebbels, success could only be achieved by the complete mobilisation of the home front in order that Germany should become one fighting body, united under a powerful leader. This entailed shifting propaganda strategy from the optimistic, almost arrogant claims of the previous three years. In particular, Goebbels attempted to create toughness in the civilian population by resorting to one of the oldest techniques of persuasion – the indoctrination of fear. Fear of the subhuman Bolshevik ‘beast-man’ endangering Western civilisation (‘strength through fear’) together with ‘total war’ became the leitmotivs of his propaganda during l943. Hitler’s decline as the Party’s leading speaker left a gap which Goebbels began to fill. By l943 Goebbels had become the principal spokesman for the regime. It is interesting to note that in his speeches he adopted a posture similar to Winston Churchill; he made no secret of the difficulties ahead, admitted that a German defeat was possible, and called for total involvement in the war effort. It is somewhat ironic to see the master of the ‘lie indirect’ suddenly discovering and openly proclaiming the tactical advantages of ‘absolute truth’! Proud of what he believed were his close contacts with the people, he adopted a pose of frankness and realism. However, after the catastrophe of Stalingrad he was convinced of the need for some mass demonstration of national resistance. Strangely enough

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Figure 5.2 Goebbels’ speech on Total War.

the Allied demand for ‘unconditional surrender’ conceived at the Casablanca Conference in January l943 would provide just the impetus he needed. He could now use this to conjure up terrifying images of a nation fighting for its very existence. Total war, he could argue, was the only alternative to total destruction. Writing in his diary on 4 March 1943, Goebbels declared: ‘Our slogan should be, now more than ever: Total War Is the Imperative Need of the Hour.’ Thus in the aftermath of military disaster, the Propaganda Minister achieved a remarkable personal victory. The huge rally to an audience of 14,000 at the Sportspalast in Berlin on l8 February l943 was the setting for his notorious ‘total war’ address. It was a masterpiece in mass propaganda, carefully orchestrated for the benefit of radio, press and the newsreel. Rudolf Semmler, one of Goebbels’ aids at the RMVP, recorded the Propaganda Minister’s preparations for the event: Goebbels is brooding over a daring plan. He will try to bring pressure on Hitler by putting forward radical demands in a speech at the Sports Palace. The crowd will applaud wildly. In this way he may be able to force Hitler to put an end to half measures. If his demands are not met then the government will be compromised. The Führer could not afford this at the moment.7

The audience of reliable Party functionaries had been meticulously rehearsed beforehand and knew exactly what was expected of them. Goebbels started his

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speech by saying that the situation reminded him of the Kampfzeit, the period of struggle before l933. He said he now demanded even more effort and sacrifices from the German people for the sake of final victory. Above the speaker’s platform there hung an immense draped banner with the words ‘Totaler Krieg – Kürzester Krieg’ (Total War – Shortest War) – see Figure 5.2. It was claimed that the audience represented all sections of the community. The frenzied reactions of this ‘representative’ audience to Goebbels’ speech were broadcast to the rest of the nation. A special newsreel also recorded the event. At the climax of the speech, the Propaganda Minister posed ten questions touted as a ‘plebiscite for Total War’, all of which elicited the appropriate chorus of ‘spontaneous’ assent. The following extract is how it was presented to German cinema audiences in the Deutsche Wochenschau which was released on 27 February 1943: COMMENTATOR. The mighty demonstration in the Berlin Sportspalast, Reichminister Goebbels speaks. He declares: ‘In this winter, the storm over our ancient continent has broken out with the full force which surpasses all human and historical imagination. The Wehrmacht with its allies form the only possible protective wall. (Applause.) Not a single person in Germany today thinks of hollow compromise. The whole nation thinks only of a hard war. The danger before which we stand is gigantic. Gigantic, therefore, must be the efforts with which we meet it. (Shouts of ‘Sieg Heil’.) When my audience spontaneously declared its support for the demands I made on 30 January, the English press claimed that this was a piece of theatrical propaganda. I have therefore invited to this meeting a cross-section of the German people . . .’ GOEBBELS. The English claim that the German people are resisting Government measures for total war. CROWD. Lies! Lies! GOEBBELS. It doesn’t want total war, say the English, but capitulation. CROWD. Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! GOEBBELS. Do you want total war? CROWD. Yes. (Enthusiastic applause.) GOEBBELS. Do you want it more total, more radical, than we could ever have imagined? CROWD. Yes! Yes! (Loud applause.) GOEBBELS. Are you ready to stand with the Führer as the phalanx of the homeland behind the fighting Wehrmacht? Are you ready to continue the struggle unshaken and with savage determination, through all the vicissitudes of fate until victory is in our hands? CROWD. Yes! GOEBBELS. I ask you: Are you determined to follow the Führer through thick and thin in the struggle for victory and to accept even the harshest personal sacrifices?

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CROWD. Yes! Sieg Heil! (A chant of ‘The Führer commands, we follow’.) GOEBBELS. You have shown our enemies what they need to know, so that they will no longer indulge in illusions. The mightiest ally in the world – the people themselves – have shown that they stand behind us in our determined fight for victory, regardless of the costs. CROWD. Yes! Yes! (Loud applause.) GOEBBELS. Therefore let the slogan be from now on: ‘People arise, and storm, break loose!’ (Extended applause.) CROWD. Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der Welt . . . 8 In his ‘total war’ speech outlined above, Goebbels pulled out all the stops; total sacrifices and participation are put forward by Goebbels as the alternatives to the type of total destruction that only the Wehrmacht were preventing. Partly this was to convince foreign governments that there was full accord between the rulers and the ruled in Germany, but it was also intended to persuade Hitler to completely mobilise the home front to facilitate a concentrated war effort. On 19 February (the day after the event), Goebbels wrote in his diary: ‘Many people are of the opinion that this mass meeting is really a type of coup d’état. But we are simply straddling the many hurdles which the bureaucracy has placed in our path. Total war is no longer just a question on the minds of a few perceptive men, but the whole nation is concerned with it.’ 9 Albert Speer, who attended the rally and was Hitler’s Armaments Minister, recorded its impact and the cynicism that shaped Goebbels’ methods: On February 18, 1943, Goebbels delivered his speech at the Sportspalast on ‘Total War’. It was not only directed to the population; it was obliquely addressed to the leadership which had ignored all our proposals for a radical commitment of domestic reserves … Except for Hitler’s most powerful public meetings, I had never seen an audience so effectively roused to fanaticism. Back in his home, Goebbels astonished me by analysing what had seemed to be a purely emotional outburst in terms of its psychological effects – much as an experienced actor might have done. He was also satisfied with his audience that evening. ‘Did you notice? They reacted to the smallest nuance and applauded at just the right moments. It was the politically best-trained audience you can find in Germany.’ This particular crowd had been rounded up out of the party organisations; among those present were popular intellectuals and actors like Heinrich George whose applause was caught by the newsreel cameras for the benefit of the wider public.10

Although Hitler personally congratulated Goebbels on his address and referred to it as a ‘psychological and propaganda masterpiece’, he would, however, never agree to complete mobilisation, despite repeated requests from his Propaganda Minister.11 Nevertheless, in the short term at least, Goebbels enjoyed considerable success with this campaign. Its immediate effect served to strengthen morale. The Secret Police (SD) reports noted that the newsreel of the rally ‘made

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a deep impression and subsequently dissipated any feelings of scepticism which have prevailed up until now. Even rather reticent sections of the population were aroused when they saw the ecstatic effect of the speech.’ But once this intoxication had worn off, people began to question soberly the nature and implications of the threat coming from the East. Towards the end of May 1943, the SD were referring to ‘the beginnings of a crisis of confidence’ in the regime, and concluding that ‘Party comrades no longer dare think about the military situation for fear that they would lose all heart.’12 The working class in particular appeared to be suspicious of some of the injustices brought about by the ‘total war’ economy. For many workers the most visibly symbolic change was the increasing mobilisation of the female population into the work force. Thus, for the first time, women began to appear regularly in the weekly newsreels and also figured more prominently in poster propaganda. Figure 5.3, ‘Harder Times, Harder Duties, Harder Hearts’, is a poster designed immediately after Goebbels’ ‘total war’ speech and reflects a harsher, less confident note in German propaganda. The expressions of the two men in the foreground suggest that the harder times that would inevitably follow defeat at Stalingrad required people to harden their hearts. Note in particular the women in the foreground – right behind the men. In line with the ideological chauvinism that pervaded all aspects of National Socialism, the newsreels had previously confined the coverage of women’s activities to domestic scenes. Now, because of their new role within the home front, they were shown enthusiastically contributing to the war effort. Despite the image that was presented in the media, working-class discontent was fuelled by the not entirely erroneously belief that many middle-class women were placed in less arduous employment or were able to avoid industrial work altogether.13 Moreover the closure of ‘inessential’ shops and businesses, which accompanied the regime’s attempts to mobilise Germany’s reserves for ‘total war’, appeared to hit the ‘little man’ whilst the middle and upper classes seemed to have been successful in ‘avoiding the strictures of the total war economy’. The failure of the regime to implement the total mobilisation of German society until the summer of 1944 with the creation of the Volkssturm, only fuelled the belief in the eyes of some sections of the working population that the Third Reich ‘remained a class society to the very end.’14 But paradoxically the growing feeling of pessimism actually served Goebbels’ short-term aims, for he was about to launch a new propaganda campaign based on ‘strength through fear’ and which aimed to persuade the German people and the West that a Bolshevik victory would be more dangerous than a compromise peace with the Third Reich. From l943 onwards, Nazi propaganda continued to insist that final victory was assured, however great the difficulties. By invoking the Untergangsmotif and declaring that the war was ‘an ideological fight to the death’, Goebbels was once again appealing to German fears of the barbaric Bolshevik that he had employed so successfully in 1933. Wall posters throughout

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Figure 5.3 Hard Times, Hard Duties, Hard Hearts (1943).

the Reich proclaimed the threat of impending doom should the nation fail to rise to the challenge: ‘Victory or Bolshevism’ (see Figure 5.4). The Post Office also contributed to the war effort with the letter stamp ‘Our Fuhrer Will Banish Bolshevism’. Curiously enough it was a German military victory which posed a major problem for Goebbels. This was the recapture of Kharkov from the Red Army on 14–15 March l943. Goebbels chose to play this success down in case it aroused a false sense of security. Interestingly, shortly after Kharkov, Hitler spoke to the nation for the first time since Stalingrad. The occasion was the Heroes’ Memorial Day on 21 March 1943 and revealingly, although Hitler outlined the Bolshevik threat, the reception to the speech was universally negative.15 Clearly it was difficult to explain Kharkov at the height of the anti-Bolshevik campaign. As a

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Figure 5.4 ‘Victory or Bolshevism’.

result of the limited success of the ‘new realism’ of Goebbels’ ‘total war’ speech, emphasis was placed on minimising the public’s expectations by stressing the orderly nature of Germany’s new defensive war. This allowed the accumulating military defeats to be rationalised as ‘strategic withdrawals’. Fear was to be the major component of home propaganda and this meant painting an extremely bleak picture of the military situation in the East avoiding all mention that the Wehrmacht might be launching a grand offensive. The fear of ‘Mongol hordes from the East’, which was exaggerated by Goebbels’ propaganda, was intended to produce a galvanising rather than a paralysing effect and to spur the population on to even greater sacrifices and efforts. Both the anti-Bolshevik campaign and the propaganda line of exaggerated pessimism were greatly enhanced by the news of the discovery of the Katyn

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massacres in April l943. Its repercussions led to the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish Government in exile in London. On l3 April German radio announced the discovery of a mass grave in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk where Polish officers had been methodically killed. Goebbels regarded the incident as first-class material with which to undermine Russian prestige in the eyes of her allies. He commented in his diary that ‘we are now using the discovery of l2,000 Polish officers, murdered by the GPU, for anti-Bolshevik propaganda in a grand style. We sent neutral journalists and Polish intellectuals to the spot where they were found. Their reports now reaching us from abroad are gruesome. The Führer has also given permission for us to hand out a dramatic news item to the German press. I gave instructions to make the widest possible use of this propaganda material. We shall be able to live on it for a couple of weeks’.16

And they did. Both the press and the newsreels carried lurid accounts of the manner in which the Poles were slain, charging that Jewish officers of the Red Army were responsible for the murders. A documentary film entitled Im Wald von Katyn (In the Forest of Katyn) was also compiled and shown in all the major cinemas. On 16 April, after previewing the newsreels on Katyn, Goebbels wrote: ‘These shots are terribly gruesome. One hardly dares to imagine what would happen to Germany and Europe if this Asiatic-Jewish flood were to inundate our country and our continent. All hands must be set to work to the last breath to prevent such a misfortune.’ Goebbels was hardly exaggerating when he claimed that ‘a complete triumph of German propaganda’ had been achieved. Not only had he raised morale and strengthened the nation’s resolve to resist Bolshevism, but the break between Moscow and the Polish Government in exile was seen as a major success in the international arena. By the beginning of June 1943, Goebbels’ confidence was so high that he declared that the crisis he had highlighted in his ‘total war’ speech at the beginning of the year was now officially over. The ‘total war’ campaign, the Untergangsmotif, and the Katyn massacres, all served in their different ways to lift morale at a time of widespread war-weariness and gave the false impression of a people at one with its leadership. In fact, the intelligence reports suggest that the ‘success’ of these campaigns were short-lived and raised expectations not of final victory, but of a swift end to the war by means of a negotiated peace. By the end of September 1943, the situation for Germany looked bleak indeed. For the bulk of the population there was no alternative to struggling on. During September British planes dropped 14,000 tons of bombs on German cities. On 3 September Allied troops landed on the Italian mainland forcing the Badoglio Government to sign an armistice. Hitler was at last persuaded on 10 September to address the people and condemn the treachery of Badoglio and praise Mussolini. Nevertheless, in his diary entries for September Goebbels revealed

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his worries about German morale and on 26 September he issued his ‘Thirty Articles of War for the German People’ which was intended as a manifesto to strengthen morale. Article 30, for example, reminded the people of their duties to the Fatherland and the Führer and the superiority of the ‘chosen people.’17 However, if the SD reports are anything to go by, then most Germans saw such slogans less as articles of war and rather more as articles of faith and despair. A special report (29 November 1943) by the SD to the Party Chancellery on ‘the mood and behaviour of the people and trust in leadership’ revealed deteriorating morale and represented a devastating critique of the failure of the Reich leadership to convince the population that sacrifices were being shared equally. This perception represented a real challenge for Goebbels in the final stage of the war and revealed the extent to which Nazi propaganda had moved away from prewar proclamations that boasted ‘Today Germany, Tomorrow the World.’

Notes 1. The meeting took place on 5 November 1937 and a record of the meeting was kept by Hitler’s military adjutant Colonel Friedrich Hossbach. The so-called Hossbach Memorandum was used as a key prosecution document at the Nuremberg trials when it was cited a timetable for German aggression. See, F. Hossbach, Zwischen Wehrmacht und Hitler 1934–1938 (Hanover, 1949), 217–20. For a further discuss of the importance of this document see, D. Welch, Modern European History, 1871–2000 (London, 2000), 191–96. 2. W. Treue (ed.), ‘Rede Hitlers vor der deutschen Presse (10 November 1938),’ Vierteljahrescheft fu˝r Zeitgeschichte 6 (April, 1958), 175–91. 3. For a more detailed discussion see, D. Welch, The Third Reich. Politics and Propaganda (London, 2002), 117–37. 4. For the DNB summary of the speech, M. Domarus (ed.), Hitler, Reden und Proklamationen 1932–1945, 2 vols., (Wiesbaden, 1973), 1912. 5. J. Baird, The Mythical World of Nazi War Propaganda, 1939–1945 (Minneapolis, 1974), 183. Baird provides an excellent account of Goebbels’ role following defeat at Stalingrad. 6. In fact, Goebbels was shrewdly playing on Hitler’s rallying-call to his Gauleiters which he had delivered in a two-hour long speech from his headquarters on 7 February. See N. von Below, Als Hitlers Adjutant 1937–1945 (Mainz, 1980), 329–30. 7. R. Semmler, Goebbels: The Man Next to Hitler (London, 1947), entry for 29 January 1943, 68. 8. For a discussion of this and other Nazi newsreels during the war, see Welch, ‘Goebbels, Go˝tterdämmerung, and the Deutsche Wochenschauen,’ in Hitler’s Fall. The Newsreel Witness (London, 1988), 80–99. 9. E. Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebucher von Joseph Goebbels, Vol 2 (Munich, 1993), 370–75 10. A. Speer, Inside the Third Reich (London, 1971), 354.

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11. E. Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher, entry for 9 March 1943, 508. 12. H. Boberach, Meldungen aus dem Reich. Auswahl geheimen Lageberichten des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS 1939–44 (Berlin and Neuwied), 387. 13. For a detailed analysis of the mobilisation of women for war work, see D. Winkler, Frauernarbeit im Dritte Reich (Hamburg, 1977). 14. For a discussion of workers’ morale during the war, see S. Salter, ‘Structures of Consensus and Coercion: Workers’ Morale and the Maintenance of Work Discipline, 1939–45,’ in D. Welch (ed.), Nazi Propaganda. The Power and the Limitations (London, 1983), 88–116. 15. In fact the speech has been postponed from 14 March because of the crisis on the eastern front. The feedback to the speech indicated that it gave rise to greater criticism than any Hitler speech since he had become Chancellor. Domarus, Hitler, Reden und Proklamationen, 1999. See also, Kershaw, Hitler, 1936–45. Nemesis (London, 2000), 555. 16. L. Lochner (ed.), The Goebbels Diaries (London, 1948), entry for 14 April 1943, 253. 17. The thirty articles can be found in Welch, The Third Reich, 208–10.

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6 THE TRAGEDY OF AMERICAN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY, 1989–1999: THE LAST DECADE OF THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY RECONSIDERED1 Nicholas J. Cull

It happened at midnight on 30 September 1999. The United States Information Agency (USIA) – the central player in American public diplomacy since 1953 – ceased to exist. Its functions were absorbed into the Department of State. Its headquarters on 4th St South West in Washington DC became merely State Department Annex 44. China hands in the agency found the designation ironic as the number four was identified with death in Chinese culture and hence 44 meant double-death and was a number to be avoided at all costs. Yet the designation was apposite. This was a double death. It was the death of both a specific agency and also the wider idea that had given birth to the agency in the first place: the idea that the process of conducting foreign policy by engaging foreign audiences was so specific that it required a specialist agency with control of all elements of that process from advocacy of policy, through cultural diplomacy and exchange to international broadcasting and the analysis of international opinion as a guide to the making of policy. While this work continued elsewhere in government after the agency’s demise few insiders disputed that something was lost in the process. Yet just ten years before, the agency was riding high as a favoured element of the Reagan-era executive branch. How could such a dramatic reversal of fortune have taken place? The answer is revealing not only for the history of public diplomacy in the United States, but also that it speaks to the wider notion of propaganda as applied in the contemporary practice of foreign policy. While the history of US public diplomacy has heretofore focused on the Cold War experience,2 there is now sufficient declassified material in the archives of the Bush and Clinton White Houses to take the story to its conclusion. After analysing that material and discussing the period in interviews with 100 agency

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veterans I have come to identify four distinct stories within the final decade of USIA’s existence each of which unfolds as a journey away from or towards a fixed historical point. The first is the road to 1999, the narrative concerning the path by which USIA came to disappear into the department of State in October of that year. The second story is the road from 1953, the narrative that considers the extent to which USIA was able to continue its core work in support of US foreign policy as it had since its foundation. The third is the road from 1989, the narrative that looks at the extent to which USIA adapted to the world of the New Public Diplomacy with its challenges including new technology. The final arc is the road to 2001, the narrative through the 1990s that anticipates the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and looks for indications of the neglect of public opinion generally and in the Middle East especially in the run-up to that event. In this chapter I will address each in turn.

The Road to 1999 In seeking to explain how USIA moved from its well-funded and influential role during the Reagan years to the humiliations of consolidation into the Department of State in 1999, its veterans tend to point most readily to external enemies. A hostile Senator eager to downsize government – Jesse Helms – and an ambitious Secretary of State keen to grow her Department – Madeline Albright – became cross-partisan twin Draculas descending upon the poor body of an agency rendered helpless because its Van Helsing – the hapless agency director Joseph D. Duffey – lacked the will to wield the necessary garlic and crucifix to fight them off in the way that the director of USAID Brian Attwood, who was attacked in the same way at the same time, was able to do. While there was certainly something unfortunate in the interplay of personalities, there were multiple factors at work in USIA’s demise, and perhaps the most powerful was the nature of the USA itself. The nature of the political culture of the United States created a fundamental paradox around the issue of propaganda in foreign affairs: as exceptionalists Americans naturally wished to tell the world about their country, but their underlying ideology favoured the private sector and mistrusted a government role in communication. As though afflicted by some ancient curse, they were fated to be forever undermining any government program me they called into being. The phenomenon was especially clear in a time of crisis. Successive congresses viewed public diplomacy as essential in a crisis but dispensable when the crisis was over. Public diplomacy initiatives played their part in the US conduct of the American Revolution, Civil War and Great War only to be dismantled when peace was secure. The decision to retain the apparatus of World War II into peacetime was actually the big anomaly; the product of the rapid descent into the Cold War. USIA understood this and throughout its history presented itself to

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Congress as a necessity of the Cold War. The public diplomacy agencies of other countries managed to tie their continued existence to arguments on other tacks: export promotion; the display of global citizenship; cultural relations; nation branding; or had diversified their sources of funding beyond just the government and hence dodged the bullet.3 Ironically USIA had begun to make the transition to a post-Cold War logic during the era of détente only to be pushed back to its origins by the second Cold War of the 1980s. The very relevance which the agency held in the Reagan years was seen by some to imply its irrelevance thereafter. Other American attitudes promised troubled waters for USIA as the Cold War came to an end. There was a renewed fixation with the private sector that emphasised the end of the Cold War as a victory for free markets rather than – as USIA’s last director Joseph Duffey put it – the free spirits.4 Americans had an expectation that their commercial media would at some time be capable of doing the job of USIA. Associated to this was a sense of triumphalism attending the end of the Cold War. President Bill Clinton’s talk of ‘the indispensible nation’ during his re-election campaign of 1996 matched the public mood and it was not one in which concern for foreign opinion was rated especially highly. America’s undercurrent of isolationism – flowing from its geography as much as anything – accelerated this whole process. A sense in many quarters that anybody could be an international communicator, and that the skill set accumulated by a dedicated foreign engagement agency was no particular treasure to be protected or advanced, merely added spice to the mix. No one at home in the US seemed supportive of their nation engaging the world. As agency veteran Donna Oglesby has put it: ‘neither the right nor the left in the United States wanted to empower the US government to act politically in the world.’5 While difficulties might have been expected, those difficulties need not have had quite such catastrophic consequences for USIA. It is plain that the agency suffered in part because of a coincidence between new challenges and a weakness at the top. During the first half of the presidency of George H. W. Bush the USIA director – a businessman named Bruce Gelb – clashed repeatedly with the Voice of America (VOA) under its seasoned director, the journalist Richard Carlson. Their battles over budget and editorial control produced a stream of negative press which weakened the agency in the eyes of all within the beltway, including the keepers of the purse on Capitol Hill. It was ironic that part of the reason for the clash was the success of VOA in Eastern Europe and China and consequent lack of tolerance on the part of the broadcasters for management by its parent agency. This was not the only problem for Gelb. He also ran afoul of infighting among political appointees. The Reaganites were in no hurry to be displaced by Bush-Republicans and the two factions struggled with one another and kicked against their director. He despaired of what he called the ‘political cesspool’. They leaked his every quirk and misstep to the right-wing press.6

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The poor image of USIA during the Gelb period was hard to live down. The agency demonstrated its relevance to US foreign policy during the Gulf Crisis and War. Agency regional experts were integrated into the White House policy making process, giving cultural advice and tracking opinion and world media reaction, but no one seemed to notice. The big opportunity to make a post-Cold War role for the agency was in Eastern Europe where Congress had authorised substantial expenditures under what was called the SEED programme: Support for Eastern European Democracy. USIA was equipped to conduct media and business training and other work to promote the development of the free market and civil society but was pushed into the second spot by USAID. Congress warmed to that agency’s emphasis on a clear horizon: get in; transform; get out. While Gelb’s successor, former ambassador to the UK Henry Catto, did much to restore things during his directorship, his work was cut short by the election of 1992. He would certainly have done much more if he had been able to extend his work in to a second George H. W. Bush term. The US electorate hammered an important nail into USIA’s coffin when it sent Bill Clinton to the White House. Catto’s successor Joseph Duffey was passionate about exchanges and international understanding but loved the concept more than its agents or their agency. He was too good a soldier of the administration to defend his agency against his own president’s budget cuts and preferred to work behind the scenes to block consolidation. He hatched a plan to save the agency by persuading the House of Representatives speaker-elect Robert Livingston to swoop in and block the legislation to demolish the agency before it came to a vote, but this was not to be. Livingston was unexpectedly disgraced as a participant in a sort of extramarital affair. Given the political capital that Livingston’s Republic Party had made out of the relationship between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Livingston had to quit his leadership role. USIA’s chance to dodge the legislative bullet left with him and in this way the agency became a collateral casualty of Monica-gate. Why, one might ask, was the director of an agency in difficulty counting on just one well-placed ally in the House? Certainly politics had reduced the agency’s pool of friends but more to the point the agency never had that many friends in Congress. For most of its life USIA had no domestic constituency. The few exceptions were ethnic communities committed to one issue only. Sometimes it helped provide funding as with the partiality of Senator Paul Sarbanes on the issue of Cyprus but, as the Cuban-American enthusiasm for Radio Martí made clear, constituencies were not necessarily assets. That community’s political clout obliged USIA to poor millions into maintaining television services aimed at Cuba which were almost entirely jammed. Without a broad domestic constituency public diplomacy was a soft target for cutbacks. Whatever President Clinton’s personal feelings it was politically expedient for him to first eviscerate and then surrender USIA to his enemies. It is ironic that the ultimate political

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decision to surrender USIA was connected to Clinton’s wish to woo international opinion. He wanted to pass a chemical weapons treaty and pay the back-dues which the country owed to the United Nations and accepted Senator Helm’s proposal to reorganise the foreign policy machinery of the United States as the price of removing the Senator’s objection.7 There were other political minds at work. Senator Helms had his agenda to downsize and a vendetta against the smaller foreign affairs agencies; Madeline Albright had her own reasons for wanting to be identified with a streamlined State Department with an enhanced budget. Both doubtless expected that American diplomacy would be stronger as a result. Both miscalculated.

The Road from 1953 While the contemporary observer is now compelled to look at USIA as an institutional equivalent to the Titanic, forever steering a course to oblivion, that was not the case at the time. Certainly from 1995 onwards its officers had their concerns for the future but most of the time they were preoccupied with the present and their role, as assigned in 1953, of enhancing the conduct of US foreign policy. How well did USIA perform across the five basic functions of public diplomacy: listening, advocacy, culture, exchange and international broadcasting? USIA remained an effective listening unit during its last decade. Polls and media reaction work both played their part. Set-piece campaigns were all the more effective because they began with listening and every annual embassy country plan began with a survey of the state of opinion in that location. USIA experts provided special insight during the Gulf War and the Bosnia Crisis, feeding materials to the whole of government. Unfortunately it was also apparent that USIA’s listening function was not appreciated. USIA’s Deputy Director Richard ‘Penn’ Kemble was frustrated by the Clinton administration’s unwillingness to react to his reports of growing anti-Americanism and international push-back over globalisation and neglect of environmental issues. It was also apparent that USIA was excluded from the highest levels of US foreign policy making in the Bush and Clinton periods alike.8 Any public diplomacy agency is required to advocate for its nation’s foreign policy overseas and USIA was part of the great policies of the 1990s including: support for the transitions in East Europe and democratisation world-wide; special campaigns in places like Haiti; and Kosovo. Its work around the Gulf War was especially notable. USIA presented US policy on issues as diverse as narcotics, the environment, the rule of law, US religious heritage, race relations and the rights of women. Its apparatus underwent an immense transition with the creation early in the Clinton years of what was known as the Bureau of Information (or I Bureau) as a focal point within the agency to generate more and better materials for the field (especially over the new medium of the internet) but with

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less personnel. The creation of the I Bureau won the agency a ‘silver hammer’ from Vice President Al Gore for innovative management.9 Of all the elements of public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy fared least well during the period. USIA lost most of its magazines, its Arts Ambassador projects and most of its cultural centres and libraries too. Despite some well considered programmes and the creativity of officers in the field who extended the agency’s reach by raising private money and piggy-backing on other events, it was a lingering death by a thousand cuts. Between 1993 and 2001 the budget for educational and cultural exchanges fell by more than a third in real terms.10 Agency personnel consistently felt that America’s commercial culture could not substitute for planned cultural outreach, and as the decade lengthened the list of the agency’s cultural villains grew longer ranging from MTV to Quentin Tarantino, Baywatch and Disney. It is curious to note this ambivalence towards American popular culture which many observers less embedded in the practice of public diplomacy in the field assumed to be a ‘Soft Power’ asset (adding to the influence that flows from international admiration for a nation’s values and culture). Bush and Clinton both latched on to cultural diplomacy towards the end of their presidencies. In the case of Clinton it was literally in his final days. It did not help the cause.11 Exchanges took their share of the cuts. In 1995 45,000 people participated in exchanges each year, by 2001 this had fallen to 29,000.12 But they were still a central element in US public diplomacy and certainly fared better than the cultural programme. Important new initiatives included the raft of exchanges to support the transformation of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and the strenuous efforts to keep exchange channels open to China following the crisis of 1989. Although the value of exchanges is typically only seen some years after the fact the agency was able to point out the role of its programmes – especially the International Visitor Leader Programme – in some of the decade’s most significant political shifts. The agency had worked hard to nurture change in South Africa and the impact of F. W. DeKlerk’s visit to the US south in 1976 on his personal political development was noted. USIA exchanges were also part of the story of political change in Indonesia, Russia and many other places including Tony Blair’s Britain: the Clinton administration noted that over half of Blair’s cabinet of 1997 had been cultivated by some sort of USIA exchange visit.13 The value of USIA’s exchange work in the 1990s is only now becoming apparent as the next generation of politicians and leaders takes its place. At the time of this writing International Visitors from that decade alone now hold the presidency of Georgia, Kenya and Lithuania and are prime ministers in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Malta, Namibia, Nepal and Poland. Forty or so International Visitors from other periods are leading their countries reflecting both on-going return on foundations laid at the agency’s height. One half of the new cabinet in South Africa in 2008 had received some form of US government exchange trip.14

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No function of US public diplomacy shone as brightly as international broadcasting during the final years of the USIA. VOA and the parallel (non-USIA) services of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) rode high. For the Voice, the transitions in Eastern Europe, the crises in Tiananmen Square, Iraq and the Balkans; the honest coverage of the Lewinsky case, HIV/AIDS and Rwanda; innovations like internet streaming, the introduction of the so-called ‘Talk to America’ call-in shows and the rolling new format known as ‘VOA News Now’ – all made for memorable radio. Looking back from the era of post-2008 budget cuts and the accelerated decline of short wave, the 1990s now seemed like the last golden age. Politically significant services were hived off into separate entities such as the Middle East Broadcasting Network and Radio Sawa, launched as a substitute for VOA Arabic. Even the innovations of the period were short lived. One of the first indications of the rot was cuts to the hours that VOA’s ‘24 hour’ rolling news service was on the air. One wit dubbed the down-sized service of VOA ‘News Now and Then.’ Reviewing the history of the period, it is ironic that VOA’s own appreciation of its global significance and the self-confidence that flowed from the part it played in the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989 made compromising harder, and thereby provided an unnecessary distraction for all concerned.15 But did the whole structure of public diplomacy enhance the ends of American foreign policy? The Gulf War and post-Dayton Bosnia emerge from scrutiny as fine examples as any to illustrate how public diplomacy can enhance a foreign policy. Even so, many at the agency felt that they could have contributed more and were held back by either the reluctance of the White House to listen to them, trouble at the helm of the agency or USIA’s own conservative corners where the newer functions like media and parliamentary training were shunned by some. Success or failure was hardly the issue in 1999. It was raw politics that sank USIA, not its effectiveness.

The Road from 1989 The final years of USIA saw not just the end of the Cold War Order; they saw the beginning of something new: the era of ‘the New Public Diplomacy.’ The year 1989 now seems like the start date for the new public diplomacy around the world; the moment when – partly because of the amazing displays of both communication power and the role of the people in Eastern Europe – nation states and international organisations looked to restructure so as to speak more effectively and even adopted the terminology of public diplomacy. Seen from the vantage point of the twenty-first century the New Public Diplomacy has been characterised around such elements as the collapse of the duopoly on ‘the big story’ at the heart of world affairs enjoyed by Washington and Moscow for most of the Cold War; the new importance of new players in international affairs, including non-governmental

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organisations, non-state actors, international and regional organisations and even corporations. There was the emergence of new technology and the attendant shift towards an awareness of the importance of networks; the challenge of the global real-time news environment and the new theoretical contributions including concepts of the nation as brand and soft power. Such phenomena were part of USIA’s world. How effective was the agency in keeping pace with change? Do we see the new public diplomacy at USIA during its final years? The first thing to note is that USIA had a track record of innovation. A number of its leaders were futurists – most notably Leonard Marks in the LBJ era – but most understood the need to be at the cutting edge of communication thought and practice. Charles Wick kept a well thumbed volume of Toffler’s Third Wave in his office and Joe Duffey and Penn Kemble bandied Toffler’s concepts in their discussions over the future of the agency. Wick had used his influence with Reagan to get USIA into the satellite communication business early with WORLDNET. The agency was quick to see the potential in CD-ROM technology. The I Bureau swiftly got USIA onto the internet with web pages and e-journals, and VOA was way ahead of other international broadcasters in its adoption of web streaming. In the interim the agency had made excellent use of the fax and dial-in services. USIA’s status as an early adopter stands in contrast to other elements of the US foreign policy machine. Part of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s achievement at the Department of State was to drag the institution into the digital age, insisting on every diplomat being ‘wired’ with their own personal data device and every embassy having its own website. But the story of USIA’s love affair with technology had its downside too. Sometimes the agency committed too early, sinking resources into hardware that was redundant all too soon. Joe Duffey lamented that ‘unlike fine wine’ USIA’s Wang computers did not ‘improve with age.’16 WORLDNET was an idea before its time and peaked before the massive demand around the world as the cable and satellite revolutions hit. CNN and News Corporation had better timing. CD-ROMs turned out to be a short-lived interim technology, fated to be superseded by web access to the materials. Even so these technologies served the ends of US public diplomacy. US public diplomats only phased out the CDROM in 2011. What about the underlying concepts of the new public diplomacy: its emphasis on network thinking? Agency officers did not have to wait for Twitter or Facebook to understand the importance of networks. USIA was always a social media, whose strength lay in 200 or more PAO’s rolodexes and their ability to ‘follow’ assorted editors, commentators, thinkers and opinion leaders, taking them out to lunch and channelling their ‘likes’ into the agency’s assessment of the landscape of opinion in each country. The international visitor and other exchange programmes were tools for network building, and were spoken of as such at the time. Part of the tragedy of the demise of USIA is that such

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approaches were initially so alien to the Department of State. So much ground was lost. Today foreign ministries around the world speak of the need to broker public–private partnerships and to engage with NGOs. That was already a practice at USIA. The agency worked with both private sector partners and NGOs throughout the 1980s. By the mid-1990s USIA was pioneering some exemplary public diplomacy coalitions, the most innovative being the CIVITAS network for promoting civil education around the world. Today the most progressive thinkers in public diplomacy suggest a strategy of empowerment, helping others to tell their own story rather than speaking on every subject oneself. USIA regularly empowered others, a case in point being a media guide for women’s groups created as part of the Beijing Women’s Summit in 1995, which aimed to provide women with little or no media experience with all the information they needed to develop a media strategy, write and distribute a press release, give effective interviews, conduct press conferences, deliver speeches and cope with the particular demands of the electronic media.17 USIA was also in-step with the currents of thought on the new public diplomacy. All its key points of the new era were noted in Penn Kemble’s prescient 1993 discussion paper ‘American Foreign Policy in an Information Age’. The term ‘Soft Power’ was in circulation at USIA soon after its coinage and senior personnel had copies of Nye’s Bound to Lead at hand. USIA participated in multiple reviews of public diplomacy and the new era and took their recommendations to heart so far as the ever shrinking budget permitted. Although the creation of the I Bureau with its emphasis on collective endeavour had been a painful process it was functioning well enough at the time of consolidation. But the merger with the State Department was plainly ill-timed. The United States lost a critical edge at the very moment the rest of the world sprang forward and lower barriers to entry made the international communication landscape exponentially more competitive. The language of branding was not widely embraced at USIA but it was part of Colin Powell’s vision for the Department of State after USIA’s demise. Branding ideas influenced Powell’s selection of Charlotte Beers as his Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in 2001. Yet when he spoke of the brand it was as a tool to help the image of the State Department rather than the US and its causes. From 2001 on, US public diplomacy was held back by the very erasure of boundaries between the national and international news cycles that made its function so important. With the under secretary required to manage both the domestic and international presentation of diplomacy, US public diplomacy became a servant of domestic concerns: too often initiatives and priorities were shaped by the need to please voters at home. The most obvious example of this was Under Secretary Karen Hughes’s ill-starred ‘Listening Tour’ of the Middle East in the autumn of 2005. She opened it not to the international media – the Al-Jazeeras and Al-Arabiyas that her putative ‘target’ audience watched – but to

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domestic US media revealing the extent to which she was still fighting a presidential campaign at home. It was no recipe for success. In sum USIA holds up remarkably well against the criteria of the new public diplomacy. Part of the tragedy of consolidation is that it was exactly that sort of innovative approach that was smothered at the Department of State. By 2012 the department was showing real indications that it had caught up, but half a generation had been lost while it learned on the job things that USIA had known all along.

The Road to 9/11 The final trajectory within this narrative is that which overlays the experience of the agency on the story of the failure of US foreign policy in the Middle East, so brutally apparent to America on the morning of 11 September 2001. How does USIA’s experience illuminate that story? Did the agency’s demise somehow contribute to the ferment culminating in the attack? It is certainly clear that the story of USIA illustrates some of the deeper problems with the US approach to the Middle East. USIA was part of the policy blunders of the 1950s: the overthrow and uncritical support for the Shah of Iran; the clumsy imposition of a Cold War frame on the region; yet agency officers with local knowledge and cultural insight were essential to such success as the US was able to achieve. By the 1980s it was clear that the themes that won the Cold War were counterproductive in key quarters the Middle East. From the days of the Nixon/Khrushchev kitchen debate in Moscow in 1959 onwards the Cold War had slipped into a competition between two materialisms. USIA headquarters began emphasising the ability of Western capitalism to ‘deliver the goods’ quite literally and dropped its emphasis on faith values. The bias towards materialism worked well when the agency was countering a materialist adversary in Moscow but it left the US unprepared to face an enemy which saw the materialism of both East and West as the real problem: radical Islam. On top of this the Middle East was underserved by expertise within the agency, a legacy of the limited career opportunities in the region in the years following 1967. At the time of the Arab-Israeli Six Day War of 1967 five Arab nations expelled US public diplomats in protest against America’s alleged complicity in the Israeli victory. Cultural centres and satellite libraries which had survived 20 years of riots and revolutions closed. The hiatus did more than just allow negative stories about the US to go unchallenged: it also hobbled USIA’s approach to the region for a generation to follow. As USIA’s great expert on the Middle East William R. Rugh noted: With many posts in Arab countries closed, the study of Arab languages became less attractive as a career move. Public diplomacy officers who already knew some Arabic became discouraged and moved to other parts of the world, and other FSOs

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[Foreign Service Officers] were not encouraged to learn Arabic and make a career of working in the region, since the number of interesting posts was diminished.18

It was an unfortunate deficit given the growing prominence of the region for the US. Against this unpromising background USIA personnel did their best to reach out to the Middle East. Their success during the first Iraq War showed what could be done. The agency’s value is all the more obvious when the first Gulf War with its attention to the public diplomacy agenda is compared to the culturally insensitive blundering of the second Gulf War. The intervention in Somalia in 1993 pitted USIA’s man on the spot – Special Representative Bob Gosende – with his understanding of the need for a commitment to the country against the timidity of the Clinton administration. When the Clinton White House pulled the plug on the mission to Somalia it made al-Qaeda a gift of a vast area of failed space in which it could exploit its future plans. All the while the agency argued for public diplomacy to be seen as an essential tool of counter-terrorism. More than this the Duffey-era USIA and VOA were both mindful of the dangers of the widening gulf between Islam and the West, and developed programming accordingly, bringing back some of the religious themes and discussions last seen in the 1950s. The Clinton White House caught on late in the day, but it was too late to make a dent in the antipathy of the region. Besides, young Arabs did not hate America because the White House neglected to hold Iftar dinners, they hated America because of US support for Israel, US punishment of Iraq and US collusion with the autocrats who made their own lives so hard. None of this was understood by the Clinton or Bush administrations. The delivery of US government information during the ‘Desert Fox’ bombing of Iraq in 1998 may have been ultra efficient but the underlying policy placed the US on a collision course with Arab opinion. The cutbacks of the 1990s undermined USIA’s work in the Middle East. Regional experts took early retirement or accepted ‘buy-outs’ during the downsizing. Arabic language skills became a real rarity. In the wake of 9/11 there were only three serving US diplomats capable of being interviewed in idiomatic Arabic by Al-Jazeera even if the Bush administration had been prepared to allow contact with that network. Moreover, USIA looked to cut corners – pursuing a quality of audience rather than quantity. The budget did not permit programmes which addressed the ‘Arab street’. Exchanges and the cultural centres became part of a process that built the United States into the lives of the ruling class around the autocrats and monarchs which played to their mutual alienation from the masses. In this regard USIA was part of America’s problem in the Middle East. On 11 September 2001 America faced a new kind of war against a new kind of enemy: the religiously motivated terrorist willing to perish for his cause. The nation also needed an answer to a challenge as real as the smoking ruins in

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New York: the abundant evidence of widespread mistrust of the United States around the world. The government of George W. Bush reached instinctively for its public diplomacy apparatus to help, but found it in an unprecedented state of disrepair. The ‘9/11 Commission’ quoted an NSC staffer’s view from the spring of 2001 that US public diplomacy was so diminished in the Middle East that ‘we have by and large ceded the court of public opinion’ to al-Qaeda.19 The same was said of the US public diplomacy in Europe, in Latin America, in East Asia. As of 2001 the United States faced a failure to communicate internationally. The attacks of 9/11 had complex local origins, and it is highly unlikely that a decade of the most sophisticated public diplomacy with thorough attention to the currents of local opinion would have blunted the forces that put the hijackers on the planes that morning. But the situation was worse than it needed to be. Networks had withered; connections had grown cold. One could no longer assume that each American embassy had an expert who could jump into a taxi, zoom over to the office of the most influential editor in that particular country and talk them through the American policy then taking shape. USIA could not have averted 9/11, but the agency would have helped on 9/12. What of America’s public diplomacy and its public diplomats since 2001? While that is a subject for a whole other history book and has already been well addressed elsewhere by Nancy Snow, Rhonda Zaharna and others, the basic trajectory has been a long and slow road back from disaster.20 The Bush admin istration went through a two-term learning process which was not helped by a rapid turnover of undersecretaries and policies like the ill-considered invasion of Iraq which made matters worse. Undersecretary Karen Hughes re-energised the exchange element and by the end – with James Glassman in the Undersecretary spot – a certain cohesion had returned to US public diplomacy. As with the departure of Henry Catto in 1992, the election of 2008 interrupted an encouraging trend in US public diplomacy. The election of Barack Obama provided an astonishing lift for America’s image in the world. International approval bounced back and the toughest audience – that in the Middle East – responded well to the president’s speech in Cairo in June 2009. Hillary Clinton brought a similar energy to the role of Secretary of State. But the Obama administration has demonstrated that public diplomacy has to be more than one man or one woman, however eloquent, and the words have to translate into deeds. The US needs more than a megaphone to broadcast the President or Secretary of State to the world; it needs a sophisticated network of professionals in the field to engage with the global public, to listen and feed that public’s voice into the making of foreign policy. This lesson was learnt, and by the final year of Obama’s (first) term the structure of US public diplomacy at last seemed fit for purpose, but as the US diplomacy approaches a transition to a new Secretary of State and perhaps a new President it is crucial not to lose momentum as plainly happened in 2001, 1992 and 1989. In the world of

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what public diplomacy blogger Matthew Armstrong has dubbed the ‘now media’ there is no time to go through yet another learning cycle.21 Despite the structural improvements it is not clear that public diplomats are given their due within the State Department structure. A special issue of the Foreign Service Journal published in October 2009 to mark the tenth anniversary of USIA’s end raised some worrying indicators. William Rugh’s headline was blunt: ‘PD-professionals: still second class citizens.’22 The lesson of the final years of USIA for America’s current foreign policy is not that a separate agency should be reconstructed. Albright and Rubin were correct that in the twenty-first century public diplomacy needs to be part of the fabric of all US foreign relations, and especially those portions dealing with research (listening) and policy advocacy and support. But this history also suggests that the cultural function – which even within USIA was typically neglected by successive administrations only to be acknowledged at the eleventh hour – might do better if firewalled from those with other priorities. An independent cultural agency along the lines of Britain’s British Council or Germany’s Goethe Institute would be insulated from political tides and would also always be its own highest priority. Finally we see from this history that even as funds ebbed away and leaders stumbled, America’s public diplomats in the field were able to make a difference to the outworking of US foreign policy. The technologies they embraced in the 1990s have grown and transformed international communication. Much excellent work is still done today and will be done tomorrow, but how much more could be done if today’s public diplomats were blessed with the sort of stable structure, energetic leadership and adequate budgets available in 1989?

