Russian Propaganda

Marx is more. Berlin, February 2019.

The Kaiser’s propaganda and the Nazi propaganda came from Berlin, but the international Communist propaganda comes from many places simultaneously. It comes from Soviet-subsidized newspapers and writers in the Near East.

It comes from Communist newspapers in France and Italy and the China mainland. It comes from Communist speakers, from leaflets, in many scores of cities from Liverpool to Lima. The bandleader in Moscow raises his baton and the musicians all over the world, including the United States, play in the same key, however off-key it may be.

We in our professions, yours and mine, generally think of propaganda as consisting of words and ideas put out over the radio, in the press, in pamphlets, in motion pictures, and the like. But not so the international Communists. They think of propaganda in two terms. One is as I just described it. The other is action. And very often action is the most potent propaganda of all.

We in the United States government are not accustomed to taking action for propaganda purposes. If we take action in foreign policy, for instance, it is solely for the purpose of promoting our basic purpose, which is peace and justice for all nations, thus promoting the welfare of all peoples.

The international Communist rulers, however, are prepared, and skillfully so, to use action solely to produce a propaganda effect. Witness the series of threatening notes addressed by the Kremlin in recent weeks to members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The Kremlin could have had no hope that these nations would withdraw from NATO or give up the NATO bases on their soil.

But they did have a hope that the United States would be branded as a probable aggressor, using the NATO countries as launching sites for an attack on the Soviet Union. Perhaps never before in diplomatic history have we witnessed such a Niagara of notes, letters, and statements as have issued from the Kremlin in the last few months.

It must be Moscow. Neukölln, February 2019.

Communist leaders consider Africa today to be as important to their designs for world conquest as they considered China to be twenty-five years ago.

Consequently, they are mounting a diplomatic propaganda and economic offensive in all parts of the continent. They are trying desperately to convince the peoples of Africa that they support more strongly than we do their natural aspirations for independence, equality and economic progress.

As a result of skilful propaganda primarily inspired by the enemies of freedom, a consistently distorted picture of the treatment of minority races in the United States is being effectively presented in Africa.

Every instance of prejudice in this country is blown up in such a manner as to create a completely false impression of the attitudes and practices of the great majority of the American people. The result is irreparable damage to the cause of freedom is at stake.

All the midnight oil from Batum and Baku seems to be burning in the Kremlin. There are, of course, various explanations for this flood. But one of them is without a doubt the propaganda effect.

Freedom, in Arabic. Turin, January 2019.

A little more than a year ago Premier Bulganin addressed a formal note to President Eisenhower, proposing a 20-year nonaggression pact between the two countries. Mr Bulganin could not have hoped that the president would accept the proposal, in view of all the basic unsettled issues between the two countries.

But he could hope that the president’s rejection would confirm Soviet propaganda that the Soviet Union was the protagonist of peace and the United States the protagonist of war.

Bulganin could hope that the proposal would obscure the fact that the Soviet Union forbade the unification of Germany and the freedom of the satellites, without which true peace is impossible. He could hope that mere discussion of the proposal would alienate the United States from its closest allies, Britain and France, with whom the Soviet Union had recently abrogated its treaties of nonaggression.

I think we need to learn a lesson — in fact, I think we have learned a lesson — from the Soviet practice of action plus propaganda. You remember, I’m sure, the Soviet and Chinese Communist campaign on our alleged use of germ warfare in Korea. They cleverly combined action with propaganda.

On the action side, they forced American fliers to make confessions. They ferried to Korea scientists and pseudoscientists from various countries so as to produce resolutions and statements. And no doubt they convinced millions of people I that Americans were barbarians.

The lesson is that we too can put across our ideas to other peoples and even to the Soviet rulers by action and information — not the spurious action and false information of Communist propaganda, but honest action and true information.

Italy’s dreaming. Turin, December 2018.

Adapted from a State Department bulletin (1957) courtesy of Published under a Creative Commons license. Photographs by Joel Schalit. All rights reserved.