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Cold War on the airwaves : the radio propaganda war against East Germany / Nicholas J. Schlosser.

By: Schlosser, Nicholas J [author.].
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [2015]Description: 1 online resource (xii, 233 pages) : illustrations.Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780252097782; 0252097785.Subject(s): Cold War | Propaganda, American -- Germany (East) -- HistoryAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Cold War on the airwaves.DDC classification: 384.54/530943155409045 Other classification: SOC052000 | HIS037070 | POL005000 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook. Scope and content: "Founded as a counterweight to the Communist broadcasters in East Germany, Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) became one of the most successful public information operations conducted against the Soviet Bloc. Cold War on the Airwaves examines the Berlin-based organization's history and influence on the political worldview of the people--and government--on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Nicholas Schlosser draws on broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys by the U.S. Information Agency to profile RIAS. Its mission: to undermine the German Democratic Republic with propaganda that, ironically, gained in potency by obeying the rules of objective journalism. Throughout, Schlosser examines the friction inherent in such a contradictory project and propaganda's role in shaping political culture. He also portrays how RIAS's primarily German staff influenced its outlook and how the organization both competed against its rivals in the GDR and pushed communist officials to alter their methods in order to keep listeners. From the occupation of Berlin through the airlift to the construction of the Berlin Wall, Cold War on the Airwaves offers an absorbing view of how public diplomacy played out at a flashpoint of East-West tension"-- Provided by publisher.Scope and content: "Cold War on the Airwaves offers a history of the Berlin-based American propaganda broadcaster Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) and its impact on the political culture of the German Democratic Republic during the early Cold War. Founded in 1946 to serve as America's official radio station in Berlin and as a counterweight to the Communist-controlled broadcasters in East Germany, RIAS quickly became one of the United States' most successful public information operations conducted against the Soviet Bloc. Nicholas Schlosser examines how the RIAS fast became one of the most trusted sources for news inside East Germany during a dynamic period following World War II that included the Berlin Airlift, the East German rising of 1954, and building of the Berlin Wall. Drawing on a wealth of broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys of East Germans by the U.S. Information Agency, he attributes RIAS's success to its conscious effort to balance accuracy with partisanship. Claiming objective journalism, RIAS reporters nevertheless used the language, style, and tone of neutral broadcasting to openly attack the Soviet Union and undermine the GDR's legitimacy. Through information from East German citizens visiting or escaping to West Berlin, the reporters broadcast stories to counter official statements from East Germany's ruling party, reported on bad economic conditions, and encouraged listeners to oppose the GDR. Thus, as with other U.S. anticommunist public information programs, RIAS attempted to resolve the inherent contradictions of conducting a propaganda operation in name of creating a democratic society built upon an objective press"-- Provided by publisher.
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Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
PN1991.3.G4 S286 2015 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt17t75vb Available ocn933516783

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"Founded as a counterweight to the Communist broadcasters in East Germany, Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) became one of the most successful public information operations conducted against the Soviet Bloc. Cold War on the Airwaves examines the Berlin-based organization's history and influence on the political worldview of the people--and government--on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Nicholas Schlosser draws on broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys by the U.S. Information Agency to profile RIAS. Its mission: to undermine the German Democratic Republic with propaganda that, ironically, gained in potency by obeying the rules of objective journalism. Throughout, Schlosser examines the friction inherent in such a contradictory project and propaganda's role in shaping political culture. He also portrays how RIAS's primarily German staff influenced its outlook and how the organization both competed against its rivals in the GDR and pushed communist officials to alter their methods in order to keep listeners. From the occupation of Berlin through the airlift to the construction of the Berlin Wall, Cold War on the Airwaves offers an absorbing view of how public diplomacy played out at a flashpoint of East-West tension"-- Provided by publisher.

"Cold War on the Airwaves offers a history of the Berlin-based American propaganda broadcaster Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) and its impact on the political culture of the German Democratic Republic during the early Cold War. Founded in 1946 to serve as America's official radio station in Berlin and as a counterweight to the Communist-controlled broadcasters in East Germany, RIAS quickly became one of the United States' most successful public information operations conducted against the Soviet Bloc. Nicholas Schlosser examines how the RIAS fast became one of the most trusted sources for news inside East Germany during a dynamic period following World War II that included the Berlin Airlift, the East German rising of 1954, and building of the Berlin Wall. Drawing on a wealth of broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys of East Germans by the U.S. Information Agency, he attributes RIAS's success to its conscious effort to balance accuracy with partisanship. Claiming objective journalism, RIAS reporters nevertheless used the language, style, and tone of neutral broadcasting to openly attack the Soviet Union and undermine the GDR's legitimacy. Through information from East German citizens visiting or escaping to West Berlin, the reporters broadcast stories to counter official statements from East Germany's ruling party, reported on bad economic conditions, and encouraged listeners to oppose the GDR. Thus, as with other U.S. anticommunist public information programs, RIAS attempted to resolve the inherent contradictions of conducting a propaganda operation in name of creating a democratic society built upon an objective press"-- Provided by publisher.

Print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

There is much to learn and possibly relearn in this new addition to the literature of Cold War-era propaganda studies. Schlosser (US Army Center of Military History) frames his book along parallel and complementary time lines. The first explains the seemingly permanent rupture between East and West Germany during the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49, and follows the story through the uneasy decade of the 1950s until the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The second time line focuses on the medium of radio, which turned out to be the most effective propaganda tool during the same time period. The US-backed station, Radio in the American Sector (RIAS), prided itself on its more objective handling of the news, compared to ideological and doctrinaire broadcasts of its communist competitors, such as Radio Berlin International. This intriguing case study, a microhistory of the Cold War tensions that plagued Berlin, reminds readers that this fractured city remained the epicenter of an enduring global conflict that lasted for decades. General readers and specialists of the Cold War. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --Bob Miller, University of Cincinnati-Clermont

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Nicholas Schlosser is a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History. He is the coeditor of Counterinsurgency Leadership in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Beyond .

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