Cold War Propaganda

May 14, 1958

Report Outline
Soviet-Free World Propaganda Rivalry
Record of Reds in Use of Propaganda
Propaganda Efforts in the Free World

Soviet-Free World Propaganda Rivalry

Propaganda in the Competition for Leadership

Violent demonstrations against Vice President Nixon during his good-will tour of Latin America, sacking of United States information centers by mobs in the Middle East, and rapid worsening of the situation in Algeria have afforded a field day for Communist propagandists. Exploitation by the Soviet propaganda machine of these and other Western embarrassments following closely upon several world propaganda successes for the United States. These had been preceded by a series of notable propaganda victories for the Russians. Anti-United States demonstrations, particularly in Latin America, have been laid at least in part to inadequacies of the American propaganda effort.

Re-examination of Western propaganda operations and values was made urgently necessary when the Soviet Union scored a propaganda triumph last autumn by launching the first earth satellite. That event not only enhanced Russia's scientific prestige but also indicated that it had gone further in missile development than had been supposed. The result was to increase uneasiness among peoples close to the shadow of Soviet power and make them more ready than formerly to grasp at plans, however imperfect and dangerous, that seemed to give hope of warding off nuclear holocaust. Some Western leaders were thus put under obligation to make their own peoples aware of pitfalls in Soviet proposals as well as to combat the effects of Red propaganda among peoples not directly lined up in the East-West struggle.

The cold war has been described as basically a contest for men's minds, and countries of the free world have found that ideals of freedom do not always speak for themselves among ignorant and poverty-stricken masses. Communists long have been ardent battlers for the minds of all peoples. Nikita S. Khrushchev declared in a television interview broadcast in the United States on June 2, 1957, that the ideological struggle—the competition between Socialism and capitalism—was “a battle of ideas,” and that “Victory is insured for the idea which will be stronger, more viable, and which will be supported by the people.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S.-Soviet Relations
Sep. 14, 1990  The Western Alliance After the Cold War
Feb. 10, 1989  Soviet Trade: In America's Best Interest?
Nov. 01, 1985  U.S.-Soviet Summitry
Jul. 09, 1982  Controlling Scientific Information
May 25, 1973  Trends in U.S.-Soviet Relations
Apr. 05, 1972  Russia's Diplomatic Offensive
Feb. 09, 1972  Trading with Communist Nations
Mar. 10, 1971  Indian Ocean Policy
Apr. 21, 1965  Negotiations with Communists
Nov. 13, 1963  Scientific Cooperation with the Soviet Union
Oct. 03, 1963  Trade with the Communists
Sep. 11, 1963  Non-Aggression Pacts and Surprise Attack
Oct. 11, 1961  East-West Negotiations
Mar. 29, 1961  Russia and United Nations
Aug. 10, 1960  Challenged Monroe Doctrine
Sep. 02, 1959  American-Soviet Trade
Jul. 03, 1959  Cultural Exchanges with Soviet Russia
Aug. 11, 1958  Conference Diplomacy
Jul. 23, 1958  Limited War
May 14, 1958  Cold War Propaganda
Feb. 26, 1958  Military Disengagement
Feb. 20, 1957  Indirect Aggression
Jul. 25, 1956  Trading with Communists
Jan. 11, 1956  Economic Cold War
Nov. 26, 1954  Peaceful Coexistence
Dec. 01, 1953  Tests of Allied Unity
Sep. 18, 1953  Negotiating with the Reds
Jun. 17, 1953  East-West Trade
Apr. 12, 1951  Non-Military Weapons in Cold-War Offensive
Apr. 20, 1949  Mediterranean Pact and Near East Security
Apr. 28, 1948  Trade with Russia
Sep. 11, 1946  Loyalty in Government
Jul. 31, 1946  Arctic Defenses
Apr. 01, 1943  American and British Relations with Russia
Feb. 24, 1933  Soviet-American Political and Trade Relations
Nov. 03, 1931  Russian-American Relations
Feb. 14, 1924  Russian Trade with the United States
Cold War
U.S. at War: Cold War