"Grey" and "Black" Radio Broadcasting Operations

K - Z

Materials listed here cover both U.S. and UK broadcasting efforts.

The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Web site is located at This is an excellent reference for current information on Russia, Central Asia, and East Europe.

Kracauer, Siegfried, and Paul Berkman. Satellite Mentality: Political Attitudes and Propaganda Susceptibilities of Non-Communists in Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovalia. New York: Praeger, 1956. [Cummings, Intelligencer 15.3 (Summer-Fall 2007), 47/fn.9)]

Michie, Allan A. Voices Through the Iron Curtain: The Radio Free Europe Story. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1963.

Published prior to public knowledge of and does not mention the radio's CIA connection.

Mickelson, Sig. America's Other Voices: The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. New York: Praeger, 1983.

Writing contemporaneously with the publication of America's Other Voices, Campbell, FA (Winter 1983-1984), says that "[t]he story of 'unofficial' broadcasting to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union has never been told with such authority and in such detail as in this book.... Mickelson is refreshingly candid, and he has used a great deal of perishable material, from interviews and his own recollections, to give us a solid and irreplaceable history of a unique endeavor."

Cummings, "Balloons Over East Europe...," fn.1 (see above), calls this book "a good general treatment of the history of the radios," but notes that it was published before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Communist bloc. See also, Cummings, Cold War Radio (2009), p. 3.

Nelson, Michael. War of the Black Heavens: The Battles of Western Broadcasting in the Cold War. London: Brassey's, 1997. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Rawnsley, I&NS 13.2, calls War of the Black Heavens a "magnificent contribution,... a genuinely comparative study ... [and] an absorbing and informative book." It is "well researched and elegantly written." Nelson has added "the missing Soviet dimension that earlier studies have avoided.... The book is at its best when describing the structure of Soviet propaganda,... as well as its reaction to Western broadcasts and the elaborate (and expensive) methods of censorship that the Soviet system built to compete with them.... Nelson also highlights the explicit link between propaganda and intelligence."

Price, James R. Radio Free Europe: A Survey and Analysis. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1972.

A. Ross Johnson, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (2010), p. 217/fn. 60, places the genesis of this CRS report with Sen. Fulbright, who "assumed [it] would be critical." It was not.

Puddington, Arch. Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2000.

Kaiser, Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2000, and WPNWE, 21 Aug. 2000, says that "despite its cheerleading tone," this book "is sufficiently thorough to be useful to anyone interested in the minutiae of American foreign policy in Eastern Europe after World War II." The reviewer for Journal of Cold War Studies 4.1 (Winter 2002) suggests that this work "offers a useful building block for future attempts to assess the role and effectiveness" of RFE and RL during the Cold War.

To Lucas, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, Sep. 2000 [], "there is some value in passages on political divisions amongst the staff, concern over the tone of broadcasts, and the problems of locating RFE's European headquarters in Munich." The book also "has some broader insights into the tensions caused by the Reagan Adminstration's more aggressive broadcasting strategy. Apart from this, however, Puddington's only distinction is a gung-ho defence of RFE's troops and their mission."

Rawnsley, Gary D.

1. "Cold War Radio in Crisis: The BBC Overseas Service, the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian Uprising, 1956." Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 16, no. 2 (1996): 197-219.

2. "Overt and Covert: The Voice of Britain and Black Radio Broadcasting in the Suez Crisis, 1956." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 3 (Jul. 1996): 497-522.

"Britain supplemented its Suez policy with sophisticated propaganda and psychological warfare." The author focuses with best effect on the "grey" radio The Voice of Britain, while his discussion of black broadcasters in the period lacks specificity. For additional coverage on black radios, see Keith Kyle, Suez (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1992).

3. Radio Diplomacy and Propaganda: The BBC and VOA in International Politics, 1956-64. London: Macmillan, 1996. New York: St. Martin's, 1996.

Reisch, Alfred A. Hot Books in the Cold War: The CIA-Funded Secret Western Book Distribution Program Behind the Iron Curtain. Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2013.

For a perceptive overview of this still classified covert operation, see Benjamin B. Fischer's review article, "The Best Kept Secret: An Untold Story of a Cold War Operation," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 27, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 397-427. As Fischer notes, Reisch was a participant in "the book program." He rightly "gives Poland a pride of place in his account," since Poland "is the best case for the argument that the book program, and covertly-funded publishing in general, made a major contribution to ending the Cold War."

Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2014), finds that even though the author "does not mention the Zhivago project," this "is a meticulously documented study of a successful CIA covert action program that has received little scholarly attention until now. A very valuable contribution to the intelligence literature."

Short, K.R.M., ed. Western Broadcasting Over the Iron Curtain. London: Croom Helm, 1986. [Cummings]

Soley, Lawrence C. Radio Warfare: OSS and CIA Subversive Propaganda. New York: Praeger, 1989.

Taylor, I&NS 8.4, calls Radio Warfare an "invaluable book about the origins of ... psychological operations.... [It is] well-researched."

Soley, Lawrence C., and John S. Nichols. Clandestine Radio Broadcasting: A Study of Revolutionary and Counterrevolutionary Broadcasting. New York: Praeger, 1986.

Sosin, Gene. Sparks of Liberty: An Insider's Memoir of Radio Liberty. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.

From publisher: The author is a "former director of program planning for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty." Here, he "provides an insider's look at the origins, development, and operation of Radio Liberty." Cummings says that Sosin's is thus far the best book on Radio Liberty.

Tyson, James L. U.S. International Broadcasting and National Security. New York: Ramapo, 1983.

Urban, George R. Radio Free Europe and the Pursuit of Democracy: My War Within the Cold War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

From advertisement: The author is "emeritus director of Radio Free Europe." "This book is a unique, personal account of Cold War combat over the airwaves, of psychological battles that succeeded in eroding the international appeal of the Soviet system and ultimately in helping to bring about the implosion of the Soviet empire." Kirkus Reviews (1 Jan. 1998), says this book is "[p]assionate, courageous, balanced in its assessments,... [and] filled with some wise and highly original reflections on the greatest conflict of our times."

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., Edward C. Keefer. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976.

Volume XXIX. Eastern Europe; Eastern Mediterranean, 1969–1972. Eds., James E. Miller, Douglas E. Selvage, and Laurie Van Hook. Washington, DC: GPO, 2007. [Available at:]

From "Preface": "The coverage of this volume is split almost equally between Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean [i.e., Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey].... The second chapter [of the Eastern Europe section] is ... a general one. It deals with U.S. Government policy and the bureaucratic debate about -- and ultimately, the decision on how to fund -- Radio Free Europe ... and Radio Liberty."

Washburn, Philo C. Broadcasting Propaganda: International Radio Broadcasting and the Construction of Political Reality. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992. [Cummings]

Wheland, Joseph G. Radio Liberty: A Study of its Origins, Structure, Policy, Programming and Effectiveness. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1972.

A. Ross Johnson, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (2010), pp. 217-218/fn. 60, places the genesis of this CRS report with Sen. Fulbright, who "assumed [it] would be critical." It was not.

White, D.G. U.S. Military Government in Germany: Radio Reorientation. Karlsruhr, Germany: U.S. European Command, Historical Division, 1950.

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