Political warfare
Political warfare is the use of political means to compel an opponent to do one's will, based on hostile intent. The term political describes the calculated interaction between one's government and a target audience to include another country's government, military, and/or general population. Governments use a variety of techniques to coerce certain actions, thereby gaining relative advantage over an opponent. The techniques include propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 and psychological operations (PSYOP), which service national and military objectives respectively. Propaganda has many aspects, to include words and images, with a hostile and coercive political purpose. Psychological operations are for strategic and tactical military objectives and may be intended for hostile military and civilian populations.

Political warfare's coercive nature leads to weakening or destroying an opponent's political, social, or societal will, and forcing a course of action favorable to one's national interest. Political war may be combined with violence, economic pressure, subversion, and diplomacy, but its chief aspect is "the use of words, images, and ideas." The creation, deployment, and continuation of these coercive methods are a function of statecraft for nations and serve as a potential substitute for more direct military action. For instance, methods like economic sanctions or embargoes are intended to inflict the necessary economic damage to force political change. The utilized methods and techniques in political war depend on the nation's political vision and composition. Conduct will differ according to whether the nation is totalitarian, authoritative, or democratic.

The ultimate goal of political warfare is to alter an opponent's opinions and actions in favour of one country's interests without utilizing military power. This type of organized persuasion or coercion also has the practical purpose of saving lives through eschewing the use of violence in order to further a country's political goals. Thus, political warfare also involves "the art of heartening friends and disheartening enemies, of gaining help for one's cause and causing the abandonment of the enemies'." Generally, political warfare is distinguished by its hostile intent and through potential escalation; but the loss of life is an accepted consequence. Political warfare should not be judged by the principles of Just and Limited War
Just War
Just war theory is a doctrine of military ethics of Roman philosophical and Catholic origin, studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers, which holds that a conflict ought to meet philosophical, religious or political criteria.-Origins:The concept of justification for...


Political warfare can be used in an overt or covert manner in order to exploit internal differences within an adversarial country. An aggressor can also create new tensions for an opponent, to include between the country and its neighbors, trading partners, and allies. Moreover, an aggressor must be mindful of an opponent's national decision makers and leaders, and exploit any tensions and weaknesses, while potentially gaining support for its own objectives. Political warfare may be employed against electoral politics, political and economic policies, regime stability, and military strength. Techniques like propaganda attempt to manipulate an opponents' actions, motives, and intentions by understanding and targeting their cultural, social, and political interests.

Peaceful political warfare

Political warfare utilizes all instruments short of war available to a nation to achieve its national objectives. The best tool of political warfare is "effective policy forcefully explained", or more directly, "overt policy forcefully backed." But political warfare is used, as one leading thinker on the topic has explained, "when public relations statements and gentle, public diplomacy-style persuasion - the policies of 'soft power' - fail to win the needed sentiments and actions" around the world.
The major way political warfare is waged is through propaganda. The essence of these operations can be either overt or covert. "White" or overt propaganda comes from a known source. "Gray" propaganda, on the other hand, is the "semiofficial amplification of a government's voice." Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed"...

 and Radio Liberty are examples of "gray" propaganda during the Cold War. "Black" propaganda, however, is propaganda which originates from an unknown source. The key to black propaganda is the fact that it most often "appears to come from a disinterested source when in fact it does not."

There are channels which can be used to transmit propaganda. Sophisticated use of technology allows to disseminate information to a vast number of people. The most basic channel is the spoken word. This can include live speeches or radio and television broadcasts. Overt or covert radio broadcasting can be an especially useful tool. The printed word is also very powerful, including pamphlets, leaflets, books, magazines, political cartoons, and planted newspaper articles (clandestine or otherwise). Subversion, agents of influence, spies, journalists, and "useful idiots" can all be used as powerful tools in political warfare.

Aggressive political warfare

Political warfare also includes aggressive activities by one actor to offensively gain relative advantage or control over another. Between nation states, it can end in the seizure of power or the open assimilation of the victimized state into the political system or power complex of the aggressor. This aggressor-victim relationship has also been seen between rivals within a state and may involve tactics like assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

, paramilitary activity, coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

, insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

, revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

, guerrilla warfare, and civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

