The CIA in the Cold War of ideas

A panel of experts in Washington is discussing the origins, operation, and impact of the CIA’s Cold War “book program.”

From the event program:

The CIA “distributed a wide range of Western literature, much non-political, to Soviet and East European elites —  both those identified with the regimes and dissidents — who were cut off from the intellectual and cultural life of the West. The book program aimed to keep a critical mass of intellectuals in Soviet bloc countries informed about the values and culture of the free world.   Books and periodicals were mailed to Eastern Europe under the cover of various sponsoring organizations, including publishing houses and universities. They were smuggled in by travelers.  Between 1958 and 1991, some 10 million books and periodicals were distributed to East European and Soviet citizens.”

 

 

4 comments

  1. Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

    How is the Wilson Center funded?

  2. anonymous says:

    Now that this operation has been sanctioned by the CIA, is it a “fact-based, scientifically grounded, conspiracy theory” ?

    Frances Stonor Saunders, author of Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, said that the fact that the CIA published and distributed thousands of books during the Cold War, including Doctor Zhivago, had long been known, but that “the difference is now that the CIA have agreed to talk to two writers and declassify 130 documents, which they say is the whole file”.
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/09/cia-published-doctor-zhivago-in-cold-war-declassified-documents-reveal

    Finished after Stalin’s death, Doctor Zhivago was not published in the Soviet Union because of its “non-acceptance” of the revolution. In the US, however, the CIA’s clandestine Soviet Russia Division, monitored by CIA director Allen Dulles, grasped its significance:
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/10/mi6-cia-doctor-zhivago-banned-boris-pasternak

    “It was the perfect cold war cultural weapon. Set in the decades after the Russian revolution, its hero, the doctor-poet Yuri Zhivago, loses his enthusiasm for Bolshevism and quits the revolutionary struggle. He takes refuge with his lover, Lara, in a country house, and eventually returns to Moscow, where he dies in 1929.

    In a secret memo John Maury, the CIA division chief, wrote: “Pasternak’s humanistic message – that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being, irrespective of the extent of political loyalty or contribution to the state – poses a fundamental challenge to the Soviet ethic of sacrifice of the individual to the Communist system.”

  3. “In a secret memo John Maury, the CIA division chief, wrote: “Pasternak’s humanistic message – that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being, irrespective of the extent of political loyalty or contribution to the state – poses a fundamental challenge to the Soviet ethic of sacrifice of the individual to the Communist system.”

    Doesn’t this seem quaint in view of the postmodern Panoptic Maximum Security State now manifest – to entirely to the efforts of the US military industrial complex that promoted such propaganda?
    This comes rather full circle with the article on ‘American Exceptionalism’ in the recent series of articles on this site.
    The Soviets were more clumsy in their propaganda, and the open brutality of their system. Whereas the American Mythos has been generational for centuries and “passive-aggressive” in its application and representation thereof.

    “We hold these Truths to be self-evident”, but we shall continue to exterminate the Indian nations, and exploit slave labor. Put starkly like that, it is hard to stomach. Is it not? But none can deny this historical reality but through self-denial, and saccharine patriotic lullabies.
    \\][//

  4. Nathaniel Heidenheimer asks, “How is the Wilson Center funded?”

    It may seem trite to assume such, but the answer could be as simple as finding out who funded Wilson. In that case, which I think is so, you are led back to Rhodes, the Milner Round Table groups, CFR, the Tax Exempt Foundations (see: Reece Committee), etc.
    See: Carroll Quigley
    Also reference: Colonel Edward Mandell House
    \\][//

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