Notes 1. This essay is a version of the conclusion of the author’s book The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1989–2001. New York, 2012. Readers seeking to explore particular points will find full discussion in that text. 2. See for example Nicholas J. Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945–1989. 3. The British Council is an especially good example of this adaptation. From the 1970s onwards significant portions of its budget came from the sale of services, and by the time USIA disappeared only one third of council support came from the UK government. 4. Interview: Jospeh D. Duffey. 5. Donna Oglesby, ‘A Pox on both our houses,’ unpublished paper presented to American Political Science Association annual meeting, Washington DC, August 2005. 6. This battle is described at length in Nicholas J. Cull ‘Speeding the Strange Death of American Public Diplomacy: The George H. W. Bush administration and the United States Information Agency,’ Diplomatic History, Winter 2010, 47–69.

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7. For the President’s account of this see Bill Clinton, My Life, 753 and Public Papers of the Presidents William Jefferson Clinton, Vol 1 (1997), 454–56. As the President hoped, on 24 April 1997 the Senate approved the chemical weapons convention. 8. Interview: Penn Kemble. 9. Interviews: Kemble and Duffey. 10. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, report 2002, 4, online at http://www. state.gov/documents/organisation/13622.pdf 11. For the Bush White House conference on Cultural Diplomacy see ‘Shaping the New World Order: International Cultural Opportunities and the Private Sector,’ State Department, 13 December 1991 proceedings as preserved in Clinton Library, Millennium Council files, Ellen Lovell, subject file: WH Conference on Cultural Diplomacy # 4, OA/ID 21050. For the Clinton-era conference see Clinton Library, Communications, Stephanie Cutter, OA/ID 20157, file: Conference on Culture and Diplomacy, and First Lady’s Office, Melanne Verveer, OA/ID 20029, file: Cultural Conference, final. 12. As see Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, report 2002, 4, online at http:// www.state.gov/documents/organisation/13622.pdf 13. Clinton Library CPR ARMS WHO 1997/01–1997/12 [Joseph Duffey] OA/ID 550,000, Duffey to Bowles, USIA Weekly Report, 7 April 1997. 14. Information provided by Office of International Visitors, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State, February 2012. 15. For a sustained discussion of the evolution of VOA see Alan Heil Jr. Voice of America: A History (New York, 2003). 16. Duffey papers: ‘Memorandum for the President, Vice President, National Security Advisor, re; Re-organising foreign affairs agencies, Opting for Option C with some major disclaimers!’ undated but circa September 1998. 17. Finding Your Public Voice: A Media Guidebook for Women (Washington DC, 1995). 18. William A. Rugh, American Encounters with Arabs: The ‘Soft Power’ of US public diplomacy in the Middle East (Westport CT, 2006), 65. 19. The 9/11 Commission Report, Government Printing Office: Washington DC, 2004, 203. 20. Nancy Snow, The Arrogance of American Power: What US Leaders Are Doing Wrong and Why It’s Our Duty to Dissent (Lanham, MD, 2006); Rhonda Zaharna, Battles to Bridges: US Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11 (New York, 2010). 21. On the ‘Now Media,’ see Armstong’s blog www.Mountainrunner.us. 22. William Rugh, ‘PD-Professionals: still second class citizens,’ Foreign Service Journal, October 2009, Vol 86 (10), 29–35; Monica O’Keefe and Elizabeth Corwin, ‘The Last Three Feet: PD as a Career.’ Foreign Service Journal, October 2009, Vol 86 (10), 42–46.

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7 RADIO FREE ASIA AND CHINA’S HARMONIOUS SOCIETY Gary D. Rawnsley

This chapter1 describes and discusses the effects of international radio broadcasting on the Chinese government’s attempt to create a ‘Harmonious Society’ since 2007. The focus is an American radio station, Radio Free Asia (RFA) which broadcasts to a selective number of target populations2 living under authoritarian governments in the Asia-Pacific region, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC, or China). By interrogating the aims and objectives of RFA, its working practices, the content of its programmes and the audience response, the chapter is structured around two principal questions: Does RFA challenge the Chinese government for control of the narrative and discourse about China’s political, social and economic development? And has it therefore acted as a source of instability and disharmony in the Harmonious Society? These questions then provide the basis for further enquiry to understand whether RFA is, as its critics suggest, engaged in propaganda against Asian governments, or whether, as RFA claims, the station is merely providing full and accurate news to audiences denied access to such information by their own national media. The idea of the Harmonious Society was first introduced at the Fourth Plenum of the 16th meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2004 to deal with the underlying problems associated with China’s breakneck pace of modernisation: poverty, rural-urban migration, unemployment, vast inequalities in wealth, environmental damage and corruption all present urgent difficulties for governance in modern China. The foundation of the Harmonious Society is ‘stability’ (wending) and a constant vigilance against ‘chaos’ or ‘disorder’ (luan). Stability has been at the top of the political agenda since the student unrest in 1989. The calls for a Harmonious Society, however, suggested that stability no longer meant controlling the campuses and preventing calls for Western-style democracy and electoral competition. Rather, the

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Harmonious Society addressed the problems that are a direct consequence of reforms that have generated economic anxiety and frustration among China’s working classes.3 At the 17th Congress of the CCP in October 2007, the Harmonious Society was enshrined as one of the party’s mainstream guiding ideologies, but its definition remained elusive, prompting many observers inside and outside China to view the Harmonious Society as merely a vacuous phrase designed more to legitimate the new leadership than to provide a clear blueprint for China’s social development.4 The analysis presented here is situated not only in the context of modern China, but also within the wider framework of post-Cold War international radio broadcasting. On short and medium waves, and increasingly on the internet, international radio broadcasting remains a powerful instrument of overt political propaganda by some governments, and a device of grassroots democracy and political opposition for some civil societies. The twentieth century demonstrated in vivid technicolour the potential of international radio broadcasting to act as an apparatus of political destabilisation and popular mobilisation within specific political contexts. The European Cold War in particular established the parameters of the consequences that governments and international organisations might reasonably expect from its deployment. Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL – hereafter both stations are referred to in the conventional format, RFE/RL, which denotes their merger) which are the immediate predecessors, though not the prototypes for RFA, were creatures of the Cold War with support from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Their target audiences lived in those areas of Europe under communist rule, and they were designed not only to spread news, information and opinion forbidden by these communist governments, but also to circulate American values of democracy, liberty and free market capitalism.5 Representing US exceptionalism, the American selfbelief that its democratic system stands as a model for the rest of the world to emulate,6 the propaganda intention and value of these stations cannot be denied. By providing an alternative source of news RFE/RL challenged and undermined the monopoly on information these governments enjoyed, and therefore contributed to popular suspicion of the communist regimes in Europe: the stations created a media environment in which audiences were presented with multiple representations of events, and thus they directly confronted the claims of communist ideology about who does and does not have access to ‘the truth’. RFE/RL also motivated audiences to question why their media declined to reveal the kind of balanced account of news they could hear from international broadcasters.7 Hence, listeners were stirred to contemplate what information their governments were concealing from them and why. Radio Free Asia claims to continue this tradition of providing its audience coverage of news and perspectives that are not readily available in a target country’s own media. In its broadcasts to China, for example, RFA addresses a

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number of ‘taboo subjects that are still off-limits to serious investigation’ by the Chinese media, including: China’s widespread worker and family protests, discriminations against minorities, coercive family planning, jailing and torture of dissidents and Falun Gong members, the government’s failure to curb a burgeoning AIDS crisis, Taiwan’s attitudes towards the mainland, and criticism of government leaders. RFA covers all these issues and this aroused much hostility from the Chinese government.8

RFA also maintains that the Chinese audience, especially within the 16–30 age bracket, demand to know more about the events of June 1989 in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Dismissed inside China as a ‘political disturbance’ and ‘turmoil resulting from ever-worsening bourgeois liberalisation,’ the story of 1989 serves as an example of how RFA seeks to instruct its listeners about their own forbidden history.9 The station is therefore engaged in a competition with the Chinese government about its national narrative.

The Creation of Radio Free Asia (RFA) In trying to unpack the effects of RFA’s broadcasts, it is important to first understand why the station was created. This may reveal whether RFA had/has a distinct and explicit political agenda, and thus encourage suspicion that the station has been an unwelcome actor in Chinese affairs: Has RFA challenged the sovereignty of the PRC and weakened the efficacy and legitimacy of the Harmonious Society? This enquiry is best pursued by locating the analysis along a continuum that includes both Cold War and post-Cold War international radio broadcasting. The motivation behind RFA’s design and creation was based on an assessment of RFE/RL’s value in the Cold War, and many voices within the American political establishment hoped that RFA would fell the Asian Bamboo Curtain in the same way they believed RFE/RL had helped tear down the Iron Curtain in Europe. These expectations were often declared in explicit terms: An early advocate of RFA, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, said in July 1996, ‘We have seen the success of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in broadcasting the message of freedom and democratic principles to people fighting for freedom. Radio Free Asia which has been designed to emulate Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s success, is now critical to the efforts of those in Asia struggling against authoritarian leaders.’10 Such sentiments were echoed by a range of political actors, advisers and pundits across America’s political spectrum who had started to debate the need for RFA at the beginning of the 1990s. The hope that such a station would encourage the democratisation of Asia was also shared by dissidents and governments in exile who have sometimes reproached RFA’s declared

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commitment to objective journalism and have often alleged that the station is insufficiently disapproving of the region’s governments. RFA is encouraged by such criticism from all political perspectives: it is accepted as a positive sign that the station is doing something right. Journalists working for RFA cannot completely divest themselves of the baggage that accompanies their station’s name – the Cold War connotations that suggest RFA is the natural successor to Radios Free Europe and Liberty, and which colour how certain governments in Asia and even particular individuals and organisations in the US view the station.11 Moreover, the previous incarnation of RFA in the 1950s as the propaganda apparatus of the Free Asia Committee (modelled on the relationship between RFE and the Free Europe Committee) has no doubt helped to sour perceptions of the modern version. The Free Asia Committee was created by the Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, as ‘an organisation devoted to fighting communism and promoting free enterprise.’12 The Committee launched Radio Free Asia which began broadcasting to the region, including China, in 1952 and also produced and distributed print propaganda behind the Bamboo Curtain. The Committee enjoyed little success, irritated a number of governments in the region, and thus lived a short life: Radio Free Asia ceased broadcasting in 1953 and the Committee changed its name to the Asia Foundation with a CIA budget of around $7 million per year.13 CIA involvement was exposed and terminated in 1967, though President Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk decided to preserve the Asia Foundation which now reoriented its mission towards student exchange, and encouraging development and nation building. Yet despite similar and even shared histories, the modern RFA is a very different creature from RFE/RL. First, its present incarnation was not created by the CIA or with CIA influence. Neither is RFA constrained by the contest of ideologies, strategic imperatives and the Cold War culture that defined the second half of the last century. This means RFA is operating within a very different international system from its predecessors. Moreover, RFA does not broadcast solely to communist-controlled areas of Asia, but targets audiences living under authoritarian rule regardless of their ideological persuasion. As I have already suggested, Nancy Pelosi was not alone in perceiving the creation of RFA as a logical extension of the Cold War activity pioneered by RFE/RL. At the end of the Cold War in Europe debates in and about international radio broadcasting focused on the future of these stations that had been designed as surrogate domestic broadcasters transmitting to communist-dominated East Europe (RFE) and, in RL’s case, the Soviet Union:14 US surrogate broadcasting provides independent, uncensored, and accurate news and information of events in the target country (often a closed society), as well as cultural programmes of that country . . . In contrast, general broadcasting, carried out by the Voice of America [VoA] presents a reliable source of international news, American policies and culture to listeners overseas.15

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These surrogate stations broadcast only in the language of their target audience and their programming content centres on providing news and information about the target areas, rather than offering comprehensive international news services (such as VoA or the BBC World Service). In short, surrogate stations are designed to behave like local radio stations providing mainly local news. The only difference is they pursue a politically motivated news agenda that often challenges and contradicts the preferred news agenda of the domestic media in the target country. The work of surrogates is structured by a resolute belief in the abiding curiosity of audiences and their courage in actively seeking out alternative media, often at serious risk to their own lives. Clearly there was in Washington among both liberals and conservatives a confidence in the political curiosity of audiences and in the vulnerability of authoritarian regimes when exposed to alternative news that challenges their monopoly on information. That this conviction was based on a particular reading of the success enjoyed by RFE/RL was given greater resonance by the testimonies of key political figures who played a central role in the end of the Cold War. For example, Lech Walesa, the former leader of the Solidarity trades union and President of Poland, has said of the effects of Radio Free Europe: ‘The truth seeped in, unseen by the border guards and their dogs, above the mine fields, between the barbed wire, alongside the reconnaissance planes and patrol boats. It proved impossible to stop; impossible to silence it.’16 It is therefore not surprising that there was an unshakeable expectation that a similar radio station may have comparable influence and effect on those parts of Asia under authoritarian (and not necessarily communist) governments:17 The [surrogate] Radios could do for China what they did for Poland. One of the things that made Solidarity so effective in Poland, Lech Walesa will tell you, is that when something happened in Gdansk, the whole country heard about it. Whatever happened in Cracow, people in Gdansk knew about it.18

These ambitions in Asia were often declared in explicit terms. In June 1991, the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee asked a presidential commission, the President’s Task Force on United States Government International Broadcasting, to investigate whether a surrogate radio service would ‘help foster democracy and encourage the conditions for a free market’ in China, Laos, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma.19 One member of this commission, Ben Wattenberg of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute (AEI) described in 1992 his vision of the station: ‘to produce what freedom of expression could yield in a repressed nation where citizens are denied information,’ which would, he said, ‘inevitably . . . be considered intrusive and adversarial by the powersthat-be in the targeted regimes’.20 The commission was divided over the issue of creating what was then called Radio Free China (thus revealing the strategic priorities of its supporters). In contrast a second commission, the United States

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Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy agreed that the creation of Radio Free China based on the model offered by RFE/RL would antagonise Beijing, while officials at the Voice of America, contemplating a duplication of effort, suggested that Congress simply invest more in its Mandarin-language services. Yet in January 1994, the US Senate voted to establish Radio Free Asia that would be solely financed by the Federal Government but would remain an independent entity.21 The US International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (PL103–236, title III) was unequivocal about RFA’s mission: The continuation of existing US international broadcasting, and the creation of a new broadcasting service to the People’s Republic of China and other countries of Asia, which lack adequate sources of free information and ideas, would enhance the promotion of information and ideas, while advancing the goals of US foreign policy [emphasis added].

All the surrogates and the Voice of America are supervised by the same entities, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), created by President Bill Clinton in 1994.22 The BBG pursues an explicitly political mission that echoes the Free Europe and Free Asia Committees of the 1950s. In 2002, the BBG declared its intention ‘to promote and sustain freedom and democracy by broadcasting accurate and objective news and information about the United States and the world to audiences overseas.’ Moreover, this strategic statement continued by claiming that ‘the focus is clear: US international broadcasting should prioritise those countries and regions that lack democracy or are still making the transition to democracy and are consequently still vulnerable.’ The implications of this mission statement are unambiguous: (i) the BBG makes no distinction between the surrogates and the VoA other than the fact that VoA represents and reflects official policy and the others serve as a ‘surrogate for an indigenous free press’; (ii) the mission ties the programming of the radio stations to American foreign policy objectives, especially ‘support of the war against terrorism’; and (iii) places at the forefront of their strategy the need to help democratise the undemocratic, specifically ‘to provide clear and accurate information to regions of the world where freedom of information is suppressed or denied, or to areas that lack freedom and democracy.’23 The BBG’s 2012 mission statement continues to emphasise a clear political agenda. The Board, it claims, is working ‘to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.’ Bruce Sherman, Director of the Office of Strategy and Development, asks: ‘Why include a mention of freedom and democracy in the statement?’ His answer is simple, but instructive: Because strategy speaks to ends, not just means. Our enabling legislation makes clear that freedom and democracy is the ultimate, long-term goal of our efforts. By putting these words in our statement we are clear with ourselves and our stakeholders why we exist [emphasis added].

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In this sense, RFA is part of the institutional representation of the US’s messianic ambition to spread democratic values, cultures and processes in those parts of the world characterised by authoritarian politics. It can, in other words, be considered an instrument of American soft power because RFA is designed to sell values such as openness and transparency and Western-style journalism to its audience. It is a force of attraction, while at the same time, by revealing how local media conceal critical information from their own audiences, RFA repels listeners from their own political regimes. What is not apparent in this reading of the mission statements is the contradiction in the reason for the BBG’s creation and its purpose: the Board was designed as a firewall, to protect editors and journalists from political interference from Washington.24 Yet the mission statement is an explicit assertion of the Board’s ambition to make sure international broadcasting serves clear foreign policy purposes, and thus invites political involvement and influence in its operations and the day-to-day work of the radios the BBG supervises. Despite the lack of ambiguity in these mission statements, RFA staff report that their primary objective is promoting information pluralism rather than pursuing political democracy, even if the latter may be an unintended by-product of its broadcasts. Hence RFA broadcasts place issues of media and information freedom on the social and political agenda in the countries to which they broadcast. In testimony to the sub-committee of the House International Relations Committee in February 2006 Libby Liu, RFA’s President, evoked Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reinforce RFA’s conviction that ‘freedom of expression in real time . . . is itself a fundamental right.’25 This echoes Dan Southerland, the Vice-President of Programming and Executive Editor, who described to the US-China Economic Security Review Commission in 2003 the purpose of RFA, and stated that part of its mission is to ‘promote the rights of freedom and expression.’26 Southerland’s use of the word ‘promote’ here is interesting, for it suggests a deliberate attempt to spread a particular ideology or value-system. It is a politically loaded word, though Southerland rejects any notion that ‘promotion’ implies ‘propaganda’: ‘Promote’ in this instance does not mean ‘advocate’; rather, it denotes leading by example and exemplifying free speech, so that our target audience can experience uncensored expression . . . We don’t tell anyone what to think or believe – we simply provide information from a variety of sources with which our listeners can better understand the world in which they live. Nor do we tell our listeners that they should pursue these freedoms; that decision must be theirs and theirs alone. We don’t believe that the why of our existence undermines the credibility of what we do in any way.27

This is too easy an explanation for RFA’s role in modern China, for problems begin to surface if we try to separate the political rationale behind the station’s

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creation and its self-perception that the sole purpose of RFA is to work as a news organisation. Such a separation conveniently ignores not only the inherent bias in RFA’s programming, but also the propaganda value of news and the usefulness of maintaining a commitment to professional journalism: Is news, as Lord John Reith noted, really ‘the shocktroops of propaganda’? 28 RFA may be telling the ‘truth’, but it is nevertheless very selective in its choice of which truths to tell. In Taylor’s description of propaganda29 this is a deliberate calculation of intent to persuade; ‘and it is this element of calculated intent which is crucial to our understanding of propaganda.’ Information, says Taylor, ‘might be released to inform or educate an audience, but if, for various reasons, some information is held back from the recipient in order to strengthen the case for those responsible for its release, then the intent is deliberate calculation’. Moreover, RFA claims that its mission extends further because the station actually offers a paradigm of professional journalism based on objectivity, balance, the verification of stories by more than one source and accuracy. RFA’s founding Director, Richard Richter, explained how this can work in practice: Broadcasters and editors try to demonstrate by example what freedom of expression really means to a population of listeners who have never experienced it in their own lives. In practical terms, this means airing balanced, objective stories and a wide variety of voices and views. For example, when a US reconnaissance plane and a Chinese fighter collided [in 2001] . . . RFA received calls from listeners who believed the United States was at fault as well as calls from those who regarded the Chinese pilot’s motives as provocative. RFA broadcast them all. Chinese listeners quickly recognized this balance in reporting a highly controversial incident, and many thanked RFA for giving airtime to both sides.30

Hence RFA journalists, working to a strict code of ethics (‘all RFA journalists . . . must conduct themselves professionally, ethically and promote the highest standards of journalism’31), claim a desire to provide both sides of a story, and that every layer of the Chinese state and government has an opportunity to add its perspective. Journalists do say they attempt to secure interviews with relevant officials, but usually such contacts will decline to talk to the station or maintain there is nothing to tell. However, journalists are increasingly able to secure interviews with lower level officials (local mayors, party secretaries of small villages, village heads, etc.) as demonstrated during the 2003 SARS crisis when teachers, doctors and even local officials – aware of the credibility gap between their experience of the epidemic’s scale and severity and the information the government was providing about the disease – spoke to RFA reporters and telephoned the station to participate in programmes. It is possible that the biggest threats to the Harmonious Society are revealed when such non-political issues emerge and assume a social and political relevance for ordinary Chinese. When they feel their concerns are not being adequately addressed by the government or the

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local media, such people feel sufficiently aggravated to seek redress elsewhere and sometimes turn to foreign media to vent their disquiet.

Responses When in 1992 Senator Joseph Biden created a commission to examine US government broadcasting to Asia and planned to visit China as part of its investigations, the PRC imposed upon the delegation what the US government considered inappropriate and unacceptable demands and conditions. The Chinese government refused to recognise the commission; entry to the PRC would only be allowed if the members of the commission were individual guests of the US embassy; and if one member, Steven Mosher, who had been blacklisted by the Chinese government, was not included in the delegation.32 In 1994, Beijing claimed that the creation of RFA would ‘seriously damage Sino-US relations’ which, as the Far Eastern Economic Review noted, was ‘just the type of warning likely to pique the interest of young listeners . . . The advance publicity could not have been better.’33 When RFA began broadcasting, Asian governments did soon find the station ‘intrusive and adversarial’, just as Ben Wattenberg had predicted. On 20 September 1996, RFA broadcast its first programme in Mandarin from Washington DC. Lasting just two hours, the transmission provoked a strong reaction from the Chinese government in Beijing: it accused the US of violating the PRC’s sovereignty via a CIA-sponsored radio station, much as the US had used RFE to interfere in the internal affairs of Europe’s Eastern bloc during the Cold War. The English language newspaper, China Daily, greeted the inaugural broadcast with the banner headline: ‘Radio Free Asia shut up’, thus drawing readers’ attention to the creation of this controversial new radio station and perhaps encouraging more listeners to tune in if only out of curiosity. Of course such a response was expected and indeed would become a typical reaction when RFA opened new language services broadcasting to other areas of Asia governed by authoritarian state systems. In February 1997, Vietnam began to ‘jam’ (prevent the signal from reaching the intended audiences by transmitting static noise on the same frequency) RFA; North Korea followed suit in June 1997; and China began its programme of jamming RFA broadcasts in August 1997. However, it is what we might call the ‘quiet hostility’ that has been more noteworthy, for it suggests the Chinese government has learned fundamental lessons in how to deal with RFA and American broadcasts in general. Over time the Chinese decided that no response to RFA was probably the best response. As noted above, jamming is the common and preferred method of interfering with radio transmissions, while the Chinese state’s renowned system of internet surveillance and control blocks access to the RFA website from inside China.

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But these methods are expensive, rely on incredible amounts of resources (the so-called internet police force is estimated to be around 30,000) and are not particularly effective. RFA, like all jammed radio stations, simply switches frequencies and thus plays cat-and-mouse with censors; while technologically savvy Chinese can easily circumvent the ‘Great Chinese Firewall’ (da huoqiang) via proxy internet servers. So the Chinese government started to adopt a quieter approach, one that simply swept RFA under the carpet – don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t respond, otherwise one simply draws attention to both the medium and the message. A response to the station’s programme content, however measured, merely provides publicity for the original message and may thus add to its credibility. The Chinese government denies that RFA is a model of journalism. It claims that the station is not providing an objective picture of China and that it does not meet the international standards set by ‘acceptable’ radio stations, such as the BBC and the VoA. If, Chinese diplomats I interviewed for this chapter told me, RFA reporters were ‘serious’ journalists working for ‘serious’ media, then they would enjoy equal access to stories and sources. However, the Chinese government is uncomfortable talking about RFA, which to the journalists at the station suggests that they are fulfilling their remit. Also, it is difficult to reconcile the Chinese government’s current enthusiasm for the BBC and VoA with realities on the ground: Jos Gamble is correct to state that ‘listening to radio broadcasts by stations such as the BBC World Service and the Voice of America is no longer described by the Chinese state as “secretly listening to the enemy radio station,” and that “local people are now free to tune to these stations and other foreign broadcasts which drift in on the airwaves” ’34; and Gamble is certainly accurate when he explains active listening to these stations by a desire to improve English language skills. Indeed, one Chinese diplomat serving overseas and interviewed for this project admitted that this is the reason he listened to the BBC and VoA in China. But Gamble is equally correct to remind readers that while Chinese were free to listen to English-language broadcasts, the Mandarin broadcasts were subject to jamming: ‘It is as though the authorities considered it acceptable for the English-speaking elite to hear messages deemed harmful to “the masses”.’35 This echoes how BBC Russian-language broadcasts were almost continuously jammed during the Cold War, but English-language broadcasts were immune from such censorship because the Russian government found them required listening and believed that the Russian people’s English-language ability was so low they would not be a threat.36 It appears that because RFA is an American radio station broadcasting to Chinese audiences in Mandarin, Cantonese, Tibetan and Uyghur, the Chinese government refuses to accept it as a credible or a serious news organisation; but the Chinese government’s hostility towards RFA suggests that it recognises the station’s potential power and influence, and thus by censoring RFA programmes

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the Chinese government may actually add to the station’s credibility and power. Censorship labels RFA a threat.

Themes in RFA’s Broadcasts and the Harmonious Society: Is Anyone Listening? A cursory glance at the RFA website (http://www.rfa.org) reveals the myriad stories it tells to audiences across Asia. Because it is a surrogate radio station the information and news RFA provides conflicts with the information audiences receive from local sources and media; and if the information provided by RFA conforms to audience experience, then it is quite possible that a credibility gap will open, and thus undermine the integrity of local news media. New communications technologies with their instantaneous global reach make it easier for credibility gaps to emerge and be exposed. The Chinese communist style of governance is under threat from the ability to access multiple sources of information that challenge official narratives as it discovered to its cost during the 2003 SARS crisis: new methods of communication, namely text messaging on mobile telephones, email and the internet alerted users to first the existence and second the magnitude of the problem. One prominent theme in RFA broadcasts has been the disharmony of the Harmonious Society, and especially the reporting of widespread civil disturbances and protests that have increased in number and ferocity throughout China. (At the start of attempts to build the Harmonious Society the Ministry of Public Security reported 87,000 public disturbances in 295, a jump from 74,000 in 2004. In 2010, China witnessed an estimated 180,000 protests, riots and mass demonstrations, which translates into around 500 per day.) It would be disingenuous to claim that these disturbances were unreported in the Chinese media. In fact, we need to concede the (albeit severely restricted) broadening of content that now appears in the Chinese press and in television news programmes that cover issues which would never have been discussed so openly prior to the Hu Jintao era. Moreover, these journalists are embracing formats that are characteristic of news programming outside China and are undertaking more daring (though officially endorsed) investigative journalism than ever before.37 In October 2006, the People’s Daily reported that ‘the growing gap between the rich and the poor, corruption and lack of protection mechanisms for some social groups are three of the major challenges that China will have to overcome as it sets about building a harmonious society,’ along with ‘sharpening social tension and corruption of Party members.’38 Moreover, in a speech delivered on 25 June 2007 to the Central Party School, President Hu defined the challenges facing modern China, many of which were the subject of RFA reports – education; income distribution; health; ‘social stability’; and corruption (it is interesting that the phrase Harmonious Society appeared nowhere in this speech). The protests have been

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concerned with primarily local issues, especially land seizures and the tendency for some local officials to exploit the sale of land for personal financial gain. Such social movements have not yet been organised or mobilised at a provincial (outside Tibet, of course) or national level around issues that might have defied the construction of the Harmonious Society, and the legitimacy of the Communist Party remains: In December 2011 protestors in the village of Wukan, mobilising against local corruption, posted signs in English and Chinese that declared ‘We support the Communist Party. We love our country.’39 The CCP’s current level of legitimacy indicates that RFA programming, which routinely reports these protests and explains the motivations behind them, will have difficulty in separating the people from their government, at least until such a time that economic problems – stalled growth, inflation, etc. – begin to bite. RFA audience research and audience feedback to RFA’s programming offer a clear indication that Chinese are at least receiving, if not internalising, the content of broadcasts (audiences can access RFA by radio and the internet, though much of the news also circulates through personal networks and social transmission nodes). Moreover, correspondence from the audience indicates that in many instances they are considering the implications of what they hear, even though the station is denounced as an instrument of American propaganda. In their letters to the station listeners want to know why RFA broadcasts are jammed. Chinese listeners also ask about the events in 1989 and the meaning of the Harmonious Society. Others tell personal stories of estrangement from the Communist Party or the state they had served as workers or soldiers, and recount heartbreaking tales of poverty, desperation and corruption; and they complained about inadequate health care and education. ‘In undisguised self-loathing a 30 year-old cadre from Henan called himself “a lackey of the Chinese Communist Party who does the dirty work for the party.” He hung up without elaborating, relieved perhaps by that brief confession.’40 Such anecdotal evidence reveals little about the station’s credibility, or about the level of audience trust in the station; but such stories nevertheless imply that Chinese listeners do recognise that RFA is providing something different from their own media, and that when they feel no-one else is listening the Chinese are quite prepared to contact and discuss with the station their problems and grievances. In this way, it is possible to argue that trust and credibility – the cornerstones of a successful propaganda campaign – are created and nourished as part of a long-term process, especially when RFA reports news that corresponds to its audience’s experiences. It is also important to recognise RFA encourages and depends on active audience involvement in its programming. This is notable because RFA journalists are denied entry to China, hence the need to depend on local sources for stories and information. Most significant – for the station, its audience and the Chinese government – is how listeners feel able to contact RFA via toll free numbers (which

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means they cannot be tracked) and provide stories and eyewitness accounts of the news. The RFA website (http://www.rfa.org) reveals many examples of reporting first undertaken by audience members. Again this is an issue of credibility, for audiences are most likely to trust other Chinese who are sharing their experiences than either news gathered and disseminated by the Chinese government or by foreign or exiled journalists at an American radio station. Of course such activity entails risk, so RFA tries to the best of its ability to protect its sources and participants, though sometimes the Chinese ask that their names be broadcast so they may better mobilise support. In other words, the audiences seem to realise that the broadcasts may encourage the formation of formal or informal social networks and therefore strengthen their cause. RFA presenters have revealed for this chapter that their callers are not afraid to participate in such an explicit and open manner because they are often so desperate: they simply have nothing to lose.

Conclusion If, as Dan Southerland testifies, RFA is designed to ‘promote the rights and freedoms of expression’ then it is not too difficult to understand why the station is a political problem for the Chinese government. In providing a surrogate radio service, RFA is openly challenging the communist state’s control of the narrative; it is exposing for target and international audiences the credibility gap that has opened up between the official message and the reality for millions of Chinese; and by extension RFA is therefore also testing the authority and legitimacy of the communist party’s control of the state, government and the media. These challenges have particular significance for the Harmonious Society, and the regime in Beijing worries that RFA could destabilise efforts to encourage ‘order’ throughout the country. In a political system that fears ‘chaos’ government-controlled media are agents of ‘stability’, reinforcing the Communist Party’s authority and helping preserve the ‘social and political order’. China’s national media are embedded within the multilayered complexity of the political system and have a responsibility to work with and inside it, not against it, to build support for the Harmonious Society. For the government in Beijing, RFA is an agent provocateur, an external purveyor of interference in domestic affairs, and an advocate of instability. Specifically it is possible to identify five key reasons why the Chinese government is so hostile to RFA: 1. The station challenges the government for control of the narrative and in defining both the scale of problems and their solutions. 2. RFA is a foreign radio station that, in broadcasting in the principal languages of the PRC, is a direct competitor with local media, and ultimately represents an alleged infringement of Chinese sovereignty.

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3. RFA depends upon audience participation for its stories, news reports and call-in programmes. Not only is this is a serious indicator that the Chinese government has lost its monopoly on information, but is also losing popular legitimacy, trust and authority on a range of local issues which impact on people’s everyday lives. As RFA seeks to provide a platform for audiences denied a voice in their own national media, its programming also generates a measure of credibility. 4. RFA is introducing to its Chinese audience ideas of transparency, accountability and information pluralism which it claims makes governments work more efficiently and therefore become better service providers. It is possible to argue that these are healthy ideas for a society pursuing the scale of China’s economic modernisation, but which sit uneasily alongside the CCP’s determination to maintain its grip on power. 5. Transparency, accountability and information pluralism may, in the long term, create chaos, the very antithesis of the Harmonious Society. RFA belies the fiction of the Harmonious Society. By reporting the outbreak of widespread social disturbances and dissent, and by giving the growing number of disadvantaged and disaffected a voice (some of whom, like doctors, teachers and members of the CCP are considered authoritative and credible sources), RFA delivers to its audience a representation of modern China that diverges from the narrative of harmony currently at the centre of the government’s information strategy. At a time when international radio broadcasting stations in the US and UK are under pressure to impose severe cuts on their operations, the work of the surrogate stations takes on a new meaning and urgency. In 2011, the BBC World Service was required by the British government to make 16 per cent savings. After 60 years of broadcasting the BBC decided to close its Mandarin-language radio broadcasts to China and, after a 70 years history, its Vietnamese-language service. The Voice of America has likewise come under financial pressure and the BBG has reduced funding to the Mandarin and Cantonese services, while trimming its output for audiences in Tibet, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. One of the arguments for these decisions is that few Chinese listen to shortwave (indeed, radios of any variety) anymore, but prefer to access news and information from foreign sources on the internet. We might also note that such cuts are occurring at a time when the Chinese government is expanding its soft power resources and diverting huge amounts of investment into international broadcasting. Meanwhile, political events in China which were taking place at the time of the economies exercise in the BBC and VoA indicated the continued importance of reaching out to audiences experiencing dramatic social change and uncertainty. Since the Party Congress of 2011, the Chinese government was preparing for a leadership transition, the consequences of which were highly unpredictable.

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This was suggested when the governor of Chongqing and senior Politburo member, Bo Xilai, was dismissed from office on corruption charges, while his wife was arrested on suspicion of murdering a British national. These events occurred just one year after hints of an Arab Spring-inspired Jasmine Revolution led to yet another crackdown on the Chinese media (and even a ban on sales of Jasmine!). In announcing a reduction of entertainment programmes on China’s national television, President Hu Jintao explained: ‘We must clearly see that international hostile forces [including Radio Free Asia] are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernising and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration.’ It could be argued that, in such a political context, the need for broadcasting alternative news and information to China by radio (which can still pierce the Bamboo Curtain and reach a wider range of audiences than the internet) is as great as ever. Soft power tool, professional news organisation or instrument of ‘hostile’ American propaganda – RFA clearly remains a thorn in the side of the Chinese government, and it is likely that the station prefers it that way.

Notes 1. The research for this chapter was made possible by the financial assistance of a grant from the British Academy. I wish to thank the many members of staff at RFA who gave their time to talk to me about their work by email and also during various visits in 2006 and 2007. I must pay a special debt of gratitude to Sarah Jackson-Han, Dan Southerland, Richard Richter (the first president of RFA), and his successor Libby Liu. Other than these named members of RFA all other sources at the station will remain anonymous, as will members of the audience in China and China’s diplomatic corps who have spoken to me about RFA. 2. RFA broadcasts in 9 languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Tibetan, Burmese, Korean, Laotian, Khmer and Uyghur. It also broadcasts dialect programming for audiences in China and Tibet. 3. Shue, V. ‘Legitimacy in Crisis?’ in P.H. Gries & S. Rosen (eds), State and Society in 21st-Century China: Crisis, Contention and Legitimation (New York, 2004). 4. Reuters, ‘Chinese Slogans Mark Hu Era,’ 7 September, available at http://uk.reuters. com/article/worldNews/idUKMOL74807920070907?pageNumber=3&virtualBrand Channel=0, accessed 23 November 2007. 5. RFE/RL’s connections with the CIA were revealed and, officially at least, ended in 1966. On the spread of American values during the Cold War see K. Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (Lawrence, KS, 2006); N.J. Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945–1989 (Cambridge, 2008). 6. Jensen & Watson describe American exceptionalism as ‘a sense of uniqueness and special destiny, which are the products, proudly held, of distinct national and historical experiences and achievements.’ L.M. Jensen & T.B. Weston (eds), China’s Transformations: The Stories Behind the Headlines (New York, 2007), 13.

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7. Critchlow, J. Radio Hole-in-the-Head: Radio Liberty (Washington DC, 1995); Rawnsley, G.D. Radio Diplomacy and Propaganda: The BBC and VoA in International Politics, 1956–64 (Basingstoke, 1996); Nelson, M. (1997), War of the Black Heavens: The Battles of Western Broadcasting in the Cold War (London, 1997). Since 9/11 RFE/RL broadcasts to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the former USSR and the Middle East (especially Iran). 8. Southerland, D., Testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Panel 1: SARS’ impact on media control and governance I, 5 June 2003, http://uscc.gov/hearings/2003hearings/written_testimonies/03_06_05/soutes. htm, accessed 31 March 2006. 9. Chou, J. ‘China Can’t Stop its Youth Learning About the Massacre,’ The Wall Street Journal, 2 June 2004. 10. ‘Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in support of RFA,’ 23 July 1996, http://www.house. gov.pelosi.radfree.htm, accessed 26 October 2006. 11. One proposed name, the Asia Pacific Network, was dropped just before the first broadcast. ‘ “We must have the courage to confront tyranny, and to do so under the banner of freedom,” thundered Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) at a congressional hearing ... ”We were instructed to change the name back [to RFA],” Richard Richter, president of the service, said ... making it plain that this wasn’t his own choice.’ Quoted in M.J. Matleski & N.L. Street, Messages from the Underground: Transnational Radio in Resistance and Solidarity (Westport, CT, 1997). 12. McCartney, L., Friends in High Places (New York, 2001), 119. 13. Griese, N. Arthur W. Page: Publisher, Public Relations Pioneer, Patriot (New York, 2001); Ross, D. and T. Wise, The Espionage Establishment (New York, 1967), 155. 14. See Critchlow (1995) & Nelson (1997). 15. Epstein, S.B. ‘Radio Free Asia,’ Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, No.97–52F, 24 October 1997, available http://countingcalifornia.cdlib.org/ crs/pdf/97–52.pdf, accessed 5 May 2008. 16. Matelski & Street (1997), 42. 17. Similar plaudits about the role of RFA by Aung San Su Kyi (who said the station has made an ‘invaluable contribution’) and the Dalai Lama are available on the RFA website. See http://www.rfa15.org, accessed 8 May 2012. 18. Forbes, Jr., M., ‘Sending Cross-Border Static,’ Journal of International Affairs, Vol 47 (1) (1993), 82–3. 19. Far Eastern Economic Review, 11 July 1991. 20. Awanohara, S. ‘Good morning Asia: US debates pains and gains of new radio service,’ Far Eastern Economic Review Vol 155 (26) (1992). 21. The legislation creating RFA contained a sunset clause which could have closed operations after 30 September 1999. Dan Southerland, RFA’s Executive Editor, recalls that this ‘caused some prospective hires to hesitate.’ ‘Behind the Scenes at RFA,’ http://www.rfa15.org/behindthescenes, accessed 8 May 2012. 22. The BBG’s broadcast entities, supervised on a day-to-day basis by the IBB, are: VoA, RFE/RL, RFA, Radio and TV Marti (broadcasting to Cuba) and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa.

