December 12, 2010

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

A new book was published on December 15, 2010, that should prove of interest to readers of this blog: 

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond

Written by A. Ross Johnson, 
Woodrow Wilson Press, Co-publisher: Stanford University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8047-7356-0

From the co-publishers:

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty examines the first twenty years of the organization, policies, and impact of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, arguably one of the most important and successful policy instruments of the United States during the Cold War.

The book is based on extensive archival research both in the U.S .and in Germany, Poland, and Hungary, as well as on interviews and the author's own experiences. It uses CIA materials, in part declassified at the request of the author, extensively. Johnson concentrates on the origins and role of RFE/RL in the context of U.S. national security strategy, with particular attention to the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in covertly organizing and funding RFE/RL from 1949 to 1971. And he details RFE activities during the most important East European crises of the era—Poland and Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The study concludes with an analysis of the factors that accounted for RFE/RL's effectiveness, which may offer lessons today as the United States tries to "win the hearts and minds" of foreign elites and populations and promote positive political change, particularly in the Muslim world.

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

Introduction: Radio as Soft Power

1 Present at the Creation

2 Birth Pangs in the Early 1950s

3 Two Octobers in 1956

4 Bridge Building in the 1960s

5 Czechoslovakia, 1968

6 Radio Liberty in the 1960s

7 Impact and Countermeasures

8 Emergence from the Shadows

9 Public-Private Partnership

10 Influencing Others: Lessons Learned, Overlearned, and Unlearned



A. Ross Johnson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Project at the Hoover Archives. He has served as director of Radio Free Europe, director of the RFE/RL Research Institute, and acting president and counselor of RFE/RL. He is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

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