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Published: August 8, 2017
Tags:  Propaganda · Psyop

The book in...
One sentence:
A historical and operational approach to psychological warfare as seen from the perspective of an ex-military, boots-on-the-ground, propagandist.

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After a whirlwind journey through some historical examples of propaganda as a military tool, the book moves toward a more pragmatic approach. Most propaganda should be suited for long term effects, a glacially slow example being education as propaganda, rather than pinpoint targeting as in more kinetic military engagements. The propagandist must also not let their ideology get in the way of delivering a truthful message that the enemy wants to hear. The second half of the book discusses analysis of both enemy propaganda to determine their position on various topics as well as polling enemy populations and prisoners to understand the effects of propaganda on them. Finally an operational dissection of propaganda covers such topics as format (radio, print), deployment (shelling, air-drop), and target populations (combatants, civilians).

designates my notes. / designates important.


Education is an extremely effective, albeit slow, method of propaganda to capture a population.

Money as propaganda. Captured notes can be printed on and redeployed. Counterfeit notes can be employed similarly and to weaken enemy economies.

Propaganda must be true. If you outright lie the enemy will be able to tear you apart with counter-propaganda. When you have no truth that can be used as a weapon, remain silent.

Consider your target sympathetically. How can you appeal to them through their beliefs? Telling them they are dogs would only steel their conviction while methodically explaining how their livelihood is eroding under rations and curfews will hit home.

Avoid “trash talking”. While analyzing enemy propaganda it is easy to fall into the habit of taking things personally. If you lash out at the enemy propagandist you are missing you true target, the enemy population.

Remember that much of the population won’t be tuning in to your broadcasts or reading all of your pamphlets. While the message may seem tired to you, it will often be the first time the enemy population is exposed to it. Repetition drilling home one point is better than a plethora of points that never reach critical mass in the enemy’s camp.

Coordinate your propaganda with other events that may be taking place. Piggy-back onto prominent topics.

Know who and where you are targeting. It would do no good to deliver a message that would not reach an appropriate audience. Internet forums like 4chan should be approached differently than a suburban neighborhood.

· Books referenced that may be of interest

Exceptional Experts

Table of Contents

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· Chapter 1: Historic Examples of Psychological Warfare

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Themistocles, having selected the best sailing ships of the Athenians, went to the place where there was water fit for drinking, and engraved upon the stones inscriptions, which the Ionians, upon arriving the next day at Artemisium, read. The inscriptions were to this effect, ‘Men of Ionia, you do wrong in" fighting against your fathers and helping to enslave Greece. Rather, therefore, come over to us or if you cannot do that, withdraw your forces from the contest and entreat the Carians to do the same. But if neither of these things is possible, and you are bound by too strong a necessity, yet in action, when we are engaged, behave ill on purpose, remembering that you are descended from us and that the enmity of the barbarians against us originally sprang from you.’

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· Chapter 2: The Function of Psychological Warfare

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· Chapter 3: Definition of Psychological Warfare

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  1. The booklists provide material in plenty for any academic-minded inquirer. The essays in the two volumes are well worth reading, although the authors have undergone the professorial delight of inventing a private language of their own. Parts of the latter book, especially, read like proceedings out of an unfamiliar lodge meeting; but there is sound sense and acute observation behind the vocabulary. It must, however, be parenthetically noted that during World War II the key propaganda jobs were held by a radio commentator, a dramatist, a newspaperman, a New York banker, and an absolutely astonishing number of men from commercial radio — along, of course, with a sprinkling of Army and Navy officers in Washington, and a heavy majority of non-specialist officers in the field. The propaganda experts were Hot, in most instances, called in to do the actual chore of propaganda. Among the exceptions were Leonard W. Doob, author of Propaganda, Its Psychology and Technique, New York, 1935, who served in the War Department’s Psychological Warfare Branch and in the Washington propaganda center at OWI; C.A.H. Thomson, who served as a propaganda staff officer both in Washington and overseas after being a collaborator with the Lasswell group; and Drs. Edwin Guthrie and A. L. Edwards, whose chapter “Psychological Warfare” in (E. G. Boring, editor) Psychology for the Fighting Man, Washington, 1943, pp. 430-447, is a lucid epitome of the topic.
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  1. Source (including Media)
  2. Time
  3. Audience
  4. Subject
  5. Mission
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· Chapter 4: The Limitations of Psychological Warfare

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(1) the ruler;
(2) or the ruling group;
(3) or unspecified manipulators;
(4) or any definite minority.
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(1) Standard-wave radio;
(2) Short-wave radio;
(3) Loudspeakers;
(4) Leaflets;
(5) Pamphlets;
(6) Books;
(7) Novelties.

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(a) the speaker should be authentically perfect in use of the enemy language,
whether spoken or written as script; or

(b) the speaker should make no effort to conceal his foreign accent.
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· Chapter 5: Psychological Warfare in World War I

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· Chapter 6: Psychological Warfare in World War II

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(1) continuation of scholastic and informal intelligence;
(2) BLACK PROPAGANDA OPERATIONS (given explicit authority only in March, ;
(3) subversive operations, in collaboration with regular military authority.
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· Chapter 7: Propaganda Analysis

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· Chapter 8: Propaganda Intelligence

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· Chapter 9: Estimate of the Situation

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c. Correlation of Psychological Warfare with
  1. Public relations programming
  2. Information and education plans
  3. Medical plans and reporting
  4. Countersubversive functions


· Chapter 10: Organization for Psychological Warfare

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· Chapter 11: Plans and Planning

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· Chapter 12: Operations for Civilians

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· Chapter 13: Operations Against Troops

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· Chapter 14: Psychological Readiness and Disarmament

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