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23. Broadcasting Board of Governors (2002), Marrying the Mission to the Market, available from http://ics-www.leeds.ac.uk/papers/pmt/exhibits/2308/BBG_Strategic_Plan.pdf 24. See the comments by Marc Nathason, BBG Chairman in 2001, http://ibb7–2.ibb. gov.bbg/board/html/#nathason accessed 4 May 2008. 25. Liu, L. ‘The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom and Suppression?,’ Before the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations, and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, 15 February 2006, available at http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/archives/109/26075. pdf, accessed 6 May 2008. 26. Southerland (2003). 27. In correspondence with the author, 26 July 2007. 28. Taylor, P.M., The Projection of Britain: British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda (Cambridge, 1980), 3. 29. Ibid., 1–2. 30. Richter, R., ‘Radio Free Asia: A “Rare Window,” ’ Foreign Service Journal, January, 43–45 (2004), 44. 31. http://www.rfa.org/english/about/codeofethics.html, accessed 10 May 2012. 32. Awanohara (1992). 33. Holloway, N. ‘Nothing but static,’ Far Eastern Economic Review, Vol 158 (9) (1995). 34. Gamble, J. Shanghai in Transition: Changing Perspectives and Social Contours of a Chinese Metropolis (London, 2003), 29. 35. Ibid. 36. Rawnsley (1996), 92; 174–75. In July 2006, ‘Russian regulators ... forced more than 60 radio stations to stop broadcasting news reports produced by’ VoA and RFE/RL. ‘The regulators cited license violations and unauthorised changes in programming format. But senior executives at the ... broadcast services and at the stations blame the Kremlin for the crackdown ...’ Peter Finn, ‘Russia’s Signal to Stations is Clear: Cut US Radio,’ Washington Post, 8 July 2006, 1. 37. De Burgh, H. The Chinese Journalist: mediating information in the world’s most populous country (London, 2003); Pan, Z., ‘Media change through bounded innovations: journalism in China’s media reforms,’ in Angelo Romano and Michael Bromley (eds), Journalism and Democracy in Asia (Abingdon, 2005); Bandurski, D. & M. Hala, Investigative Journalism in China (Hong Kong, 2010). 38. ‘China faces 8 challenges in building harmonious society: experts,’ People’s Daily Online, http://english.people.com/cn/200610/08, 8 October 2006, accessed 10 May 2007. 39. Fisher, M. ‘How China stays stable despite 500 protests every day,’ The Atlantic, January 2012, available at http://www.theatlantic.com/international/2012/01/howchina-stays-stable-depsite-500-protests-every-day, accesses10 May 2012. 40. Chou (2003).

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8 NATO AND INFORMATION WARFARE Edward M. Spiers

If the First Gulf War was, as some commentators allege, the ‘first information war’,1 and the term ‘information warfare’ only gained currency at the end of the 1980s as the cold war was approaching its denouement,2 NATO had been engaged in the projection of information, sometimes known as military public affairs, since the first year of the alliance in 1950. The diversity of NATO’s original membership of 16 nation states, and their national prerogatives in explaining their respective national defence positions, were as apparent then as they are now when the alliance has a membership of 28 countries. So, too, were the national choices in the methods used and the resources devoted to ‘the information task.’ NATO’s Information Service had to work directly with national authorities and assist them through a flexible programme, sometimes described as a ‘multiple approach’. That approach involved tailoring support to suit the requirements of the individual member countries through publications, assistance with television, film and radio companies, the provision of photographs, displays, and the organisation of seminars, conferences, a visitor’s programme and speaking tours.3 However useful in a cold-war context, this was scant preparation for the major military challenges that NATO would face in the post-cold war era, particularly in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya. While this chapter is not intended as an archive-based history of NATO’s Information agencies,4 NATO hardly had a pivotal role in the great propaganda battles of the cold war. For example, it may have been a target but not a principal combatant (like the United States) in the massive campaigns mounted by the Soviets through Western peace movements against the deployment of the Enhanced Radiation Warhead, more popularly known as the neutron bomb in 1978, and later against the deployment of cruise and Pershing II missiles as the replacement upgrades for NATO’s intermediate-range nuclear forces.5 Similarly, when the US Department of Defense began issuing ever-more elaborate annual

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accounts of Soviet Military Power, NATO produced the more prosaic but still informative NATO and the Warsaw Pact Force Comparisons. NATO’s Information Service saw its role as providing ‘facts’ about NATO as a defensive alliance, and one committed to ensuring Western security at the lowest possible force levels. It produced numerous handbooks, reference works and volumes of final communiqués, and distributed much of this material to the 20,000 visitors in 700 groups, whom it hosted each year at NATO Headquarters, Brussels. These visits were often combined with briefings at the Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) near Mons.6 In addition, the Information Service published the NATO Review every two months in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish and Spanish, every four months in Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese and Turkish, and annually in Icelandic. Paying contributors in Swiss francs was one of the Review’s more endearing attributes. During the political and military briefings at NATO and SHAPE in the early 1980s a recurrent refrain was the perception that an adverse and influential media had undermined the American war effort in Vietnam. Even a generation later, two NATO public information advisers were still asserting that: The daily horrific television coverage of the war in Vietnam is widely recognised as having been instrumental in provoking the outrage and domestic condemnation which pressured the American government into withdrawing its troops.7

While there certainly were some horrific images from the Vietnam War that may have influenced or confirmed anti-war trends in American public opinion, not least the execution scene by Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Loan at the start of the Tet Offensive (1968), the news media was generally favourable to the US administration’s point of view. During the war most television imagery was visually uninteresting, and its impact on the ‘living room’ over-rated: as David Culbert observed, ‘television followed elite opinion; it did not lead.’8 The findings of such research barely dented the potency of the Vietnam myth, and its durability was all too apparent when both the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy resolved to manage and manipulate the media in the Falklands War (1982). In the information briefings associated with that war, ‘operational security’ became the official and all-embracing mantra: the Ministry of Defence, as David Morrison and Howard Tumber recalled, stood accused of using this refrain as an excuse for ‘delaying and censoring information and disseminating misinformation’.9 With communications and the flow of images largely in the domain of the senior service, Paul Moorcroft and Phil Taylor argued that: The Royal Navy ruled the seas and shaped the story. That war disclosed extensive Government intimidation of the media, and occasionally the willing connivance of the press in the patriotic interests of deceiving both the enemy and the British public.10

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While NATO could only observe the British methods of media manipulation, the American political and military authorities drew lessons from the war and sought to deny the press access during the Grenada and Panama operations of 1985 and 1989 respectively, until successful outcomes had been secured. New techniques, however, were required from the outset of Operation Desert Shield, and later Operation Desert Storm or the First Gulf War (1991) to cope with the vast improvements in communications technology, the multinational nature of the coalition assembled, and the high stakes of the first major conflict in the post-cold war era. To overcome the so-called ‘Vietnam Syndrome’ (that is, a perceived legacy from the Vietnam War of an American public hostile to the costs and casualties of war and in favour of a less interventionist foreign policy), the war had to be depicted as one that could be fought and won decisively with minimal loss of American lives. To sustain public support across the coalition, Saddam Hussein had to be demonised as a ‘new Hitler’, whose forces had not only ‘raped’ Kuwait and posed a threat of invading Saudi Arabia but had also presented a serious military, economic and ideological challenge to the values of the New World Order that President George H. W. Bush had recently proclaimed.11 Based on several months of pre-war propaganda, the ensuing conflict was one in which the coalition military ensured that they were the prime source of information (as well as misinformation, delayed information and disinformation) for the vast bulk of the 1,500 journalists covering the war in the Gulf. Neither the handful of ‘unilateralists’ (journalists who sought information away from the daily press briefings or the news pool system, which attached certain journalists to the armed forces at the front) nor the few journalists in the Baghdad ‘loophole’, reporting the war under conditions of Iraqi censorship, dented a reportage that was largely uncritical, and overwhelmingly reflected and supported the official line. As Pete Williams, chief press officer at the Pentagon, reportedly concluded: this had been ‘the best war coverage we’ve ever had’.12 Among the many lessons supposedly derived from an overwhelmingly onesided war, in which the ‘mother of all battles’ had turned into the ‘mother of all retreats’ along the highway to Basra, was the overwhelming superiority of US air power, its capacity for precision strikes as graphically demonstrated in television images (despite the fact that ‘smart’ bombs amounted to only 8 per cent of the total) and the ability of the coalition to conduct a war without inflicting massive collateral damage and civilian casualties. It achieved all this in a six-week air campaign followed by a ground assault lasting a mere 100 hours, while incurring minimal casualties and retaining massive public support across the alliance. Postwar surveys apparently indicated that the American public readily accepted the pronouncements of military spokesmen (rather than the versions provided by the press), that they placed more trust in these spokesmen than in their interrogators at the public press conferences, and that they were willing to tolerate military

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Figure 8.1 Safe Conduct Pass, Operation Desert Storm (1991).

censorship for ‘operational’ reasons at least until the war was over. Accordingly, the coalition authorities were able to finesse major bombing errors (by claiming that the Amiriyah bunker, where over 400 women and children were killed, was a command and control centre), disinformation (about a seaborne landing) and blatant misinformation (about the baby-milk factory, supposedly producing biological warfare agent, but which only produced baby milk).13 The ‘success’ of this information war, and the role of the United States 4th Psychological Operations Group, first deployed in the 1991 Gulf War, whose activities were designed to encourage Iraqi soldiers to defect, undoubtedly encouraged other military forces to become more proactive in their media operations. While some of the challenges were evident in the Balkan conflicts, both as experienced by the media staff of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and later in the improvements affected by NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR),14 the alliance’s first opportunity to engage in such tasks in a major conflict only occurred when it launched Operation Allied Force in the bombing of Kosovo (24 March–10 June 1999). Initially there was never any expectation that the aerial bombardment, spearheaded by the United States Air Force,15 would last for 78 days,16 nor was NATO organised to conduct an information war in a media and communications environment that had changed radically since the First Gulf War. In the intervening years, as Stephen Badsey has argued, there had

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been a decline of the ‘old news’ (network television, broadsheet newspapers and current affairs journals) in favour of ‘new news’ (satellite and cable television, tabloid newspapers and television and radio chat shows), a marked decline of the professional defence correspondent (and the increasing youth and inexperience of the military affairs staff of the television networks) and the establishment of the World Wide Web in 1992 – all of which had vastly increased the speed and interpretability of the ‘media war’.17 During the ensuing conflict in which NATO relied exclusively upon air power, the Belgrade authorities had the advantage of taking reporters to bomb-damaged sites and so providing many of the images of the war. A grossly under-resourced NATO press service that appeared wholly reliant upon the engaging, if not always reassuring, presence of Jamie Shea found itself repeatedly on the back foot, trying to explain or account for various blunders in the aerial campaign. Faced with a series of accidents, including the bombing of civilian areas of Pristina (8 April), the bombing of a refugee convoy near Djakovica which killed over 70 people (14 April) and the bombing of refugees in the village of Korisa, killing at least 87 and injuring another 100 (13 May), NATO’s tactics were to deny responsibility initially, blame the Serbs, and, if necessary, undertake inquiries. After the Djakovica incident, NATO conceded that one tractor may have been bombed but that the Serbs had caused the other deaths since the television pictures of Radio Televizija Srbije from the scene had not shown any large crater damage. When Western journalists visited the site, and found evidence of a large crater as well as marks from aerial canon-fire and shrapnel fragments with US markings, NATO promised to investigate, and belatedly admitted some culpability after five days while still hinting that the Serbs were partially to blame.18 Prime Minister Tony Blair was appalled not by the apparent dissembling but by the uncertain handling of this incident, and claimed that NATO lacked ‘the necessary media and communications infrastructure which a campaign like this, dominating the world news agenda, required’.19 On 15 April he telephoned NATO’s Secretary-General Javier Solana and offered the services of his own press spokesman, Alastair Campbell. The offer was promptly accepted, and Campbell brought his own ideas, style and expertise to Brussels. He had already given Shea an inkling of his combative approach, phoning him on the previous day over the Djakovica story, and advising him that ‘while the facts were being established, we had to have ready a history of the lies the Serbs told about casualties’.20 More substantively, Campbell assembled a team of experienced government aides from across Europe and constructed a Media Operation Centre to co-ordinate messages for the media. From this source came sound-bites, reliable ‘talking heads’ to monitor the views of armchair generals and other television pundits, an article factory for the comment pages in national newspapers, the coordination of daily messages (and diaries of political leaders to ensure maximum media impact), and rapid rebuttals of the Serb ‘lie machine’.21

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In a subsequent lecture to the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies on 15 June 1998, Campbell explained how an ‘effective’ communication system was ‘essential’ in the modern media environment. The war was won not just by bombs and aeroplanes but by ‘words and pictures’, and that it was essential to maintain the cohesion of an alliance of 19 nations and the morale of their publics. These two criteria were critical in modern warfare, he argued; the likelihood of NATO winning militarily ‘was never really in doubt. The only battle we might lose was the battle for hearts and minds . . . Keeping public support, keeping the alliance united, and showing Milosevic we were united, was what we were all about.’ NATO had to combat the ‘Serb “lie machine’’’: ‘we had to justify the action, show we had right on our side’, and that ‘the military action had to be seen to be effective’. Towards these aims, he explained that NATO had used the press corps, communicating through and not via the media; it had counter-attacked the Serb assertions but ‘we certainly did not exaggerate’.22 NATO of course did exaggerate, and, as the bombing dragged on, it issued increasingly ludicrous claims about the pinpoint accuracy of allied bombing. Their spokesmen failed to explain that ever since the Battle of Britain pilots have been exaggerating their number of strikes on target, that they were even more likely to err flying at three miles above the ground to minimise the risk of casualties to themselves, and that the Serb forces were adept at the construction and use of decoys. After the war investigators for the US Air Force spent weeks surveying Kosovo by helicopter and foot, and, in a suppressed report leaked to Newsweek, they verified the destruction of ‘14 tanks, not 120; 18 armoured personnel carriers, not 220; 20 artillery pieces, not 450’.23 During the war, though, Mark Laity, the BBC’s correspondent in Brussels, remembered being assured, ‘Oh, it’s different from previous wars. You know, we’ve got videos, we’re doing much more careful examination.’ He was persuaded, and kept on reporting the nonsensical claims, only to realise subsequently that the Serb war machine was able to withdraw from Kosovo in a largely intact condition. There had been few tributes to the tenacity and resilience of the Serb armed forces still less any recognition that they had become proficient in the arts of camouflage and deception after 30 years of honing their skills during the cold war, albeit in the expectation

Figure 8.2 NATO leaflet: Why not ask Milosevic?/Why are our factories burning?

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of an aerial attack from the Soviets and not from NATO. ‘By the time the truth came out’, wrote Ed Stourton, ‘it no longer mattered.’24 Lack of candour, though, was only one of several criticisms of NATO’s information war. The absence of the NATO Secretary-General at the beginning of the campaign led to a perceived lack of unity in the coalition among the US media. Similarly, NATO’s inability to compete with Serbian video capabilities fuelled questions over the credibility of some NATO statements, and the response to the bombing of the Chinese embassy, however much it reflected lessons learned as Campbell claimed, merely compounded the damage to NATO’s credibility.25 Many of these shortcomings would be addressed in a massive overhaul of NATO’s information services in the following decade, and they would be mirrored in the information support provided for NATO’s next two major campaigns, the leading role in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and the implementation of Operation Unified Protector in Libya (23 March–31 October 2011). Under a series of politically adroit secretary-generals (Lord George Robertson, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Anders Fogh Rasmussen), these individuals became increasingly conspicuous as spokesmen for the alliance. In addition to the traditional press conferences, the NATO SecretaryGeneral now provided monthly press briefings as well as a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter streamer and, from 2011, an annual report including an overview of NATO’s challenges and achievements. In 2008 the NATO website received a NATO television channel to complement its press releases, speeches and transcripts, news section, audio, video and photograph sections. The ISAF website appeared equally professional with news releases, articles, transcripts, Facebook, Twitter, a YouTube channel and a Commander’s Corner. None of these initiatives, though, could deflect attention from the fact that NATO had become embroiled in a war that had lasted over ten years and had become increasingly unpopular among the public in the contributing countries. Having invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty (1949) for the first time in its history in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, NATO had pledged solidarity with a member state under attack. Yet the United States, scarred by memories of the allied bombing campaign over Kosovo, chose initially to dispense with NATO support and to lead a ‘coalition of the willing’ in an aerial bombardment of al-Qaeda bases and Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. After Operation Enduring Freedom (2001) overthrew the Taliban regime and scattered al-Qaeda, the UN Security Council appointed ISAF on 20 December 2001. Required to secure Kabul and its environs initially, ISAF found its remit expanded to encompass all of Afghanistan in October 2003. A few months earlier, on 11 August 2003, NATO had assumed leadership of the force. Despite the failure to quell Taliban insurgent activity, the mounting toll of NATO casualties (the USA and Britain have suffered the vast majority of the 2,948 coalition fatalities since 2001),26 and American criticisms of the national

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Figure 8.3 A Coalition leaflet dropped over Iraq in 2003 encouraging Iraqis to listen to Information Radio.

caveats imposed by several European allies,27 the alliance may still emerge from this war less damaged than any of its major belligerents. In the first place, the information war waged by NATO in Afghanistan over the past ten years has been barely noticeable above the barrages and initiatives in the war on terror coming from Washington, and, to a much lesser extent, London. Secondly none of the major blunders of the war – Guantanamo, the occupation of Iraq, the ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech of President George W. Bush, the Abu Ghraib revelations and images, and the abortive hunt for weapons of mass destruction – were anything to do with NATO. Thirdly, the relatively low profile of NATO in Afghanistan has served it well as the major political leaders of the ‘coalitions of the willing’ – Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom – have become reviled in their own countries, and even in their own parties. Finally, in a war stretching over ten years without end, the collapse of public support for the war has occurred all across NATO, and even the spike in US polling caused by the killing of Osama bin Laden (2 May 2011) has now eased back, with 69 per cent of US respondents to a recent New York Times/CBS poll stating that the United States should no longer be at war in Afghanistan.28 When pressed on such low levels of popular support across the alliance, Ambassador Simon Gass (NATO’s senior civilian representative in Kabul)

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accepted that people were tired of the war, but insisted that NATO had a plan to transfer security to the Afghan Security Forces by the end of 2014 in conditions sufficiently stable that they could ‘control their own future and their own security’. Any precipitate withdrawal, he added, would jeopardise that outcome and risk creating a ‘warm environment for international terrorism’.29 However, as several commentators have noticed, public support for the war – an apparently core requirement in Kosovo – simply hasn’t mattered. Apart from the withdrawal of the Netherlands from the ISAF operation, elite consensus in NATO has remained resolute as Sarah Kreps observed: leaders have actually bucked hostile public opinion and by and large neither reduced nor withdrawn their troops from Afghanistan. On the contrary, they have generally increased their troop numbers and gradually lifted restrictions on how troops can be used30

The term gradual has to be underlined when reflecting upon the role of some allies, notably that of Germany, and the differential readiness of NATO allies to place their troops in ‘harm’s way’ has fuelled the perception that NATO has become a two-tier alliance.31 Nevertheless, elite consensus, with one exception, has held firm. It has marginalised the effects of adverse public opinion because allied governments, by holding together at minimal risk (given the nature of the conflict with casualties coming episodically, and in small numbers, without any great disasters), have not run the risk of paying an adverse electoral price. A low-level information war – at a time when electorates had much greater domestic distractions – has inured the press and publics to the course of the tenyear conflict. By conducting the war under an impersonal institution like NATO, the allies evaded personal responsibility, simply waiting until President Barak Obama has had enough. If NATO’s survival was the first claim upon its conduct of information warfare, then the Libyan intervention constituted another triumph. The United States led the way on 19 March 2011 with Operation Odyssey Dawn, before NATO assumed command over Operation Unified Protector (31 March–31 October 2011). With Obama’s administration ‘leading from behind’, and only half of NATO’s members contributing in any way at all, France and Britain led another NATO bombing campaign, which involved 26,323 sorties and 9,658 strike missions. British and French air forces undertook 40 per cent of the strike missions, with support from Norway, Canada, Italy, Denmark and Belgium as well as from the Qatari and Emirati air forces. After a seven-month war, NATO SecretaryGeneral Rasmussen claimed that the alliance had fulfilled the UN mandate to the letter,32 and had done so without any NATO casualties or any ‘confirmed civilian casualties.’33 NATO had made every effort to avoid civilian casualties by only using laserguided or satellite-guided munitions (and no dumb bombs). It had also dropped

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warning leaflets in advance of bombing missions, and aborted some aerial strikes where collateral damage seemed likely. Civilian casualties, nonetheless, remained all too likely not least in Sirte, which apparently incurred 427 aerial strikes from 25 August to 29 September 2011 – euphemistically described as ‘hits’ in NATO propaganda. Once again when faced with evidence of civilian casualties after the war, admissions of regret proved grudging and belated, with the admission that the definition of ‘confirmed’ only applied to deaths that NATO itself had investigated and corroborated.34 More substantively NATO never admitted that it had transformed the mission from a humanitarian one into a mission of regime change, seeking to overthrow the dictatorship of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. That such a change had occurred was patently apparent by the deployment of British and French attack helicopters from 4 June onwards, the failure to impede the flow of arms to the Libyan rebels in contravention of the UN arms embargo, and the injection of special forces on the ground as ‘advisors’ to assist the rebels, particularly in the storming of Tripoli. NATO aerial strikes persisted thereafter, with an air strike on Gaddafi’s convoy in Sirte, leading to his capture and murder. Britain, France and the United States paid the price for this ‘mission creep’ on 4 February 2012, when Russia and China vetoed any UN condemnation of the Syrian regime for its violent suppression of internal dissent. Nor was there any reflection upon the abject NATO response to the UNSCR 1973, namely the absence of any contribution from Germany or the East European members of NATO, and the continued dependence of the alliance upon the provision of key military assets from the United States. In Brussels on 12 June 2011 Robert Gates, the outgoing US Defence Secretary, castigated the shortcomings of the American allies, noting how the NATO air operations centre at Naples was functioning at barely 50 per cent capacity ‘because of a lack of targeting specialists in non-US NATO militaries’, and how the NATO allies were running short of munitions after only 11 weeks ‘into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country’.35 Many of his fears were confirmed after the war by an article that still lauded NATO’s victory as a ‘model intervention’ but recorded the continuing dependency of NATO upon the United States for 75 per cent of the aerial refuelling, 75 per cent of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data, and for over 100 American personnel to staff the NATO targeting centre.36 NATO’s information operation was certainly more sophisticated and coordinated than the ‘ham-fisted’ propaganda of Gaddafi’s regime,37 but, in wars of choice, NATO is not making the crucial decisions about when, where and how to engage potential enemies. So long as those enemies remain small, isolated and modestly equipped states, vulnerable to assault from high altitude, the ensuing operation is likely to succeed irrespective of the quality of the information warfare. Similarly, the unity and cohesion of the NATO coalition will depend

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not upon the quality of the pronouncements from Brussels but upon the political calculations in various allied capitals. Popular support for these interventions, as the operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya have shown, can ebb and flow but, of the factors that affect such movements, the quality of NATO’s information warfare is only one. Arguably the real importance of NATO’s information warfare lies elsewhere. It had to be professionalised after the Kosovo experience if NATO was to be seen as a remotely credible actor in a modern media environment. If it neither kept the allies together (as in Libya) nor sustained popular support (as in Afghanistan) – and these were the two key justifications advanced by Alastair Campbell – then a more sophisticated information operation proved that if the truth was, as ever, the first casualty of such conflicts, NATO would not be the second.

Notes 1. Alan D. Campen (ed.), The First Information War: the story of communications, computers and intelligence systems in the Persian Gulf War (Fairfax, Virginia, 1992). 2. Philip M. Taylor, ‘Mind Games: a brief history of information warfare,’ Tablet (7 October 2010), http://ics-www.leeds.ac.uk/papers/vp01.cfm?outfit=pmt&folder=40&pa per=3193 (accessed on 28 March 2012). 3. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Facts and Figures (Brussels, 1989), 201–3. 4. See Linda Risso, ‘ “Enlightening Public Opinion”: A study of NATO’s information policies between 1949 and 1959 based on recently declassified documents,’ Cold War History, Vol 7 (1) (2007), 45–74 and ‘ “Don’t Mention the Soviets!”: An Overview of the Short Films Produced by the NATO Information Service between 1949 and 1969,’ Cold War History, Vol 9 (4) (2009), 501–12. 5. As the neutron bomb threatened to kill people by radiation while leaving real estate untouched, it was dubbed ‘the ultimate capitalist weapon,’ and President Jimmy Carter bowed before the protests and withdrew the proposed deployment. His successor, President Ronald Reagan, resolutely supported by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, resisted the massive protests of the early 1980s and secured the deployment of the new INF missiles in December 1983. Alex R. Alexiev, ‘The Soviet Campaign Against INF: Strategy, Tactics, and Means,’ Orbis, Vol 29 (2) (1985), 319–50. 6. Phil Taylor made his first visit to NATO and SHAPE on one such visit organised for staff and students from the University of Leeds on 9/10 January 1980. 7. Lt.Colonel Peter Bluch and Mrs. Karen Clark-Dehaes, ‘NATO’s Military Public Information, its role in the modern security environment and its relationship with the media,’ May 2005, http://www.nato.int/ims/opinions/2005/s050708e.htm (accessed on 26 March 2012). 8. David Culbert, ‘American Television Coverage of the Vietnam War: the Loan execution footage, the Tet Offensive (1968) and the contextualisation of Visual Images,’ in Mark Connelly & David Welch (eds), War and the Media: Reportage and Propaganda, 1900–2003 (London, 2005), 204–13, at 210; see also Stephen Badsey, ‘The Media War’ in John Pimlott and Stephen Badsey (eds), The Gulf War Assessed (London, 1992), 219–46, 226.

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9. David E. Morrison and Howard Tumber, Journalists at War: The Dynamics of News Reporting during the Falklands Conflict (London, 1988), 189. 10. Paul Moorcroft and Philip M. Taylor, ‘War watchdogs or lapdogs?’ British Journalism Review, Vol 18 (39) (2007), 39–50, 41. 11. President George H. W. Bush, ‘Toward a New World Order,’ address to a joint session of Congress and the nation, 11 September 1990, http://www.sweetliberty.org/ issues/war/bushsr.htm (accessed 30 March 2012). 12. Philip M. Taylor, War and the Media: Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gulf War (Manchester, 1992), 5, 268. 13. Ibid., 80, 111–16, 169–70, 187–95; and Philip M. Taylor, ‘The Military and the Media: Past, Present and Future,’ in Stephen Badsey (ed.), The Media and International Security (London, 2000), 177–202, 193–95. 14. Compare the chapters of Lieutenant-Colonel R. C. L. Clifford and Colonel T. J. Wilton, ‘Media Operations and the ARRC’ and Colonel G. R. Coward, ‘Lessons Learned: A Personal View of Military-Media Relations on Peacekeeping Operations’ in Badsey (ed.), Media and International Security, 11–33, 135–45. 15. The US Air Force delivered 53% of the 9,500 aerial strikes and 62% of the 37,200 sorties delivered during this campaign, Steve Bowman, Kosovo and Macedonia: US and Allied Military Operations, Congressional Research Service, Brief No. 1B10027 (8 July 2003), CRS-4. 16. James Sperling and Mark Webber, ‘NATO: from Kosovo to Kabul,’ International Affairs, Vol 85 (3) (2009), 491–511, 497. 17. Stephen Badsey, ‘Media Interaction in the Kosovo Conflict,’ in S. Badsey and P. Latawski (eds), Britain, NATO and the Lessons of the Balkan Conflicts 1991–1999 (London: Frank Cass, 2004), 86–7. 18. Philip Hammond, ‘Reporting “Humanitarian” Warfare: propaganda, moralism and NATO’s Kosovo war,’ Journalism Studies, Vol 1 (3) (2000), 365–86, 372. 19. Tony Blair, A Journey (London, 2010), 236. 20. Alastair Campbell and Richard Stott (eds), The Blair Years: Extracts from The Alastair Campbell Diaries (London, 2007), 378–79. 21. Ed Stourton, ‘How the Kosovo War was Spun,’ Sunday Telegraph, 17 October 1999, http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/papers/yp01.cfm2outfit=pmt&folder=4&paper=1478, accessed 10 November 2011. 22. ‘Communications Lessons for NATO, the military and media by A. Campbell,’ Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, 15 June 1999, http://ics.leeds. ac.uk/papers/yp01.cfm2outfit=pmt&requesttimeout=500&folder=4&paper=1220, accessed 10 November 2011. 23. John Barry and Evan Thomas, ‘The Kosovo Cover-Up,’ Newsweek, 15 May 2000, 19–22, 19. 24. Stourton, ‘How the Kosovo War was Spun’. 25. Leigh Armistead (ed.), Information Operations: Warfare and the Hard Reality of Soft Power (Washington, D. C.; Brassey’s Inc., 2004), 204–5. 26. By 5 April 2012, the US had suffered 1,924 fatalities and the UK, 407 fatalities: Canada was next highest with 158 casualties, ‘Casualties, Operation Enduring Freedom,’ http://icasualties.org/oef/, accessed on 5 April 2012. 27. George W. Bush, Decision Points (London, 2011), 212.

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28. ‘Support in US for Afghan War Drops Sharply, Poll Finds,’ New York Times, 27 March 2012, http://nytimes.com/2012/03/27/world/asia/support-for-afghan-warfalls-in-us-poll-finds.html, accessed 3 April 2012. 29. ‘Press briefing by the NATO Spokesperson and the NATO Senior Representative in Afghanistan,’ 4 March 2012, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/opinions_85713. htm, accessed 3 April 2012. 30. Sarah Kreps, ‘Elite Consensus as a Determinant of Alliance Cohesion: Why Public Opinion Hardly Matters for NATO-led Operations in Afghanistan,’ Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol 6 (2010), 191–215. 31. Timo Noetzel and Benjamin Schreer, ‘Does a multi-tier NATO matter? The Atlantic alliance and the process of strategic change,’ International Affairs, Vol 85 (2) (2009), 211–26 and Alexander Mattelaer, ‘How Afghanistan has Strengthened NATO,’ Survival, Vol 53 (6) (2011–12), 127–40. 32. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, passed on 17 March 2011, authorised the imposition of a no-flight zone over Libya, a strengthening of the arms embargo, and the protection of civilians. 33. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, monthly press brief, 3 November 2011, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/opinions_80247.htm (accessed 3 April 2012). 34. C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt, ‘In Strikes on Libya by NATO, an Unspoken Civilian Toll,’ New York Times, 17 December 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/ world/africa/scores-of-unintended-casualties-in-nato-war-in-libya.html?page/ wanted=all, accessed 3 April 2012; 4International, ‘NATO Bombing of Sirte Libya ... War Crimes by NATO but as in Yugoslavia nobody prosecutes NATO!,’ 1 October 2011, http://4internationalwordpress.com/2011/10/01/nato-bombing-ofsir ... -war-crimes-by-nato-but-as-in- yugoslavia-nobody-prosecutes-nato/, accessed 29 November 2011. 35. ‘Transcript of Defense Secretary Gates’s Speech on NATO’s Future,’ 10 June 2012, http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/06/10/transcript-of-defense-secretary-gatessspeech-on-natos-future/, accessed 3 April 2012. 36. Ivo H. Daalder and James G. Stavridis, ‘NATO’s Victory in Libya: The Right Way to Run an Intervention,’ Foreign Affairs, Vol 91 (2) (2012), 2–7. 37. Broadly this was true, Ben Barry, ‘Libya’s Lessons,’ Survival, Vol 53 (5) (2011), 5–14, 11 but Qaddafi had one remarkable moment (13 June 2011) when he was seen playing chess in apparent indifference to the bombing around him.

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9 STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AND THE COMBATANT COMMANDER Jeffrey B. Jones, Daniel T. Kuehl, Daniel Burgess, and Russell Rochte

It is important to emphasise the indispensable role that combatant commander’s play in strategic communication (SC), which includes the coordination of statecraft, public affairs (PA), public diplomacy, military information operations, and other actions through which we engage and influence key global communities. Given the current negative assessment of US efforts in this arena, a concurrent, balanced and collaborative effort is required. Combatant commanders and their staffs, as well as deployed forces, are important instruments of influence. They are ‘current’ in terms of what might have resonance and what will not. They have built personal relations and are unparalleled conduits of influence in virtually every country. These commanders realise that every member of their commands who interacts with any international audience, no matter how large or small, is their most important strategic communicator at that moment and location. This chapter explores the role of the combatant commander as a central conduit for, contributor to, and implementer of US Government strategic communication. It also examines the concept of the ‘Influence Cycle’ and presents a series of focused recommendations for the improvement of this critical national security function.

The Commander’s Role The combatant commander leads the largest single group of America’s strategic communicators in almost any area of the world – the uniformed men and women of the Armed Forces and a growing number of civilians under his command.

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To be effective, he must have an effective SC architecture that consists of qualified people, analysis, technology, systems, procedures, advocates, education, linguistic and lexicon knowledge, innovation, fusion, coordination, cooperation and effective linkages among strategic, operational and tactical levels of engagement, as well as among joint, combined and interagency players and planners. Successful architecture also requires resonance, education and training, and incentives. Finally, the combatant commanders’ role in strategic communication is now mandated by Annex Y of the Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES) process. In terms of multinational and coalition issues: • Combatant commanders can/must/do play a central role. • ‘Standing’ information coordinating committees would help. • There is a mandate for SC inclusion from the outset, not as an afterthought, for all operational plans (OPLANs), concept of operations (CONOPs) plans, Department of Defense (DOD)– sponsored regional centres and all transnational issues including but not limited to combating terrorism, counter-proliferation and counter-drug operations. • While we have some degree of unilateral capacity, we should tap into a much wider set of conduits and capabilities, and be actively involved in helping to increase capacity; we need to engage the US inter-agency community, private sector and allies in these efforts. • Some allies and friends have better human intelligence, superior equipment, more resonant conduits and significantly more presence and knowledge in areas where we have little or none. Some of our partners may be open to providing cooperative analysis and feedback, or engaging in combined activities or even research, development, test, evaluation and acquisition. Based on experience in both Afghanistan and Iraq, it is clear that while planning for military operations has a broad scope of considerations, planning for SC effects remains neither pervasively integrated into the process nor, in some cases, even a consideration for operations. Even what constitutes the information environment is not well understood. Planning for SC effects needs to be incorporated into the targeting cycle regarding post-strike influence activities, a role for which the Intelligence Community is poorly prepared. We remain either reactive or overly incremental in giving visibility to the facts, allowing the adversary or adversarial media to retain the ‘offensive’. Worse, our reaction is often slowed by our bureaucracy to the point where efforts are ineffective. If adversarial media use disinformation, not responding to disinformation emboldens those who produce and propagate it. Disinformation needs to be actively countered as rapidly and vigorously as possible. Failing to respond tends to validate the disinformation.

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The Influence Cycle Air Force Colonel John Boyd developed his concept of decision superiority from his experience flying combat missions during the Korean War. Known as an OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop, Boyd’s concept holds that whichever decision system – whether an individual warrior or an entire command structure – can observe what is happening, orient as to what those observations mean, decide what to do about it, and act to execute that decision will generally win the contest. But the concept is focused on short-term, fast-acting decision making. Can it influence outcomes over the course of decades? The answer is ‘not exactly’, but the approach itself is useful and provides a way forward. It is important here to be aware of the information environment, the combination of information connectivity and the networks that convey the informational content that creates a cognitive effect. The Influence Cycle begins with the recognition that every audience – whether as small as one individual or as large as the global Islamic population – is constantly sensing the content carried by rapidly expanding global connectivity. The audience reaches out to obtain some of this information, some is sent to the audience, and much just ‘happens’. The goal of any influencer/strategic communicator is for the audience to internalise that information so it becomes a set of perceptions favourable to the attainment of particular objectives. This new set of perceptions must be constantly reinforced and developed – especially in the face of inevitable adversary reaction – so they become a new set of beliefs, which thus enables a set of observable behaviours. If the behaviour is observable and its change from previous behaviour is measurable, we have that most valuable commodity: a metric for gauging the effectiveness of an influence campaign. Any professional influencer can quote the necessary steps of what amounts to a template for influence, beginning with a clear understanding of the intended objective and cultural analysis of the key audience, then progressing through the formulation of the message, determination of the most effective transmission medium, and assessment of the effort’s success. Each of these steps is critical in its own right, and when viewed holistically, they clearly imply that the task is very difficult. While there are certainly quantitative methodologies that can aid some of the necessary analytical steps, such as polling and audience measurement, an influence campaign cannot be developed using a slide rule. It needs the expert hands of people with long education and experience in the arts of influence, and any advertiser or political persuader knows this. Get the audience and cultural analysis wrong, and our influence effort may actually stiffen the adversary’s negative perceptions toward us. Get the wrong message to that audience – never forgetting the most important form of message or content is an action that the target audience observes – and all the hard work of the audience analysis may be wasted. Select the wrong means of message delivery – shortwave radio

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when the audience is on Twitter or is in the mosque every Friday – and all the positive work of the earlier steps will be for nothing. Finally, if we do not have a useful means for measurement, we may not even know that we have been successful. But marrying this analytical process to the Influence Cycle will provide the SC planner and the combatant commander with a useful approach for the planning and conduct of the influence campaign. However, unlike the OODA loop from which it is drawn, nothing about the Influence Cycle is likely to happen quickly; the measurement period will not be hours or days – it will probably be years to decades. This is not a tool for tactical impact on short-period crises, but is a strategic weapon for employment in longterm campaigns such as the ‘war of ideas’.

Recommendations 1. Each combatant command should establish a Strategic Communication and Response Element to prepare for and respond to propaganda, misinformation and disinformation. The Multi-National Force-Iraq SC section is supposed to integrate, coordinate and synchronise information efforts, acknowledging different audiences as well as different missions. However, the mandate is for coordination and not overstepping bounds while contributing to the achievement of the same objectives. 2. Each combatant command should establish a standing Interagency Information Coordinating Committee consisting of the J2, J3, J5, counter-terrorism and information operations (IO) planner, political advisor, special advisor, PA officer, deployed joint task force representative, legal counsel, and, when appropriate, embassy public affairs, political officer, station chief, joint psychological operations task force, allied representatives and regional US Agency for International Development representatives. 3. If there is SC policy guidance, use it. If not, ask for it. In many cases, summaries of conclusions from policy deliberations have been disseminated but not further distributed to the lowest level necessary and laterally among all the players who are either affected or who have the capacity to influence foreign audiences. Draft the required guidance. Consider asking specific questions as a means to influence the policy process. Combatant commanders are far more influential in focusing interagency attention than staff. Requests for policy/SC guidance should be in writing. Recommend ‘Personal for’ messages or memoranda. 4. Intelligence divisions should approach SC requests for information differently in support of a continuous requirement for an ‘influence campaign’. Include preclearance for declassification of prestrike intelligence supporting the target rationale, cockpit video, other aspect imagery, attack details and other relevant, explanatory and ‘defensible’ information – all within existing authorities of the commander. When considering objective, strategic and operational

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influence effects, apply intelligence gain/loss considerations, but beware of letting the tactical needs of the moment outweigh the long-term strategic need for success in the influence effort. 5. Each combatant command should immediately build a media ‘order of battle’ for its area of operations, encompassing both ‘adversary’ and ‘neutral/ friendly’ media. This should be an essential part of the intelligence preparation of the operational environment. DOD has several systems, albeit not yet fully funded, that could significantly enhance strategic, operational and tactical information management. Combatant commanders should demand immediate funding to facilitate the earliest possible deployment of these systems to commands, forward headquarters and joint task forces. These include Media Mapper, the Information Strategy Decision Support System, OpenSource.gov and MAPS. Currency must be maintained on each country’s indigenous media as well as external media that reach the populace. Data must include frequencies, broadcast times, key communicators, caricatures in newspapers and so forth. Commanders should ensure that their staff track what has been reported, when and by whom, to catalogue egregious broadcasts that incite violence. 6. Combatant commands should maintain and catalogue data on the popular culture of the countries in their respective areas of responsibility. The Strategic Studies Detachments of the 4th Psychological Operations Group, assisted by the Defence Intelligence Agency Human Factors personnel and including analytical outreach to Defence attachés, are key sources of this information. These data are critical to identifying the conduits, form and medium through which to convey a particular message or theme in order to reach those whose attitudes remain vulnerable to ‘shaping’ the youth. That is not to say that we ignore civilian elites, other policy makers, academics or senior military leaders; it is only to emphasise the importance of reaching those who will be in positions of power and influence in the future, and whom we have a chance to affect now through longer term interagency efforts. We often focus on the decision makers of today while forgetting those of tomorrow. We only need to look at the population by ages worldwide to know that the youth cannot be ignored – and we only need to read the newspapers to understand why. 7. Each combatant command should develop appropriate external information requests (EIRs) that identify the interagency requirements/desires of the commanders to support their respective informational efforts in theatre, including peacetime activities, transnational threats and existing OPLANs/CONPLANs. These would be forwarded to both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defence for insertion into the National Security Council (NSC) process. For standard OPLANs and CONPLANs, they would be included in Annex Ys and submitted to the NSC for review and coordination. EIRs would also include combatant commander-desired US Government interlocutors, regional experts (Arab-Americans, for example) and internationally recognised figures to ‘fill the information void’ on

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regional media that is all too often exploited by our adversaries, resulting in their getting their message out aggressively and our being reactive. 8. For command post exercises and simulations, strategic communication, operational and tactical information operations must be incorporated to identify strengths as well as weaknesses and the degree to which allied/coalition participation and contribution are possible. Full-spectrum SC simulations need to be conducted to coordinate, integrate and synergise activities during deterrence, conflict and post-conflict phases, as well as to identify resource shortfalls. In addition, combatant commanders need to improve simulations so that they incorporate effects/reactions as a result of the information efforts as well as to ensure simulations include a realistic number of events for the process to be exercised. 9. Each combatant command should issue IO effects synchronisation guidance, coordinated with the PA guidance and disseminated during the information coordinating committee meetings described above. Involve military PA in each step of the process, resulting in guidance in line with the overarching approach and nested in the public communications guidance given to US embassies and missions. Active rather than passive guidance is needed in most cases, tapping into known and predicted foreign journalist interest. 10. As critical contributions to addressing the ever-increasing number of jihadist websites that provide ‘insightful’ language and recruitment enticements, combatant commands should develop web initiatives in accordance with DOD guidelines that assist in achievement of theatre and national informational objectives. All of the elements of information operations, including computer network and psychological operations (PSYOP), need to be integrated in this effort. Two useful examples/models might be the Southeast European Times, produced by US European Command (USEUCOM), and Magharebia.com, originally created at USEUCOM and now operated by US Africa Command. 11. For select operations, rehearse contingency options with the Department of State and the interagency community, channelled through agencies to the Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications to ensure consistency and coordination with national-level guidance. Determine what effects are needed based on a range of possible outcomes, and reach agreement on talking points, language, timing, communicators, means of dissemination and feedback conduits. 12. Within each combatant command, and via J7, modify the JOPES process and make concomitant doctrinal changes to include the appropriate responses in the influence realm, creating a more comprehensive approach beyond the kinetic effects of an attack. Historically, we have concentrated our efforts on the planning and operational phase and on effects regarding the target only. In our current approach, we ‘own’ everything up through the strike, and the adversary (and his media support) ‘owns’ everything past the strike. We need to reverse this trend. Most targeting work/matrices only go until the bomb is dropped. We need to extend that matrix to deal with post-action effects. This will allow us to be proactive instead of reactive. Talking points must be ‘loaded’ and ‘dropped’ in synch with the bomb.

