Defining Psychological War Communication research is a small but intriguing field in the social sciences. This relatively new specialty crystallized into a distinct discipline within sociology—complete with colleges, curricula, the authority to grant doctorates, and so forth between about 1950 and 1955.

Today it underlies most college and graduate-level training for print and broadcast journalists, public relations and advertising personnel, and the related craftspeople who might be called the “ideological workers” of contemporary U.S. society.

Government psychological warfare programs helped shape mass communication research into a distinct scholarly field, strongly influencing the choice of leaders and determining which of the competing scientific paradigms of communication would be funded, elaborated, and encouraged to prosper.

The state usually did not directly determine what scientists could or could not say, but it did significantly influence the selection of who would do the “authoritative” talking in the field.

This book takes up three tasks.

First, it outlines the history of U.S. psychological warfare between 1945 and 1960, discussing the basic theories, activities, and administrative structure of this type of communication enterprise.

Second, it looks at the contributions made by prominent mass communication researchers and institutions to that enterprise.

Third, it examines the impact of psychological warfare programs on widely held preconceptions about communication and science within the field of communication research itself.

Defining Psychological Warfare 1945-1960

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