The Voice of America: Propaganda and Democracy, 1941-1945

Holly C. Shulman, Author
Holly C. Shulman, Author University of Wisconsin Press $37.5 (282p) ISBN 978-0-299-12620-9
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-299-12624-7
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After Nazi military and propaganda blitzkriegs overwhelmed Western Europe, a wary President Roosevelt authorized the creation of an international radio propaganda operation. In this thorough history of the Voice of America bureaucracy during World War II, Shulman, an independent scholar, offers a lucid account of the conflicts between the New Deal liberals who tried to influence foreign policy through propaganda--for instance, by expressing support for the French resistance, which the State Department opposed--and conservative State Department officials who battled to maintain control of the government's voice. The liberals included playwright Robert Sherwood, banker/writer James Warburg and theater director John Houseman, who wanted to stir European listeners with dramatic broadcasts, drawing on expressionist theatrical techniques, that emphasized the democratic cause. According to Shulman, the influence of the creative propagandists began to wane as American power ascended, the government became more conservative, and diplomatic and military officials asserted themselves. (Jan.)
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