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13. Be prepared to follow and sometimes precede kinetic strikes with ‘influence strikes’. Using precleared information that supports our position, we must demonstrate combat power within the constraints of rules of engagement to achieve objectives within the context of the overall mission and strategic goals. If we are on offence, the adversary is on defence. 14. Greatly expand our use of imagery to support our rhetoric. This requires pervasive use/augmentation of Joint Combat Camera, PSYOP electronic news gathering capacity, possible addition/activation of Reserve Component PA or other photographic expertise. Ensure sufficient systems are available to uplink/ downlink both still photos and video for cataloguing and selective use in disseminating to desired foreign and domestic audiences. Ensure and budget for satellite time to ensure transmission. This was a major deficiency during Operation Iraqi Freedom, despite recognition of the problem during Enduring Freedom and extensive coordination with Joint Combat Camera, their preparedness, and their recognition of the public diplomacy importance of the images only they could ‘capture’.

Rapid release of the images to the open source world is key. Delays in releasing these images hurt us. We have to be first. Just as in sports, nobody cares about who comes second; the images that come in second will not get play time, no matter how accurate they are. Consideration might be given to attempting, in advance, to get copyright releases in case we do not get our own photographers/ videographers to an incident scene before embedded press representatives do and there is a need to use other images on our products. 15. Consider, as US Central Command did, embedding within DOD units (such as civil affairs, engineers and medical) not only Western media, but also media such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya and from across the global range of print, visual, broadcast and Web-based media. This will provide not only a sounding board for the truth, but also the most credible sources for the global audience since local media and reportage are almost always seen as the most believable to any audience. Connect our ‘embeds’ with information response teams, as well as the appropriate operations command centre. 16. Arrive first on scene to an attack area with an information response team. If we know we are going to hit a significant target, deploy a Combat Camera team and some operators either prepositioned or ready (with dedicated helicopter transportation) to ‘scoop’ adversarial media and pre-empt their stories. Get ‘before and after’ pictures to prove we were monitoring a target (with consideration of operational risk) beforehand, and to avoid any disputes over the authenticity of the site and the environs. 17. Bring in the media, establish the facts and show them sites where alleged attacks on civilian targets occurred. Have embeds ready to go just after sensitive site exploitation is done. If we feed these types of stories to Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, for example, or let others scoop them, this will push our side of the

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story to their audiences. Pushing information is critical, and historically we do not do it very well. An active PA posture is far preferable to remaining passive. 18. ‘Red team’ the actions from an adversarial propaganda perspective. Identify and game likely scenarios and possible pre-emptive as well as responsive actions that might be appropriate. Because actions are the most important form of communication and always have more resonance, the spectrum should include PA, public diplomacy, IO and special activities as well as military actions. Have a dedicated team of subject matter experts available and prepared to defend/ explain actions in front of the press to identify inconsistencies or discrepancies in any adversarial disinformation that is disseminated that we should exploit/ point out. As part of the risk assessment/mitigation of any significant operation, influence factors need consideration, with a pre-emption/reaction plan ready to execute from the proper communicators and through the appropriate channels. It is critical that we are hard on ourselves during this game since we tend always to win, lulling ourselves into dangerous complacency. 19. Similar to combat operational debriefings for the media during times of ‘hot’ war, ensure that we take the informational initiative in operations other than war/low-intensity conflict by doing the same, taking our information to television first and establishing the facts, thus pre-empting disinformation or propaganda that could be developed regarding an incident. 20. Use an organisational template (matrix) to coordinate actions and options. When guidance is sent out to action agents, it takes the form of whatever tool that agency or office uses to communicate. Always balance the need for proactive participation with operational security. 21. Combatant commanders should use the US Special Operations Command joint mission support activity to plan, coordinate and implement trans-regional PSYOP.

Implications Although nation states and political entities have exercised some of these principles and operations for centuries, the information environment – especially cyberspace – is a new concept. We are not well organised – strategically, bureaucratically or procedurally – to operate effectively in this space, certainly not in comparison to recent and current adversaries. We have not dedicated sufficient resources – human, organisational or fiscal – for success. Nor have we created the training and educational mechanisms within our primary strategic communication arms – the State and Defense Departments – to prepare adequately future strategic leaders to operate in this environment. We must see our international partners and allies as indispensable actors and treat them accordingly, involving them in the planning and conduct of critical influence operations and campaigns. The good news is that we have the ability to improve every one of these processes and capabilities. It is up to us – and the time to begin is now.

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10 STRATEGY, INFLUENCE, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION AND BRITISH MILITARY DOCTRINE Kate Utting

Introduction After more than a decade of continuous military operations and a mixed record of success and failure, the UK military is going through a period of introspection and reflection. Questions are being asked about what went wrong in Iraq and Afghanistan and fundamental issues have been examined about the nature of conflict, strategy making, the civil-military relationship, the utility of force and British competency in these types of operations. In today’s conflict, Joseph Nye has argued ‘it is not whose army wins, but whose story wins.’1 David Betz goes as far as to explain the strategic defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan as ‘failure to communicate’ compounded by ‘ambiguous’ strategic narratives.2 In the past information, influence or the non-kinetic psychological aspects of conflict had a supporting function to the physical or kinetic aspects; today it is seen as a central part of the campaign planning, execution and management process. The British military has elevated the importance of soft power ideas, influence and strategic communication, together with the need to take a more psychological approach to the idea of Influence3 as the central idea and purpose of all military activity – and this has been adopted as part of the transformation needed to meet the challenges of war among the people in the digital information age. The fashion in British military thinking is Influence, Strategic Communication and Information Activity. As the proponents of this approach argue, it is smart to be soft.4 Part of this soul searching has been an examination of the ideas and philosophy that underpins Britain’s approach to conflict – the conceptual component of fighting power.5 But the conclusion that influence is central to contemporary operations has created conceptual confusion which has led to incoherent doctrine. The lexicon soup of terminology and ideas has caused its own fog of war.

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The very term ‘Influence’ has been overused both as a noun and adjective and is unhelpful: ‘we need to be influencing through Influence Activities in order to Influence.’6 Moreover, expectations have been raised about the ability of these activities to deliver strategic success. These doctrinal aspects of the conceptual component of fighting power provide the focus for this chapter.7 This chapter will first discuss the drivers for change in British military thinking to explain why Influence and Strategic Communication have become so fashionable. Second, doctrinal developments will be explored and the key publications – Joint Doctrine Publication 3–40: Security and Stabilisation; and Joint Doctrine Note 1/11: Strategic Communication – will be examined in the context of more general developments in campaigning concepts and the lessons learned from the recent intervention in Libya. Finally, challenges for the implementation of these concepts, both at the national grand strategic and military operational levels, will be explored together with a discussion of the limitations of communications be it Influence, Strategic Communication or information activity as a panacea.

Drivers for Change and Doctrine Development The production of new Influence and Strategic Communication doctrine over the last ten years has been driven by: the political and strategic contexts, the changing debates over the changing character of conflict, the nature of the digital communications environment, the influence of formative experiences, and organisational and institutional interests. In particular, the British experience of interventions between 1998 and 2012 has been the major factor in explaining the drive to examine the conceptual component of fighting power. The early success of these campaigns up to 2003 led to a certain degree of hubris about the utility of armed force, but the failure to make ‘successful’ strategy – balancing ends, ways and means to achieve policy objectives and the resultant problems in the civil-military relationship – led in 2009 to the then Chief of the Defence Staff lamenting that the British armed forces had ‘lost an institutionalised capacity for, and culture of, strategic thought.’8 The new coalition government in May 2010 promised a partial institutional solution to this problem with the creation of the new National Security Council, but it also had clear priorities to reduce government expenditure in austere times reflected in its approach to the formulation of the National Security Strategy9 and the Strategic Defence and Security Review.10 The Ministry of Defence (MoD) came under particular scrutiny and criticism for the tension that is manifest between the MoD as a department of state and strategic military headquarters of the armed forces11 and in August 2010 the Defence Reform Review under Lord Levene was launched. A particular focus of scrutiny was communications. While the MoD saw a 73 per cent increase in communications personnel between 1998 and 2008 this has been mostly in media officers as opposed strategic communication planners.12

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As one internal report argued: ‘One of our greatest failings in implementing the strategy lies within strategic communication’ and the ‘dangerous divide between strategy development and those responsible for strategic communication’. The MoD competes ‘poorly’ in the information space ‘where most conflicts are today decided.’ Therefore ‘the integration of communication expertise into strategic processes and structures on a permanent basis’ was recommended.13 It has also been argued that the focus on strategic communication would have the added benefit of providing a value for money solution as a cheaper alternative to investment in full spectrum capabilities as a way of ‘doing more with less.’14 Scarce and diminishing military resources make thinking about the future character of conflict even more important. Here British debates have highlighted the obsolescence of major, interstate, conventional wars. Instead the focus is on operations other than war, of interventions to support fragile states, stabilisation and counter-insurgency. There is almost universal acceptance of the concept of war amongst the people: ‘Military engagement can take place anywhere: in the presence of civilians, against civilians, in defence of civilians. Civilians are the targets, objectives to be one, as much as the opposing force’.15 The language of this type of conflict ‘is non-kinetic effects team, Counter-IED, information dominance, counter piracy, and cyber attack and defence’ with the UK operating in complex joint, interagency and multinational environments. Success will be measured ‘in terms of securing people’s confidence instead of how many tanks, ships or aircraft are destroyed’.16 Moreover, Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, has argued ‘in wars among the people, if you are using a lot of firepower, you are almost certainly losing.’17 Force has become part of the problem rather than the solution. The questioning of the utility of hard power in achieving operational and strategic aims and the challenges of the digital communications reinforce this focus on ‘the people’. Richards believes that this generation is in the midst of a ‘paradigm shift’ and facing a ‘horse and tank’ moment, ‘born in our era chiefly but not exclusively of the global revolution in communications and associated technology.’18 The new technology including digital receivers in computer mediated communication such as the Internet means that ‘many diverse opinions, images, facts and stories can be accessed, at choice, 24 hours a day’ and this ‘proliferation of information does not lend itself to traditional forms of regulation.’19 The challenge for the state is ‘the degree to which they can influence the rapidly changing media ecology’.20 The dividing line between wider public information activities and military psychological operations on the ground is no longer as clear as it has been in the past and the military has adopted new areas of activity and responsibilities. The MoD acknowledges that it has ‘not adapted well to the changes in the global information environment’ and that urgent reform is needed.21 ‘We’ are losing and the adversary on the other hand is perceived to have adapted well and is exploiting this changed environment. Addressing the challenges of the global war on

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terrorism David Kilcullen has called for the development of a capacity for strategic information warfare and an integrating function that ‘draws together all the components of what we say and what we do’, noting that ‘. . . for Al-Qaeda the “main effort” is information; for us, information is a “supporting effort”.’22 The House of Commons Defence Committee report into the Operation TELIC found it ‘disappointing that the coalition is widely perceived to have “come second” in perception management.’23 The adversary has demonstrated its agility whereas ‘control and delay’ was the UK and US governments’ approach to the global information environment.24 The emphasis on the relationship between the physical and psychological aspects of contemporary operations highlights the importance of the role of strategic narratives, ‘compelling story lines which can explain events convincingly and from which inferences can be drawn . . . designed or nurtured with the intention of structuring the responses of others to developing events’. A successful narrative can help achieve strategic aims and ‘link certain events while disentangling others, distinguish good news from bad tidings, and explain who is winning and who is losing.’25 For the UK ‘the absence, weakness or interference of strategic narratives has hindered our national security endeavours of recent years.’26 The major theme of the strategic narrative for Afghanistan has lacked consistency, reflecting the changes in the overall strategy itself, moving from counter-terrorism to state building to democracy building (in both Iraq and Afghanistan) to counter-terrorism again and today to capacity building. The MoD has accepted the need for change. The old type of message-influence, send and receive model, with an emphasis on repetition and control27 is not appropriate for today’s environment and governments should ‘look beyond oneway “announcement-style” communication and start the process of engagement, participation and collaboration in pursuit of joint outcomes.’28 Greater audience analysis is needed ‘including careful “listening” by strategy makers’. Earlier proactive engagement should also be delegated and given more freedom, noting the irony that ‘if we are prepared to trust personnel to make delegated decisions on the application of force, then we should also be prepared to trust them to make appropriate decisions over communication.’29 The British military’s rediscovery strategy seems to have led to a discovery of strategic communication. This is why a conceptual response was needed, for ‘in understanding perception management, therefore, it should be made clear that we are not seeking to develop a new capability or weapon system, but educating ourselves as to the ways of human behaviour and communication.’30

Evolution of Doctrine and Thinking: Back to the Future? Psychological warfare and psychology in warfare have been essential elements of conflict since ancient times.31 As Clausewitz argued, the nature of warfare

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endures as a duel partly through violence and physical activities but also psychological persuasion. Conflict has always been ‘a contest of wills – a struggle to bring the desired response from the adversary.’32 In this way there is nothing new in communication and information being a key part of any campaign which goes to the heart of thinking and conceptualising about war and conflict. From 1989 onwards the British way of war, the Manoeuvrist Approach, has been based upon breaking an opponent’s collective will and shattering his cohesion targeting the conceptual moral components of an adversary’s fighting power.33 This idea was further refined as a response to what was seen as the increasingly complex operational challenges and the need for a Comprehensive Approach34 to address them. The result was Effect Based Operations (EBO), a holistic approach to operations that strives to coordinate all levers of national power towards the strategic end state.35 The US abandoned EBO in 2008, following the lessons learned from the 2006 Israeli offensive against Hezbollah, for being too prescriptive. The US approach failed to recognise the importance of the human dimension of warfare and that there were too many variables to anticipate second third and fourth order effects of targeting.36 In the UK, while effects continued and still continue to be part of British campaigning, the deterministic aspect of EBO has been removed. There is less emphasis on the destruction of enemy forces and more on the objective and effect sought in order to achieve overall operational and strategic aims, together with a recognition that focusing on the adversary alone was insufficient. Increasingly, the effect desired is expressed as a change in behaviour. Current campaigning doctrine which supports contingency planning, crisis response planning and current operations planning is concerned with finding military solutions to problems in relation to a crisis situation.37 Campaign Planning is a Command-led activity which is supported by a 6 Step Operational Estimate, designed to be a ‘logical process of reasoning by which a commander faced with an ill structured problem, arrives at a decision for a Course of Action to be taken in order to achieve its mission’, following a logical sequence to deliver a plan having considered all the relevant factors. Strategic direction is given to the Commander and should include the National strategic aim and objectives, the military strategic end state and/or military strategic objectives, the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Intent, and relevant extracts from the National Information Strategy.38 Having completed the plan, a Joint Action Table is used as a planning tool which develops the relationship between decisive conditions, supporting effects and joint action activities.39 Joint Action is the operational means to achieve the effects: ‘the deliberate use and orchestration of military capabilities and activities to realise effects on other actors’ will, understanding capability, and the cohesion between them’. It is a metaphor for the enduring relationships between

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Fires,40 Influence Activities41 and Maneuver42 and is ‘a framework for considering the coordination and synchronisation of all activity within the battle space.’43 Influence Activities are no longer a supporting activity to the use of kinetic force, or merely shape the operational space or isolate or condition the adversary ‘for defeats through coercive or offensive action.’44 Confusingly, influence (lower case) is both a desired effect as well as a set of activities as an ‘essential characteristic of Joint Action is that it presumes influence as central to all activity.’45 The military is increasingly turning to the social sciences to examine the best and worst of the human condition, to explain emotions, motivations, behaviours, attitudes and beliefs and to try and anticipate the seemingly unpredictable. This can be seen in formal doctrine development, for example JDN 1/09 The Significance of Culture to the Military and JDN 3/11 Decision-Making and Problem Solving: Human and Organisational Factors. Campaigns will ‘need to focus on altering the behaviours of others, either in advance – and therefore deterring conflict – or as a coupled component in the process of combat and post combat.’46 This has implications for more traditional core military competencies like intelligence, and JDN 1/10 Intelligence and Understanding recognises the need for greater crossgovernment cooperation to support the ‘understanding’ aspects of campaigning. The overall theme in the evolution of doctrine since the end of the Cold War is a shift away from an emphasis on the pure destruction of an adversary’s fighting power to the importance of influence and thinking about psychological as well as physical activities to affect behaviour. Moreover, British military orthodoxy is that influence will be central to all types of conflict in the future: ‘conflict will remain focused on influencing people.’ The ‘battle for the narratives will be key, and the United Kingdom must conduct protracted influence activity, coordinated centrally and executed locally.’47

JDP 3–40: Security and Stabilisation: the Military Contribution, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, November 2009 The frustration with translating theory into practice and the recent formative experience of counter-insurgency led to new doctrine, this time examining the specific challenges of stabilising a country like Afghanistan.48 Published in 2009 it explains stabilisation as a ‘process that supports states which are entering, enduring or emerging from conflict . . . to become more acceptable to the nation’s population and more consistent with the UK’s strategic interests.’49 Stabilisation is an idealised model of a stable state based on building human and national security, governance and rule of law, economic and infrastructure development, a political settlement and societal relationships.50 Ideas such as winning hearts and minds, population focus and securing the population have become staples of policy and doctrine.51 It is with this doctrine that the centrality of influence became mainstream.

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Stabilisation doctrine is focused on the Theatre and local issues within it. It encourages the reader to ‘think of [stabilisation] as an argument to earn the support of the people’ as ‘a contest to influence the real and very practical calculations on the part of the people about which side to support.’52 The important primary relationship and ‘the key to a sustainable political settlement’ in this ‘argument’ is ‘the triangular one between the host nation government, competing (violent) elites (of which there may be several) and the wider population.’53 The campaign must therefore ‘reshape and stabilise’ these relationships.54 The central idea of the new doctrine is ‘everything that we do, every action we take, will have an influence on part of the conflict relationship.’55 It follows then that if influence is central, ‘all military action should be assessed by its contribution toward influencing the key conflict relationship and shaping the eventual political settlement’. Campaign analysis, planning, execution and assessment ‘become a function of two questions: What effect do we want to achieve? And What actions will best achieve that effect?’56 The doctrine explains the role of strategic communication and the importance of the narrative.57 The narrative explains ‘the actions of the main protagonists’, developed by the commander for each audience. The best narratives are ‘those which embrace the concepts and language of target audiences . . . the stickiness of the message.’ All actions would be ‘planned and executed to support this narrative, and not the other way around’ and this could involve both ‘the controlled and coordinated release of themed information’ or even ‘specific security operations amongst local populations.’58

JDN 1/11 Strategic Communication: The Defence Contribution, March 201159 With the introduction of JDP 3–40, Influence was endorsed as central to campaigning and military activity. But it meant several different things: a philosophy of the UK’s approach to operations, the purpose of all military activity and a set of discreet military activities. In 2011 the MoD produced a Joint Doctrine Note on strategic communication. The JDP 3–40 explored strategic communication and defined it as ‘the articulation of cross-government guidance on influence and supports the synchronisation of the words and deeds of friendly actors to maximise desired effects.’60 In 2009 strategic communication for the MoD was communication at the strategic level with ‘many of the ways and means’ used to conduct strategic communication falling ‘outside the remit of the commander’. Confusingly, strategic communication also provided ‘the framework for the delivery of psychological effects at lower levels, where the operational military contribution is known as influence activities.’61 Elsewhere in Whitehall, Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service argued, ‘We need a much more strategic approach to

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communication to ensure that communication is at the heart of the policy process. It needs to be there at the start when we’re trying to work out what the policy is for. It needs to be there in the middle when we’re sorting out what the solution is and we’re engaging with people to get their views about how to make policy work best, and it needs to be there at the end.’62 Within the MoD, General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, was the impetus behind the development of the Doctrine Note on strategic communication.63 In March 2011 the MoD published JDN 1/11 Strategic Communication: the Defence Contribution. This provided defence with its first formal definition of strategic communication: ‘advancing national interests by using all Defence means of communication to influence the attitudes and behaviours of people.’64 Strategic communication is to be regarded as a strategic means and the product of the activity is influence. The JDN argues that it ‘must be integral to strategy, providing the means to explain our ideas in a compelling and persuasive way through an engagement in dialogue’.65 But this is not a one-way street as being ‘in dialogue’ means the participation of others outside the strategy making process and has wider implications: ‘Ultimately, the dialogue may tell us that we need to adjust the strategy.’66 Consistent with developments in campaigning doctrine and the idea that influence is a central concern, the Note argued that non-kinetic information ‘must no longer be routinely subordinated to more familiar concepts of maneuver and force’. Experience demonstrated that ‘too often we have placed influence on the periphery of our operations, failing to understand that reinforcing or changing attitude and behaviour in selected audiences can have equal, if not greater, utility than force in securing our operational objectives’, therefore information or influence cannot be ‘separate lines of operation.’67 Chapter 1 of the JDN defines and describes strategic communication and explains why it matters and how defence contributes to it. The cross-government aspects of strategic communication are also examined.68 Chapter 2 focuses on the communication environment, with implications from the current operational, political and information environments examined. The human dimension is then considered, including the need to engage with audiences and continue to develop a better understanding of them. The final 2 sections look at types of communication and narratives.69 Chapter 3 is primarily concerned with what defence should do to make a more effective contribution to strategic communication and describes some defence principles of strategic communication. These principles are: first, strategic communication is policy driven and integral to strategy formulation and command led; second, dialogue and engagement; third, the need to be coherent and consistent; fourth, being credible and compelling; fifth, to be responsive by being adaptive and agile and finally encouraging all to be empowered, informed and enabled.70 Organisational implications and changes are recommended, including the suggestion to build a specialist civil-military

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career stream for strategic communication and additional issues of measuring effectiveness for influence; and the need to place information at the centre of defence’s approach is reinforced. Less clear however is the relationship between the concepts of strategic communication, influence and information. There is the danger that strategic communication becomes all things to everyone. As the Note argues it is ‘primarily a philosophy, partly a capability and partly a process’. It is a philosophy because it underpins the defence approach to ‘delivering outputs – the alignment of words, images and actions to realise influence’ and is to be applied by everyone. It is a capability and a process because the ‘achievement of the outputs requires a supporting process and makes use of a range of capabilities, including media and communications, information activities and psychological operations.’71 Kenneth Payne argues that what is missing is a discussion of how these ideas can be applied in practice. He thinks that the emerging influence literature is ‘psychologically illiterate’ with a danger that strategic communication ‘becomes effectively synonymous with the term “war” itself’.72 While the Note argues strategic planning and execution should include continuous research and assessment to understand audiences with Target Audience Analysis (TAA)73 critics like Andrew Mackay and Steve Tatham think that TAA and Measurements of Effectiveness should have been covered more prominently and in greater detail in the Note.74

JDN 1/12 and Follow-on Work Following the publication of JDN 1/11 the UK was almost immediately involved in the 2011 NATO campaign in Libya. Operation ELLAMY is considered a success in the MoD. Part of the success can be explained by British and French lobbying at the UN to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) which authorised the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya and the threat of attack and the UK’s strategic narrative: ‘UK action on Libya is necessary to protect the Libyan people, is legal under UNSCR 1973, and is being successfully delivered by a broad international coalition under multinational command’ which had the benefit of brevity and ‘encapsulated the U.K.’s broader objective, its legal basis and international consent.’75 This campaign saw the fruits of some of the changes brought about in the MoD in relation to strategy formulation and how the ideas on strategic communication could be implemented in practice in a crisis situation. During this campaign a new post in the MoD, the Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff for Military Strategy, led a cross-government Strategic Communication Steering Group supported by the MoD’s Military Strategic Effects and Strategic Communication Directorate’s Strategic Communication Branch. A cross-government strategic level Communications Team (CT) was established to direct the national

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response to the Libyan crisis. Libya and the on-going campaign in Afghanistan confirmed that the British military could not ‘afford to think about influence and information as separate lines of operation.’76 Strategic communication was employed at the earliest stage in the development of strategy during the planning for this operation. In January 2012 JDN 1/12 Strategic Communication: the Defence Contribution was published as an updated version of JDN 1/11 reflecting these developments. While it acknowledged that one of the types of strategic communication is ‘the routine business of delivering enduring UK policy’ and is long-term in nature, the second and the major concern of the JDN is strategic communication related to crisis management or military campaigns.77 The 1/11 definition of strategic communication – ‘advancing national interests by using all Defence means of communication to influence the attitudes and behaviours of people’ – was retained, but a more detailed explanation and breakdown of the definition was given. Advancing national interests was explained as establishing the strategic nature of the concept, conveying that MoD personnel ‘need to be aligned with, and working towards, national strategic goals in conducting strategic communication’. All means of defence communication means that ‘all words, images and actions (nonlethal and lethal) convey a message’ and implies that message senders and influencers ‘should understand how messages will be perceived and understood by all those who receive them’. Influencing the attitudes and behaviours of the people emphasises ‘the cognitive nature of the effects being sought.’ It encourages the practitioner to think beyond lethal approaches ‘to wider possibilities.’78 As happened in the Libya campaign, in future strategic level policy will articulate the objective or political end state to ‘normally be centred on the behavioural outcome, or information effect’ and this will shape the strategic narrative and the overarching themes linked to a particular information strategy. The operational level commander will then use the information effect, narrative and themes as the basis for his planning and derive decisive conditions and supporting effects, which should all be ‘coherent with the strategic communication plan’. Strategic communication therefore relies on ‘clearly directed policy’, but ‘decentralised and empowered execution is vital.’79 The six defence principles of strategic communication mentioned previously are fleshed out in much greater detail here80 and are joined by a new one: assessment. In making the commander’s assessment, ‘systematic evaluation to all strategic communication activity’ should be applied in order ‘to measure the effect on the attitudes and behaviours of target audiences.’ This assessment should be planned ‘from the outset’ and will often ‘drive’ the allocation of intelligence collection and analytical resources.’81 The revised JDN contains a completely revised Chapter Three which examines the conduct of strategic communication, explaining the relationship between the NSC, the MoD and other government departments and how the structures

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and organisations work towards the synchronisation of activity to meet national objectives.82 It also contains a number of Annexes which address some of the criticisms about how the strategic communication ideas can be applied in practice, outlining illustrative examples of a Strategic Communications Action and Effects Plan; a Strategic Communications Story Board; and a Strategic Communications Synchronisation Matrix. Strategic communication is linked to military operational planning and tactical activity through the development of key strategic communication themes and objectives and the narrative which will be part of the Chief of Defence Staff’s Directive to the Joint Commander.83 The Joint Action model has been revised. Joint Action now includes Fires, Information Activities (as opposed to Influence Activities), Maneuver and a new fourth activity: Outreach.84 Influence returns to being the outcome of national policy goals by influencing the thinking and behaviour of people. In a defence context, military influence represents the outcome of all defence activity, rather than a discreet activity or set of activities. Outreach (which includes stabilisation activities like support to infrastructure development and governance, capacity building and security sector reform, and regional and local engagement) has been added as it is one of the capabilities available to the operational commander and better reflects the need to engage with other nonadversarial actors in a campaign environment. For the first time Joint Action represents all operational level military activities, both psychological and physical. The campaign plan will determine the required effect, ‘normally . . . centred on changes of behaviour and attitude within a specific target set’.85 Full Spectrum Targeting, a term developed during the Libyan campaign, is a ‘holistic approach to targeting’ which will review ‘all targets together and apportioning action (non-lethal and lethal) in accordance with the campaign information strategy and desired behavioural objectives’.86 The introduction of Full Spectrum Targeting suggests that there will be a greater requirement for understanding the different means of producing effects for behavioural change from kinetic lethal activity to softer information and diplomatic action, which in turn will have implications for how targeting training will be conducted. Follow-on activity from the revision of JDN 1/11 includes revision of operational level campaign doctrine to incorporation of these changes. Work on the MoD’s contribution to the development of strategic communication is continuing and a revision to JDN 1/12 in 2013 can be anticipated. A new JDP 3.80 Influence series, Information operations, Media operations, CIMIC and PSYOPS will be published later in 2012.

Issues and Challenges There has been considerable progress in the development of influence and strategic communication concepts and doctrine in the UK. The higher command of

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the UK’s military increasingly believes that strategic communication is critical to mission success. They recognise it is more than doing ‘information’ better and requires an approach that integrates information effects within policy, planning and execution. The implementation from theory into practice will be a challenge. Work continues to overcome the inevitable problems that arise from individual doctrine publications being written separately in stove pipes and to different timetables in order to establish coherency and consistency in how these ideas are understood and will be utilised at the operational and tactical levels. Undoubtedly ‘influence’ and ‘strategic communication’ have become fashionable, but it is one thing, for example, to state that the military contribution to strategic communication is everything the military says and does, when the military have a better understanding of and practice in coercive kinetic influence than they do in non-coercive, non-kinetic influence. While the strap line is ‘everything you say and everything you do’, the military still talks about information activities leading to the danger that strategic communication will simply mean doing information activities in a better and more integrated way. On the other hand there is a danger of influence and strategic communication becoming a panacea. While it may be smart to be soft, the discovery of a hammer makes everything look like a nail. The debates that have led to the elevation of influence and strategic communication as a central rather than peripheral or supporting military activity have been outlined in an unhelpful way with a false dichotomy drawn between kinetic and non-kinetic, between coercion and persuasion. This has been exacerbated by looking back to the past when the UK experienced greater success in counter-insurgency campaigns. The centrality of ‘hearts and minds’ in explaining British success in Malaya has become part of British military mythology. Templer’s view that ‘the shooting side of this business is only 25 per cent of the trouble and the other 75 per cent lies in getting the people of the country behind us’87 is often quoted by the advocates of non-kinetic activity without trying to understand the role of 25 per cent kinetic activity in explaining overall success. As Hew Strachan notes ‘hearts and minds’ does not mean ‘being nice to natives, but about giving them the firm smack of government. “Hearts and minds” denoted authority, not appeasement.’88 Karl Hack argues that the Malayan Emergency was broken between 1950 and 1952 and ‘this happened with a population control and security approach to the fore, at a time when winning hearts and minds, dynamic leadership, and efficient learning were in their early stages.’89 The nuances inherent in this analogy are not reflected in current doctrine. While doctrine talks of the synchronisation of physical and psychological activities in order to achieve influence and behavioural change in target audiences, traditional training ‘points commanders towards kinetic solutions.’90 And this is perhaps hardly surprising. Militaries, like all other organisations and bureaucracies, will tend to like doing what they are good at. The unique selling proposition of the military is the delivery of legitimate violence to the battlefield.

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For while we have seen the expansion of the military jurisdiction, from war fighting to the development of soft skills, defence diplomacy and state building, the essentials remain the same. The majority think and do kinetic rather than non-kinetic as the military’s ‘doing something’ tends to bias towards physical activity. Moreover, they are organised, hierarchical, responsive and agile, they are action and output orientated and their war fighting ethos ‘is absolutely fundamental to all those in the Armed Forces.’91 If war fighting today means that the military needs to acquire new skills and mindsets a number of cultural predispositions will need to be reviewed and their own behaviour will need to change. Information flows faster in the outside world than inside a military chain of command. It is difficult for a hierarchical organisation like the military to understand the impact of changes in the information environment and the challenge of this lack of control presented to them. The JDNs on strategic communication see empowerment as one of the key principles and this means the restrictions on external communications will need revision. While the military recognises that they are overly bureaucratic and that they are comfortable to delegate the use of lethal force through Mission Command, centralising tendencies exist. Mission Command in strategic communication means empowering staff, which means not just trusting them, but also tolerating their mistakes and taking risks. The operational level of war doctrine, planning and execution is a Command-led activity, but with the emphasis on strategic narratives, themes, effects and processes like Full Spectrum Targeting being conducted at home rather than in Theatre, the commander of the future may find his freedom of action constrained. When influence and strategic communication doctrine and theory hits practice it is noteworthy that core activities like targeting are still the preserve of J3/J5 (Operations and Plans), a Command-led core military rather than a specialist skill. So are these new skills for the specialist or generalist? As one retired US two-star put it, those who get promoted are the ‘can-do, go to people . . . Their skill is making the trains run on time. So, why are we surprised that, when the enemy becomes adaptive, we get caught off guard? If you raise a group of plumbers, you shouldn’t be upset if they can’t do theoretical physics.’92 The JDNs on strategic communication and other commentators advocate the professionalisation and the development of specialisation in strategic communication, Information and Psychological and Media operations as a separate career stream.93 But who will make the targeting decisions? If influence is so central is this not an area for all to be proficient in? If the specialist route is adopted, questions should be raised about the underlying discipline that needs to be learned, including more analysis of what doing good ‘influence’, underpinned by understanding and target audience analysis, means in practice. For example, does this mean that behavioural psychologists rather than cultural anthropologists are more relevant? Lee Rowlands a social

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psychologist argues: ‘There is the sense that up until now we have been largely getting it wrong, focusing too heavily on messages and attitudinal change, within the framework of a reductionist science – that is, a science built on a simplistic notion of cause and effect’ when developments in human psychology should be utilised.94 Furthermore, understanding the target audience should not be conflated with cultural understanding: ‘undoubtedly, cultural understanding is elemental to TAA, and without a solid understanding of the values, customs, beliefs and history of the target population, influence would be, in almost all cases, impossible. But TAA goes much further. At the very least, TAA must seek to discover the motivations, both individual and social, of a group, and grasp how those motivations are played out against social norms of the group.’95 Others emphasise the importance of action over communication. Admiral Mike Mullen former Chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, was sceptical about the increased investment in strategic communication following the election of Barack Obama. He argued: ‘We shouldn’t care if people don’t like us; that isn’t the goal. The goal is credibility. And we earn that over time . . . We hurt ourselves more when our words don’t align with our actions. Our enemies regularly monitor the news to discern coalition and American intent as weighed against the efforts of our forces. When they find a “say-do” gap – such as Abu Ghraib – they drive a truck right through it . . . I would argue that most strategic communication problems are not communication problems at all. They are policy and execution problems.’ 96

To be credible actions speak louder than words, and words are most effective when they support actions. As General Sir David Richards put it ‘actions will speak louder than words over time!’97 But actions alone are insufficient as they ‘don’t speak for themselves and if we try to let them then our opponents will interpret them for us.’98 What allies think about the issues of influence and strategic communication matter, as the UK is unlikely to engage in conflict unilaterally. The extent then to which the UK is interoperable conceptually is important. Last year NATO’s strategic communication policy was approved. NATO views strategic communication as being there to deliver an effect, stating it is: ‘the coordinated and appropriate use of NATO communications activities and capabilities … in support of Alliance policies, operations and activities, and in order to advance NATO’s aims.’99 For NATO strategic communication sounds like a supporting function and not the synchronised everything we say and do concept that the UK has adopted. Similarly, how other UK departments of state think about the issues of influence and strategic communication also matters as the integrated approach to achieve national policy aims is predicated on cooperation and synchronisation across all the national levers of power. Neither does the MoD ‘own’ or ‘influence’ all the outputs. The space in which the military operate may also have been shaped by strategic communication and influence activity led by another

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Department, as part for instance of routine FCO public diplomacy. The military naturally focus on the front line of local opinion within Theatre and can be detached from the importance of ‘home’ opinion. But as recent experience has shown governments still need to achieve domestic purchase for operations today. Military doctrine has an inevitable focus on the operational theatre ‘over there’ without fully appreciating that domestic audiences are part of the overall conflict and information space. A campaign that demands strategic patience like Afghanistan has different pressures to a shorter campaign like Libya. The military consensus on strategic communication during the Libyan campaign seems to be that the new ways of thinking and organisation worked and produced success. Even within the more recent past similar plaudits were given to the way the communications during the Kosovo campaign were organised. There is a danger of the same thing occurring post-Libya. An ad hoc organisation in time of crisis is one thing, but if the military is sincere about placing strategic communication at the heart of the policy and planning process, more permanent and long-term communication projects are required. The other danger of concentrating doctrine and organisations on crises and operations is that this gives an impression that all MoD strategic communication is related to operations. More work needs to be done on strategic communication in support of the MoD as a department of state. Moreover, the concentration of thinking and doctrine on influence and strategic communication in an operational crisis context marginalises their role in conflict prevention. Many of the challenges that face the military in thinking about and doing influence and strategic communication are not confined to them, but are challenges that face the whole of government. The elevation of strategic communication should not be seen as an alternative to strategy or statecraft. Efforts to improve the national narrative have their limits: ‘A good narrative should crown and capitalise on a coherent and effective strategy. It is not in itself strategy, and it’s no substitute for one.’100 Nevertheless, strategy and strategic communication are inextricably linked. If strategic communication is conducted as a participatory process in a way that produces genuine dialogue and listening, this could have the potential to ‘promoting engagement between citizens, widening discourses and thereby undermining attempts by insurgent groups to gain social control over vulnerable populations.’101 Moreover it could lead to more realistic end states for national strategy. As Mark Laity argues: ‘If the message isn’t working, review the policy. Those charged with StratCom are far from perfect and sometimes get the info campaign wrong, but more often the target audience fully understand the message and just do not like it!’102

Conclusion The UK military has begun to appreciate the full extent of the digital information revolution and the implications they have for their ability to compete against the

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adversaries that the nation faces in the current conflict environment. The study of doctrinal developments over the last ten years shows how the conceptual component of fighting power to meet these changes has been addressed. Influence and strategic communication have become part of the UK’s lexicon of warfare. The centrality of influence and the synchronisation of physical and psychological activity to achieve desired behavioural effects suggest a sea-change in British military thinking; psychological activities will no longer be relegated to a supporting role and an Annex to a Campaign Plan. More thought and education needs to be undertaken to realise the claimed benefits of these approaches in practice. Even though progress has been made in understanding and implementing this philosophy to conflict today, the language of targeting and campaigning is still used. Can campaigning concepts like Full Spectrum Targeting really sit comfortably side-byside with ideas like engagement, dialogue and participative policy development? The developments in doctrine that have been discussed above can only be understood in the context of British defence transformation and the way the British undertake strategic thinking, learning and education. In the 1970s Sir Michael Howard doubted whether militaries could become effective learning institutions: ‘I am tempted to declare dogmatically that whatever doctrine the armed forces are working on now, they have got it wrong. I am also tempted to declare that it does not matter that they have got it wrong. What does matter is their capacity to get it right quickly when the moment arrives.’103 The danger of this is that influence and strategic communication become the new orthodoxy. Doctrine is not supposed to be a replacement for thinking and judgment. The attention given to strategic communication is welcome but should be seen as more than an appeal for strategic coherence. A strategic narrative is not a substitute for policy. It will not succeed unless it is credible and supported by actions and political will. While it may be strong enough to withstand temporary reversals of fortune in the field, it is not a panacea or an alternative to a strategy which is ill-conceived.

Notes The analysis, opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this chapter are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Joint Services Command and Staff College, the UK Ministry of Defence or any other government agency. 1. Quoted in Michalski, Milena and Gow, James, War, Image and Legitimacy: Viewing Contemporary Conflict (London, 2007), 199. 2. Betz, David, ‘Failure to Communicate: “Producing” the War in Afghanistan,’ in D. Richards and G. Mills (eds), Victory Among the People: Lessons from Countering Insurgency and Stabilising Fragile States (London, 2011), 140. 3. ‘The power or the ability to affect someone’s beliefs or actions; or a person or thing with such ability or power,’ UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Doctrine, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), JDP 3–40 Security and Stabilisation: the military contribution (Shrivenham, 2009).

