THE ART OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE: 1914-1945 by Charles Roetter

THE ART OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE: 1914-1945

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Psychological warfare in the two World Wars -- a sampling of anecdotes, preceded by some elementary rules about the need for clear targets and firm initiatives. Roetter's sketch of World War II includes some striking facts about the Germans' failure to create an effective psywar bureaucracy -- in response to Allied atrocity propaganda, they belatedly sent out vast documents in German. Their efforts to foster Bolshevism and pacifism among enemy troops were more successful, Roetter says. The book's treatment of World War II is drastically limited. Goebbels is portrayed as something of a bungler, and his ""total war"" faction fight within the Nazi party, which concerned domestic psychological warfare, is omitted. On the Allied side, Roetter compiles entertaining stories about French stupidity in spreading enemy rumors by publicly denying them, and British cleverness in operating clandestine ""black"" radio stations purporting to emanate from German territory. The essential psychological warfare operations of the Allies -- including early 1940's profiles of the Japanese and German populations for purposes of postwar control, and the development of strategic bombing as an anti-civilian terror tactic -- are missing. Unfortunately, the Anglo-American psychological warriors had a keener appreciation of Goebbels' innovations than Roetter does, and the book is severely limited by its desire to avoid unpleasantness.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Stein & Day