  • Foreign Infiltration or Liberation occurs when a government is overthrown by foreign military or diplomatic intervention, or through covert means. The campaign's ultimate purpose is to gain control over another nation's political and social structure. The campaign could be led by the aggressor's national forces or by creating a new aggressive political faction favorable to the aggressor within the state. Paul M. Blackstock describes three stages involved in the extension of control by the aggressor over the victim:
  1. Penetration or Infiltration: the deliberate infiltration of political and social groups within a victim state by the aggressor with the ultimate purpose of extending influence and control. The aggressor conceals its endgame, which goes beyond the normal influential nature of diplomacy and involves espionage.
  2. Forced Disintegration or Atomization: "is the breakdown of the political and social structure of the victim until the fabric of national morale disintegrates and the state is unable to resist further intervention." The aggressor may exploit the inevitable internal tensions between political, class, ethnic, religious, racial, and other groups. This concept is a similar strategy to 'divide and conquer'.
  3. Subversion and Defection: Subversion is the "undermining or detachment of the loyalties of significant political and social groups within the victimized state, and their transference to the political or ideological causes of the aggressor." In lieu of total transference, the aggressor may accept intermediate states that still meets its objectives, such as the favor of politically significant individuals. Furthermore, the formation of a counter-elite, made up of influential individuals and key leaders, within the victim state establishes the legitimacy and permanency of a new regime. Defection is the transference of allegiance of key individuals and leaders to the aggressor's camp. The individual could relocate or stay-in-place in the victim country, continually influencing local issues and events in the aggressor's favor. Defectors also provide insider information to the aggressor.

  • Coup d'Etat
    Coup d'état
    A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

    is the overthrowing of a government through the infiltration of the political, military, and social groups by a small segment of the state apparatus. The small segment exists within the state and targets the critical political levers of power within a government to neutralize opposition to the coup and post-coup governing force. Several pre-existing factors are necessary for a coup to include political participation whichi is centralized to a a small portion of the population, independence from foreign power influence and control, and power and decision-making authority concentrated within a political center and not diffused between regional authorities, businesses, or other groups.

A coup utilizes political resources to gain support within the existing state and neutralize/immobilize those who are capable of rallying against the coup. A successful coup occurs rapidly and after taking over the government, it will stabilize the situation by controlling communications and mobility. Furthermore, a new government must gain acceptance from the public and military and administrative structures, by reducing the sense of insecurity. Ultimately, the new government will seek legitimacy in the eyes of its own people as well as seek foreign recognition. The coup d'etat can be led by national forces or involve foreign influence, similar to foreign liberation or infiltration.
  • Paramilitary Operations: transitional political warfare ranging from small-scale use of violence with primitive organizational structure, like sabotage, to full-scale conventional war. The transition and escalation includes a series of stages and depends on tactical and strategic objectives. Paramilitary activities include infiltration and subversion as well as small group operations, insurrection, and civil war.

  • Insurgency
    An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

    an organized, protracted political warfare tool designed to weaken the control and eliminate the legitimacy of an established government, occupying power, or other political authority. An insurgency is an internal conflict, and the primary struggle is to mobilize local populations for political control and gain popular support towards the insurgents' cause. Insurgencies include political and military objectives, with the end goal of establishing a legitimate, rival state structure. Insurgencies are unconventional military conflicts which incorporate a variety of methods, ranging from coercive tools like intimidation and assassination, to political tools like propaganda and social services. An insurgency's approaches and objectives could involve perpetual disorder and violence demonstrating the government's inability to provide security for the populace, weakening the government and killing/intimidating any effective opposition against the government, intimidating the population and discouraging its participation in, or support for, political or legal processes, control or intimidating police ing military forces, which limits their ability to respond to insurgent attacks, or by creating government repression by provoking over-reactions by security or military forces.

Soviet political warfare in Afghanistan

The Soviet Union remains an comprehensive example of an aggressive nation which expanded its empire through covert infiltration and direct military involvement. Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Soviet Union believed European economies would disintegrate, leaving social and economic chaos and allowing for Soviet expansion into new territories. The Soviets quickly deployed organizational weapons such as non-political front groups, sponsored 'spontaneous' mass appeals, and puppet politicians. While many of these countries' political and social structures were in post-war disarray, the Soviet Union's proxy communist parties were well-organized and able to take control of these weak, newly formed Eastern European governments. Moreover, the clandestine operations of the Soviet intelligence services and the occupying forces of the Soviet military further infiltrated the political and social spheres of the new satellites. Conversely, in 1979, the Soviet Union was unable to successfully penetrate the Afghan society after supporting a coup which brought a new Marxist government to power. While Soviet units were already in Kabul, Afghanistan at the time of the coup, additional Soviet troops arrived to reinforce the units and seize important provincial cities, bringing the total of Soviet troops inside Afghanistan to 125 to 140 thousand. The Soviets were unprepared for the Afghan resistance which included classic guerrilla tactics and foreign support. In 1989, Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan, having been unable to infiltrate the Afghan society or immobilize the resistance

Political warfare in antiquity

The history of political warfare can be traced to antiquity. The Chinese military general and strategist Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu
Sun Wu , style name Changqing , better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi , was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed, and who is most likely, to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy...

 captures its essence in the ancient Chinese military strategy book, The Art of War
The Art of War
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu , a high ranking military general and strategist during the late Spring and Autumn period...