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Strategy, Influence, Strategic Communication and British Military Doctrine 183 4. For discussion of ‘smart power,’ see Nye, Joseph S., The Future of Power (New York, 2011), chapter 7. 5. The three components of fighting power are: the Conceptual: Principles of War; Doctrine; Conceptual innovation; the Physical: manpower; equipment; collective performance; sustainability; readiness and the Moral: moral cohesion; motivation and leadership, UK MoD, DCDC, JDP 0–01, British Defence Doctrine (Shrivenham, 2011), 4–1. 6. Bates, Paul, ‘If modern conflicts are wars of ideas will it be Strategic Communication that determines the outcome?’ Defence Research Paper, Advanced Command and Staff Course 13, Joint Services Command and Staff College (2010), 8. 7. The focus will be on joint strategic and operational level doctrine rather than Single Service and tactical level doctrine. 8. Stirrup, Sir Jock, 2009, Annual Chief of Defence Staff lecture at RUSI. Online. Available http://www.rusi.org/cdslectures/, accessed 8 April 2011. 9. HMSO, A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy (2010). 10. HMSO, Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review (2010). 11. UK MoD, Enhancing Strategic Capability: A Contribution to Defence Reform and Transition, Final Report (revised) (ESC), 25 August 2011, 9. 12. UK MoD, ESC, G-17. 13. UK MoD, ESC, 3. 14. Mackay, Andrew and Tatham, Steve, Behavioural Conflict: from General to Strategic Corporal: Complexity, Adaptation and Influence, Shrivenham paper no. 9, (2009), 10; Alderson, Alexander, ‘Influence, the Indirect Approach and Maneuver,’ RUSI Journal 157/1 (2012), 36. 15. Smith, Rupert, The Utility of Force (London, 2005), 3. 16. Richards, Sir David, (2009) Twenty-first century Armed Forces-Agile, Useable, Relevant, Chatham House Annual Defence Lecture. Online. Available www.chathamhouse.org/events/view/155947/, accessed 8 April 2012. 17. UK MoD, JDP 3–40, 5–12. 18. Richards, ‘Twenty-first century Armed Forces’. 19. Driscoll, Susan C., ‘Mediation, Interpretation and Meaning: the Psychology of Perception Management,’ in A. Camden and D. Dearth (eds), Cyberwar 3–0: Human factors in Information Operations and Future Conflict (Fairfax, VA, 2000), 165. 20. Bolt, Neville, ‘The leak before the storm; what WikiLeaks tells us about modern communication,’ RUSI Journal 155/4 (2010), 47. 21. UK MoD, ESC, 85. 22. Kilcullen, David, ‘New Paradigms for 21st-Century Conflict,’ EJournalUSA, Foreign Policy Agenda, US Department of State, 12/5 (2007), 44. Online. Available http:// www.america.gov/publications/ejournalusa/0507.html/, accessed 10 October 2010. 23. House of Commons Defence Committee, Lessons of Iraq, Third Report, Session 2003–4 (2004), 465. 24. Hazel, Jon, ‘The Conflict with Extreme Islamism – How to Complete in the Global information environment,’ Seaford House Papers 2010, Royal College of Defence Studies, 10.

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25. Lawrence Freedman, The Transformation of Strategic Affairs, Adelphi Paper 379, IISS (2006), 22–3. 26. UK MoD, ESC, 85. 27. Corman, Steven, Trethewey, Angela and Goodall, H.L. (eds), Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Strategic Communication to Combat Violent Extremism (New York, 2008), 174–75. 28. Bird, Conrad, ‘Strategic Communication and Behaviour Change: Lessons from Domestic Policy,’ FCO, Engagement: Public Diplomacy in a Globalised World (2008), 116. 29. UK MoD, ESC, 85. 30. Driscoll, ‘Mediation, Interpretation and Meaning,’ 174. 31. Taylor, Philip M., Munitions of the Mind: War Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Nuclear Age (Northamptonshire, 1990). 32. Kenneth Payne, ‘Some Principles for Influence in Counterinsurgency,’ The British Army Review, 150 (2010/2011), 23. 33. Alderson, ‘Influence, the Indirect Approach and Maneuver’ 37. 34. UK MoD DCDC, JDN 4/05, The Comprehensive Approach (Shrivenham, 2005). The Comprehensive Approach is a multi-agency and collaborative outcomes based approach to prevention and resolution of crises. More recently this has been rebranded the Integrated Approach, UK MoD, DCDC, JDP 0–01, British Defence Doctrine, 1–12 35. ‘The way of thinking and specific processes that, together, enable both the integration and effectiveness of the military contribution within a Comprehensive Approach and the realisation of strategic outcomes’ through effects, that is ‘changes as a result or consequence of actions, circumstances and other causes’. UK MoD DCDC JDN 7/06, Incorporating and Extending the UK Military Effects-Based Approach (Shrivenham, 2006), 1–3. 36. Vego, Milan, Joint Operational Warfare, Vol 4 (2007), XIII–71. 37. UK MoD DCDC JDP 5–00: Campaign Planning (Shrivenham, 2008), 1–1. 38. UK MoD DCDC JDP 5–00, 3. The National Information Strategy is normally formulated by the cross govt Information Strategy group to coordinate influence activities, with the subordinate information plan detailing specific target audiences, information objectives and themes, 2–7. 39. UK MoD DCDC JDP 5–00, 2G5–1 40. ‘The deliberate use of physical means to support the realisation of, primarily, physical effects’ ... conducted in the physical domain and mainly focused on an actor’s capability, including that which enabled him to understand the situation. However, they may be employed to realise, directly or indirectly, psychological (such as lowering morale), as well as physical effects (such as destruction or attrition,’ UK MoD DCDC JDP 3–00: Campaign Execution (Shrivenham, 2009), 3. 41. ‘The capability, or perceive capability, to affect the character or behaviour of someone or something’ ... they do so by affecting understanding through the manipulation of information in the virtual domain ahead of its receipt, or perceptions of the information once received. Any lack of accurate situational understanding in packs upon an actor’s effective use of capability and, together, these may affect, indirectly, whose will to act. While activities in the physical domain undoubtedly have such

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42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55 56. 57.

58. 59.

60. 61. 62. 63.

64.

effects, the focus for influence activities is psychological. Potentially, influence activities may deliver significant effect comparatively small resources,’ UK MoD JDP 3–00, 3–4. Influence Activities included Media Ops, CIMIC, OPSEC PSYOPS, Computer Networked Operations, SPECCAP, Deception, Key Leadership Engagement and Posture, Presence and Profile. ‘The coordinated activity necessary to gain advantage within the situation in time and space,’ UK MoD DCDC JDP 3–00, 3–4. UK MoD DCDC JDP 3–00, 3–1 – 3–2. UK MoD DCDC JDP 3–00, 3–7. UK MoD DCDC JDP 3–00, 3–3. Mackay and Tatham, Behavioural Conflict: from General to Strategic Corporal: Complexity, Adaptation and Influence, 5. UK MoD DCDC, Strategic Trends Programme: the Future Character of Conflict (Shrivenham, 2010), 6. C.f. Griffin, Stuart, ‘Iraq, Afghanistan and the future of British military doctrine: from counterinsurgency to Stabilization,’ International Affairs, Vol 87 (2) (2011). UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, xv. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 1–5. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 2–24. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 3–23. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 2–23. Ibid. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 3. Ibid. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 3–13. In 2009 strategic communication was coordinated through cross-government Information Strategy Groups under the aegis of the Cabinet Office, normally chaired by a 2* FCO official. This group would produce a National Information Strategy (NIS) in relation to a particular operation. Each NIS aimed to articulate the strategic level narrative that was used across the UK government. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 3–8. A Joint Doctrine Note is ‘more short-term an urgent requirement for guidance can be met by the production of Joint Doctrine Notes (JDNs). JDNs will not represent an agreed or fully staff position and will vary in prescription and length, depending on the subject ... may be issued to play some doctrinal markers in the sand, around which subsequent debate can centre,’ UK MoD DCDC, JDP 0–00, Joint Doctrine Development Handbook, (Shrivenham, 2007), 3–1. UK MoD DCDC, JDP 3–40, 3–12. Ibid. Bird, ‘Strategic Communication and Behaviour Change,’ 109. Mackay, Andrew and Tatham, Steve, Behavioural Conflict: Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict (Essex, 2011), 134. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/11 Strategic Communication: the military contribution (Shrivenham, 2011), 1. The JDN states that the defence definition of strategic communication is ‘aligned’ with the NSC definition ‘the systematic and coordinated use

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65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72.

73. 74. 75. 76 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87.

88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93.

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of all means of communication to deliver UK security objectives are influencing the attitudes and behaviours of individuals, groups and states.’ UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/11, iv. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/11, 2–1 – 2–12. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/11, 3–4. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/11, 3–1. Payne, Kenneth (2011) Thoughts on the psychology of strategic communication. Online. Available http://kennethpayne.squarespace.com/storage/the%20psychology%20%20strategic%20communication%20-%20some%pointers/, accessed 20 April 2012. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/11, 3–12. Mackay and Tatham, Behavioural Conflict: Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict, 133–34. UK MoD DCDC JDN, 1/12 Strategic Communication: the military contribution (Shrivenham, 2012), 3–10. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, v. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–1 to 3–2. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–3. Together with overarching need for ‘speed, accuracy, truth and credibility’ c.f., UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–4. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–5 to 3–6. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–1 to 3–20. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–17. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–18. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–7. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–18. Templer quoted in Dixon, Paul, ‘Hearts and Minds’? British Counter-Insurgency from Malaya to Iraq,’ Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol 32 (3) (2009), 362. Dixon also notes that by 1968 Templer referred to hearts and minds as ‘that nauseating phrase I think I invented,’ 363. Strachan, Hew, ‘British Counter-Insurgency form Malaya to Iraq,’ RUSI Journal, Vol 152 (6) (2007), 8. Hack, Karl, ‘The Malayan Emergency as Counter-Insurgency Paradigm,’ Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol 32 (3) (2009), 384. Mackay and Tatham, Behavioural Conflict: from General to Strategic Corporal: Complexity, Adaptation and Influence, 24. UK MoD DCDC JDP 0–01, 5–10. Greenhill, Kelly and Staniland, Paul, ‘Ten Ways to Lose at Counterinsurgency,’ Civil Wars 9/4 (2207), 408. Mackay and Tatham, Behavioural Conflict: Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict, 153.

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Strategy, Influence, Strategic Communication and British Military Doctrine 187 94. Rowlands, Lee in Andrew and Tatham, Behavioural Conflict: Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict, 158–59. 95. Rowlands in Mackay and Tatham, Behavioural Conflict: Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict, 165. 96. Mullen, Mike, ‘Strategic Communication: Getting Back to Basics,’ Joint Force Quarterly, Vol 55 (4) (2009), 3–4. 97. UK MoD DCDC JDN 1/12, 3–3. 98. Laity, Mark (2010) ‘Creating the Perception that becomes Reality’. Online. Available www.aco.nato.int/page3544395.aspx, accessed 25 April 2012. 99. Laity, ‘Creating the Perception that becomes Reality’. 100. Porter, Patrick ‘Why Britain doesn’t do grand strategy,’ RUSI Journal, Vol 155 (4) (2010), 10. 101. Adam, Gordon and Shoemaker, Emrys, ‘The art of conversation: revising strategic communications,’ RUSI Journal, Vol 155 (4), (2010), 53. 102. Laity, ‘Creating the Perception that becomes Reality.’ 103. Michael Howard, quoted in Sloan, Geoffrey, ‘Military Doctrine, Command Philosophy and Generation of Fighting Power: Genesis and Theory,’ International Affairs, Vol 88 (2) (2012), 256.

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11 BRIDGING THE FIREWALL? INFORMATION OPERATIONS AND US MILITARY DOCTRINE IN THE BATTLES OF FALLUJAH Stephen Badsey

The two battles of Fallujah in 2004 were critical events in the Iraq War of 2003– 11, both for their impact on the war itself and for what they revealed about US military attitudes towards the world’s media.1 The US-led invasion of Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) in March–April 2003 to remove the Ba’athist dictator Saddam Hussein from power was an entirely predictable success; but it was followed not by peace as the US government had expected, but by increasing levels of lawlessness that by 2004 had become rebellions and insurgencies, one of the most severe being within the ‘Sunni Triangle’ west of Baghdad with Fallujah as an important centre. By April 2004 Fallujah had become the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in Iraq. Contributing to the level of these insurgencies were the absence of any coherent US political and military strategy in Iraq, and the use by US troops of inappropriately high levels of violence, shortcomings that were recognised in the change of US strategy in 2006–7 which eventually helped bring about peace. In the First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004, in defiance of advice given by senior US Marine officers on the ground, a powerful – although as it turned out inadequate – force of US Marines attacked into the city in response to a deliberately publicised insurgent provocation. This attack was defeated and the Marines forced to retreat, in part because of the media-fuelled political condemnation of their actions and methods. Later official studies noted that many in the US military believed ‘that the battle was lost solely in the IO [information operations] arena,’ while others also demanded more troops and firepower.2 Rather than re-examining the wisdom of their approach, senior US officers instead successfully found ways to neutralise the media for the much larger subsequent attempt to occupy the city by force, the Second Battle of

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Fallujah in November 2004, in which the city was captured amid considerable destruction and a disputed number of civilian casualties. The controversies generated by these events have meant that it is still almost impossible to make any statement about the battles of Fallujah that has not been contested, including by eyewitnesses whose rival perspectives contradict each other. An aphorism attributed to more than one prominent US newsman of the twentieth century is that ‘news is the first rough draft of history,’ a belief that reporting has an important role to play in framing public understanding of events, after which historical investigation will improve upon this understanding. In war, whatever the disagreements among veterans and between rival sides, if good reporting has established some undeniable facts, then this gives historians – and therefore peace – a chance. When this does not happen, as in the case of the Iraq War, the result is not only the immediate tragedy, but also the conflicting and rival histories that promote further antagonism. At this early stage of our historical understanding, this chapter represents no more than a ‘second draft’ that seeks to explain the motives behind the actions, including the deeper US military cultural behaviour which came to the fore in the absence of political and strategic direction. Wherever possible, evidence cited has been from US official reports or from published accounts by senior figures involved in the battles, many of whom have expressed pride in their achievements. On 1 May 2003, in a notorious propaganda display, US President George W. Bush on board the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in San Francisco harbour declared the end of ‘major combat operations’ in Iraq, beneath a banner supplied by the White House which read ‘Mission Accomplished’. Describing themselves as the liberators of Iraq, the US and coalition powers announced that they had moved to ‘stability’ or ‘post-conflict’ operations, raising difficult issues as to whether conventions and public expectations appropriate to war or to peace should prevail. Instead of this expected stability, the US forces in Iraq found themselves taking part in a very complex factional civil war, accompanied by violence and lawlessness in several towns and cities. This resulted partly from the power vacuum left by Saddam’s removal, and partly from many US troops’ own behaviour in a country that increasingly perceived them as occupiers rather than liberators. Saddam’s Iraq had a large conscript army (disbanded by the US governing authority shortly after the invasion), which had been intermittently at war since 1980. Many adults had military training and experience, and Saddam had distributed large numbers of firearms to create a planned guerrilla resistance. Weapons were readily available, and were carried openly or stored in homes for self protection, or in nearby mosques as a traditional haven from danger. The situation was made worse in June 2003 by a rapid reduction in US troop numbers, the rotation of remaining troops between locations so that little continuity or local knowledge could be developed, and a convoluted chain of authority divided between Ambassador L. Paul (Jerry) Bremer III, heading

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a Coalition Provisional Authority (the CPA, which governed Iraq in practice despite the formation of a Governing Council of Iraqi politicians), and US and coalition military forces under Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez.3 As part of the new freedoms following the fall of Saddam, newspapers and political news-sheets flourished, although most were little trusted by their readers. About a quarter of all Iraqis also bought electric generators and satellite receivers, and tuned into international television news broadcasts, with stations emanating from other Arab states being particularly well received. The independently-minded Al-Jazeera station and website, together with the Saudi Arabian funded Al-Arabiya station, were preferred by Iraqis by a margin of five to one over the Al-Iraqiya television station funded by the newly arrived US administration. The US view of Al-Jazeera had been hostile even before the ‘9/11’ Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001, while US policies, including the invasion, remained highly controversial among both domestic and international audiences. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described Al-Jazeera in 2001 as ‘the Arabic TV station that would regularly provide a platform for terrorist propaganda over the coming years.’4 Fallujah lies on the River Euphrates, about 37 miles (60 kilometres) along the main highway west of Baghdad. A small but densely built industrial city, in 2004 it was about 3½ miles (6 kilometres) square, with many concrete or cinder block buildings, and an estimated 70–100 mosques. The Euphrates makes a loop on the west side of the town crossed by two bridges, of which the most northerly was known as the Old Bridge or Green Bridge (or to US forces as Brooklyn Bridge), and within the loop to the west of the bridges was the Fallujah General Hospital, which featured prominently in both battles. US estimates of the population ranged as high as 400,000, with an average of 250,000, principally Sunni Muslims. US troops on the ground often understood that many Fallujans were passive supporters of the insurgency, who armed themselves for their own and their families’ protection, but higher US views were that their enemies in Fallujah were chiefly Ba’athist supporters of Saddam, members of Al-Qaeda, and criminals. On 28 April, less than a week after the first US troops arrived in Fallujah, an incident took place which was sadly typical of other events in Iraq. Under highly disputed circumstances, a party of US soldiers believing themselves to be in danger opened fire, killing 17 Fallujans and wounding 70, with no casualties to themselves.5 As such episodes multiplied throughout Iraq, US soldiers often used ‘suppressing fire’, meaning a volume of bullets aimed at a general area rather than single aimed shots, or called for mortars, artillery or airstrikes. An Iraqi policeman commented that ‘the Americans hit a roadside bomb and then instead of catching the culprits they just open fire at everyone in sight. That’s why Fallujah is boiling.’6 Inevitably, such tactics caused casualties to unarmed Iraqis, including women and children. Equally inevitably, sections of

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the US, international and Arab media reported these firefights as ‘unprovoked’ and ‘indiscriminate’ fire directed at ‘innocent civilians’, language which infuriated the US soldiers. US armed forces’ doctrine in 2004 defined information operations or IO as part of the wider concept of ‘strategic communications’, which also included public affairs or PA (the military’s dealings with the media), public diplomacy and military diplomacy. Most studies of strategic communications approach the military-media relationship from the media’s perspective, seeing it as part of the political and ethical debate on the respective places of the media and armed forces in society. In reality, wars are fought by a difficult compromise between the flexibility that is the basis of politics and propaganda, and the structural and institutional rigidity of military organisations seeking to deal with a particular set of highly dangerous circumstances. A large part of this military inflexibility comes from the ideas and training with which armed forces approach war, and which is given the name of ‘doctrine’; knowledge of these military doctrines is fundamental to understanding both the military-media relationship and how strategic communications function during a war. The overarching doctrine by which the US armed forces destroyed the Iraqi Army between March and May 2003 was a sophisticated, extremely violent and highly technological form of warfare known generically as ‘maneuver war’, which aimed at overwhelming an enemy as rapidly as possible, and was proudly described as intentionally ‘unfair’ in the sense that its underlying philosophy was to use any conceivable method to obtain the required result. Maneuver war in the form practised by the US Army in Iraq was originally developed in the late 1970s and 1980s, as part of US concerns that a Soviet attack in overwhelming strength into Western Europe was a real possibility, and that NATO might be rapidly left with no response other than the large-scale use of nuclear weapons.7 One of the most fundamental ideas in maneuver war was already deeply embedded in US military culture: ‘mission accomplishment’ or carrying out the commander’s intent with all other considerations as secondary, and the precept ‘forget anything, but never forget your mission.’ Otherwise, the principal inspirations for maneuver war (which is a translation of the older German military term Bewegungskrieg) came from the battles between the German and Soviet armies on the Eastern Front in World War II, seen as an appropriate model for a possible future war in Europe. US military thinking especially embraced the German and Soviet concepts of the ‘operational level of war’ and ‘operational art’ which taken together prioritised an intermediate level of thinking about war lying between strategy and tactics, chiefly concerned with winning battles.8 These concepts were second-nature in US military thinking by 2003, together with repeated assertions that ‘purely military considerations’ should prevail in war, and that the purpose of the US armed forces was ‘to fight and win the

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nation’s wars’ (which was, in fact and law, just one of their many functions).9 Political complexities and the lack of a coherent US strategy in Iraq after the initial occupation allowed much greater sway for this military emphasis on mission accomplishment and the importance of the operational level. Also, while there was some diversity of approach among senior US commanders, maneuver war remained their prevailing fighting method even when their purpose was to promote stability. Military theorists and historians later identified that a gap in US strategic thinking in this period existed between a higher leadership that was concerned with politics and policy, and lower-level generals who thought chiefly in terms of operational victory and mission accomplishment. This operational way of thinking was accompanied in the same era by the marked growth of a US military vocabulary in which words such as aggressive, offensive, decisive, robust and hard-charging almost parted company from their original meanings, becoming simply expressions of approval. By the Iraq War, this practice had expanded to include military dealings with the media and with civilians in public affairs and information operations. Typical of this way of thinking was a US Army civil affairs unit’s report on the Second Battle of Fallujah: ‘With a powerful, deliberate information wedge to split the terrorist forces from the population and deep penetration strikes, integrating convention forces with civil affairs teams, the 1 MEF [1st Marine Expeditionary Force] was able to dominate the initial battle.’10 As later US military criticisms of this approach expressed it, when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Originally, maneuver war and its associated concepts had been intended to win a possible Third World War in Europe, in which considerations of public opinion and the media would be almost entirely irrelevant. But in the 1980s the same doctrine was extended to smaller wars of choice that might be fought by the USA outside Europe. Often known as the ‘Powell Doctrine’ (from General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1991 and Secretary of State in 2003), this approach to warfare was based on the belief that US political and public opinion would only accept involvement in wars if this was rare, aggressive, overwhelming, decisive and of short duration. Whereas Germany had looked to Bewegungskrieg to compensate for its technological shortcomings and lack of a strong industrial base, US maneuver war would be combined with a massive superiority in all aspects of technology, especially in airpower and space systems. The devastating effectiveness of maneuver war, including its associated firepower and the expertise of US troops in fighting it, was first demonstrated to the world on a large scale in the 1991 Gulf War, with the liberating of Kuwait. But by this date maneuver war’s original rationale, NATO’s defence against the Soviet Union, had vanished. In the early 1990s, faced with the problem of what military doctrines would be required after the Cold War, the US Army and US

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Marines introduced a doctrinal distinction between ‘warfighting’ (using maneuver war) and ‘military operations other than war’ (MOOTW), in which they included almost all other forms of military activity.11 This US doctrinal division between warfighting and all other military activities had major implications for the war in Iraq. Although certainly intended to promote an awareness of counterinsurgency and the use of military force in politically, socially and culturally sensitive situations, in practice MOOTW had mostly the opposite effect. Despite extensive training and discussion, in 2003 the US Army still had no commonly understood and viable counter-insurgency doctrine, and little instinctive understanding of what such politically and culturally complex operations meant in practice. The problem was elegantly described in an anecdote recounted by Thomas E. Ricks, a veteran Washington Post correspondent and fierce critic of US conduct in Iraq in this period (and whose own behaviour in turn drew criticism from General Sanchez): a US Army general confessed that during the breakdown of order and looting that followed Saddam’s defeat, despite all previous discussions about stability operations, ‘I was on a street corner in Baghdad, smoking a cigar, watching some guys carry a sofa by – and it never occurred to me that I was going to be the guy to go get that sofa back.’12 By early 2004, violence and insurgent influence in Fallujah had reached levels such that, in one notorious incident on 14 February, insurgents attacked an Iraqi police station in daylight in a firefight that left 21 dead and 33 wounded on all sides. The US Marines, who returned to take responsibility for Fallujah on 24 March, believed with some justification that they had more familiarity with counter-insurgency than the Army, and aspired to engage locals in co-operation and avoid overreacting with violence to incidents, a policy which they announced in advance through the media. Even so, within 48 hours a Marine patrol had become involved in a firefight that left at least five civilians dead, including an 11-year-old Iraqi boy and an ABC network television cameraman.13 The Marines had largely adopted an unofficial doctrinal concept known as the ‘three-block war’: that ‘marines may be confronted by the entire spectrum of tactical challenges in the span of a few hours and within the space of three contiguous city blocks’ being engaged in vicious high-tech warfighting in one block, conducting stability operations in the adjacent block, and providing humanitarian disaster relief in the block next to that. Another part of the ‘three block war’ concept was that the solution to the impact of ‘the ubiquitous media’ on such operations was ‘the strategic corporal’, the need at all levels for a greater awareness of the political and propaganda consequences of any action.14 The strong emphasis in US military thought on mission accomplishment and the operational level would not have impacted so much on the media had it not been for several long-term political and social trends affecting the armed forces. The first of these was a growing polarisation in US domestic politics in the later twentieth century, with partisanship reaching levels not previously

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seen since before World War II.15 This included an increasingly politicised and partisan news media, made economically possible by the diversification that was a product of satellite and internet news, as individual outlets became less dependent on appealing to a broad consensus. The overtly right-wing Fox News television channel, launched in 1996, was usually cited as the most prominent case of this, but arguments were made that established television news stations and newspapers had also become increasingly partisan. The Washington Post, which had a long pro-Democrat tradition, was singled out for special criticism by the military. This increased partisanship in US politics and society included a significant deterioration of the civil-military relationship, with a willingness of serving members of the armed forces to engage publicly in partisan politics (almost always Republican), and in many cases their growing self-perception as separate from – and ethically superior to – US civilian society. The strong emphasis placed in US military culture on personal integrity (a very necessary thing in people entrusted with loaded weapons) became a belief that any questioning of their viewpoint was an insult to their honour. In occupied Iraq, as incidents of lethal violence multiplied, the confused nature of urban firefights especially when using heavy or distance weapons made it almost impossible to establish the basic facts, while frustrated US commanders came to believe that almost any armed Iraqi, or anyone in the area of a firefight, was part of a well-organised opposition against which they were losing a propaganda war. Their characteristic response was to defend resolutely their image and that of their soldiers, dismissing anyone whose claims differed from their own as both a liar and an enemy. This military partisanship included strong hostility towards what the soldiers perceived as an inherent bias against them not only in the Arab and international media, but in the US domestic media, and in academia. In November 2004 as the Second Battle of Fallujah was being fought, Republican journalist and commentator Robert D. Kaplan wrote that academic research into how far reporters attached (‘embedded’) with US military units in Iraq had ‘gone native’ in adopting the military viewpoint was the product not of scholarship but of class prejudice against blue-collar soldiers by elitist academics and journalists.16 Certainly, for some of its academic critics the US military could do no right by definition, but valid criticisms also came from close associates of the military who were increasingly concerned about the implications of this growing partisan behaviour.17 Much of this military attitude, especially towards the media, derived from the US involvement in the Vietnam War (1961–73). A survey in 1976 of senior US officers who had fought the Vietnam War showed only two consistent points of agreement: on the poor quality of the South Vietnamese armed forces (the ARVN), and a belief that the US media had contributed significantly to the defeat. Only 8 per cent of respondents agreed that coverage of the war by US newspapers had been ‘generally responsible’ in its behaviour, and only 4

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per cent that it had been ‘good for the American people to see actual scenes of fighting about when they occurred’.18 This military conviction that their own country’s news media had significantly contributed to defeat in Vietnam has been since subject to extensive scholarly investigation, and little evidence has been found to substantiate it. If it had been exclusive to the Vietnam generation of officers it would have faded away by the 1990s as they retired or died.19 In fact the opposite happened, as military hostility towards the media grew in strength, in a way that has been compared to the German ‘stab in the back myth’ of the 1920s over their defeat in World War I. This included angry debates in the 1990s over fictional depictions of the war, chiefly in Hollywood feature films, and the persistence of rival legends including claims that US soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat on, or that a high proportion of Vietnam veterans had committed suicide.20 The 1991 Gulf War and the launch of the World Wide Web were accompanied both by a new importance for the place of the media in military thinking and by new doctrinal concepts based on electronic warfare and on computerisation. This began as ‘command and control warfare’ was made more famous in 1993 as ‘cyberwar’, which envisaged cyber-attacks on enemy communications systems, and then renamed ‘information warfare’. In the middle 1990s the concept was considerably broadened to become information operations by including psychological operations (Psyop), which had already played an important part in the 1991 Gulf War. In public and media discourse, Psyop was automatically equated with deception and propaganda, again to the annoyance of the military, for which Psyop included a wide range of communications activities, many of them essentially benign in nature. The widening role of Psyop as part of stability operations was reflected in its being placed in 1990 with civil affairs under one new command authority, US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), and in 2010 US Psyop was renamed ‘military information support operations’.21 In Iraq in 2004, Psyop ranged from providing warnings about dangerous munitions, to broadcasting deadly insults in Arabic by loudspeaker in order to provoke unwise enemy attacks into a killing zone, to the sounds of women and children screaming or cats fighting being played at night at impossibly loud volume. The distinction between Psyop units as purveyors of essentially neutral or helpful information and Psyop as a weapon against the enemy became increasingly blurred in US military thought through the 1990s, including a new doctrinal publication in 1998 which emphasised the need for ‘offensive’ information operations directed towards shaping and misleading enemy perceptions. This became part of a significant debate over the relationship between Psyop and public affairs, chiefly as to whether it was appropriate, politically wise or even constitutionally legal for any US government or its armed forces to mix propaganda or deception with its dealings with the national and international media.22 What

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had in the past been an ambiguous practice entered into only with reluctance was being advocated in some circles as a systematic part of warfighting. The fusion of maneuver war with information operations and related doctrinal concepts was announced in 1996 as ‘rapid dominance’ or ‘full spectrum dominance’ over an enemy, or in a phrase repeated by the senior US commander for the invasion of Iraq, General Tommy R. Franks, as ‘shock and awe.’23 But while there was confusion both within and among US doctrinal manuals as to whether public affairs was part of information operations, a prevailing consensus existed that while Psyop and public affairs should be co-ordinated towards a common goal, there should be (borrowing from information technology) a ‘firewall’ maintained between them. In October 2003, as it became apparent that serious fighting in Iraq would continue, Secretary Rumsfeld issued an ‘information operations roadmap’ document giving higher status to information operations, defined in this document as the use of electronic warfare, deception, Psyop and other capabilities ‘to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decisionmaking while protecting our own’.24 Increasingly, US troops were being trained to view their relationship with the media not as a constitutional or ethical issue, but as an aspect of warfighting, and as a tool enabling them to accomplish their self-defined missions more effectively. This was exemplified particularly in the US military view of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya as enemy propaganda television stations, placing them in the sphere of information operations rather than public affairs. Despite the ‘firewall’ concept, information operations doctrine was already perilously close to violating the US armed forces’ legal and even constitutional obligations in their dealings with their own domestic media. The US Constitution is uncompromising on this issue: ‘Congress shall make no law’, states the First Amendment, ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’. Even so, and as one symptom of the increasing civil-military divide, a series of Supreme Court judgements in the 1980s had given some legal basis to the claim that the armed forces were not bound by the Constitution to the same extent as civil society in this and other respects.25 It was even more unclear how far these constitutional or legal obligations extended to the international media, but by the early twenty-first century the most widely held legal position was that journalists of any nationality and institutional affiliation, whether embedded with the US forces or not, were entitled to protection as civilians, unless they could be shown to have violated their right to protection by acting overtly as enemy belligerents.26 US military operations in Iraq at the start of 2004 were bound by a timetable of three approaching major political events, all seen as critical to the successful outcome of the war. The first of these was the planned transition from Ambassador Bremer’s CPA to an Iraqi interim government, set to take place on 30 June (in fact the transition happened three days earlier), accompanied from

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April onwards by the creation of a new Iraqi Army and a restructuring of the US command arrangements. The success of this transition depended heavily on the political positions taken by members of the Governing Council in Baghdad, which approved an interim constitution for Iraq on 8 March. The extreme heat of the Iraqi summer then made major military activity less likely for all sides. The second event was President Bush’s campaign for re-election on 2 November, overlapped by the fast of Ramadan from 15 October to 14 November. The final event was the planned election on 31 January 2005 of a National Assembly for Iraq which would draft a new constitution, and for which it was essential for the USA to show that stability had been achieved. According to senior US figures including Secretary Rumsfeld, all this was placed in jeopardy because of events in Fallujah. On 31 March 2004, four contractors from the Blackwater private security company (all former members of the US armed forces) were ambushed and killed close to the Old Bridge. Two of their charred and dismembered corpses were then displayed hanging from the bridge to the accompaniment of a cheering mob, and the resulting images were widely used by the international media, although most stations including Al-Jazeera used a form of self-censorship for the more gory details. US Marine commanders later claimed that they had advocated a slow counter-insurgencystyle response to this shocking incident, but that they were over-ridden by demands from Washington and the CPA leadership in Baghdad for immediate and violent action. As one of their champions later described it, ‘the Marines saluted, turned about smartly, and let slip the dogs of war.’27 General Sanchez’s version of events was that he agreed reluctantly to the government’s demands for an offensive, but that he stressed as a precondition the need ‘to counter AlJazeera with a co-ordinated strategic communications plan’ on an international scale, led from Washington.28 Characteristically, the warning order sent to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to prepare to attack was headed ‘Combat Operations to Re-establish Freedom of Maneuver in Fallujah.’29 On 5 April, the First Battle of Fallujah (Operation Vigilant Resolve) began. Three – later four – US Marine mechanised battalions, about 2,000 of some of the best soldiers in the world supported by armour, airpower and artillery, attacked into the city from several directions, finding unexpectedly strong and well-organised resistance. Insurgents took up positions in mosques and hospitals, and used ambulances to transport weapons and fighters. About a quarter of the city was captured by the Marines in the first few days. An estimated 150 airstrikes hit 84 buildings, including at least two mosques, since senior US officers took the view that a mosque, school or hospital that sheltered armed men or weapons forfeited its status under the laws of war. In one widely reported incident on 7 April, the senior US Marine general present responded to occasional small-arms fire from the Al Kubaysi Mosque by ordering an airstrike: the mosque was attacked by a helicopter using an air-to-ground Hellfire missile,

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followed by an aircraft with a 500-pound guided bomb. One of the four embedded journalists with the Marines who saw the attack reported that they found no bodies when they took the mosque; Al-Jazeera reported at least 26 civilians dead, and other estimates ran higher, especially as the bomb hit during what would have been afternoon prayers.30 As the battle continued, media assumptions that any corpses not in uniform had been unarmed (and always ‘innocent’), civilians clashed with the US military view that anyone seen (including at night through thermal imagery from a reconnaissance drone or aircraft) or even believed to be carrying a weapon was an enemy, that any building harbouring – or even appearing to harbour – armed men was a target, and that anyone at all in the vicinity might be fired upon as an associated threat. General Sanchez, who described the Marines’ tactics as ‘precision attacks’, estimated 600 Iraqis were killed in the battle, more than half of them civilians; 40 USMC soldiers also died.31 The wider reaction to these events was one of alarm and incomprehension at the levels of violence employed, including from local leaders in Fallujah itself, from the British as the USA’s closest ally in Iraq, from political and public opinion within the USA (described by General Sanchez as ‘the Democrats in Congress’), and most importantly from Sunni members of the Governing Council in Baghdad who threatened to resign and destroy the CPA’s attempts to create a new government.32 About 70,000–80,000 Fallujans fled the city, and a widespread view among Sunni Muslims throughout Iraq was that the US forces were intent on wiping them all out. An Iraqi battalion sent to take part in the attack for symbolic and propaganda reasons mutinied or deserted rather than fight their fellow citizens. Televised images and interviews from the overstretched Fallujah General Hospital were cited as particularly influential. Hospital Director Rafie al-Issawi became contemptuously known to US Marine staff officers as ‘Dr Bob’, in a direct comparison to ‘Baghdad Bob’, the nickname of Saddam Hussein’s colourful information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.33 A US Army analysis noted that ‘Al Jazeera reporter Ahmed Mansour filmed scenes of dead babies’ at the hospital, ‘bespattered with blood; mothers were shown screaming and running’; but the prevailing US response was to blame Al-Jazeera for its reporting rather than question their own methods and behaviour.34 Ambassador Bremer wrote that ‘as the fighting increased, casualties mounted, and Al-Jazeera documented each one. A Marine [helicopter AH-1] Cobra gunship fired a missile at a sniper in the minaret of a mosque, killing ten Iraqis, most likely [sic] all insurgents. But the edited television images provoked a sharp emotional response from Iraqis across the country.’35 Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the senior US military spokesman in Baghdad, advised ‘change the channel to a legitimate, authoritative news station. The stations that are showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news sources. That is propaganda, and that is lies’ (a remark widely and inaccurately repeated out of context in the media as a blasé retort of ‘change

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the channel’ in response to scenes of death).36 General Sanchez castigated AlJazeera as ‘complicit with the enemy’ but also blamed Washington for failing to provide the required counter-propaganda campaign.37 After four days, on 9 April the Marines in Fallujah were given a new and ambiguous set of orders which effectively halted the attack and instigated a unilateral cease-fire and retreat, although incidents of fighting still continued. AlJazeera broadcast a radio interview with Brigadier General Kimmitt claiming that US forces were observing the ceasefire, simultaneously with a live feed showing US airstrikes on the city.38 Given the confused chain of command, it was afterwards disputed from where exactly the policy to abandon the attack originated, and the versions in individual memoirs cannot be reconciled with each other. Control of the city was notionally left to a ‘Fallujah Brigade’ of Iraqis, many of them associated with the insurgency. The generals were outraged that the leadership in Washington or the CPA in Baghdad had taken an operational decision and broken faith by not allowing them to achieve victory. They blamed the defeat in Fallujah both for the considerable increase in insurgency violence throughout Iraq that followed and for increasing political strains and fractures within the coalition. On 28 April, as fighting intensified in many Iraqi cities and spread to others, the CBS television programme 60 Minutes II broke the story of the severe abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by US guards at Abu Ghraib prison just outside Baghdad, accompanied by shocking photographs taken by the soldiers involved. The US official response, which remains highly controversial, was that this outrage was entirely the work of a few low-ranking individuals. The episode came at a critical time for US military operations in Iraq and contributed greatly to the political decision to accept the continuing consequences of the defeat at Fallujah. ‘If the broadcasters had sat down with the insurgents,’ commented one civil affairs colonel, ‘the timing could not have been worse as far as the officials in Iraq were concerned.’39 Those officials mostly retaliated by arguing that the media were partisan and prejudiced against them, with General Sanchez citing US domestic reporting of Abu Ghraib as an example of how ‘the media manipulated information to fit their predetermined agendas.’40 Secretary Rumsfeld later wrote that in reporting the First Battle of Fallujah, ‘several Al-Jazeera correspondents were embedded with the terrorists. They knew when and how attacks against Iraqi [sic] and coalition forces would take place, and they videotaped the attacks showing our troops being killed.’41 Lieutenant General James T. Conway, commanding 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, stated simply that ‘Al-Jazeera kicked our butts,’ while sympathetic commentators wrote that the Marines ‘weren’t beaten by the terrorists and insurgents, they were beaten by Al-Jazeera,’ or complained of how ‘Al-Qaeda [sic] had expertly manipulated the world news media.’42 In August the US leadership scored a small symbolic victory when the new Iraqi government raided and closed down

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Al-Jazeera’s offices in Baghdad, although this had little consequence either for its broadcasts or for its reporting of the war. The reaction of senior US generals was to question their own thinking, though also to look for ways of achieving their mission more effectively: more troops and firepower were needed, especially more tanks and other armoured vehicles to direct heavier fire more accurately. Prior to his departure from Iraq, General Sanchez advised that ‘the lesson is to use massive force, not precision strikes.’43 The other perceived need was for an integrated information operations plan, including ways of neutralising adverse reporting. Following the defeat at Fallujah, Robert D. Kaplan in The Wall Street Journal criticised President Bush’s government for failing to provide the required propaganda counter-campaign, and argued that the generals needed to do this for themselves, ‘the American military needs battlefield doctrine for influencing the public’.44 This included embedding more sympathetic US reporters to perform their required function in opposing or refuting enemy propaganda. In September, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers issued a memorandum stipulating that information operations and public affairs remained separate activities, not to be intermingled.45 Nevertheless, embedded reporters were later openly described as the key to a successful information operations campaign when the time came to retake Fallujah, and in practice any distinctions between information operations and public affairs had largely vanished from US senior officers’ thinking and planning.46 With a supportive Iraqi government, and the successful re-election of President Bush in November, the wider political context had changed significantly; regaining control of Fallujah was seen as an essential preliminary to the Iraqi elections in January 2005, to send a political message that US forces could not be defeated and humiliated in such a way. After General Sanchez’s departure, the senior US officer in Iraq with the operational responsibility for recapturing Fallujah was Lieutenant General Thomas F. Metz, under the overall command of General George W. Casey.47 From the first week of September, US forces facing Fallujah began what their doctrine called ‘shaping operations,’ a variety of actions in preparation for their planned main attack, with a heavy emphasis on deception. The Fallujah Brigade was officially disbanded, airstrikes against specific buildings with smart bombs and attacks by tank shells and snipers intensified, and Psyop began to encourage civilians to leave the city for their own safety, amid general threats of imminent US attack from false or misleading directions. In military thinking and terminology these shaping operations marked the start of the offensive, and on 14 October CNN (Cable News Network), drawing on information from a Pentagon source, announced that the attack on Fallujah had begun. CNN may have misunderstood what it was told, or been allowed to misunderstand, or it may have been misled; the chief result was increased media suspicion and accusations of military lying.

