"White" Propaganda:

USIA, the Voice of America, and "American" Culture


Alexandre, Laurien. The Voice of America: From Detente to the Reagan Doctrine. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1988.

Bogart, Leo. Premises for Propaganda: The United States Information Agency's Operating Assumptions in the Cold War. New York: Free Press, 1976.

Cull, Nicholas J. The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Gregory, NWCR 62.2 (Spring 2009), says this is "a well written account grounded in twelve years of archival research and more than a hundred interviews with practitioners" and "will be the gold standard in scholarship on USIA." The author "brings a scholar's discipline, a wealth of empirical evidence, and arm's-length perspective to his analysis." Nevertheless, he provides "critical judgments on USIA's successes and failures." On the downside, he "gives (as he recognizes) disproportionate attention to Washington, USIA's directors, and broadcast media."

Dizard, Wilson. Strategy of Truth: The Story of the United States Information Service. Washington, DC: Public Affairs, 1961.

Dizard, Wilson P, Jr. Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the United States Information Service. Boulder, CA: Lynne Rienner, 2004.

Mead, FA 83.6, notes that the author, a career USIA employee, "has written a history of U.S. public diplomacy from World War II to 1999." Although he "is sometimes too close to his subject," Dizard has produced "an extremely useful, clear, and compact introduction to a vitally important aspect of U.S. foreign policy."

For Krugler, Journal of Cold War Studies 9 (2007), it is significant that the author "was present at the creation, and he has drawn on a half-century of experience to produce an important work." This is a "definitive history.... One of the many contributions of this narrative history is Dizard's explanation of the extensive work of the Defense Department in the information and cultural field." He also "describes the USIA's perennial failure to find full acceptance and support within the executive branch and on Capitol Hill."

Elder, Robert E. The Information Machine: The USIA and American Foreign Policy. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1968.

Hansen, Allen C. USIA: Public Diplomacy in the Computer Age. New York: Praeger, 1984.

Henderson, John W. The United States Information Agency. New York: Praeger, 1969.

Hixson, Walter L. Parting the Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945-1961. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. London: Macmillan, 1997.

According to Caffrey, History 26.1, the author examines the "cultural infiltration" of the Soviet bloc through propaganda and cultural exchange programs. Hixson details the development of the Voice of America, Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, and the instruments of cultural diplomacy. Rawnsley, I&NS 14.2, finds this to be "a fascinating and comprehensive study of early Cold War propaganda.... Hixson's research is impressive.... [He has] produced a book that is based more on primary sources than any other recent treatments of the same subject."

Macmahon, Arthur W. Memorandum on the Postwar International Information Program of the United States. New York: Arno, [1945] 1972.

Monod, David. "'He Is a Cripple an' Needs My Love': Porgy and Bess as Cold War Propaganda." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 300-312.
"[P]erformance art was employed as a form of Cold War propaganda without there being clear agreement on the point of sending it abroad or understanding of the complexity involved in presenting and receiving foreign cultural products."

Needell, Allan A. "'Truth Is Our Weapon': Project TROY, Political Warfare, and Government-Academic Relations in the National Security State." Diplomatic History 17 (Summer 1993): 399-420.

Ninkovich, Frank. The Diplomacy of Ideas: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations, 1938-1950. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Parry-Giles, Shawn J. "The Eisenhower Administration's Conceptualization of the USIA: The Development of Overt and Covert Propaganda Strategies." Presidential Studies Quarterly 24 (Spring 1994): 263-276.

Pirsein, William Robert. The Voice of America: An History of the International Broadcasting Activities of the United States Government. New York: Arno, 1979.

Qualter, Terence H. Propaganda and Psychological Warfare. New York: Random House, 1962.

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

Shulman, Holly Cowan. The Voice of America: Propaganda and Democracy, 1941-1945. Madison, WI: Wisconsin University Press, 1990.

Hyland (Summer 1991) calls this "[a]n excellent account of how commercial broadcasting and advertising techniques were applied to American radio transmissions to Germany and France, and a valuable contribution to the early history of an important aspect of foreign policy. Shulman captures the personalities, creative improvisation and democratic convictions of the time."

Snyder, Alvin A. Warriors of Disinformation: American Propaganda, Soviet Lies, and the Winning of the Cold War -- An Insider's Account. New York: Arcade, 1995.

According to Surveillant 4.4/5, the author tells the story of Charles Z. Wick's USIA and that organization's role in U.S. foreign policy in the last decade of the Cold War.

Thomson, Charles A.H. Overseas Information Service of the United States Government. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1948. New York: Arno Press, 1972.

Woolbert, FA (July 1949): "A thoroughly well-informed and annotated summary of the wartime operations of the O.W.I., the Coördinator of Inter-American Affairs and other similar agencies, as well as of the State Department since the end of the war."

Ungar, Sanford J. "Pitch Imperfect: The Trouble at the Voice of America." Foreign Affairs 84, no. 3 (May-Jun. 2005): 7-13.

"[E]ven as ... the international image of the United States is in steep decline, the country's best instrument of public diplomacy, the Voice of America (VOA) broadcast service, is being systematically diminished." FA 84.4 (Jul.-Aug.. 2005): 201-205 carries responses from VOA Director David S. Jackson; Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Chairman, U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors; Radio Free Asia President Richard Richter; former VOA White House correspondent Philomena Jurey; and a response to the responses by Ungar.

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

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