: "So to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; the highest excellence is to subdue the enemy's army without fighting at all...The expert in using the military subdues the enemy's forces without going to battle, takes the enemy's walled cities without launching an attack, and crushes the enemy's state without protracted war."

There are abundant examples of political warfare in antiquity. In ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, a famous example is that of the Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside...

, which used deception for tactical military objectives. Propaganda was commonly utilized, including Greek rhetoric and theatre which used words and images to influence populations throughout the Hellenic world. This practice has left a lasting legacy of speech as a mechanism of political power, greater than force in solving disputes and inducing submission. During this same period, Alexander the Great used coinage imprinted with his own image, indirectly forcing conquered nations to accept his legitimacy as national ruler and to unite disparate nations together under his dominion.

Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 utilized similar political warfare as the Greeks including rhetoric, as displayed by Cicero; and art, as seen in coinage, statues, architecture, engineering, and mosaics. All of these elements were intended to portray Rome's imperial dominance over its subject nations and the superior nature of Roman society. Following a religious vision, the emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 in AD 330 bound the Roman state to the universal Catholic Church. In doing so, he linked "religious commitment with imperial ambition" that proved to be quite successful and powerful. One long-lasting symbol of this is the Chi Ro, which forms the first two letters of the Greeks' name for Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

. This symbol was used for over one thousand years by Constantine's successors as a symbol of "imperial majesty and divine authority" and still is a powerful symbol within Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...


Creation of political warfare capacity in the United States

American foreign policy demonstrates a tendency to move towards political warfare in times of tension and perceived threat, and toward public diplomacy in times of improved relations and peace. American use of political warfare depends on its central political vision of the world and its subsequent foreign policy objectives. After World War II, the threat of Soviet expansion brought two new aims for American political warfare:
  1. To restore Western Europe through military, economic, and political support
  2. To weaken the Soviet hold on Eastern Europe through propaganda

President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 established a government political warfare capability in the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

. The act created the National Security Council
National Security Council
A National Security Council is usually an executive branch governmental body responsible for coordinating policy on national security issues and advising chief executives on matters related to national security...

, which became the infrastructure necessary to apply military power to political purposes. Additionally, the United States crafted the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

, which provided funding to rebuild, from 1947 to 1951, the European countries devastated by war. President Truman voiced the United States' national, universalist vision for political warfare against the Soviet Union in an address before Congress on March 12, 1947, thereby establishing the Truman Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine was a policy set forth by U.S. President Harry S Truman in a speech on March 12, 1947 stating that the U.S. would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere...


The peoples of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian regimes forced upon them against their will. The Government of the United States has made frequent protests against coercion and intimidation, in violation of the Yalta agreement, in Poland, Rumania, and Bulgaria. I must also state that in a number of other countries there have been similar developments.

One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.

The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.

I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.

The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive.

The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms.

If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world -- and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation.

Political warfare and containment policy

The Truman Doctrine was the post-WWII basis for American political warfare operations on which the United States government went further to formulate an active, defensive strategy to contain the Soviet threat. On 4 May 1948, George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

, the father of the containment policy, wrote the Policy Planning Staff Memorandum titled "The Inauguration of Organized Political Warfare." This National Security Council
National Security Council
A National Security Council is usually an executive branch governmental body responsible for coordinating policy on national security issues and advising chief executives on matters related to national security...

 (NSC) memo established a directorate of political warfare operations, under the control of the NSC, known as the Consultative (or Evaluation) Board of the National Security Council. This directorate fell under the authority of the Secretary of State, while the Board had complete authority over covert political operations. It recognized political warfare as one instrument in the United States' grand strategy. Kennan defined 'political warfare' as "the employment of all means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such actions are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (such as ERP - the Marshall Plan), and 'white' propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of 'friendly' foreign elements, 'black' psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states."