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The Second Battle of Fallujah (Operation Phantom Fury, renamed Operation al-Fajr – meaning ‘new dawn’ in Arabic – at the last moment), began on 8 November. Over a period of ten days, Fallujah was first surrounded, and then about 10,000 soldiers, chiefly US Marines working in combination with US Army armoured battalions, attacked and cleared the city from north to south. To ‘put an Iraqi face’ on the operation, 2,000 soldiers of the newly formed Iraqi Army followed up the attack.48 In the process about half the city was devastated with 18,000 out of 39,000 buildings damaged or destroyed, and about 1,000– 1,200 insurgents killed, compared to fewer than 500 US and Iraqi soldiers killed and injured. As an integral part of Operation al-Fajr, General Metz laid particular stress on the information operations campaign to neutralise any adverse political and public reaction which might otherwise interfere with the use of the level of violence needed to accomplish the mission. This included the concept of an ‘IO Threshold’ (a more uncompromising variant on the ‘media threshold’ of the previous decade), as ‘the boundary [of violence] below which the media is not interested’ and below which US shaping operations and later attacks could be conducted with impunity.49 On 7 November, US Psyop troops used loudspeakers to broadcast that all men of 15–50 years of age were forbidden from entering or leaving the city. Then late on 8 November the two bridges over the Euphrates were seized together with the General Hospital, captured by an Iraqi Army special forces detachment with US help (named ‘Task Force Wolfpack’), with the object of preventing a repetition of the hospital becoming an enemy propaganda site. Coalition forces later announced that they had found almost no patients in the hospital, and that it had been a haven for insurgents. Later in the battle, Arab media publicised claims that a clinic set up in Fallujah to replace the hospital had been bombed from the air killing 20 doctors, but the US assessment was that this was a propaganda ploy that failed through the insurgents’ inability to provide visual images.50 Once the main attack began in earnest next day on 9 November, the defending insurgents stood little chance against US forces that were vastly superior in numbers, training and technology. As part of the battle plan, US troops as they advanced were ordered to record with digital cameras evidence that mosques or schools which they had attacked had been used by insurgents, generating the propaganda to justify the level of violence that they were using. Several embedded US reporters also took part in the operation, while the insurgents made it known that they would provide support and facilities to any journalists who would report from their side. Insurgent arms caches, prisons and torture cells were uncovered, and the discoveries announced at a joint US-Iraqi Army press conference held just outside the city on 10 November. Only rarely did embedded reporters escape from a considerable level of institutional control, and generally they were content to report favourably with the units that they had joined. The most widely publicised exception to the success of US information operations

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came on 13 November, when freelance cameraman Kevin Sites, working for NBC News, filmed a US Marine shooting dead in a mosque a (presumed) insurgent lying badly injured on the ground. Rather than the film being shown on US network television, Kevin Sites instead posted it on the internet as a private blog. It aired repeatedly in Arab countries, but it was not shown in full in the USA and caused little impact there; a US official investigation later judged the soldier to have acted within his rules of engagement, and he escaped punishment.51 One of the most curious disputes about the Second Battle of Fallujah was the size of the civilian population inhabiting the city by this date. The US forces claimed that only a few genuine civilians remained in the city, with estimates ranging from 30,000 to as low as 400, prompting the obvious question of where over 200,000 others might have gone. In contrast, the US estimate of the number of insurgents in the city was 2,000–2,500, including many hard line non-Iraqis who had come to Fallujah specifically for the purpose of killing US soldiers, and almost all those killed in the battle were described as insurgents. As the fighting and devastation in Fallujah continued after 9 November, reports started to circulate that at least half the civilian population was still in the city and was now under fire, one report claiming that ‘from a humanitarian point of view it’s a disaster, there’s no other way to describe it.’52 Although US officials inevitably singled out Al-Jazeera for criticism for repeating these claims, both the Iraqi and international media understandably wanted to know what was happening. The response from the US forces was that there no such crisis since there was virtually no civilian population left in the city, although this claim was contradicted by some US soldiers’ eyewitness accounts. The level of control of information that the US forces had achieved was such that no-one was in a position to challenge or investigate either assertion, and what happened to the civilian population of Fallujah became one of the many disputed events of the battle. Secretary Rumsfeld in his memoirs described the US defeat in the First Battle of Fallujah as ‘asymmetric warfare in its purest form’, the use of global political and propaganda power by insurgents to defeat an otherwise successful attack.53 The information operations methods used in the Second Battle of Fallujah were intended to address this problem, and the battle represents the high point in the Iraq War of the willingness of senior US officers to use any methods that they considered appropriate, including the control and exploitation of the US and international news media, to secure a local victory. General Metz characterised the success of Operation al-Fajr as ‘a case study in aggressive information operations’ and as a pointer to the future of warfare, arguing that ‘the warfighter must find a way to bridge the doctrinal firewall separating IO [information operations] and PA [public affairs] without violating the rules governing both.’54 The doctrinal controversies generated by these battles, and the information operations methods used to help fight them, were unresolved by the end of the Iraq War, contributing greatly to its disputed history.

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Notes 1. See Matthews, Matt M., Operation Al-Fajr: A Study in Army and Marine Corps Joint Operations, Global War on Terrorism Occasional Paper 20, US Army Combined Arms Center (Fort Leavenworth KA, 2006). The US Army and the USMC provided the bulk of the United States’ combat forces in Iraq 2003–2011, with significant contributions from the US Air Force and the US Navy; all these services have their own distinctive identities, including terminologies and a vocabulary on which they insist – see e.g. Lowry, Richard S., New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah (New York, 2010) xxii–xxvii – but which are often opaque to outsiders. For reasons of clarity, a simplified terminology is used in this paper, so that ‘soldiers’ may include marines, sailors and airmen, etc. 2. Matthews: Operation Al-Fajr, 10; Ballard, John R. ‘Lessons Learned from Operation Al-Fajr: The Liberation of Fallujah,’ Department of Defense 4th Civil Affairs Group, 10th Annual Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium: The Future of C2, (2005) 20–21. 3. The official designation of Lieutenant General Sanchez’s command was Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) or V Corps. 4. Rumsfeld, Donald, Known and Unknown: A Memoir (New York, 2011), 385. 5. Foulk, Vincent L., The Battle for Fallujah: Occupation, Resistance and Stalemate in the Iraq War (Jefferson NC, 2007),7. 6. Quoted in Foulk: The Battle for Fallujah, 17. 7. The literature on maneuver war and its origins is considerable; for an introduction see Toffler, Alvin and Toffler, Heidi, War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century (New York, 1993), 9–11; Badsey, Stephen ‘The Doctrines of the Coalition Forces,’ in John Pimlott and Stephen Badsey, The Gulf War Assessed (London, 1992), 57–80; Leonard, Robert, The Art of Maneuver: Maneuver-Warfare Theory and AirLand Battle (Novato CA, 1991); Hayden, H.T. (ed.), Warfighting:Maneuver Warfare in the US Marine Corps (Mechanicsburg PA, 1995). 8. See Citino, Robert M., The German Way of War (Lawrence KA, 2005), xiii–xviii; Vigor, P., Soviet Blitzkrieg Theory (New York, 1983); Glantz, David M. and Jonathan M. House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler (Lawrence KA, 1995). 9. The legal authority for the existence and roles of the US Army is United States Code Title 10 – Armed Forces: Subtitle B – Army, which after listing four principal roles does also include a responsibility ‘for the preparation of land forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned’. I am grateful to Scott C. Farquhar of TRADOC for this information. 10. Ballard: ‘Lessons Learned from Operation Al-Fajr: The Liberation of Fallujah’. 11. Romjue, John L., American Army Doctrine for the Post-Cold War (Fort Monroe VA, 1996) especially 126–27. No satisfactory term was ever found to make the distinction between warfighting and other military activities, largely because of the artificiality and impracticality of the concept; MOOTW was one of several tried. 12. Ricks, Thomas E., Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York, 2006), 152. For General Sanchez’s complaint against Ricks over what appears to have been an unexceptional episode of a disputed interview, see Sanchez, Ricardo

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13. 14.

15. 16.

17.

18. 19.

20.

21.

22.

23.

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S. with Philip, Donald T., Wiser in Battle: a Soldier’s Story (New York, 2008), 308–9. Foulk: The Battle for Fallujah, 20. The quotations are from Krulak, Charles C., ‘The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War,’ Marines Magazine (January 1999), 18–23; General Krulak was Commandant of the USMC 1995–1999. See also Dorn, A. Walter and Michael Varey, ‘The Rise and Demise of the “Three Block War”,’ Canadian Military Journal, Vol 10 (1), 2009, 38–45. See Berinsky, Adam J., In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion From World War II to Iraq (Chicago, 2009), 207–21. Kaplan, Robert D., ‘The Media and the Military,’ Atlantic Monthly (November 2004) accessed via the internet Url: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/11/ the-media-and-the-military/3551/, January 2012. See for example Mazur, Diane H., A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger (Oxford, 2010), especially, 3–15, 74–91; Neiberg, Michael, Making Citizen-Soldiers: ROTC and the Ideology of American Military Service (Cambridge Mass., 2001). For a thought-provoking example of US academic partisan opposition to the military during the Iraq War see ‘The Network of Concerned Anthropologists,’ The Counter Counterinsurgency Manual (Chicago, 2009). Kinnard, Douglas, The War Managers: American Generals Reflect on Vietnam (New York, 1991) 132–33. The literature on the actual US media coverage of the Vietnam War and its possible impact on domestic public opinion is again substantial. For reasonable overviews and a starting place for the debate see Hess, Gary R., Vietnam: Explaining America’s Lost War (Oxford, 2009), 133–54, Carruthers, Susan L., The Media at War (New York, 2011); 96–141; Hammond, William M., Reporting Vietnam (Lawrence KA, 1998), Hallin, Daniel C., The ‘Uncensored War’: The Media and Vietnam (Oxford, 1986). See e.g. Kimball, Jeffrey P., ‘The Stab-in-the-Back Legend and the Vietnam War,’ Armed Forces and Society, Vol 14 (3) (Spring, 1988), 433–58, Mazur: A More Perfect Military, 98–103, Burkett, B.G. and Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of its Heroes and Its History (Dallas TX, 1998), 296–308, Adair, Gilbert, Hollywood’s Vietnam: From ‘The Green Berets’ to ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (New York, 1989). See Badsey, Stephen, ‘Media War and Media Management,’ in Kassimeris, George, and John Buckley (eds), The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Warfare (London, 2010) 401–18, Arquilla, John and David Ronfeldt, ‘Cyberwar Is Coming!’ RAND Corporation Study (1993), Taylor, Philip M., War and the Media: Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gulf War (Manchester, 1992). Darley, William M., ‘Why Public Affairs Is Not Information Operations,’ Army Magazine (January 2005) accessed via the internet URL: http://www3.ausa.org/webpub/ DeptArmyMagazine.nsf/byid/CCRN-6CCSFT, January 2012; Joint Pub 3–13 Joint Doctrine for Information Operations, 9 October 1998 (Washington DC, 1998). Ullman, Halan K. And James P. Wade, Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance (Washington DC, 1996). General Franks, who was Commander in Chief of Central

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24.

25. 26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42.

43. 44. 45.

46. 47.

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Command (CENTCOM) in 2003, used this phrase to describe Operation Iraqi Freedom at a press conference on 22 March 2003. Information Operations Roadmap, US Department of Defense, 30 October 2003, 22–3. This document was released under the Freedom of Information Act in 2006 and is available on the website of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB177/ info_ops_roadmap.pdf, February 2012. Mazur, A More Perfect Military, 42–74. Green, Leslie C., The Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict, 3rd Edition (Manchester, 2008) 271. West, Bing, No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah (New York, 2005), 7; Francis J. ‘Bing’ West was himself a former US Marine, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, 330–33. Camp, Dick, Operation Phantom Fury: The Assault and Capture of Fallujah, Iraq (Minneapolis MN, 2009), 58. Foulk: The Battle for Fallujah, 27–8, Camp: Operation Phantom Fury, 73–4. Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, 363, 369–72. Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, 354. Ballard, John R., Fighting for Fallujah: A New Dawn for Iraq (Westport CT, 2006), 127. Quoted by Camp: Operation Phantom Fury, 79. Bremer, L. Paul with Malcolm McConnell, My Year in Iraq (New York, 2006) 328. Quoted in Scahill, Jeremy, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (London, 2008) 204. Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, 351–52. Scahill, Blackwater, 202. Foulk, The Battle for Fallujah, 44. Sanchez, Wiser in Battle, 309. Rumsfeld, Known and Unknown, 533. A small number of Iraqi troops and police had been involved in the battle. Conway quoted in West: No True Glory, 322, Ralph Peters quoted in Payne, Kenneth, ‘The Media as an Instrument of War,’ Parameters Vol 35 (1) (Spring, 2005) 82; Lowry: New Dawn, xviii. Quoted in West, No True Glory, 234. Kaplan, Robert D., ‘The Real Story of Fallujah,’ The Wall Street Journal (27 May 2004), A–20. Quoted in Cox, Joseph L., ‘Information Operations in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom – What Went Wrong?’ Monograph, School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), US Army Command and General Staff College (Fort Leavenworth KA, 2006), 83. Camp: Operation Phantom Fury, 119–20. General Casey did not directly replace General Sanchez. New command arrangements were made, and General Casey became commander of Forces Iraq (MNF-I),

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48. 49.

50. 51.

52. 53. 54.

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while General Metz as commander of US Third Corps became also commander of the Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I). Camp: Operation Phantom Fury, 153. See Metz, Thomas F., Mark W. Garrett, James E. Hutton and Timothy W. Bush, ‘Massing Effects in the Information Domain: A Case Study in Aggressive Information Operations,’ Military Review (May–June 2006), 2–12, and for the IO Threshold General Metz’s forward to Lowry: New Dawn, x–xvi. For the earlier ‘media threshold’ see Badsey, Stephen, Modern Military Operations and the Media, The Occasional Series, Number 8, Strategic and Combat Studies Institute (Camberley, 1994), 22–3. Foulk: The Battle for Fallujah, 215. For various and largely mutually complementary accounts of this episode see Ricks: Fiasco, 402–3, Foulk: The Battle for Fallujah, 221, Lowry: New Dawn, 187, Ballard: Fighting for Fallujah, 67. Report quoted by Ballard: Fighting for Fallujah, 65; see also Ibid., 74–6. Rumsfeld: Known and Unknown, 533. Metz, Garrett, and Bush, ‘Massing Effects in the Information Domain,’ 9.

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12 (MIS)COMMUNICATION WARS: TERRORISM, COUNTER-TERRORISM AND THE MEDIA Cristina Archetti

Over the past decade much has been said about the role of propaganda, persuasion and communication in the fight against international terrorism. Some have attributed the prolonged survival of Al-Qaeda – when the average lifespan of 90 per cent of terrorist groups is shorter than a year – to the very existence of global communication networks.1 Particularly technologies like the Internet have been blamed for sustaining transnational extremism. The very ability for extremists to easily produce, copy and distribute extremist material online – such as videos, documents or, most recently, an e-magazine in English – is believed to support the spread of the terrorist organisation’s ideology and recruiting activities.2 Many have also been the claims about the function of the media, especially the implications of live instantaneous reporting of terrorist attacks and negative coverage of conflicts in foreign lands in serving terrorists’ objectives. There is a widespread realisation that communication is crucial, not least in the acknowledgement that the international fight against terrorism is ultimately, beyond its military dimension, a confrontation of ideas, a struggle for the moral high ground and for the ‘hearts and minds’ of global audiences.3 Eloquent proof of the crucial role of perceptions is the disappearance, since early 2009, of the very mention of a ‘war on terror’ from official documents both in the UK and the US. The label was withdrawn due to the recognition that, through the amplification provided by global media channels, it was fuelling the terrorists’ rhetoric of a Western ‘crusade’ against Islam.4 Philip Taylor, who specialised in international communications and the study of the role of the media in conflict, wrote extensively about propaganda and perception management well before 9/11. He was one of the few scholars who, in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, both recognised the crucial role of the media in counter-terrorism and approached them as a legitimate object of

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investigation. In fact, within the deluge of literature on terrorism and security that has since developed, media and communications are widely recognised to play a significant role in the development of violent extremism. Accuracy and perspective in assessing what this role exactly consists in, however, tend to get lost among sweeping generalisations, alarmist statements and the hyperbole of a security industry that is often more oriented towards feeding its own economic interests than rigorous scientific enquiry.5 Media – regardless of whether they are approached as communication technologies or organisations – are often mentioned, but it is clear that their role is too often taken as obvious, if not self-explanatory. Even academic texts by highly rated terrorism experts, as will be illustrated in a moment, tend to address the media function and effects in a surprisingly casual way. To pay homage to Phil Taylor’s critical engagement with the field of study of communications, this chapter both builds on his work and takes it further in three ways. First, within its self-contained scope, it briefly and critically reviews existing assessments about the role of media and communication technologies in the current phenomenon of international terrorism. Second, it demonstrates that most approaches are based on either flawed assumptions or outdated theories. Third, it makes the point that an explicit engagement with communication theory and media studies supports not only a greater understanding of the phenomenon in an age of interconnectedness, but could also inform more effective counter-terrorism practice.

Terrorism and the Media: A Misunderstood Relationship An immediate way in which communication studies help us make sense of contemporary terrorism is by supporting a more rigorous understanding of the relationship between media and extremism. The literature is characterised by a range of claims. They vary from identifying the media as the very cause of terrorism, to seeing them as victims themselves of the extremists’ exploitation. At one end of the spectrum is the view that media are responsible for terrorism because they are the essential channel through which terrorists publicise their message to the public. What Walter Laqueur wrote over 30 years ago – ‘the media are the terrorist’s best friend ... publicity is all’6 – in essence, still applies to more recent assessments. For Brigitte Nacos ‘getting the attention of the mass media, the public, and decision makers is the raison d’être behind modern terrorism’s increasing shocking violence.’7 As she further explains in relation to the 2001 events: There is no doubt … that the architects of 9/11 had a perfect score with respect to the three media-centred objectives of the calculus of terror: they raked unprecedented media attention, publicised their causes and motives and in the process the

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grievances of many Muslims, and gained global prominence and notoriety otherwise only accorded to nation-states and their leaders.8

Having said that, the relationship between media and terrorists has also historically been described as a ‘symbiosis.’9 On the one hand, terrorists need to publicise their motives through the media; on the other hand, media outlets constantly seek compelling stories for their audiences.10 The role of the media within the mutually-dependent relationship with terrorism, however, can vary. While the media are always somehow related to the notion that they support terrorism, the way in which they can actually aid terrorists advancing their cause can take different forms. Media can encourage terrorism through ‘contagion’:11 the idea is that the media attention towards terror will encourage further incidents by providing a ‘model and inspiration’ for more attacks.12 The media can ‘endorse’ terrorism by romanticising or glamorising it. Yonah Alexander, for example, describes how, in reporting the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst, an American newspaper heiress, in 1974 by the urban guerrilla group Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), the media managed to give a group of ‘misfits’ a modern ‘ “Robin Hood” image.’13 Through their thirst for drama media are also accused of indulging in disproportionate coverage. Alexander says that ‘by providing extensive coverage the media give the impression that they sympathise with the terrorist cause,’ therefore granting them an aura of legitimacy.14 Sensationalism, in turn, can easily lead to alarmism and public panic – an outcome British officials have often referred to as ‘doing the terrorists’ job for them’.15 Media, in this perspective, can contribute to ‘manufacturing’ the terrorist threat. The last point is developed by Adam Curtis’s documentary ‘The Power of Nightmares,’16 in which the media are accomplices in policy makers’ deliberate exploitation of fear to support political agendas. This view is echoed by Nancy Snow who, in an argument that could be applied beyond her home country, claims that since 9/11 ‘we have experienced a coming together of very powerful institutions of information, the federal government and the corporate media, to create a barrier between the American public and the real environment.’17 Media are not only seen to encourage terrorism indirectly, but through their cameras, they are thought to become co-participants in the terrorist deeds.18 They might interfere with governmental crisis management. Raphael Cohen-Almagor, in this respect, draws a lengthy list of the multiple ways in which ‘problematic and irresponsible’ coverage has placed the media on the side of the terrorists rather than the government’s. The ‘troubling episodes’ he describes range from interfering with police operations, endangering lives in situations in which hostages are taken, paying terrorists in order to get interviews, and using irresponsible terminology – for example ‘freedom fighters’ rather than ‘terrorists.’19 The idea that media can be easily manipulated by governments when it comes to reporting about terrorism, however, would be troubling to any communication

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researcher. The very issue of the relationship between media – more specifically understood as journalists and editors operating within an organisation – and officials, particularly the extent of media independence vis-à-vis the political establishment, has been for decades one of the thorniest topics of debate in Political Communication.20 The notion that journalists can be used as mouthpieces either by terrorists or by governments dismisses an entire tradition of sociological studies of news organisations’ norms, journalistic practices and news-gathering routines.21 A scholar in Media Studies would be puzzled by the fact that conclusions are generally applied to ‘media’ without distinguishing between print, TV, Internet, radio, ‘new’ or ‘mass’ media. The suggestion that media content can have a direct effect on potential terrorists leading them to engage in violent behaviour – the ‘contagion hypothesis’ – would be recognised by a researcher in Communications as closely resembling the ‘silver bullet’ or ‘hypodermic needle’ theory of media effects.22 This is based on the belief that the media can trigger an immediate, virtually identical and predictable response in a public exposed to their messages, as if the audience had been ‘injected’ with those contents. The theory was developed in the 1920s and 1930s, initially as an attempt to explain how British propaganda had contributed to defeating German troops during World War I.23 The rise of European dictators appeared to support the idea that the masses could be manipulated by leaders who were able to exploit modern communication technologies, such as radio at that time. Despite this, the theory was quickly deemed unsatisfactory to explain media effects and replaced by more nuanced models. Paul Lazarsfeld’s ‘two-step-flow,’ for example, later hypothesised, rather than a direct influence of the media on the public, a process in two stages in which media messages were filtered to the masses through the interpretations of opinion leaders.24 Within the ‘reception studies’ tradition, instead, the ‘uses and gratification’ theory emphasised the way in which each individual ‘uses’ media messages to satisfy psychological or social needs.25 These are just early conceptualisations. The description of how they evolved to this day, for instance by entirely abandoning the notion of a ‘mass public’ or incorporating ethnic readings of media texts, could be lengthy.26 These examples are nonetheless more than sufficient to show that a substantial part of the literature on terrorism and the media does not know much about the media and their effects. The way media are approached by most research on terrorism is stuck in the early twentieth century.

The Demonisation of the Internet Terrorism literature is further characterised by deeply negative bias in relation to the Internet. While all sorts of content travels through this medium – including the ‘good’ activities of environmental activists or campaigners against child labour, for instance – this technology is described as having a crucial role when

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it comes to supporting terrorism, particularly in the Al-Qaeda case. Alarmist, even sensationalist, statements characterise not only journalistic accounts, but also academic literature and think-tank assessments. Washington Post journalists Steve Coll and Susan Glasser, to take an example, wrote that: ‘Al-Qaeda has become the first guerrilla movement in history to migrate from physical space to cyberspace.’27 In an article published in the journal International Security Audrey Cronin suggests that Al-Qaeda ‘is in many ways distinct from its predecessors, especially in its protean ability to transform itself from a physical to a virtual organisation.’28 The Internet contributes to several activities of terrorist groups, such as fundraising, networking and coordination, as well as information gathering.29 Literature on the link between terrorism and the Internet is, however, currently absorbed by a focus on the role of this communication technology in information provision – including the production of training manuals and instruction on how to manufacture explosives, propaganda material like videos, communiqués, texts – and recruitment. The Internet, in this last respect, is identified as a platform for the spreading of radical content and extremist ideology, particularly targeted at young and vulnerable individuals. The incessant activities of ad hoc media production houses like the Al-Fajr Centre (including the more widely known As-Sahab as a production branch) and propaganda hubs like the Global Islamic Media Front are regularly presented as evidence of the threat.30 The impact of the Internet is portrayed in such overwhelmingly negative terms that the technology is often openly blamed for radicalisation, understood not only as the embracing of extremist ideas, but also as their translation into violent action. For instance, a report by the Homeland Security Policy Institute and the Critical Incident Analysis Group entitled ‘NETworked Radicalization: A CounterStrategy’ states that: The Internet facilitates radicalisation because it is without peer as a tool for both active and passive communication and outreach. Online chat rooms are interactive venues where aberrant attitudes and beliefs may be exchanged, reinforced, hardened and validated (at least in the minds of participants).31

While it is true that a considerable amount of instructional content is available on the Internet, it is unclear to what extent it can support actual terrorist plots. Some, in fact, would argue that manufacturing viable explosives requires more than online training.32 The myth of the radicalising function of this technology has nonetheless become deeply entrenched in the current security discourse. Further on this aspect, Akil Awan, Andrew Hoskins and Ben O’ Loughlin demonstrate how radicalisation has become established as a prominent threat within security discourses in both government circles and the mainstream media.33 More specifically, they point out how the notion of radicalisation conveniently matches both the news and policy makers’ agendas: ‘For security policymakers

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and journalists alike, “radicalisation” can anchor a news agenda, offering a cast of radicalisers and the vulnerable radicalised, and legitimating a policy response to such danger.’ It also combines with ‘that major intangible of “the Internet”.’ As they further explain: ‘It is as if society is endangered by the technology itself, which enables identity theft, the “grooming” of children by paedophiles, or indeed “grooming for jihad”.’34 The unfortunate outcome is that both the notion of radicalisation and the role of the Internet in promoting it are taken for granted. The fact that unfounded claims become the largely unchallenged basis of policy, as the following excerpt from the latest UK Prevent Strategy illustrates, is particularly worrying: The Internet has transformed the extent to which terrorist organisations and their sympathisers can radicalise people in this country and overseas. It enables a wider range of organisations and individuals to reach a much larger audience with a broader and more dynamic series of messages and narratives. It encourages interaction and facilitates recruitment.35

The aim here is not to argue that the Internet does not play any role at all. It can and does play a facilitating function, particularly in terms of organisation, fundraising, distribution and sharing of content, providing an initial meeting place for like-minded individuals, which can then lead to face-to-face contact. These aspects, however, are not unique characteristics of this medium. In this respect, an engagement with the history of communication and media effects – particularly the way in which the interpretation of media messages is shaped by an individual social context – contributes to placing the role of this technology into perspective.36 To start with, the rhetoric revolving around the Internet is technologically deterministic: it assumes that a communication technology is by its very existence going to produce certain social and political effects. This is partly related to its association with the popular notion of a ‘communication revolution’ and the idea that the Internet is radically changing our societies. Manuel Castells talks, for instance, about a ‘networked society.’37 For sure, the Internet makes a difference. It changes the potential scope of social interaction from locality to a global dimension and affects the dynamics of political processes, from everyday government activities – one can think about the professionalisation of political communication38 or e-democracy39 – to the conduct of diplomacy and foreign policy.40 It is sufficient to take a look back in history, however, to discover that the development of virtually any communication technology, from the introduction of parchment, to the rise of the printing press, the telegraph and radio, was met by the same sense of amazement, uncertainty and similar alarmed claims that it would forever change the world as it was then known. A statement such as ‘it is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should any longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for the exchange of thought between

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all nations of the earth’ might appear to refer to the Internet, but it was written in 1858 and described the development of the telegraph.41 The literature on social movements further reminds us that transnational mobilisation has taken place well before the Internet: one can think about the anti-slavery movement42 or the International Workers’ Association whose slogan, since its foundation in the nineteenth century, has been ‘Workers of the world unite!’ Studies of riots and protests over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries also confirm that news, if certainly not instantaneously, was still able to travel surprisingly quickly, even across wide distances: A glance back at 1789 or 1848 will indicate how closely Europe’s political centres connected with each other well before television or mass journalism provided their publicity. In 1789, English radicals and conservatives alike followed Parisian events day by day. The construction of ‘Parisian’ barricades became standard practice in the Germany of 1848.43

The idea that the Internet’s synchronous communication almost naturally leads to greater bonding among individuals44 is challenged by online activism studies, where there is a whole debate about whether the exchanges among strangers in cyberspace can support the constitution of real communities or simply a superficial involvement – what’s referred to as ‘armchair activism.’45 If individuals committed to, let’s say, environmental issues could become less involved in their cause when only interacting online, why should jihadists through the same mechanisms necessarily become more fixated in their beliefs and even reach the point where they are ready to take lethal action in the real world? The fact that extremist content is online and potentially available to worldwide audiences does not necessarily mean that these publics are actually accessing it, let alone being influenced, if not driven to violence by it. In relation to the British case, Awan writes that ‘the overwhelming majority of virtual jihadist forums are published in Arabic alone and so inaccessible to a large proportion of Muslims as well as other Internet users. British Muslim audiences are predominantly (74 per cent) South Asian and are therefore more likely to speak Urdu, Punjabi, or Bengali, than Arabic.’46 Even if audiences were actually accessing the extremist material, the question of its effects would still need to be ascertained. It could appear that the Internet figured in the build up of extremist beliefs in a range of plots, from the 2004 Madrid train bombings to London 7/7 in 2005, to radical plots being developed in the Netherlands, Canada and Morocco.47 However, at a closer look, the Internet tended to provide the ‘initial impetus,’ which was then followed by the more ordinary real-world planning, meetings and training.48 In fact, it is not at all clear why content available on the Internet should be more responsible for radicalisation than content accessible through alternative

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formats. This is especially puzzling considering that what is available online, despite the much-emphasised interactivity of the Internet, is still text. Besides, jihadist material has long been available through videos and publications well before the Internet.49 Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, as well as all the individuals who first joined Al-Qaeda in the late 1980s certainly did not belong to the Internet generation. Ed Husain recalls in The Islamist how, as a young boy growing up in London’s East End, he became interested in a political interpretation of Islam by reading a school textbook about religion.50 To find a contemporary example of extremism beyond that inspired by Al-Qaeda, one can additionally look at the case of Norwegian Anders Breivik. In his over 1,500page manifesto he discusses at length the ideological reasons for his bombing of the Oslo city centre (which caused eight fatalities) and the killing on Utøya island of 68 young political activists in the summer of 2011.51 The sources he cites, particularly ‘the cultural Marxists’ who gathered around the ‘Frankfurt School’ – he specifically mentions Georg Lukacs, Antonio Gramsci, Wilhelm Reich, Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno52 – produced texts that are not normally regarded as ‘extremist’ and that are widely available in ordinary libraries. Finally, why criminalise the Internet, when there are other portable and interactive platforms that can equally well be used for exchanging and sharing information? The British summer riots of 2011, in this respect, have brought to the fore the potential role of Blackberry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook in the organisation of public violent disorder. While, again, these technological platforms were the target of initial extreme claims about their function of ‘drivers’ of violent collective action, they have subsequently been redimensioned,53 not least by the acknowledgment that, so far, they have not been subject to rigorous examination, mostly as a result of the inaccessibility of the information exchanged, especially in the case of Blackberry messenger.54

Narratives and the ‘Messaging’ Obsession Research on radicalisation, including official documents, often refers to a ‘narrative’ being developed by Al-Qaeda.55 The term is used so frequently that it has truly become a buzzword. A US presidential document about preventing violent extremism, for example, states that ‘radicalisation that leads to violent extremism includes the diffusion of ideologies and narratives that feed on grievances, assign blame, and legitimize the use of violence against those deemed responsible.’56 The Dutch National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism released a whole collection of contributions about ‘Countering Violent Extremist Narratives’ in 2010.57 The UK Prevent Strategy states that the current highest priority in counter-terrorism is constituted by ‘activity which challenges the terrorist ideology, for example speakers challenging terrorist narratives.’58

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In most of the literature the ‘narrative’ is a ‘story’, often a synonym of ‘ideology’. As such, it is regarded as a device exploited by terrorists not only to maintain internal cohesion within a violent extremist group and to give direction to cells that might be operating on their own, but also for publicising their political cause, recruit new followers and provide a rationale for their activities.59 Progress in counter-terrorism appears to be related in the literature to both establishing a credible narrative and to damaging ‘their’ narrative. William Casebeer and James Russell, for instance, suggest that the most effective way to counter terrorism is by developing a ‘better story’ to replace ‘their’ narrative.60 For this purpose a special communication unit, the Research, Information and Communication Unit (RICU), was set up in Whitehall in 2007. Its task was specifically to ‘use messaging to disrupt the Al-Qaeda narrative.’61 A US Presidential Task Force report also argues for ‘rewriting the narrative.’62 While several stress that countering the extremist narrative should not be limited to words but should also involve engagement with local communities and a consistency between words (rhetoric) and deeds (policy), there is a strong emphasis on ‘messaging.’63 Such an approach to the ‘narrative’ as a ‘script’ – particularly the attention to the delivery of the ‘right’ message – is in contradiction to the deeply social nature of stories in our society. These assumptions are also an obstacle to understanding the nature of global communications in the digital age. The field of communication studies, as I am going to explain, can again help in making sense of these aspects. A first contribution consists in alerting us to the fact that anti-terrorism messaging is based on obsolete models of communication. Steven Corman, for instance, points out that the current way in which US officials attempt communicating with foreign publics (public diplomacy) to curb extremism is based on the notion that ‘messages’ are transmitted by an ‘Information Source’ through a ‘Transmitter’ (via a ‘Signal’) to a ‘Receiver’ which will then convey the message to the desired ‘Destination’.64 The implications are: that communication occurs only when messages are deliberately sent; that successful communication can be achieved by improving the skill of the communicator; by reducing the ‘noise’ in the system; by carefully planning the content of the message and carefully transmitting it. This is a model that was developed by David Berlo in the 1960s and was based on the study of telephone communication systems. Corman explains its current role in shaping official thinking through the fact that, having being taught across communication and public relations courses over decades, it has become part of the way public diplomacy practitioners in the US read the reality of international communications.65 Yet, this model, as he puts it, was ‘cutting-edge at the time of Eisenhower.’66 The notion of messaging, additionally, does not fit the complexity of current global communications. There is no longer the possibility, as when propaganda studies actually developed at the time of the early diffusion of radio and TV, that

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a message could be targeted at a specific audience – for instance, in its crudest form, as by physically dropping leaflets beyond enemy lines. The feature of the current information environment that makes it radically different from the past is its transparency. It is true that information does not flow randomly, and that there are blind spots represented by areas where communication infrastructures are either underdeveloped (issues of access in some African countries, for example) or controlled (as in China). Nonetheless information is far less constrained by state borders and through its digital format can travel almost seamlessly across communication platforms like the Internet, TV and mobile phones.67 As Corman writes elsewhere: Communication is not a process of transmission of messages but of dialogue with an audience. Modern media systems make exclusively targeting narrow audiences difficult or impossible. Communication systems are so complex that planning is of limited use. You can’t straightforwardly assess results and tweak your tactics, as if you were a strategic communication version of a forward artillery spotter.68

In addition to this, while a narrative is, in essence, a sequence of events tied together by a plot line, it does not just ‘carry’ ‘a set of “facts”.’ Narratives are ‘social products produced by people within the context of specific social, historical and cultural locations.’69 As Charlotte Linde points out, even ‘an individual’s life story is not the property of that individual alone, but also belongs to others who have shared the events narrated – or were placed to have opinions about them.’70 The concept of narrative – understood as a collaborative construction rather than a mere ‘script’ – illuminates the process through which the terrorist ‘story’ is constructed by the organisation’s leaders, but it manages to spread and keep on existing over time through the retelling of sympathisers, engaged supporters and new recruits. The terrorists’ narrative, as any narrative, is in other words the result of a collective construction. It is certainly promoted by specific actors – in the case of Al-Qaeda by terrorist leaders – but there is evidence that it is being appropriated, most notably in what is mistakenly referred to as ‘self-radicalisation’, by individuals and local groups.71 The retelling of these narratives is made by a range of different actors with varying agendas and very diverse intended audiences. Each of them potentially sees a different ‘story’. As Betz describes this process: Bin Laden and his associates do not appear endlessly on the British Broadcasting Corporation, or Cable News Network or even Al-Jazeera defending these talking points [basic elements of their narrative]: this work is done (very effectively) by largely voluntary networks which have open access, share material, work collectively, and have a diversity of motives. Not everybody in the network needs to be a committed Jihadi, they may or may not like the idea of living under a restored

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Caliphate, they may indeed in some circumstances not be Muslim at all because the mindset of sullen resentment, which is what animates the movement, is shared by diverse groups from anti-globalists to anti-vivisectionists.72

Understanding Communication: Implications for Counter-terrorism A greater engagement with the impacts that communication technologies have had over history on society and on political mobilisation, as well as an appreciation of the complexity involved in assessing media effects on audiences, would have a far reaching impact on the practice of counter-terrorism. The following are the three implications that most immediately arise from the previous discussion. The first is that the availability of extremist content – as also the existence of a terrorist ‘narrative’ – is not the problem per se. The fact that jihadi videos or terrorist websites are potentially available to worldwide audiences does not mean that these publics are necessarily going to access them, let alone embrace the radical ideas such outlets advocate: reach is not impact. Even if extremist messages are accessed, the key issue is the individual appropriation of those contents through the interpretative prism of the beliefs and worldview resulting from the individual’s stance in the social world. This explains, among the rest, why many readers of this paragraph might have watched terrorist propaganda videos or consulted extremist manifestos without having become radicalised. The second implication is that attempting to target radicalised individuals with the ‘right’ message is a waste of time. The notion that we can change a radical individual’s behaviour through the appropriate message, in fact, is largely unrealistic. For a start terrorists are already listening to what Western governments, thinktanks and media are saying, as demonstrated by the fact that the Al Fajr Centre, the media hub that coordinates the distribution of online communiqués, videos and statements by Al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups (Iraqi insurgency groups, Palestinian, Somali, Saudi jihadi groups, etc.), also has an ‘intelligence brigade’.73 This unit is in charge of monitoring the websites and outputs of organisations like the White House, the US Army, the RAND corporation, the Jamestown foundation, Time magazine, and so on.74 Most of those involved in terrorist plots, additionally, do live in Western societies where they are constantly exposed to potential counternarratives. Both public discourse and media coverage are overwhelmingly filled with the notion that terrorism and violence are deplorable, as is Al-Qaeda. The reason why ‘our’ narrative is not having any effect on the extremist mind set is that ‘our message’ is filtered through a very different personal worldview, grounded in a specific constellation of relationships that shapes an extremist’s social context.75 In this perspective communication, counter-intuitively, is most effective not directed at the terrorists or violent extremists, but at the context around them. Finally the narrative is not just a story. It is a story that is being continuously retold. The idea that the spreading of the Al-Qaeda narrative can be stopped by

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interfering with the group’s communication channels – such as by taking down websites or making it illegal to access them – is based on the idea that the story is being told through a one-way process: the ‘message’ is being sent by the AlQaeda members to audiences. While the Al-Qaeda members have an interest in promoting that narrative, this is a reductive understanding not only of communication processes, but also of the way they take place in the contemporary media saturated environment. There are too many channels to stop the narrative from being communicated. Beyond the Internet, the ‘old technologies’ are still there: Carl Björkman, for instance, in talking about Jihadi-Salafi terrorism in Italy, writes that military manuals and jihadi documents from prominent thinkers have over the last decade ‘spread on CD-ROMs, videos and audio-cassettes.’76 In countries with poor literacy levels, as in Afghanistan, face-to-face interaction is still the most widely used form of communication between radicals and the wider population.77 In addition to this, the narrative is only partly actively promoted by the Al-Qaeda leadership. The reason why the narrative keeps on existing is that it is constantly re-evoked by wider audiences. They do not just involve terrorist sympathisers. Al-Qaeda’s narrative might be contained in a journalistic report about its leadership’s latest message, in a critique of the terrorist organisation or in an academic study about it.

Conclusions This chapter admittedly only scratches the surface of the conceptual and empirical gaps that notoriously affect Terrorism Studies.78 Nonetheless I wanted to show that we cannot truly understand terrorism in the twenty-first century – let alone counter it effectively – unless we also understand the processes of communication that underpin it. Although Phil Taylor disliked theory, his legacy lies in having drawn attention to the positive contribution that the study of communication can make to both understanding the political impact of communication technologies and to informing more effective policy. That multidisciplinary engagement still holds precious value. In fact the systematic pursuit of it, in an increasingly mediated and interconnected global reality, is more urgent than ever.

Notes 1. Rapoport, David C., ‘Terrorism,’ in Mary Hawkesworth and Maurice Kogan (eds), Routledge Encyclopedia of Government and Politics, Volume II (London, 1992), 1067. 2. Joscelyn, Thomas ‘AQAP Releases 7th Edition of Inspire,’ The Long War Journal (27 September 2011), http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/09/aqap_ releases_ sevent.php 3. Taylor, Philip M., ‘Can the Information War on Terror Be Won? A Polemical Essay,’ Media, War and Conflict, Vol 1 (1) (2008),118–124.

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6. 7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18.

19.

20. 21. 22. 23.

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Miliband, David, ‘War on Terror Was Wrong,’ Guardian, 15 January 2009, http:// www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/15/david-miliband-war-terror Mueller, John (2012) ‘New Year Brings Good News on Terrorism: Experts Wrong Again,’ The National Interest (3 January), http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/experts-predictions-wrong-6334 Laqueur, Walter (1976) ‘The Futility of Terrorism,’ Harper’s Magazine, March, 104. Nacos, Brigitte L., Terrorism and the Media: From the Iran Hostage Crisis to the Oklahoma City Bombing (New York, 1994), 8, my emphasis. Nacos, Brigitte L., ‘The Terrorist Calculus Behind 9–11: A Model for Future Terrorism?’ Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol 26 (1) (2003), 8. Bassiouni, M. Cherif ‘Terrorism, Law Enforcement, and the Mass Media: Perspectives, Problems, Proposals,’ Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 72 (1) (1981), 14; Martin, L. John, ‘The Media’s Role in International Terrorism,’ Terrorism: An International Journal, Vol 8 (2) (1985), 127; Wilkinson, Paul. Terrorism Versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response, 2nd ed. (New York, 2006), 145. Crenshaw, Martha, ‘The Causes of Terrorism,’ Comparative Politics, Vol 13 (4) (1981), 386. Bassiouni, ‘Terrorism, Law Enforcement, and the Mass Media,’ 19 See, Schmid, Alex P., ‘Terrorism and the Media: The Ethics of Publicity,’ Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol 1 (4) (1989), 558 and also, Alexander, Yonah, ‘Terrorism, the Media, and the Police,’ Journal of International Affairs, Vol 32 (1) (1978), 105. Alexander, ‘Terrorism, the Media, and the Police,’ 103. Alexander, ‘Terrorism, the Media, and the Police,’ 112. 10 Downing Street spokesperson (2003) cited in, Archetti, Cristina and Philip M. Taylor (2005) ‘Managing Terrorism After 9/11: The War on Terror, the Media, and the Imagined Threat,’ final report for ESRC project ‘Domestic Management of Terrorist Attacks’ (L147251003), 12–13. See also, Straw, Jack ‘House of Commons Hansard Debates for 11 November 2003, Column 168. Curtis, Adam (2004) The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear, video documentary broadcast on BBC2 20 October–3 November, 180 min. (3 parts). Snow, Nancy, ‘Truth and Information Consequences Since 9/11,’ Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Vol 17 (1) (2005), 103. See, Schmid, Alex P. ‘Terrorism and the Media: The Ethics of Publicity,’ Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol 1 (4) (1989), 553; Alexander ‘Terrorism, the Media, and the Police,’ 105. Cohen-Almagor, Raphael, ‘Media Coverage of Acts of Terrorism: Troubling Episodes and Suggested Guidelines,’ Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 30 (3) (2005), 383–409. Esser, Frank and Barbara Pfetsch (eds), Comparing Political Communication: Theories, Cases, and Challenges (Cambridge, 2004). For an overview of the different perspectives see, Tumber, Howard News: A Reader (Oxford, 1999). Brooker, Will and Deborah Jermyn, The Audience Studies Reader (London, 2003), 6. Brooker & Jermyn, The Audience Reader, 5.

