PSYOP-Related Historical Books

An American Army Officer’s Memoir of PSYOP in World War I

PREFACETruth has accumulated many attributes, but it remained for the greatest struggle of humanity to place it among high explosives and poison gas as munitions of war. For the first time in the history of military operations the truth was used as an effective weapon. It was to organize its use by the Army of the United States that my husband sailed for France on Bastille Day, July 14, 1918, with a group of six Intelligence officers.They were directed first to establish relations with the Propaganda Boards of France, England, and Italy, then to proceed to General Headquarters, A.E.F., and assemble the machinery for a propaganda drive over the enemy lines during the autumn of 1918. The following winter, the closed season for military offensives, they originally planned to devote to intensive work among the peoples and armies of Austria-Hungary and to return to their attack on German morale with the Army's promised offensive in the spring of 1919. It was an ambitious programme, one that savored of impudence on the part of so small and inexperienced a band, -but they went like young crusaders, determined to slay dragons and overcome evil. Their plans were changed by Foch's sudden swing from defense to attack in the summer of 1918, which called for immediate activity on the Western Front.Before they left America, the Administration, recognizing that the machinery for their work was wholly military, had directed that the Army should prepare and distribute propaganda over the enemy lines.The Committee on Public Information was expected to collaborate in the preparation of material, but during the onrush of events which made history in the final weeks of October 5th to November 11th, it remained for President Wilson himself to become the unique propagandist, not alone for humanity, but in a very literal sense for the A.E.F. The Army's whole machinery for printing, translation, and distribution was set to the work of getting the President's messages into the pockets of the German soldier. The difficulties of keeping this intellectual offensive abreast of an advancing and victorious army were enormous. That they were overcome is shown by the evidence of well-thumbed propaganda pamphlets in the hands of every two out of three German prisoners who came into our lines during the last days before the armistice.England, France, Italy, and Russia had spread the evidences of her crimes throughout Germany for nearly four years before the United States came into the fight. We had in this, as in every other field, the use of their experience and machinery. It was our good fortune to bring new strength to the truth offensive, as we had brought fresh blood to the line, at the moment when both were most needed. Our contribution to the war of ideas was due to the enthusiasm and conviction of the right inspired in the men who handled these weapons by the man who provided their most effective material, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States.MARY DEWHURST BLANKENHORNNew York CityFebruary 1919

One Man’s Projection of Future PSYOP