The memo further defined four projects that were activated by the Board to combat growing Communist influence abroad, including:
  • Liberation Committees: to encourage the formation of a public American organization which will sponsor selected political refugee committees to give support and guidance to national movements gestating in the Soviet World;
  • Support of indigenous anti-communist elements: within threatened countries of the free world, to include covertly using private intermediaries;
  • Underground activities behind the Iron Curtain
  • Preventative direct action in free countries: only in cases of dire necessity. This covert operation involved: control over anti-sabotage activities in the Venezuelan oil fields, American sabotage of Near Eastern oil installations on the verge of Soviet capture, and designation of key individuals threatened by the Kremlin who should be protected or removed elsewhere.

Cold War era

The United States used gray and black propaganda research, broadcasting, and print media operations during the Cold War to achieve its political warfare goals. These operations were conducted against Eastern European targets from Western Europe by two public-private organizations supported partly by the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 and the NSC, and partly by private corporations. These organizations were Free Europe, which was launched in 1941 and targeted Eastern Europe, and the American Committee for Liberation (AmComLib) created in 1951 to broadcast information into Soviet Russia. Both were renamed shortly thereafter and combined as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Many RFE/RL recruits came either from European emigrants families who were strongly anti-Communist or from US government agencies, most notably from CIA. Officially, "the US government denied any responsibility for the radios and took care to conceal the channels of funding, personnel recruitment, and policy influence. Obviously, the major support was American, but it was plausibly not official American and it could be excluded from diplomatic intercourse and international legal complication." RFE/RL was considered to be a gray operation until its existence was publicly acknowledged by "activists" in the United States during the late 1960s. The goal of the radios was to present the truth to suppressed peoples behind the Iron Curtain "to aid in rebuilding a lively and diversified intellectual life in Europe which could...defeat Soviet...incursions on their freedom."

An overt, non-governmental form of political warfare during the Cold War emerged after President Ronald Reagan's
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 8 June 1982 speech to the British Parliament. In his speech, Reagan appealed for a "global crusade for democracy" and as a result, the National Endowment for Democracy
National Endowment for Democracy
The National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, is a U.S. non-profit organization that was founded in 1983 to promote US-friendly democracy by providing cash grants funded primarily through an annual allocation from the U.S. Congress...

 (NED) was created in December 1983. The NED was a non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

 (NGO) based on four fundamental foundations:
  • The National Democratic Institute
  • The National Republican Institute to dispense funds and training to politicians and political parties;
  • The Center for International Private Enterprise to provide training, funding, and networking opportunities for business associations;
    The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly AFL–CIO, is a national trade union center, the largest federation of unions in the United States, made up of 56 national and international unions, together representing more than 11 million workers...

     to assist foreign trade unions.

The NED "funded programs in support of candidates acceptable to the US in elections in Grenada, Panama, El Salvador, and Guatemala throughout 1984 and 1985 in order to prevent communist victories, and create stable pro-US governments." It was also active in Europe, funding groups to carry promote pro-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) propaganda in Britain, as well as a "right wing French student organisation...linked to fascist paramilitaries." Other notable efforts included anti-Sandanista propaganda and opposition efforts in Nicaragua as well as anti-Communist propaganda and opposition efforts in support of the Solidarity movement in Poland between 1984 and 1990. According to a 1991 interview in the Washington Post with one of the creators of the NED, Mr. Allen Weinstein
Allen Weinstein
Allen Weinstein is an American historian, educator, and federal official who has served in several different offices. He served as the Archivist of the United States from February 16, 2005 until his resignation on December 19, 2008...

, "a lot of what we (NED) do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."

Political warfare in Communist regimes

Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union was committed to political warfare on classic totalitarian lines and continued to utilize propaganda towards internal and external audiences. Active Measures
Active measures
Active Measures were a form of political warfare conducted by the Soviet security services to influence the course of world events, "in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it". Active measures ranged "from media manipulations to special actions...

 (Russian: Активные мероприятия) was a Russian term to describe its political warfare activities both at home and abroad in support of Soviet domestic and foreign policy. Soviet efforts took many forms, ranging from propaganda, forgeries, and general disinformation to assassinations. The measures aimed to damage the enemy’s image, create confusion, mould public opinion, and to exploit existing strains in international relations. The Soviet Union dedicated vast resources and attention to these active measures, believing that ‘mass production of active measures would have a significant cumulative effect over a period of several decades.” Soviet active measures were notorious for targeting intended audience's public attitudes, to include prejudices, beliefs, and suspicions deeply rooted in the local history. Soviet campaigns fed disinformation that was psychologically consistent with the audience. Examples of Soviet active measures include:
  • Trust Operation
    Trust Operation
    Operation Trust was a counterintelligence operation of the State Political Directorate of the Soviet Union. The operation, which ran from 1921-1926, set up a fake anti-Bolshevik underground organization, "Monarchist Union of Central Russia", MUCR , in order to help the OGPU identify real...