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24. Lazarsfeld, Paul Felix, Bernard Berelson and Hazel Gaudet, The People’s Choice: How the Voter Makes Up His Mind in a Presidential Campaign (New York, 1944). 25. See, Blumler, Jay G. and Elihu Katz, The Uses of Mass Communication (Newbury Park, CA, 1974). 26. For a critical review of research approaches to media audiences over time, see, Miller, Toby, ‘ “Step Away from the Croissant”: Media Studies 3.0,’ in David Hesmondhalgh and Jason Toynbee (eds), The Media and Social Theory (Milton Park, 2008), 213–30. 27. Coll, Steve and Susan B. Glasser, ‘Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations,’ Washington Post, 7 August 2005, A01. 28. Cronin, Audrey K., ‘How Al-Qaida Ends: The Decline and Demise of Terrorist Groups,’ International Security, Vol 31 (1) (2006), 33. 29. Conway, Maura, ‘Terrorism and the Internet: New Media–New Threat?’ Parliamentary Affairs, Vol 59 (2) (2006), 283–92. 30. Rita Katz cited in, Committee on Homeland Security ‘Using the Web as a Weapon: The Internet as a Tool for Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism,’ hearing before the subcommittee of Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment of the Committee on Homeland Security House of Representatives, 6 November, Serial No. 110–83, http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_hr/ web.pdf (2007), 18–20. 31. HSPI (Homeland Security Policy Institute) and CIAG (University of Virginia Critical Incident Analysis Group NETworked Radicalization: A Counter-Strategy, http:// www.gwumc.edu/hspi/policy/NETworkedRadicalization.pdf, (2007), 5–6. 32. Stenersen, Anne (2008) ‘The Internet: A Virtual Training Camp?’ Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol 20(2), 215–33. 33. Awan, Akil, Andrew Hoskins and Ben O’Loughlin, Radicalisation and Media: Connectivity and Terrorism in the New Media Ecology (Milton Park, 2011). 34. Hoskins, Andrew and Ben O’ Loughlin, ‘Media and the Myth of Radicalization,’ Media, War & Conflict, Vol 2 (2) (2009), 107–9. 35. Home Office, Prevent Strategy (London, 2011), 77. 36. Archetti, Cristina, Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media: A Communication Approach (Basingstoke, 2012). 37. Castells, Manuel, The Rise of the Network Society, Vol I (1996) (Oxford: Blackwell). 38. Chadwick, Andrew and Philip N. Howard (eds), Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies (Oxon, 2009). 39. Coleman, Stephen and Jay G. Blumler, The Internet and Democratic Citizenship: Theory, Practice and Policy (Cambridge, 2009). 40. Potter, Evan H. (ed.) Cyber-Diplomacy: Managing Foreign Policy in the TwentyFirst Century (London, 2002). 41. See, Briggs and Maverick in Standage, Tom, The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and Nineteenth Century’s Online Pioneers (New York, 1998), 83. 42. Tarrow, Sidney, Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, 1998), 47. 43. Tilly, Charles, Stories, Identities, and Political Change (Oxford, 2002), 109.

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44. Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks (Bristol, 2004). 45. Karpf, David, ‘Online Political Mobilization from the Advocacy Group’s Perspective: Looking Beyond Clicktivism,’ Policy & Internet, Vol 2 (4) (2010), article 2 (n.p.). 46. Awan, Akil, ‘Radicalization on the Internet?’ The RUSI Journal, Vol 152 (3) (2007), 76. 47. HSPI/CIAG, NETworked Radicalization, 3–5. 48. Awan, ‘Radicalization on the Internet,’ 78. 49. Awan, ‘Radicalization on the Internet,’ 78–79. 50. Husain, Ed The Islamist (London, 2007), 20–21. 51. Breivik, Anders 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, http://www.slideshare.net/darkandgreen/2083-a-european-declaration-of-independence-by-andrewberwick, (2011). 52. Breivik, 2083, 26–30, 40–45. 53. Mackenzie, Iain (2011) ‘Is Technology to Blame for the London Riots?’ BBC News Technology, 8 August, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14442203 54. Ball, James and Symeon Brown, ‘Why BlackBerry Messenger Was Rioters’ Communication Method of Choice,’ The Guardian, 7 December 2011, http://www.guardian. co.uk/uk/2011/dec/07/bbm-rioters-communication-method-choice?newsfeed=true 55. Cf. HSPI/CIAG, NETworked Radicalization; ICSR (International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation) (ed.), Perspectives on Radicalisation and Political Violence (London, 2008); Bergin, Anthony, Sulastri Bte Osman, Carl Ungerer and Nur Azlin Mohamed Yasin, ‘Countering Internet Radicalisation in Southeast Asia,’ Issue 22 (2008), http://www.rsis.edu.sg/short%20reports/Countering_internet_radicalisation.pdf; Presidential Task Force Rewriting the Narrative: An Integrated Strategy for Counterradicalization (Washington, DC, 2009); Stevens, Tim and Peter R. Neumann, ‘Countering Online Radicalisation: A Strategy for Action’ (London, 2009). 56. White House ‘Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States’ (Washington, DC, 2011), http://info.publicintelligence.net/WHHomegrownTerror.pdf, 6. 57. National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism (ed.), Countering Violent Extremist Narratives (The Hague, 2010). 58. Home Office, Prevent, 29. 59. Quiggin, Tom, ‘Understanding Al-Qaeda’s Ideology for Counter-Narrative Work,’ Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol 3 (2) (2009), 23. 60. Casebeer, William D. and James A. Russell, ‘Storytelling and Terrorism: Towards a Comprehensive “Counter-Narrative Strategy”,’ Strategic Insights, 4 (3) (2005), http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/nps/casebeer_mar05.pdf 61. Home Office, The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering International Terrorism (London, 2009), 153; see also, Home Office, Prevent, 51–52. 62. Presidential Task Force, Rewriting the Narrative. 63. Presidential Task Force, Rewriting the Narrative, 13–20. See also, Cornish, Paul, Julian Lindley-French and Claire Yorke, Strategic Communication and National Strategy: A Chatham House Report (London, 2011), 33–35. 64. Corman, Steven R., ‘What Power Needs to be Smart,’ paper presented at the Digital Media and Security Workshop, University of Warwick, 21 May 2009.

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65. Corman, Steven R., ‘Public Diplomacy as Narrative,’ paper presented at the International Studies Association annual convention, New Orleans, 20 February 2010. 66. Corman ‘What Power Needs to be Smart,’ (2009). 67. De Waal, Martijn, ‘From Media Landscape to Media Ecology: The Cultural Implications of Web 2.0,’ Open, Vol 13 (2007), 20–33, http://www.skor.nl/article-3429-nl. html?lang=en 68. Corman, Steven R., ‘Same Old Song From GAO on Strategic Communication,’ The COMOPS Journal, 3 June 2009, http://comops.org/journal/2009/06/03/same-oldsong-from-gao-on-strategic-communication/ 69. Lawler, Stephanie, ‘Narrative in Social Research,’ in Tim May (ed.), Qualitative Research in Action (London, 2002), 242, her emphasis. 70. Charlotte Linde, cited in, Linde, Charlotte (2009) Working the Past: Narrative and Institutional Memory (Oxford, 1993), 4. 71. Jenkins, Brian M., Building and Army of Believers: Jihadist Radicalization and Recruitment, testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment on 5 April 2007, Rand Corporation, http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/2007/ RAND_CT278–1.pdf, (2007), 5–6. 72. Betz, David, ‘The Virtual dimension of Contemporary Insurgency and Counterinsurgency,’ Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol 19 (4) (2008), 521. 73. Katz cited in, Committee on Homeland Security, ‘Using the Web as a Weapon,’ 18. 74. Geltzer, Joshua A. US Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View (Milton Park, 2010), 22–23. 75. Archetti, Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media. 76. Björkman, Carl, ‘Salafi-Jihadi Terrorism in Italy,’ in Magnus Ranstorp (ed.) Understanding Violent Radicalisation: Terrorist and Jihadist Movements in Europe (Oxon, 2010), 242–43. 77. Johnson, Thomas H., ‘The Taliban Insurgency and an Analysis of Shabnamah (Night Letters),’ Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol 18 (3) (2007),317–44. 78. Silke, Andrew (ed.), Research on Terrorism: Trends, Achievements and Failures (London, 2004).

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13 WIKILEAKS AND CYBERSECURITY: NEW MODES OF PROPAGANDA David Culbert

‘400 cases of UFO sightings. WikiLeaks documents show NASA and US senior officials . . . conceal information to the public for several decades.’ – Su Yan He Bin, WikiLeaks (Jiangsu, 2011), item 559 of 1304 entries for War Crimes, www.abebooks.com, accessed on February 2012.

WikiLeaks, a plan to force transparency on governmental decision making by revealing official cables and documents anonymously, online, is a project of Julian Assange, the Australian who has sought in numerous ways to avoid being extradited to Sweden on charges of rape, including seeking asylum in the London embassy of Ecuador, after violating the terms of his bail. In America, at the National Security Agency headquarters, Ft. Meade, Maryland, Private Bradley Manning awaits a formal court-martial, to begin in September 2012, before a military court of officers appointed by a commander to try persons for offences under military law. He is accused of having downloaded some 252,000 American diplomatic cables, while stationed in Iraq, and having passed them to WikiLeaks. There is an idealism in Assange’s call for transparency in governmental decision making; WikiLeaks could be said to promote an improved style of public diplomacy. There is also, however, the problem of negotiating with someone who knows one’s final offer before sitting down to talk. Nor are unredacted cables, with full names of informants, likely to encourage many informants to speak candidly with American diplomats. Classification of government documents exists for a reason.

The Pentagon Papers as Precedent Less clear is the relationship between the release of a secret report about the Vietnam War, some 7,000 pages, given to the New York Times and the Washington

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Post by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, officially known as the Report of the OSD Vietnam Task Force, but known to history as the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg came to London in 2010 to speak on behalf of Assange, hoping, in old age, to find a new generation of supporters for his decision not everyone thought highly of in 1971.1 Certainly the mechanics of dissemination have changed, so much so in fact that 1970s’ copying technology seemingly has the aura of the dinosaur about it. Ellsberg took his copy of the Pentagon Papers, volume by volume, from the safe of his office in the Pentagon, to an advertising agency with a Xerox machine. Ellsberg reports copying, page by page, in ‘all-night sessions’. Only in June 2011, a full 40 years later, did National Archives, for the first time, make the entire 7,000 pages, in 47 volumes, available online, but not before settling a fight as to whether to redact 11 words (in the end released anyway).2 The release of the Pentagon Papers simultaneously by three American newspapers led quickly to a Supreme Court case, New York Times Co. v. United States, decided on 30 June 1971, considered a landmark decision in favour of First Amendment guarantees of free speech and a free press. Three versions of the Pentagon Papers quickly appeared, none complete: one published by the New York Times, a one-volume edition in nearly 700 pages which sold over one million copies; a five-volume Beacon Press edition, valuable because of a comprehensive index; and a Government Printing Office edition, in 12 volumes, poorly-reproduced and with numerous redactions. The documents about peace negotiations, held back by Ellsberg in the interests of national security, were published in a single volume by the University of Texas Press in 1982.3 The publication of the Pentagon Papers is significant because of government claims, rejected by the Court majority, of the need for prior restraint (censorship), and because of concerns over national security, the very issues implicit in charges facing Bradley Manning, as well as Julian Assange, though the latter is unlikely to face charges in an American court. The story of the Pentagon Papers has been told with great skill in David Rudenstine’s The Day the Presses Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers, published in 1996.4 Rudenstine, a legal scholar, takes the reader through the district court hearings, one against the Post in Washington, DC; the other against The Times in New York City. In the latter hearing, the judge, Murray Gurfein, was strongly predisposed in favour of the government. But the government was unable to demonstrate that anything in the Pentagon Papers justified a decision favouring prior restraint. The documents did not reveal instances in which the national security of America was at risk. The study, which ended in 1967, had nothing to say about the most significant moment of the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive of February–March 1968, the turning point of the war. Chief Justice Warren Burger favoured an injunction against The Times, but a majority of the court ruled otherwise.

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Rudenstine’s most important conclusion is his linking of Nixon’s anger over the release of the Pentagon Papers to the creation of the so-called Plumbers Unit, created to stop official leaks, and the agency responsible for the Watergate break-in of June 1972, which led, thanks to the Watergate Tapes, to the resignation of Nixon as president, on 8 August 1974.5 If the Supreme Court seemingly endorsed transparency in foreign policy making, and turned major American newspapers into heroes, it hardly made Nixon an enthusiast of a free press. Nixon, hoping to put Ellsberg behind bars, authorised the Plumbers Unit to burgle the Los Angeles office of Dr Lewis Fielding, Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. The break-in of Fielding’s office produced no incriminating documents. But when this extraordinary example of presidential law-breaking became public, the judge presiding over the trial of Ellsberg for violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 declared a mistrial. The federal government’s attitude continued to be that Ellsberg was a traitor, but, thanks to the misdeeds of the Plumbers Unit, no further action was taken. As Bill F. Chamberlin argues in ‘Speech and the Press’, ‘First Amendment guarantees (“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging freedom of speech, or of the press”), the speech and press clauses were not intended to give the government the right to restrict public debate about public affairs.’ The Supreme Court has, in fact, never upheld the doctrine of prior restraint, fearing it would translate into a form of censorship, in which a publisher or author would require governmental approval before publishing. The problem is that, as of now, the Court lacks a coherent theoretical framework for protection of speech and press. As Chamberlin points out, the ‘Court has protected speaking and writing from governmental control, [but] has been less willing to view the First Amendment as a tool to enhance the information gathering process.’6 The federal government depends on the 1917 Espionage Act, ‘which punishes the unauthorised obtaining, receiving, and communicating of national defence information.’ In 1919, the Court upheld the Espionage Act, in the famous formulation of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr: in a time of ‘clear and present danger’ the government has the right to abridge First Amendment guarantees of speech and press. As Holmes put it: ‘The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.’7 The 1954 Espionage and Sabotage Act additionally ‘prohibits transmitting national defence information with the intent to injure the United States or aid a foreign nation.’ The historic significance of the Pentagon Papers case is thus not simple and straightforward. Nobody then, or since, has been able to demonstrate that the national security of America was compromised by the publication of the papers. Ellsberg himself notes, without much pleasure, that publication seemed to have had little impact on public attitudes towards the war, though by June 1971, a clear majority of Americans felt that disengagement was the only reasonable

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course. The federal government clearly had intended to try and convict Ellsberg of violating the Espionage Act, in the process ensuring that he would be remembered not as a whistle-blower but as a turncoat or traitor. It is thus much easier to see the Pentagon Papers case as validating a free press than in turning American opinion against the war, or revealing official duplicity of such a scale as to warrant presidential impeachment, dismissal from office or, at a minimum, repudiation at the polls.

WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning Julian Assange, who founded WikiLeaks, was born in Townsville, Queensland, north-eastern Australia, in 1971. He grew up across the harbour on Magnetic Island, so-called by Captain James Cook because he thought something on the island interfered with his ship’s compass. Assange’s mother, a child of the counter-culture, was committed to an alternate lifestyle, which led to endless changes of address as she tried, for years, to elude a former lover. Assange’s unusual surname, itself given on Wikipedia in two competing pronunciations, is alleged to be a corruption of a Chinese surname; most persons say ‘ah-SONGH’. Assange grew up feeling that the computer, and the world of computer programming, were his best friends. He became a skilful hacker, was arrested by the Australian Federal Police in 1991, and sentenced three years later. The judge was lenient, attributing Assange’s actions to a ‘disrupted childhood.’ From 2003 to 2006 Assange attended classes at the University of Melbourne, but did not graduate.8 He founded WikiLeaks in 2006. He provided a justification on his blog: ‘The more secretive or unjust an organisation is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie . . . Mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.’9 As WikiLeaks’ public face, Assange attracted worldwide attention. He released materials relating to the Iraq war, including a July 2007 Baghdad airstrike video. His worldwide reputation soon turned on two unrelated matters – sexual encounters with two women in Sweden, and an American private in Iraq, Bradley Manning. Manning, born 17 December 1987, is a United States Army soldier, born in Crescent, Oklahoma (population 1,293 in 2006) of an American father and Welsh mother. His home town is depicted in Silkwood (1983), which dramatises life in Crescent’s nuclear-parts factory.10 Manning, slight of stature, grew up isolated from his family and from classmates, whether in small-town Oklahoma or small-town Wales. He says he was thrown out of his home at age 13, when he told his father he thought he was gay. His adolescent world, and his friends, were all found online. He clearly found his friends in cyberspace.11 Manning was unhappy at his post, near Baghdad, where he sat and looked at a computer screen for endless hours each day. Here he had complete access to the

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Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) used by the United States government to transmit classified information. His odd behaviour led an Army psychologist to suggest that Manning’s personal handgun have its firing mechanism disabled. When Manning later slapped the face of a female officer, he was reduced to the rank of private. He was arrested after Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker in Boston, told the FBI that Manning said, during online chats in May 2010, that he had downloaded classified material and passed it to WikiLeaks, including some 250,000 American diplomatic cables, a July 2007 airstrike video and materials relating to the war in Afghanistan. Manning was placed in maximum custody, in July 2010, at the Marine Corps brig, in Quantico, Virginia, close to Washington, DC. Reports of extreme treatment at Quantico resulted in a letter published in the New York Review of Books signed by 295 scholars, claiming Manning’s treatment violated his basic rights as an American citizen. Later that month, Manning was moved to a medium-security prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, where he received better treatment.12 Julian Assange’s worldwide notoriety, as well as fame, is based on what is alleged to have happened in Sweden, in August 2010, which Assange terms consensual sex, though that is not what the two women in question assert. Swedish police began their formal investigation on 20 August; in December, Assange, in Britain, learned that Sweden had issued a European Arrest Warrant to extradite him to Sweden for questioning. A District Judge in England ruled that Assange should be extradited. Assange appealed; his appeal was rejected; he appealed again; he then appealed to Britain’s Supreme Court, which ruled against him, saying he was to be extradited to Sweden no later than 7 July 2012. Assange then violated the terms of his bail agreement, by seeking political asylum in the Knightsbridge flat which serves as Ecuador’s London embassy. It seems likely that Assange will in fact be extradited to Sweden, leaving those who put up some £240,000 for bail holding the bag. Controversy about Assange’s actions in Sweden, and his enormous legal bills in Britain, have led to serious questions about WikiLeaks’ finances, concerns that money given to WikiLeaks to promote transparency is in fact going to pay Assange’s lawyers, something Assange strenuously rejects, without, it should be noted, providing any transparency whatsoever as to how WikiLeaks funds are handled.13

WikiLeaks and the World Press: ‘A Collection of Diplomatic History Since 1966 to the Present Day’ Assange, thanks to Bradley Manning, received an enormous cache of some 252,000 US Department of State cables, unredacted, from embassies all over the world.

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Thanks to elementary errors in online security, Manning was able, outside of Baghdad, to download every single one, and copy and transmit them to WikiLeaks. Assange, in turn, ended up cutting a deal with The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and a leading Spanish-language paper. The details of how all of this was arranged, and how, soon, the deal came undone, is best told in David Leigh and Luke Harding, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy (2011), which includes the password to open all 252,000 unredacted cables, and a chapter on the sexual encounters in Sweden with all the transparency most persons would want, though the names of the two women are changed.14 Assange’s side of the story turns substantially on his hatred of Bill Keller, former editor of the New York Times. Assange’s Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, ghost-written by Andrew O’Hagan, authorised by Assange, then disowned, then published anyway in mid-September 2011 by Cannongate, denounces Keller with sufficient vituperation to suit anyone with a bone to pick. Keller, according to Assange, got ‘the year’s biggest story, only to turn on that source as soon as the party is over, and write of him in terms of personal abuse – “he smelled as if he hadn’t bathed in days.” . . . Even more ungracious, not to say psychotic, was Keller’s decision then to characterise me as a person from a Stieg Larsson thriller, a man who is half-hacker, half-conspiracy theorist, using “sex as both recreation and violation.” . . . The young staff on his paper might blush at his methods, seeing how fast Mr Keller could turn from hungry collaborator to ungrateful avenger in the time it takes to speed-dial the White House.’15

The New York Times published a book about WikiLeaks, Open Secrets l (2011), which is dull and unhelpful, particularly the selected (and redacted cables), which should cure anyone of insomnia. But the 8,000 word introduction, the piece which so angered Assange, appeared as the cover story for the New York Times Magazine on 30 January 2011 as ‘The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: Dealing with Julian Assange and his Secrets.’16 Keller takes no prisoners. (As a city boy, I should say that I once saw my father knock down a giant hornet’s nest with one carefully-aimed poke of a broom handle, and race to safety, pursued by a horde of angry hornets. Sometimes stale images serve a purpose.)

WikiLeaks and History Samuel Witten, a long time career Foreign Service officer, and now counsel at Arnold & Porter, one of Washington’s most distinguished law firms, has recently provided an excellent overview of the function and value of the diplomatic cable as: an official channel for US diplomats abroad to report back to Washington and for Washington to instruct diplomats on how to approach relationships with foreign governments, the public overseas, international organisations and many other audiences.

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Many cables to and from our diplomatic posts include analyses of complex issues of foreign policy and diplomacy. Others provide candid recommendations of ways to advance US interests against steep odds in dangerous and uncertain places. Some seek urgent guidance and identify sensitive information and options to address contingencies. Others offer insights into the character and motivations of foreign leaders, potential US allies and opponents, opposition political parties, human rights activists, and dissidents. Cables are a fundamental part of the State Department’s core culture, an essential component of how State Department diplomats and lawyers do business. The process of obtaining ‘clearance’ on a proposed cable within the State Department . . . ensures that messages and instructions reflect all of the interests at stake and have the benefit of cumulative experience. Cables also create an official, historical record of the US Government’s international actions and help ensure accountability for decisions.17

What changes, if any, has the disclosure of 252,000 American diplomatic cables made either to the practice of history or the practice of diplomacy? Here, obviously, there is no definite answer, and there cannot be while Assange’s possible extradition to Sweden is not yet settled, and Bradley Manning’s legal problems are in the early stages. We can, however, note a clear connection between the internet and whistle-blowers, who, notoriously, are rarely honoured with promotions and letters of thanks from the organisations they expose. What about yesteryear’s True Believer? In America, in the 1930s, Lawrence Duggan, a State Department official, served as an ideologically-committed spy for the Soviet Union. He passed documents to the NKVD in 1936, and then, in 1937, according to a scholar of the subject, ‘US diplomatic dispatches from European embassies, reports on the Spanish Civil War, cables from ambassador to the USSR William Bullitt, lists of State Department personnel, and reports of foreign war purchases in the US. So valuable was Duggan that Moscow proposed giving him cash gifts in gratitude.’18 He had no WikiLeaks connection; he passed classified information to the Soviet Union out of conviction, not pique. Is the passing of classified State Department documents not treasonous because Duggan truly wanted to help build a new world? Or do we forgive him because he jumped to his death from a building in New York City in 1948? Of perhaps 500 Americans who passed information to the Soviet Union, during 1935–50, ideology, not profit, seems to have been the motivating factor.19 Might we agree that issues of transparency are at work in this pre-electronic behaviour? Less praiseworthy is the stonewalling which has delayed the publication of a volume in the Foreign Relations of the United States, one relating to events in Iran, during 1952–54, whose publication has been held up now for decades, and which seems a case in which a touch of WikiLeaks might be very much in order. According to a September 2011 article in the American Historical Review’s Newsletter, ‘the latest issue involves the CIA’s effort to pre-emptively exclude any reference to the United Kingdom’s well-known participation in the CIA-backed 1953 coup that brought the Shah to power. The British Government continues to refuse to

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acknowledge the Iran operation.’20 There may, as the author of the article suggests, be delays from the CIA itself, and few would suggest that current American or British relations with Iran are harmonious, but it seems just plain silly to insist on the prior censorship of matters well-known to scholars and carefullydocumented in many other places. Certainly a touch of WikiLeaks is surely in order for official State Department policy regarding a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, seeking 23 cables relating to treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The State Department responded by withholding 12 of the cables ‘in full’, and releasing the remaining 11 with redactions, in some cases entire pages. As Scott Shane notes in his acerbic New York Times story, ‘the ambassador’s confidences that the department was intent on protecting are, meanwhile, just a click away for anyone interested.’21

The Espionage Act and its Discontents The 1917 Espionage Act will prove problematic in bringing the conviction of Julian Assange in an American court. It is of course unclear if Assange would be returned by Sweden to America, and charges in Sweden take precedence over charges yet to be brought by the United States. The question is the untested nature of the Espionage Act’s vague language. Assange certainly distributed classified information, but it would be difficult to prove to a jury that he did so in ‘bad faith’. When information has already been leaked, many argue that the First Amendment protects the rights of journalists to view and redistribute that information. On the other hand, few would insist that Assange, as he has insisted, is actually a journalist. Instead he makes information available for others to evaluate. For sure, many of the released diplomatic cables should not have been classified in the first place, and, as such, cannot be used to demonstrate that WikiLeaks gave classified information to a foreign government. At this point Assange seems likely to strike many persons as an unappealing defendant. As Paul Rosenzweig, a former Homeland Security Official, recently noted: ‘In his public appearances he comes across as self-righteous and arrogant. There is more than a little hint of anti-Americanism in his rhetoric. And his “supporters” today in the “hacktivist” community are adopting a scorched earth strategy that will rub off on Assange, to his detriment.’ As Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University (Washington), notes: ‘he may have hurt his own cause by being so publicly forthright . . . with regard to the effects of future leaks. If Assange’s publicly stated goal is to bring down incumbent administrations, banks, and the like, it may be a mistake for the defence to portray him as someone who didn’t appreciate the harm that might result from the disclosures.’22 In fact, the issue of WikiLeaks is much more than simply supporting or not supporting Julian Assange and his followers. Many persons have noted that the

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252,000 diplomatic cables say almost nothing about America and Israel.23 But that says nothing about an extraordinary recent case in which Shamai K. Leibowitz, an FBI contract translator with joint Israeli-US citizenship, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for leaking classified information to a blogger, Richard Silverstein, including ‘secret transcripts of conversations caught on FBI wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy, in Washington . . . Mr. Leibowitz released the documents because of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran, a move he saw as potentially disastrous.’ The New York Times story concludes: The fact that the United States spies on Israel is taken for granted by experts on intelligence. In the words of one such expert, ‘We started spying on Israel even before the state of Israel was formally founded in 1948, and Israel has always spied on us . . . Israeli intercepts have always been one of the most sensitive categories,’ designated with the code word Gamma to indicate their protected status.24

It appears, then, that WikiLeaks, for all its notoriety, has not gained access to cables which might indeed have enormous foreign policy implications. It suggests that the released cables fit that 1960s’ bumper sticker: ‘Suppose you gave a war and nobody came.’ It might even suggest that the diplomatic cables were generated to prove that someone was fulfilling a bureaucratic function, knowing full well that the candid response of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton might be: ‘Don’t worry; I never read anything you send anyway’! If so, the function of WikiLeaks may have an ironic connection at best to public diplomacy, and more of a connection, obliquely, to public disinformation campaigns. That would certainly infuriate Julian Assange, while failing to help Bradley Manning. What about the substance of the WikiLeaks State Department cables? What has been revealed? The Guardian has a website where one can find every single cable, arranged by country, easy-to-download, including helpful calendars of documents, with its title and date.25 You and I have not been misled: the revelations are just not there. One can learn that an American diplomat does not believe that Pakistan is fully-committed to helping America, or that the president of a Soviet Republic gave a party in which a lot of drinking took place. Such events are corroborated in countless other places (the press, or online blogs), or are common knowledge, or are of mundane interest. It simply is not true that American diplomatic cables contributed importantly to the Arab Spring, or specifically to the overthrow of the government in Tunisia. To put matters so baldly is to remind us of the obvious – revolutions are not made by the publication of a group of American diplomatic cables. It seems likely that Bradley Manning will have a difficult time in proving that his actions were ideologically motivated. That he was and is an unhappy person is not likely to exonerate him in the eyes of the military. Surely life imprisonment

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or the death sentence is far too extreme. But one should keep in mind Georges Clemenceau’s sardonic maxim: ‘Military justice is to justice, as military music is to music.’ Bill Keller, in ‘WikiLeaks, a Postscript,’ concludes that ‘my consistent answer to the ponderous question of how WikiLeaks transformed our world has been: really not all that much.’ The real change is noted in a New York Times article for 18 June 2012: ‘proliferation of email and computer audit trails that increasingly can pinpoint reporters’ sources.’26 This is one type of cybersecurity – accountability. Another is better online security. Cybersecurity is inescapably intertwined with the shock of the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Everyone is worried about cybersecurity but uncertain as to how this will affect the flow of classified information.

Notes 1. Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography (Edinburgh, 2011), 208–9, 224– 26. There is no index. 2. Michael Cooper and Sam Roberts, ‘After 40 Years, the Complete Pentagon Papers,’ New York Times (8 June 2011), A12, A14. 3. The New York Times Edition of the Pentagon Papers (New York, 1971); The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department History of United States Decision-making on Vietnam (5 vols.; 1971, the so-called Gravel edition); US Department of Defense, US-Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: History of US Decision Making Process on Vietnam Policy (Washington, DC: GPO, 1971); George C. Herring, ed., The Secret Diplomacy of the Vietnam War: The Negotiating Volumes of the Pentagon Papers (Austin, 1985). 4. Berkeley: (1996). 5. Ibid., 339–48. 6. Entry in Kermit L. Hall, editor in chief, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (New York, 1992), 808–16, the longest entry in the book. 7. Schenck v. United States (1919). The case turned on whether Charles Schenck, general secretary of the Socialist party, had violated the 1917 Espionage Act, which prohibited the obstruction of military recruiting. 8. Andrew Fowler,The Most Dangerous Man in the World: How One Hacker Ended Corporate and Government Secrecy Forever (New York, 2011), 1–43; Daniel Ellsberg provides a blurb on the front of the dust jacket: ‘By far the best account of Julian Assange’s motives and the talents that make him so dangerous.’ 9. ‘Julian Assange’ Wikipedia article, accessed on 2 December 2011. 10. ‘Silkwood,’ directed by Mike Nichols, with Merryl Streep and Cher; script by Nora Ephron. This successful film about whistleblower Karen Silkwood surely influenced anyone growing up in the town where the events actually took place. The KerrMcGee Nuclear Corporation opened its plant in 1965 to convert powdered hexafluouride and plutonium to fuel pellets for use in America’s nuclear power plants. The plant closed in 1976.

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11. Ellen Nakashima, ‘Bradley Manning is at the center of the WikiLeaks controversy, but who is he?’ Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine, accessed on 12 June 2012. 12. Kim Zetter, ‘Government Opposes Bradley Manning Defense Witness Requests,’ www.wired.com, accessioned 10 December 2011; Charles Savage, ‘Soldier Faces 22 New WikiLeaks Charges,’ New York Times (3 March 2011), A6. 13. John F. Burns, ‘Founder Says WikiLeaks Starved of Cash, May Close,’ New York Times (25 October 2011), A14. 14. (New York, 2011). The password is the chapter heading on 135; copies may be found on abebooks.com for $1.20 plus shipping. 15. Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, 208–209, 214. Ravi Somaiya, ‘Britain: Memoirs of WikiLeaks Founder Arrives, but without its Author,’ New York Times (22 September 2011), A8. The short note concludes: ‘In New York, Alfred A. Knopf canceled its contract for the Assange memoir.’ 16. 32–39 et seq. Alexander Star (ed.), Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy (New York, 2011). 17. Samuel Witten, ‘The Effects of WikiLeaks on Those Who Work at the State Department,’ www.opiniojuris.org/2010/12/18. I am grateful to Zachary Smith for this source. 18. K.A. Cuordileone, ‘The Torment of Secrecy: Reckoning with American Communism and Anticommunism after Venona,’ Diplomatic History, Vol 35 (4) (September 2011), 615–19. 19. Ibid., 622–25. 20. Stephen R. Weissman, ‘Censoring American Diplomatic History,’ AHA Perspectives on History (September 2011), 48–9. 21. Scott Shane, ‘To State Dept., WikiLeaks or Not, Secrets are Secrets,’ New York Times (8 December 2011), A21. 22. Both quoted in Bill Dedman, ‘US vs. WikiLeaks: Espionage and the First Amendment,’ www.msnbc.msu.com/id/40653249, accessed 2 December 2011. I am grateful to Meghann Landry for providing me with this source. 23. ‘US Embassy Cables: The Documents + Israel,’ www.guardian.co/uk/world/series/ us.embassy-cables-the-documents+ Israel 24. Scott Shane, ‘Leak Offers Look at Efforts by US to Spy on Israel,’ New York Times (6 September 2011), A1. 25. See calendars of documents for every other country, using online source, n.21. Scott Shane, ‘WikiLeaks Prompts New Round of Diplomatic Uproar: Envoys Fear for Sources’ Safety as Reporters Sift Newly Released Cables for Revelations,’ (1 September 2011) A1; and his ‘WikiLeaks Leaves Names of Diplomatic Sources in Cables,’ (30 August 2011), A4, both in New York Times. The New York Times Magazine published a sarcastic guide to the presumptive readership of London newspapers. For the Guardian: ‘Bitram-practising middle-class liberals preoccupied with ending all wars and rolling their own cigarettes.’ Roger Bennett (4 March 2012), 34. 26. Bill Keller, ‘WikiLeaks, a Postscript,’ New York Times (20 February 2012), A17, Scott Shane and Charlie Savage, ‘Administration Took Accidental Path to Setting Record for Leak Cases,’ New York Times (20 June 2012), A17.

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14 ‘TELLING IT LIKE IT IS’: CONTEMPORARY WAR, PROPAGANDA, MEDIA AND THE STATE Piers Robinson

Overview Of the many varied and potent contributions made by Phil Taylor, his insights regarding the murky world of war and media have provided political communication scholarship with essential knowledge. But perhaps his greatest contribution lies in his robust and intellectually honest analysis of how states attempt to influence media through perception management and propaganda during times of war. At the same time, even up until now, the full theoretical and normative implications of his work in this area have been insufficiently grasped by those of us who model and theorise media-state relations. With this in mind, this chapter explores three aspects of Taylor’s intellectual legacy in the realm of propaganda and perception management: his analysis of propaganda activities, his normative position that perception management and propaganda is a necessary fact of life, and his advocacy of the need for even more propaganda. The chapter starts with the theoretical and describes how even the most critical existing models and theories of media-state relations1 have failed to grasp both the extent and complexity of how states engage in propaganda during war-time. The result is that, in terms of shaping the media agenda, political communication scholarship all too often underestimates the role of the state during war, whilst at the same time overestimates the role of the state during non-war situations. It is argued that greater attention to the insights provided by Professor Taylor provides an important correction to these problems. The chapter then discusses a deeper and more challenging argument to be drawn from Taylor’s work, one that concerns the normative implications of media-management by the state. Reflecting Taylor’s view that propaganda is at times a necessity, the implications of his position for how media should cover war is explored through the lenses

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of realist, liberal and critical perspectives. In doing so, the inconsistencies and assumptions of so much of the war and media literature are considered, and in turn our need to debate more explicitly what we expect of journalists during war is emphasised. More sceptically, the chapter is concluded by exploring a seminal case of propaganda, the British government’s September Dossier on Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Here it is argued that the case study shows how Taylor’s advocacy of the need for more propaganda was misplaced, and that such advocacy has dangerous consequences.

Propaganda, Perception Management and Theories of Media-state Relations Arguably his seminal work, Taylor’s Propaganda and Persuasion2 provided an upfront and honest account of how the US and UK managed media during the 1991 Gulf War. Taylor documented the ways in which the news pool system allocated selected journalists to frontline units, whilst the remainder were presented with carefully constructed daily briefings in Dhahran (Saudi Arabia), and he shows how censorship merged with these practices in order to create a ‘controlled information environment’ that was favourable to the US-led coalition. He also unpacked the deceitful side of coalition perception management including the fabricated story about Iraqi soldiers switching off incubators in a children’s hospital ward in Kuwait. From relatively benign approaches to spinning the news, through to the darker arts of perception management and propaganda, Taylor’s account is refreshingly honest and direct. Overall, Taylor’s greatest triumph in this work is to convey successfully the ways in which the Western military, principally in the US and UK, had learned the lessons of perceived media disaster in Vietnam, in order to become experts themselves at managing the media. In many ways building upon Propaganda and Persuasion, Taylor devoted his entire career to developing a better understanding of how militaries and governments might manage the ‘information space’ more effectively in order to achieve their objectives. Today, scholarly, military and political attention to propaganda is extensive, and a slippery array of terms are used to define activities aimed at managing perceptions. Indeed, terms such as information warfare, public diplomacy, global engagement, perception management and strategic communication have all been used as short hand for the increasingly sophisticated and organised approaches to managing the information space. A good example of perception management/propaganda activity can be found in the UK context: coalition military operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and the 2003 Iraq War were accompanied by organised attempts to influence media agendas by promoting coverage of some issues rather than others, and by encouraging the framing of stories in ways that supported the government’s cause. At least some of the impetus for these attempts during the 2001 war in Afghanistan came from Alistair Campbell

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(Chief of Strategy and Communications for the Blair Government), who created ‘Coalition Information Centres (C.I.Cs) in Washington, London and Islamabad that would coordinate the release of information, attempt to control the news agenda and rebut opposition claims.’3 The recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have revealed ever more adaptive and innovative information management strategies that include the high profile policy of embedding journalists with frontline units. Of course, in all this, what was most refreshing about Taylor’s approach was his willingness openly to call these activities by their rightful name, propaganda. Indeed, Taylor was a leading advocate of propaganda: If I can do anything sensible with this lecture, I should therefore like to destigmatise the word itself and to re-establish ‘propaganda’, in a sense, to its pre1914 meaning . . . What we really need is more propaganda not less. We need more attempts to influence our opinions and to arouse our active participation in social and political processes.4

And it is Taylor’s honest and detailed appraisal of propaganda that marks out his first major contribution to political communication scholarship. Put bluntly, against all those scholars who consciously and unconsciously relay euphemisms such as ‘perception management’ and ‘strategic communication’, which are themselves elements of propaganda; and all those who misperceive government media-management operations as benign and reactive attempts to get the governments message across, Taylor’s intellectual honesty is an important corrective. In theoretical terms, Taylor’s analysis of propaganda also provides an important insight into media-state dynamics and one which, as I shall now discuss, is insufficiently grasped by leading theoretical accounts and models. Of those scholars who have attempted to explain media-state relations,5 the most sustained and empirically substantiated position has been that, most of the time, media remain supportive of their governments during wartime. As Daniel Hallin6 documented in his seminal study of US media and the Vietnam War, for most of the time journalists uncritically relayed official propaganda regarding the righteousness of that war and the likelihood of military success. Only when political elites in Washington started to argue about the likelihood of success did journalists start to raise serious questions about the Vietnam War. Although some studies have identified important exceptions to this tendency of media to ‘manufacture consent’7 for governments during war,8 all have tended to confirm the argument that media autonomy and independence is seriously curtailed during war and crisis. In terms of explaining this pattern of media deference, the most frequent explanation across these accounts, and one that is invoked to explain both patterns of wartime and non-wartime media-state relations, relates to the close relationship between journalists and official sources: i.e. news media coverage ends up being supportive of government because journalists rely upon, and defer to, official sources. For example, Bennett’s widely cited and paradigmatic indexing

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hypothesis9 highlights the ‘symbiotic’ and ‘transactional’ relationship between journalists and official sources which is generated by the need of officials to get their message across, and the need of journalists to produce news. For Hallin,10 deference occurs because of a routine of objective journalism whereby objectivity is understood as reporting the range of viewpoints from across the US legislature and executive. Wolfsfeld’s Political Contest Model11 describes war-time media as an ideal type example of media behaving as a faithful servant to the state, whereby the conditions of privileged access and control of information creates a power in balance firmly in favour of the military and political officials. He highlights the 1982 Falklands War to illustrate his point, showing how journalists, travelling the 8,000 miles to the war zone with the British Royal Navy were almost entirely reliant on British officials and military both for information and the capacity to communicate reports back to the UK. Beyond the ‘sourcing explanation’, the other major explanations emanating from these accounts concern ideology, political economy and patriotism, all of which are deeply rooted in underlying political and economic structures. Specifically, both Hallin12 and Herman and Chomsky13 argue that, during the Cold War at least, ideological imperatives structured around anti-communism meant that US journalists and US policy makers shared the same worldview. As a result, events such as the Vietnam War could only ever be interpreted as a morally justified struggle against communism, and never as a war of aggression against a majority of the Vietnamese people. Herman and Chomsky discuss the political economy of the US news media, and the consequences of this for media coverage. For them, the size, concentration of ownership, and profit orientation of mainstream US media, interlinks with political elites: the end result is that media reporting tends largely to support political and economic elites. Also, a number of scholars identify patriotism and national identity as the key factor in shaping media reporting of war.14 For example, some scholars describe how the appeal to patriotism is a powerful rhetorical tool employed by policy makers in order to silence dissent. At the same time, as Mueller’s rally round the flag thesis15 describes, populations tend to support instinctively their leadership at times of national crisis and, as Bennett and Paletz16 argue, commercial news media are vulnerable to the concern that patriotic publics will not welcome critical coverage during war. In addition, the patriotic sentiments of journalists themselves might naturally incline them to support ‘their’ side during a war. For all their explanatory power, however, none of these attempts to theorise and explain media-state relations pay serious attention to the extensive and wideranging propaganda activities of the kind that Taylor spent so much of his career discussing. For sure, mention is made of government PR activities and, to a reasonable extent, scholars such as Herman and Chomsky17 do discuss the propaganda activities of governments and militaries. However, the analysis here is usually subsumed under the discussion of the propensity of journalists to depend

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upon official sources. However, the ‘sourcing explanation’ for media deference (described above), whilst capturing the way in which official viewpoints dominate the news, fails to address more fully the techniques and strategies employed during propaganda campaigns designed to ‘shape the information space.’18 In other words, existing accounts emphasise how journalistic deference to official sources shapes coverage, because the viewpoints of officials are allowed to dominate. However, the possibility that official viewpoints themselves reflect carefully crafted propaganda is missed in the analysis. For example, during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, most journalists reflected official viewpoints regarding the WMD threat posed by Iraq. To an extent this was because journalists indexed the news to the viewpoints of officials, as described by the ‘sourcing explanation’. But this was only half the story: as we shall see in more detail with the September Dossier case study later in this essay, throughout 2002 the British and American governments had initiated a substantial propaganda campaign aimed at persuading both domestic and international audiences that there existed WMD in Iraq. This campaign included the deployment of the intelligence services in order to help generate public dossiers which ‘demonstrated’ the threat from Iraq,19 the use of teams of communications experts in the US and UK to coordinate information campaigns, and the hiring of a team of retired military personnel to become spokespersons for official viewpoints whilst they masqueraded as independent experts on TV news shows.20 The propaganda campaigns also involved an aggressive approach toward journalists who dissented from official views. The end result, of course, was that US and UK officials were able to create a perception of a serious and current WMD threat from Iraq when, in fact, the assessed intelligence made clear that the actual threat was questionable and possibly non-existent. So, in short, to understand the role news media played in helping create such a radically distorted perception of reality, we need to look beyond journalists’ deference to official sources to analyse the highly organised and coordinated propaganda campaigns that lie behind the public statements of government and military officials. Why is it so important to theorise media-state relations? First, and most obviously, by focusing on other processes such as ideology and sourcing to explain media-state dynamics, existing theoretical accounts are potentially undermeasuring the impact of propaganda activities on media output. Second, if greater explanatory weighting needs to be accorded to propaganda activities, the applicability of existing models of media-state relations to non-conflict situations may be over-determined; put another way, if it is the case that most media output can be understood as the end product of state propaganda activities, and are less to do with sourcing, ideology and so on, then it is plausible that media deference to government becomes far less when we move away from matters of high foreign policy (i.e. war, security and conflict) toward issues with which the propaganda machinery is not so closely engaged. Finally, if propaganda

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activities have become as organised and influential as they seem to have done during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, one is more inclined to accept the position of scholars such as Miller and Sabir,21 who argue that the big picture regarding our understanding of war, media and the state is one of ‘concrete material action by particular institutional interests’, all geared toward advancing certain interests over and above others: in other words, the big picture is one of stateorchestrated propaganda.

