In The Voice of America and the Domestic Propaganda Battles, 1945-1953, David F. Krugler examines the troubled existence of the Voice of America (VOA), the U.S. government's international shortwave radio agency, following World War II.
As tensions with the Soviet Union grew into the Cold War, the U.S. government, under the leadership of President Harry S. Truman, carried out various programs aimed at halting the expansion of communism. The Voice of America, with its legislative mandate to tell the world about the American people and to explain the nation's foreign policies, quickly cast itself as the ideological arm of the new policy of containment, seeking to keep the world informed about the United States while also refuting Soviet international propaganda.
Although the VOA was part of the broad-based U.S. anticommunist initiative, it experienced constant problems between 1945 and 1953, including congressional investigations, slashed budgets, canceled transmitter construction projects, and chronic neglect by its operating agency, the State Department, and other national security bodies.
Krugler explains that the VOA's troubles, the "domestic propaganda battles," were the result of the rivalries that shaped American politics during these years. Most disruptive were the Republican drive to roll back the New Deal; the ongoing contest between conservative members of Congress and the Truman administration to define the proper prerogatives of the executive branch in foreign affairs; the use of foreign policies or issues to serve partisan, even personal, aims; and intra-executive branch disputes over the VOA's proper purposes.
By focusing on the VOA's domestic problems, The Voice of America and the Domestic Propaganda Battles, 1945-1953 makes an original contribution to the subject of propaganda during the Cold War.