    : was a counterintelligence operation conducted by Soviet intelligence against domestic and foreign adversaries. The operation, which ran from 1921–1929, set up a fake anti-Bolshevik underground organization, "Monarchist Union of Central Russia", MUCR (Монархическое объединение Центральной России, МОЦР), which claimed to plan a conspiracy to overthrow the Soviet government. The Trust aimed to create the view that communism was over in Russia and the Soviet Union would abandon its revolutionary ways. Western intelligence services supported the fake anti-Bolshevik dissidents who provided false intelligence reports. The operation's purpose was to identify real dissidents and anti-Bolsheviks, internally and abroad. The operation resulted in the arrests and executions of Russian exile leaders and the general demoralization of anti-Soviet efforts.

  • The "Rumor" Campaign: In October 1985, a Soviet weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta drew attention to a story in an obscure Indian paper, The Patriot, which alleged that the U.S government engineered the AIDS virus during biological warfare research in the U.S., and that it was being spread throughout the world by U.S. servicemen who had been used as guinea pigs for the experiment. The story was broadcasted by Moscow’s Radio Peace and Progress in English and Turkish broadcasts to Asian countries, some of which had important U.S. military bases. The “Rumor” campaign was highly effective in the 1980s and continues to resurface today throughout the world.

Communist strategy and tactics continually focused on revolutionary objectives, "for them the real war is the political warfare waged daily under the guise of peace." the purpose of which is to "disorient and disarm the opposition...to induce the desire to surrender in opposing peoples...to corrode the entire moral, political, and economic infrastructure of a nation." Lenin's mastery of "politics and struggle," remained objectives for the Soviet Union and other global communist regimes, such as the Peoples Republic of China.

Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

China's political leaders during this century have had to first create a nation before they could proceed to contend with other national actors in the international arena. Consequently, insofar as both the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 subscribed to a political warfare concept during their formative years of struggle, the concept was as much concerned with creating national identity and defeating domestic adversaries as it was with China's ability to compete in the world.

The Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 government in Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 recognized that its Communist adversary astutely employed political warfare to capitalize upon Kuomintang weaknesses over the years since Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

 first mounted his revolution in the 1920s, and Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

's regime had come to embrace a political warfare philosophy as both a defensive necessity and as the best foundation for consolidating its power in hope of their mythical goal of "retaking the mainland." Both the Nationalist and Communist Chinese political warfare doctrine stem from the same historical antecedents at the Whampoa Military Academy
Whampoa Military Academy
The Nationalist Party of China Army Officer Academy , commonly known as the Whampoa Military Academy , was a military academy in the Republic of China that produced many prestigious commanders who fought in many of China's conflicts in the 20th century, notably the Northern Expedition, the Second...

 in 1924 under Soviet tutelage.

The Nationalist Chinese experience with political warfare can be treated in a much more tangible way than merely tracing doctrinal development. In Taiwan today, the concept if virtually synonymous with the General Political Warfare Department
Fu Hsing Kang College
The Political Warfare Cadres Academy , also known as Fu Hsing Kang College , is a military academy in Taipei, Republic of China....

 of the Ministry of National Defense which has authored political doctrine and is the culmination of a series of organizational manifestations of its application.

See also

Further reading

  • Bernays, Edward
    Edward Bernays
    Edward Louis Bernays , was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda along with Ivy Lee, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations"...

    . "Propaganda" (IG Publishing, 1928).
  • Lawrence W. Bielenson, "Power Through Subversion" (Public Affairs Press, 1972).
  • Ellul, Jacques
    Jacques Ellul
    Jacques Ellul was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books about the "technological society" and the interaction between Christianity and politics....

    . "Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes". Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. (Random House/Vintage, 1973).
  • Linebarger, Paul M. "Psychological Warfare". (International Propaganda and Communications, 1948).
  • Carnes Lord and Frank R. Barnett, eds., "Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the US Approach" (National Defense University Press and National Strategy Information Center, 1989).
  • Luttwak, Edward
    Edward Luttwak
    Edward Nicolae Luttwak is an American military strategist and historian who has published works on military strategy, history and international relations.-Biography:...

    . "Coup d'Etat" (Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    , 1968).
  • Janos Radvanyi, ed., "Psychological Operations and Political Warfare in Long-term Strategic Planning" (Praeger, 1990).
  • Smith, Paul A., "On Political War" (National Defense University Press Publications, 1989).

External links

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