Normative Implications of Taylor’s Work As already noted, Taylor maintained that propaganda was a necessary part of government and military activity. This is another insight that, whilst I do not necessarily agree with it, provides an important and useful corrective to much of the war and media scholarship. All of the literature noted above adopts a critical stance toward media deference in wartime: journalists’ failure to detach themselves from official viewpoints is seen as part of a general failing of media to perform its watchdog function. For some critical journalists, news media become ‘a lethal weapon supporting governments that want to go to war.’22 Such views reflect a range of well-established liberal and critical positions regarding the role of media in a democracy and the importance of scrutinising government policy even under conditions of war. For liberals, the importance of media independence is rooted in the longstanding Wilsonian idea that public opinion can act as a safeguard against erroneous and ill-thought out wars.23 Sharing a similar discontent with the adequacy of war reporting, critical neo-Marxist and material accounts are more condemnatory of what they see as media complicity in perpetuating the interests of socio-economic elites. For example, Herman and Chomsky24 emphasise the overlapping interests between the US state and major US conglomerates, and the complicity of media in maintaining those interests. The result is that US news media perpetuate an image of an inherently benign and peaceful USA, committed to high moral standards, while its actual foreign policy is riddled with self-interested economic and political objectives that lead it to conduct violent and illiberal policies.25 But, what Taylor’s normative position reminds us of is that there is another view on what can be expected of media in wartime. Broadly speaking, Taylor fitted within a realist outlook on what media should be doing during times of war. Implicit in realist theory are various normative components. The first component is that foreign policy should be immune from public and media influence, otherwise a state might be prevented from pursuing its national interest. For example, public opinion might remain opposed to a war necessary for the national interest. Here, the assumption underpinning realism is that foreign policy elites are more likely to do what is in the nation’s interest and that, just as Gabriel Almond argued,26 publics are largely ignorant and ill-informed about international affairs.

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The second normative component is that the mobilisation of public and media in support of the national interest is morally correct. Here, the assumption of realists is that moral communities are defined by state boundaries and that both media and public opinion should reflect this reality. So, when a state goes to war, it is right that media help to mobilise the public in support of war. And it is here, within a realist framework, that Taylor’s advocacy of propaganda finds a firm intellectual footing. Of course, this position seems anathema to critical scholars, myself included, and there is ample space to debate the realist position, and Taylor’s advocacy of the need for propaganda. But, what his normative position does open up is the possibility that, on some level, the argument that advocating media support and deference during war is indeed a legitimate and defendable intellectual position. Certainly, from the point of view of the military, who have been tasked with carrying out a political decision to go to war, the need for support at home is often seen as an essential component of projecting a unified and determined front: how else does one persuade an enemy to give in? Even from a liberal position, the argument can be constructed that, once a democratically-elected government has made a decision to go to war, the public and political establishment should unite behind their military and avoid negative and critical media coverage. In short, there are grounds for arguing that media should, to some extent, adopt a mobilising/supportive role during war. It is also interesting that, over the last 20 years and in the context of so-called humanitarian wars, the tendency of some from the pro-interventionist political and academic left has been to advocate both political and media support for intervention during humanitarian crises (e.g. in Bosnia 1992–95, Kosovo 1999, Libya 2011). Such support inevitably involves siding with one particular combatant in that conflict. In other words, some on the progressive left have advocated suspending notions of balance and objectivity in favour of cheerleading in support of ‘humanitarian intervention’. This occurred in the case of the 1995 intervention in Bosnia, the 1999 intervention in Kosovo and the 2011 intervention in Libya. In short, arguments that media should remain independent and critical at all times are not held consistently, on both sides of the political spectrum; the reality is more complex than one of straightforward commitment to, or rejection of, journalistic neutrality. There is no obvious resolution to these arguments over how much independence media should display in time of war, and the issue is made even more complicated when we introduce the so-called ‘humanitarian interventions’ in ‘other people’s wars, that have been a feature of the last 20 years. But, the important point to note here is that reality is more complex than suggested by much of the critical scholarship which maintains a largely condemnatory stance, and one that implicitly expects journalists to be objective and scrutinising under conditions of war. Taylor’s work here is an important reminder to those of us who study media

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and war (at least those of us who adopt a critical stance) that there is another story to be told and another intellectually defendable position to adopt. Given this, I think there is considerable merit in scholars of media and war engaging in a more thoroughgoing debate over what can be expected of media in wartime, where and when journalists might support or cheerlead, and where and when a more critical, adversarial stance is appropriate.

The Problem with Perception Management and Has it Simply Gone too Far?: The Case of the 2002 September Dossier At the same time, whatever legitimate need there may be for some level of propaganda and persuasion, one might also presume that there are reasonable boundaries that might be set in terms of how far propaganda should be allowed to go, even for those who advocate its use. Indeed, even the realist position, that at times governments must lie and deceive in order to serve the national interest, has limits in the sense that leaders lying and deceiving for personal gain or reasons other than furthering the national interest would be rightfully seen as simply corrupt.27 And it is to the question of the dangerous excesses of propaganda that I now turn. The argument that will be made here, by way of a summary of the case of the 2002 September dossier, is that the kind of elaborate propaganda activities advocated by Taylor, when left unchecked, ultimately have dangerous consequences. The September Dossier of 2002 was commissioned by the British government in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.28 It was presented to Parliament, media and the British public on 24 September 2002 and it stood as a major political statement indicating the British Government’s decision to support the US in engaging with Iraq. In a very important sense it was the keystone to the UK government establishing the case that there existed a WMD threat from Iraq. It was also famous at the time because of its claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order to do so. Later, the dossier became infamous when it was the centre of debate over whether the government had lied or distorted intelligence over Iraq: After the invasion, in May 2003, BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan claimed that a source (Dr David Kelly, WMD expert in the MOD) had told him that the government had been involved in the falsification, or ‘sexing up’, of intelligence in order to exaggerate the threat posed by Iraqi WMD. The subsequent row between the government and the BBC, and the suicide of Dr David Kelly, triggered major controversy that yielded Foreign Affairs Select Committee hearings as well as the Hutton, Butler and Chilcot inquiries. Although those involved in the production of the dossier have, on numerous occasions, claimed it to be merely a neutral representation of the available intelligence, there has, over the last ten years, emerged substantive evidence that

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the dossier was part of a carefully orchestrated and highly organised propaganda campaign aimed at deceiving publics and governments as to the threat posed by Iraqi WMD. For example, as early as March 2002 there were discussions regarding the need to ‘prepare’ public opinion with regard to a WMD threat from Iraq and the creation of a dossier: In early March, in a letter entitled ‘WMD: Public Handling’, Julian Miller (Head of Assessments Staff, Joint Intelligence Committee) wrote: we are preparing a draft paper for public consumption, setting out the facts on WMD in a number of nations . . . I should emphasise that it contains a number of points drawn from intelligence which need further consideration. There are also continuing discussions on the policy approach to handling this material in public. And it may be buffed up somewhat by the presentational experts . . . it would be most helpful to have any suggestions for additional input that might strengthen the public case.29

Other evidence highlights the determination of those involved to talk up the supposed danger from Iraq, involving both exaggeration and deception. For example, and also during March 2002, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is quoted as stating ‘good, but should not Iraq be first and also have more text? The paper has to show why there is an exceptional threat from Iraq. It does not quite do this yet.’30 The same released documents31 show John Scarlett (Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee) suggesting the dossier focus only on Iraq because this would have the ‘benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD, Iraq is not that exceptional.’ Another shows Tim Dowse (FCO) suggesting that an assessment be manipulated so as to increase its impact: Thereafter, if it appears that we do have to change our public line, I wonder if we might finesse the presentational difficulty by changing the terms? Instead of talking about tonnes of precursor chemicals (which don’t mean much to the man in the street anyway), could we focus on munitions and refer to – precursor chemicals sufficient to produce x thousand Scud warheads/aerial bombs/122mm rockets filled with mustard gas/the deadly nerve agents tabun/sarin/VX? . . . I realise that this would not in the end hoodwink a real expert, who would be able to reverse the calculation and work out that our assessment of precursor quantities had fallen. But the task would be . . . impossible for a layman. And the result would, I think, have more impact on the target audience for unclassified paper.

Over the following months work continued on dossiers, both in the US and the UK. But it was not until September 2002 that the propaganda activity intensified to its highest pitch. Heralding the events of September, Prime Minister Blair’s Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell declared in July that there would need to be a ‘Rolls Royce information campaign’ involving the release of papers on WMD and human rights abuses.32 At the start of September, John Williams (Head of Communications, FCO) wrote a minute entitled ‘Iraq Media Strategy’ addressed to nine individuals (names redacted).33 The document set out what needed to be done in order to influence opinion and contains a number of insights regarding

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the dossier. For example, in a section headed ‘The Next Stage: making a broad case, without signalling military action’, Williams writes: The media siege should now be challenged regularly by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary: (a) to reinforce the broad case, so that it strikes a chord with more and more people, as opposed to journalists; and (b) to create the right environment for the dossier.

Again, when discussing the dossier’s target audience, Williams explains: The tone of the launch will be critical . . . Our target is not the argumentative interviewer or opinionated columnist, but the kind of people to whom ministerial interviewers are a background hum on the car or kitchen radio. We must think Radio Five. Although the big Radio Four programmes have to be done, we must not let them set themselves up as judge and jury.

In this context, John Scarlett, working closely with members of Alistair Campbell’s Coalition Information Centre (C.I.C) propaganda unit, crafted a dossier that would make a powerful statement regarding the threat posed by Iraq.34 One important aspect of the final drafting of the dossier involved the inclusion of recent, and highly questionable, human intelligence which suggested that Saddam was producing WMD and might be able to fire weapons within 45 minutes of an order to do so.35 As argued by Dr David Kelly in 2003, much of this new intelligence was flimsy and unpersuasive; at the same time Dr Brian Jones (Defence Intelligence Staff) has documented how newly received intelligence reports were used to state as fact that Iraq was producing the chemical agents necessary to create weapons.36 Recently, MI6 (SIS) officials interviewed for the Chilcot Inquiry confirmed that the crucial pieces of human intelligence (regarding Iraqi production of chemical agents) were actually speculative, i.e. based upon a source promising some intelligence at a future date. One SIS officer stated: ‘here was a chap who promised the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow’ and that faith in the source was based ‘. . . in part on wishful thinking.’ Another noted that the source, very early on (at least before the invasion), failed to deliver: ‘What he was promising had not arrived.’37 Another important aspect of the drafting process involved the hardening up of language to remove caveats and qualifications, much of which occurred following interactions between Jonathan Powell, Alistair Campbell and John Scarlett. The result was that, as the Butler Inquiry concluded in predictably guarded language: in translating material from JIC assessments into the dossier, warnings were lost about the limited intelligence base on which some aspects of these assessments were being made. Language in the dossier may have left readers the impression

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that there were fuller and firmer intelligence behind the judgements than was the case: . . . judgements in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the intelligence available.38

In fact, the final achievement of the UK government and its spin doctors, with the cooperation of the intelligence services, was to succeed in generating a stunningly distorted and exaggerated set of claims about the threat posed by Iraqi WMD. Drawing upon an intelligence base that was known to be deeply uncertain and fragmented, and intelligence that they hoped might arrive at some future date, the dossier was forwarded by Prime Minister Blair with claims such as: Iraq has ‘continued to produce chemical and biological weapons’; ‘Saddam continues in his efforts to develop nuclear weapons’; Saddam’s ‘military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to do so’; and, most chillingly, ‘the threat posed to international peace and security, when WMD are in the hands of a brutal and aggressive regime like Saddam’s, are real. Unless we face up to the threat, not only do we risk undermining the authority of the UN, whose resolutions he defies, but more importantly and in the longer term, we place at risk the lives and prosperity of our people.’39 Of course, as we now know, none of the claims was true. There were no WMD in Iraq, nor were there any plans or programmes related to WMD. Moreover, as US scholar John Mearsheimer has also stated in his recent work Why Leaders Lie, both the US and UK government knew at the time that there was no hard and fast evidence regarding WMD in Iraq and that the actual intelligence painted a radically different picture from the claims of absolute certainty being expressed by the British and US governments. In a nutshell, both the British and American governments were lying about the threat posed by Iraq. The September Dossier, as an act of carefully crafted propaganda, was the centrepiece of the perception management/propaganda campaign that underpinned this lie. Overall, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the communications strategies employed in the run up to the invasion of Iraq represent one of the most stunning propaganda successes of the last 100 years: to have persuaded most of the world that a crippled country that had been under sanctions for 12 years, scrutinised by weapons inspectors, and with no obvious strategic interest in developing or using WMD, posed an imminent threat to world security.

Conclusion: ‘Two out of Three Ain’t Bad’ To recap, Taylor’s work on propaganda has profound implications. For those who theorise media-state relations, Taylor’s explication of the propaganda machines that lie at the heart of modern government provides a vital understanding of a principal mechanism by which media become compliant with the interests of the state and military. The fact that so many of us have failed to grasp fully the

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extent and penetration of propaganda activities is testament to the importance of our continuing to read and absorb Taylor’s work, whilst incorporating his insights into our models and theories of media-state relations. For those of us who remain committed to the liberal/critical stance that media independence and criticism of government is vital in wartime, Taylor also reminds us that there is another point of view. Here is appreciation of the military perspective, their need to carry out the policies they have been tasked with, and the inherent importance of perceptions and opinions during war – all stand as important correctives to a two-dimensional normative view of how journalists should cover war. Certainly, even if one remains committed to notions of media independence and freedom to criticise, Taylor’s position, that at least some level of media support is legitimate, should always give pause for thought. But, there is a third, stickier, issue surrounding his advocacy of the need for more propaganda. Taylor spent much of his career writing about propaganda as well as talking with militaries (mainly in the US and Europe) regarding perception management. The case study of the September Dossier, located as it is in the first few years of the twenty-first century, highlights the penetration of the kinds of perception management/propaganda activities that Taylor advocated. Whilst the September Dossier went well beyond the kind of military orientated PR activities that Taylor tended to focus on, to include the political objective of persuading a public to go to war, it was a natural extension of the kind of attitude toward propaganda that Taylor had. Of course, the case study also serves as a damning criticism of the excesses of propaganda. The extent to which deliberate deception was used to help initiate a war, which then had dire consequences in terms of loss of human life (over one million dead according to some estimates),40 is difficult to defend in any terms. Certainly, from liberal democratic and critical perspectives, the use of propaganda led to an immoral and illegal conflict. Even from a realist perspective, one that does accept the need for propaganda when the national interest is at stake, there are strong grounds to argue against the war because it served no obvious national interest for either the US or the UK. Certainly, there was no clear material threat from Iraq, and the policy of invasion severely damaged UK and US prestige abroad. Indeed, given the scale of deception and lack of clear national interest, it is tempting to consider the possibility that the war was driven by individuals who were acting for motives other than the protection of the national interest. The danger in all of this, of course, is that advocacy of propaganda, coupled with the reinforcement of an ever more elaborate and developed perception management apparatus, provides an environment where the temptation is simply too great for leaders to pursue vested interests, to run rough shod over notions of honesty and openness and, as we see in the case of the 2002 September Dossier, to deploy propaganda to deceive the public into supporting a bloody and failed war. Interestingly, in her address at the tribute conference for Professor

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Taylor, veteran BBC journalist Kate Adie reflected upon the dynamics of media-military-political relations across Gulf War 1 in 1991 and the Iraq war in 2003. She highlighted how, during Gulf War 1, it was the military who were ‘in charge’ of the media, working hard to ensure that coverage was favourable toward coalition forces. By 2003, she stated that the situation had changed to one where it was the politicians who were firmly in control of the media and the information environment.41 This analysis, which suggests an unprecedented concentration of ‘communication power’42 within a political elite, is also highlighted by Bennett et al., who quote a US journalist’s recollection of a government briefing. A US administrator stated to the journalists: We’re an Empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality judiciously, as you will, we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.43

Overall, the argument that emerges here is that propaganda, its ruthless exploitation by politicians, and the scholarly apparatus that has helped to strengthen ‘perception management’, leads ultimately to a concentration of power that has deleterious effects upon democracy and ‘good governance’, and that has brutal consequences for human security. After ten years of fruitless war in Afghanistan, a bloody misadventure in Iraq, continued sabre-rattling between Iran, Israel and the US with the very possibility of conflict in the Middle East, and a ‘war on terror’ that continues to shape domestic public and political perceptions toward a chronic sense of insecurity, it would seem, at least through the eyes of this writer, that what we need is less, not more, propaganda. At the very least, there should be some attempt to establish limitations upon the propaganda machinery that has become so entrenched within the political system, and some sense of learning the lesson that absolute ‘communication’ power does indeed corrupt. This should give pause for thought to those scholars who subscribe to Taylor’s advocacy of propaganda and the need for more of it.

Notes 1. For example, Bennett, Lance, W., ‘Toward a Theory of Press-State Relations in the United States’ Journal of Communication, Vol 40 (2) (1990), 103–25; Entman, Robert. Projections of Power: framing news, public opinion and US Foreign Policy (Chicago, 2004); Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam, Manufacturing Consent: the political economy of the mass media (New York, 1988); Wolfsfeld, Gadi, The Media and Political Conflict (Cambridge, 1997). 2. Taylor, Philip. M., War and the Media: Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gulf War (Manchester, 1992a).

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3. Brown, Robin, ‘Information Operations, Public Diplomacy & Spin: The United States & the Politics of Perception Management’ Journal of Information Warfare, Vol 3 (1) (2002), 40–50. 4. Taylor, Philip. M. ‘Propaganda from Thucydides to Thatcher,’ Address to the annual conference of the Social History Society of Great Britain (1992b). URL (consulted November 2006): http://ics.leeds/papers/vp01.cfm cited in Corner, John ‘Mediated politics, promotional culture and the idea of “propaganda” ’ Media, Culture and Society, Vol 29 (4) (2007), 669–77. 5. See footnote 1. 6. Cf, Hallin, Daniel, (1986) The Uncensored War (Berkley, CA, 1986). 7. Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent. 8. Althaus, Scott. L., ‘When News Norms Collide, Follow the Lead: New Evidence for Press Independence,’ Political Communication, Vol 20 (3) (2003), 381–414; Lewis, Justin., Robert. Brookes, Nick Mosdell and Tom Threadgold, Shoot First and Ask Questions Later: Media Coverage of the 2003 Iraq War. New York: Peter Lang; Robinson, Piers and Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray and Philip M. Taylor, Pockets of Resistance: British News Media, War and Theory in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Manchester, 2006). 9. Bennett, ‘Toward a Theory of Press-State Relations’. 10. Hallin, The Uncensored War. 11. Wolfsfeld, The Media and Political Conflict. 12. Hallin, The Uncensored War. 13. Herman and Chomsky, Maunfacturing Consent. 14. Bennett, W. L. and D. L. Paletz (eds), Taken by Storm: The Media, Public Opinion, and US Foreign Policy in the Gulf War. Chicago and London, 1994, Liebes, Tamar. Reporting the Arab-Israeli Conflict: How Hegemony Works. (London and New York, 1997). Television History Book. London. 15. Mueller, John. E., War, Presidents and Public Opinion (New York, 1973). 16. Bennett and Paletz, Taken by Storm, 284. 17. Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent. 18. D.H. Dearth, ‘Shaping the “Information Space”,’ Journal of Information Warfare, Vol 1 (3) (2002), 1. 19. Jones, Brian, Failing Intelligence: The True Story of How We were Fooled into Going to War in Iraq (London, 2010); Pillar, Paul, Intelligence and US Foreign Policy; Iraq, 9/11 and Misguided Reform (New York, 2010). 20. ‘Pentagons Hidden Hand, Behind the TV Analysts’ by David Barstow, New York Times, 20 April 2008. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/ us/20generals.html?pagewanted=all. 21. Miller, David and Sabir, ‘Propaganda and Terrorism’ in Daya Thussu and Des Freedman (eds), Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives (Sage, 2011). 22. Fisk, Robert (2006) Speaking in Iraq: The Hidden Story (Zenith Entertainment), broadcast 8 May 2006 by Channel 4. 23. See Holsti, O.R., ‘Public opinion and foreign policy: Challenges to the AlmondLippman consensus,’ International Studies Quarterly, Vol 36 (4) (1992), 439–66 and Robinson et al. Pockets of Resistance.

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250 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32.

33.

34. 35. 36. 37. 38 39.

40. 41. 42. 43.

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Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent. See Robinson et al, Pockets of Resistance, 47–49. Almond, G., The American People and Foreign Policy (New York, 1950). Mearshiemer, John. Why Leaders Lie: the truth about lying in international politics (Oxford, 2011) ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government’ September 2002. Available at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/ NSAEBB254/doc05.pdf. Letter from Miller, 6 March 2002, titled ‘WMD: Public Handling’. Available at http://www/cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/foi-wmd-iraq.pdf Excerpt of minute from Simon McDonald to Peter Ricketts, 11 March 2002, titled ‘Iraq’. See note 2 for website source. See note 2 for website source. Powell minute to Blair, 19 July 2002, Chilcot Inquiry, http://www.iraqinquiry. org.uk/media/50772/Powell-to-Blair-19July2002-minute.pdf. Accessed on 6 April 2012. ‘Iraq Media Strategy,’ 4 September 2002, obtained following FOI request by Chris Ames. Available at http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/wp-content//uploads/2010/12/ williams-media-strategy-sep-02.pdf. Accessed on 6 April 2012. See for example Alistair Campbell’s testimony, 2003, Hutton Inquiry, paras 9&10. On the weakness of these intelligence reports, see the Butler Report (2004) (London: The Stationary Office). Jones, Failing Intelligence. SIS1, Chilcot Inquiry, 18. Butler Report, 154. ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government’ September 2002. Available at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/ NSAEBB254/doc05.pdf. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War for links to a range of studies estimating the number of deaths in Iraq. Kate Adie (2011) Address at Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: A Conference in Memory of Philip M. Taylor (University of Leeds, 16–17 December 2011). Castells, Manuel. Communication Power (Oxford, 2010). Bennett, Lance. W. and Steven Livingston and Regina Lawrence, When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Chicago, 2007).

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P. Kenez, The Birth of the Propaganda State. Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilisation 1917–29 (1985) D. King, Russian Revolutionary Posters: From Civil War to Socialist Realism, From Bolshevism to the End of Stalinism (2012) P. Knightley, The First Casualty. From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth (1975) W. Lippmann, Public Opinion (1945) R. Marlin, Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion (2002) M. Milena and G. James, War, Image and Legitimacy: Viewing Contemporary Conflict (2007) K. Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (2006) T. R. E. Paddock (ed.), A Call to Arms: Propaganda, Public Opinion and Newspaper in the Great War (2004) P. Paret, B. Irwin Lewis and P. Paret, Persuasive Images. Posters of War and Revolution (1992) A. Pratkavis and E. Aronson, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion (1991) A. Rhodes, Propaganda. The Art of Persuasion: World War II (1975) C. Roetter, Psychological Warfare (1974) J. Rüger, The Great Naval Game: Britain and Germany in the Age of Empire (2009) K. R. M. Short (ed.), Film and Radio Propaganda in World War II (1983) N. Snow, Information War. American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control Since 9–11 (2003) A. Star and New York Times Staff, Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy (2011) P. M. Taylor, The Projection of Britain: British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda (1980) P.M. Taylor, The Projection of Britain: British Overseas Publicity and Propaganda, 1919–39 (1981) P. M. Taylor, Munitions of the Mind. War Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day (1995, 2003) P. M. Taylor, War and the Media: Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gulf War (1992) O. Thomson, Easily Led. A History of Propaganda (1999) D. Welch, The Third Reich. Politics and Propaganda (1995, 2002) D. Welch, Germany, Propaganda & Total War, 1914–1918 (2000) D. Welch and J. Fox (eds), Justifying War. Propaganda, Politics and the Modern Age (2012) S. White, The Bolshevik Poster (1988) M. Yass, This is Your War. Home Front Propaganda in the Second World War (1983) R. Zaharna, Battles to Bridges: US Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11 (2010)

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INDEX

7/7, 215 9/11, 13, 15, 16, 114, 123, 124, 126, 150, 190, 209, 211, 221 Abu Ghraib, 151, 180, 199 Adie, Kate, 248, 250 Advertising, 17, 226 Afghanistan, war in, 3, 12, 14, 15, 16, 144, 150, 151,152, 154, 156, 167, 170, 172, 176, 182, 220, 229, 237, 238, 248 Agencies control of, 12, 80, 115 Al-Arabiya, 121, 165, 190, 196 Al-Jazeera, 12, 121, 165, 190, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 202, 218 Al-Qaeda propaganda of, 13, 14, 15, 123, 124, 190, 199, 209, 213, 216, 219, 220, 223, 224 Albright, Madeline, 114, 117, 125 Alexander Hamilton (1931), 65, 68, 72, 73 America, see United States of America American government, 15, 16, 115, 118, 163, 211, 227, 240, 246 American War of Independence, 73 Amery, Leo, 32, 36 anti-Americanism, 117, 232 appeasement, 7, 76, 178 Arab Spring, 141, 233 Armaggedon (1923), The Battle of, 25 As-Sahab, 213 Asquith, Herbert, 40, 50, 61 Assange, Julian, 14, 225, 226, 228, 229, 230, 232, 233, 234, 235

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‘asymmetric warfare’, 11, 13, 14, 202 atrocities German atrocities in Belgium, 31, 38, 45, 46, 50, 51, 52, 54, 60 Bairnsfather, Bruce, 50 Balkans, the, 119 Barnouw, Eric, 79 BBC (British Broadcasting Service), 18, 27, 36, 65, 131, 136, 140, 142, 149, 221, 223, 243, 248 BBC World Service, 18, 131, 136, 140 Beaverbrook, Lord, 5 Beddington, Jack, 85, 87 Belgium, 152 German invasion of, 31, 40, 47, 48 Schlieffen Plan, 42 violation of neutrality, 41, 43, 45, 50, 54, 59 Bernays, Edward, 17, 18, 251 Bernhardi, Friedrich von, 44–45 Betz, David, 167, 182, 218, 224 Biden, Joseph, 135 ‘Big ideas’ of 1914, 5, 18 Bin Laden, Osama, 13, 151, 216, 218 Blair, Tony, 118, 148, 154, 155, 238, 244, 246, 250 Blitz, the, 90 Bosnia, 117, 119, 242 Bottomley, Horatio, 53, 60, 61 Bracken, Brendan, 91 Brangwyn, Frank, 54 British Council, 7, 9, 18, 65, 79, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 95, 125

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254 British Navy, 5, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 31, 33, 34, 50, 145, 239 Bryce, Lord, 50–51 Bryce Report, 51, 61 Buchan, John, 27 Bullitt, William, 231 Burger, Warren, 226 Bush, George H. W., President, 115, 116, 118, 125, 146, 155 Bush, George W., President, 124, 151, 156, 189, 200 Bush Administration, 13, 16, 117, 123, 124 125 Butler, R.A., 84 Campbell, Alastair, 148, 154, 155 Cardinal Richelieu (1935), 65, 69, 76 Castells, Manuel, 214, 222, 250 Casualties civilians, 146, 149, 152, 153, 156, 190, 250 justification of, 148, 189, 198 NATO, 150 Catholic Church, 4 Cavell, Edith, 51, 52, 56 censorship, 5, 6, 14, 16, 80, 81, 136, 137, 146, 147, 197, 227, 232, 237 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 9, 128 chemical weapons, 117, 126, 245, 246 China (also PRC), 10, 18, 76, 113, 115.118, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 135, 136, 137, 139, 140, 141, 153142, 143, 218 China Daily, 135 Chinese Communist Party (CCP), 127, 138, 140 Chinese propaganda, 10, 127, 134, 138, 141 Chomsky, Noam, 3, 17, 248 Churchill, Winston, 22, 80 citizens as consumers, 16 Clinton, Bill, President, 115, 116, 123, 126, 132 Clinton, Hilary, 233 CNN, 120, 200 Collegium Urbanum (College of Propaganda), 4 Conan Doyle, Arthur, 54 Conway, Lieutenant General James T., 199 Cooper, Duff, 79, 83, 93, 94 Corman, Steven, 184, 217, 224

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Propaganda, Power and Persuasion Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927), The Battles of the, 25, 26, 28, 34 Cradock, Admiral, 22, 25 Crown Film Unit, 84 ‘cyberwar’, 183, 204, 195 Daily Express, 22, 34, 35, 50, 51 defence of the nation, 101 Desert Victory (1943), 91 Deutsche Wochenshau, 102 Dick, Rear-Admiral Royer, 33 Disraeli (1929), 6, 65, 66, 71, 72 Dulles, Allen, 130 Ellerman (‘Bryher’), Winifred, 26 Ellerton, Alf, 47 Ellsberg, Daniel, 226, 234 Espionage Act (1917), 227, 228, 232, 234 Espionage and Sabotage Act (1954), 227 Falkland Islands (1914), Battle of the, 5, 6, 21, 24, 26, 33, 34 Falklands War (1982), 145, 155, 239 Fallujah (2004), Battles of, 13, 188–190, 192–194, 197, 199, 201–203, 206 Free Asia Committee, 130 al-Gaddafi, Colonel Muammar, 153 Gallipoli (1915–16), 23 Gamble, Jos, 136 Gass, Simon, 151 Germany as a hostile nation, 44, 56, 96 invasion of Belgium, 38, 40, 47 invasion of the Soviet Union, 96, 105, 106 perceptions of the Spirit of 1914, 40 Gilligan, Andrew, 243 Global Islamic Media Front, 213 Global War Against Terror, see War on Terror Goebbels, Joseph, 7, 8, 80, 87, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100–108 Gore, Al, 118 GPO Film Unit, 84 Graf Spee, 27 Gregory XIII, Pope, 4 Gregory XV, Pope, 4 Guardian, 35, 61, 221, 223, 230, 233, 235

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Index Gulf War, 12, 15, 116, 117, 119, 123, 144, 146, 147, 154, 155, 192, 195, 203, 237, 248, 249, 251 GWAT, see Global War Against Terror Hack, Karl, 178, 186 Halifax, Lord, 80 Hallin, Daniel, 204, 238, 239, 249 Harmonious Society (China), The, 10, 127, 128, 129, 134, 137, 138, 139, 140 Haselden, W.K., 49, 50, 60 Herman, Edward, 3, 17, 248 Hilditch, A. Neville, 23, 24, 27, 34, 35, Hitler, Adolf, 15, 18, 80, 96, 97, 98, 99, 101, 103, 105, 108, 109, 203 decline as leader, 100, 107 function of propaganda, 8 Mein Kampf, 7–8 House of Rothschild (1934), The, 6, 69, 70, 71, 72 Hu Jintao, President, 137, 141 Human Rights, 75, 143, 231, 244 Universal declaration of, 133 Humanitarian War, 11, 153, 155, 242 Mission to Somalia (1992), 123 Hussein, Saddam, 146, 188, 198 Illingworth, Percy, 50 Illustrated London News, 25, 35 Im Wald von Katyn (In the Forest of Katyn, 1943), 107 information agencies, 12, 144 information operations, 12, 164 International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), 132, 143 intervention, 152, 154, 242 law, 196 opinion, 10, 113, 115, 117, 124, 128, 152, 242, 250 police force, 136, 190 Security Assistance Force (ISAF), 150, 152 Iraq, war in, 11, 18, 124, 147, 151, 162, 188, 190–202, 238, 241, 243–246, 250 Islamic extremism, 14 Jihad, 164, 214, 215, 216, 218, 219, 220, 224 Johnson, Lyndon, President, 130

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255 journalism, new, 16 journalists, see also, War reportage Jutland, Battle of, 16, 23 Jutland (1921), The Battle of, 25 Kaplan, Robert D., 194, 200, 204, 205 Katyn massacres (1943), 107 Kearney, Neville, 84, 85, 86 Keller, Bill, 230, 234, 235 Kelly, Dr David, 243, 245 Kharkov (1943), Battle of, 105 Kimmitt, Brigadier General Mark, 198, 199 Kipling, Rudyard, 46 Kitchener, Lord, 43 Korda, Alexander, 82 Korean War, 11, 161 Kosovo War, 11, 12, 117, 144, 147, 149, 152, 154, 155, 181, 237, 242 Kuwait, 146, 192, 237 Laity, Mark, 149, 181, 187 Laqueur, Walter, 210, 221 Lasswell, Harold, 10, 18 Lazarsfeld, Paul, 212, 222 Lejeune, C.A., 25 Lippmann, Walter, 10, 18, 38, 59, 252 Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), 80 London Can Take It! (1940), 90 Loan, Colonel Nguyen Ngoc, 145 Lorimer, Sir Robert, 31 Manning, Bradley, 225, 226, 228–235 Mass Observation (M-O), 80, 93 Mearsheimer, John, 246 Metz, General Thomas F., 200–202, 206 Military-media, 16, 155, 191 Milosevic, Slobodan, 11, 149 Ministry of Information (MOI), 7, 61, 80–93 Moorcroft, Paul, 145, 155 Moore, Charles, 23, 34 morale, 5–8, 50, 58, 98, 99, 103, 107–109, 149, 184 Munich Settlement, 96 Myers, General Richard B., 200 Myers, Hugh, 71 myths, 38

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256 national identity, 239 National Security Council (NSC), 150, 156, 163, 175 National War Aims Committee (NWAC), 54 NATO, 11, 144–156, 180 Implementation Force (IFOR), 147 Nazi propaganda aims, 97 New York Times, 17, 151, 156, 225, 226, 230, 232–235, 249, 252 newspapers, 12, 34, 98, 148, 163, 190, 194, 15, 227, 235 Nixon, Richard, President, 122, 227 North Korea, 131, 135 Northcliffe, Lord, 5, 6, 59 nuclear weapons, 191, 246 Nye, Joseph, 12, 121, 167, 182 O’Donnell, Sir Gus, 173 Obama, Barack, President, 124, 152, 180 Operation ELLAMY, 175 Enduring Freedom, 150, 151, 165, 205 Iraqi Freedom, 151, 165, 188, 205 Odyssey Dawn, 152 Unified Protector in Libya, 152 Vigilant Resolve, 197 opinion polls, 117, 228, see also public opinion patriotism, 59, 71, 72, 76, 239, 251 Pelosi, Nancy, 129, 130, 142 Pemberton Billing, Noel, 56, 57, 61 Pentagon Papers, 14, 234, 226, 227, 228 perception management, 15, 16, 170, 209, 236, 237, 238, 246–249 posters, 5, 51–55, 59, 98, 104 Powell, General Colin, 120, 121, 192 ‘Powell Doctrine’, 192 Powell, Jonathan, 244, 245 Propaganda, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 15–18, 37, 70, 72, 79, 83, 90, 93, 133, 134, 153, 166, 199, 236–248 Al-Qaeda, 13, 14, 209, 213 American, 125, 195, 198, 200, 201, 240 British, 5, 7, 24, 27, 38, 39, 43, 45, 46, 56, 58, 65, 80, 81, 82, 85, 86, 88, 92 Chinese, 128, 130, 138 Nazi, 8, 38, 80, 96–104, 107

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Propaganda, Power and Persuasion psychological operations and warfare, (Psyops), 162–164, 169, 170, 175, 177, 179, 185, 195 public diplomacy, 9, 14, 113–126, 132, 159, 165, 166, 180, 191, 217, 225, 233 public opinion, 10, 15, 56, 58, 115, 116, 152, 204, 242, 244, 247 Punch, 38, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45, 60 Radio Free Asia (RFA), 10, 127, 129, 130, 133–142 Radio Free China (RFC), 131, 132 Radio Free Europe (RFE), 9, 10, 119, 128–132, 135, 141–143 Radio Liberty (RL), 9, 10, 119, 128, 129, 130, 142 Raemaekers, Louis, 45 Research, Information and Communication Unit (RICU), 217 Richards, Sir David, 169, 174, 180 Richter, Richard, 134, 141, 143 Ricks, Thomas E., 193 Riefenstahl, Leni, 80 Robinson, Heath, 50 rolling news, 12, 16, 119 Rumsfeld, Donald, 13, 18, 196, 197, 199, 202, 203, 205, 206 Rusk, Dean, 130 Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Holy Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), 4 Scarlett, John, 244, 245 Schlieffen Plan, 42 Second World War, 9, 11, 18, 35, 79, 80, 92, 93, 94 September 11, 2001, see 9/11 September Dossier, 237, 240, 243, 244, 246, 247 Shea, Jamie, 148 Sites, Kevin, 202 Snow, Nancy, 15–16, 18, 124, 126, 211, 221 Solidarity, 131 Somalia (1992–3), 123 Somme (1916), Battle of, 53 ‘soft power’, 9, 13, 118, 120, 121, 126, 133, 140, 141, 156, 167, 179 Soviet Union, 37, 107, 118, 130, 192, 231 Spanish Civil War, 231

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Index Spee, Admiral von, 22, 24–30, 36 Speed, Lancelot, 42, 54 Speer, Albert, 103 Spencer–Cooper, Henry, 24, 27, 35 Stalingrad (1942–43), Battle of, 8, 98, 99, 100, 104, 105, 108 strategic communications, 12, 164, 168, 169, 175, 177, 179, 180, 181, 187, 191, 197, 238 Strube, Sidney, 50, 51 Sturdee, Admiral, 22, 23, 25, 28, 30, 36 Sullivan, Edmund, 45, 46, 47 Sun-Tzu, 5 Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), 145, 154 Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), 211 Taiwan, 129 Taylor, Philip, M., 4, 7, 15, 18, 79, 134, 145, 209, 210, 220, 236–248 television, 12, 51, 116, 137, 141, 144–146, 148, 150, 166, 190, 193–199, 202; see also CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera terrorism, 14, 15, 123, 132, 152, 160, 170, 209, 210–213, 217, 219, 220, see War on Terror Tet Offensive, 145, 154, 226 Times, The, 22, 33, 35, 36, 45, 53, 54, 59, 60, 61 Total War, 5, 8, 9, 14, 15, 58, 98–107 Townsend, F.H., 41, 44, 45, 60 Triumph of the Will (1935), 80 Truman, Harry, President, 9 TV, see television United Nations (UN), 117, 147, 156, 175 United Nations Charter, 13 United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), 147 United Nations Security Council, 117, 126, 150, 156, 163, 175 United States Information Agency (USIA), 9, 15, 114–126 United States Information Service (USIS), United States of America, 9, 66, 73, 91, 92, 113–115, 121, 123–125, 141, 150, 153, 223, 226–232

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257 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 133 UNO, see United Nations (UN) US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC), 195 USIA, see United States Information Agency Vietnam War, 11, 15, 16, 131, 135, 145, 146, 154, 194, 195, 204, 226, 234, 237, 238, 239 Voice of America (VOA), 115, 119, 120, 123, 126, 130, 131, 132, 136, 140, 142, 143 Walesa, Lech, 131 Walker, Jack, 43, 44, 49 war aims, 6, 34, 40, 54, 97, 100, 104, 149, 169, 170, 171 War Bonds, 54, 56 war correspondents, 11, 134, 136, 148, 194, 199, 200, 235 war crimes, 51, 54, 55, 56, 156, 225; see also atrocities War debts, 73, 75 War Illustrated, The, 48 ‘war of ideas’, 162 War on Terror, 13–15, 123, 150, 151, 170, 203, 209, 210, 212, 221, 222, 248 war reportage, see war correspondents War Savings, 54 Watt, Harry, 89 Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), 240, 243–246, 250 WikiLeaks, 3, 14, 183, 225, 228–235 Wilde, Oscar, 58 Wilhelm II, Kaiser, 38, 42–50, 54, 58–60 Williams, John, 244–245 WMD, see Weapons of Mass Destruction Xilai, Bo, 142 Ypres (1925) The Battle of, 25 Al-Zawahiri, Ayman, 216 Zebrugge (1924), The Battle of, 25

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