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Radio Free Europe

Radio Free Europe

ROBERT T. HOLT
Copyright Date: 1958
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv2t8
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  • Book Info
    Radio Free Europe
    Book Description:

    What is radio Free Europe? Where does it broadcast? Who runs it? What are its purposes? Although thousands of Americans are familiar with Radio Free Europe (many have contributed to its support through the Crusade for Freedom campaigns), few know enough about its background to answer these and similar questions. In this book a political scientist with first-hand knowledge gives a detailed account of the organization and development of this unique propaganda enterprise. Radio Free Europe was established as a private broadcasting project in 1949 by the Free Europe Committee, headed by Joseph C. Grew, as part of the Committee’s program of broad, long-range assistance to democratic exiles from totalitarian countries. The operational headquarters are located at Munich, and the broadcasts are directed to the people of five satellite countries: Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Poland. _x000B_Professor Holt tells how Radio Free Europe was established, outlines its basic policies and objectives, describes its organization, personnel, programing, and services, discusses transmission problems, and examines the effectiveness of the propaganda. He describes in detail the role of RFE in connection with the uprisings in Poland and Hungary and analyzes the charges that RFE stimulated the Hungarian revolt.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6298-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)

    Radio Free Europe was established by a group of private citizens in December 1949, for the purpose of conducting a propaganda campaign against six Communist-dominated satellites in central and eastern Europe. It first went on the air seven months later with a small seven-and-one-half kilowatt transmitter located at Biblis, near Frankfurt, in West Germany. Its program consisted of daily half-hour broadcasts, first to Czechoslovakia and then to Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Albania. From these rather meager beginnings Radio Free Europe has grown until eight years later it operated twenty-nine powerful transmitters broadcasting a total of almost three thousand hours...

  4. 1 The Origins of Radio Free Europe
    (pp. 9-16)

    The public received its first indication that an enterprise like Radio Free Europe might be formed when on June 2, 1949, theNew York Timescarried an announcement that an organization called theNational Committee for Free Europe¹ had been incorporated under the laws of the state of New York. Joseph C. Grew, former ambassador to Japan, was chairman of the board; DeWitt C. Poole was executive secretary.

    It is a relatively simple task to trace the immediate origins of Radio Free Europe and of its parent organization, the Free Europe Committee. There is no great tradition to identify, no...

  5. 2 Basic Purposes and Policies
    (pp. 17-29)

    Immediately upon seizing power in a country, the Communists do four things: They abolish all opposing political parties and establish a one-party dictatorship; they create a secret police; they establish a ministry of propaganda to tell people what they shall know and how they shall think; and, finally, they surround the whole system with an Iron Curtain.¹ It is moot to ask which comes first. They are interdependent; take away one and the entire structure is threatened. They are the four walls of the Communist house.

    With the establishment of these four institutions, the process of sovietization has already begun....

  6. 3 Organization, Personnel, and Setting
    (pp. 30-56)

    Most organizations have some kind of official organizational chart. Its use may vary from playing an important role in re-establishing lines of authority after an administrative reorganization to covering up a spot on the wall where eggnog was spilled at the Christmas party. But whatever function it may perform for an organization, such a chart is useful to an observer studying that organization. It is not that he can fully rely upon the chart for a complete and accurate picture of lines of authority, responsibility, and communication. Organizational charts are notorious for their inability to give an accurate representation of...

  7. 4 Policy Formulation and Programing
    (pp. 57-74)

    Radio propaganda has two aspects—the vessel and the content. The vessel is the program schedule. In Radio Free Europe the major responsibility for providing an attractive vessel—a proper mixture of news, music, drama, and commentary—rests primarily on the shoulders of the program directors and managers. It is their job to see that the dials of the radio audiences behind the Iron Curtain are tuned to RFE. Responsibility for the content of political programs, however, is less concentrated in the hands of an individual or a department. The Director of RFE takes an active part in developing policy...

  8. 5 The Voices of Radio Free Europe
    (pp. 75-96)

    At this point we come to the production “heart” of RFE—the people who write and produce the programs that go out across the Iron Curtain. It is impossible in a study dealing with all aspects of RFE to do justice to the individual desks. Each of the major desks deserves a book in itself—or two—for in addition to the unique lessons in propaganda broadcasting that one could learn from a detailed study of each, there is enough drama in the lives and struggles of the persons involved to produce several novels with all the tragedy and pathos...

  9. 6 News, Information, and Research
    (pp. 97-112)

    Program schedules such as those discussed above require tremendous amounts of news and information if they are to be fresh, up to date, and appealing. Of course, any radio network has a tremendous appetite for news and information, but RFE faces two unique mechanical difficulties that have forced it to set up a special large and complex department.

    The first difficulty concerns language. The reader must remember that RFE is a network of five semiautonomus stations, each operating in a different language. But since no one of these is the “official” language of the network, we must bring in a...

  10. 7 Breaking through the Jammers
    (pp. 113-119)

    Raw materials are gathered, guidances prepared, program schedules developed, programs produced—and there remains the final step of transmitting the spoken word to the target audiences. Radio Free Europe’s technical facilities for undertaking this final and all-important task are indeed impressive. At Biblis (in West Germany) there are eight short-wave transmitters—three 50 kw., one 20 kw., and four 10 kw. Just outside Lisbon stands one of the largest transmitter sites in the world—four 100 kw., eight 50 kw., and one 7.5 kw. short-wave transmitters. Near Holzkirchen just fifteen miles from Munich is the 135 kw. medium-wave transmitter, plus...

  11. 8 The Effectiveness of Radio Free Europe
    (pp. 120-144)

    Few problems faced by Radio Free Europe are more difficult than that of trying to assess the effectiveness of its international propaganda operation. There is no “one-to-one” relationship between communications content and effect. As Davison and George point out:

    The effectiveness of communication in influencing behavior depends in large measure on theconditionsunder which the communications are sent and received. . . . The character imputed by an audience to the communicator—with reference, for example, to his power, prestige, reputation for credibility or sobriety, closeness to the top leadership of his own country, etc.—may affect the listeners’...

  12. 9 Operations from the Berlin to the Poznan Riots
    (pp. 145-169)

    In the previous chapters we have described the organization of RFE and how this organization functions to produce policy and propaganda. In this and the following chapter attention will be focused on the development of a propaganda campaign.

    Radio Free Europe began its operations with an optimistic assumption of success based on the biblical authority that “the truth shall make them free.” “But it’s a tough fight,” remarked Jan Masaryk, and it was not long before the full import of this twentieth-century comment on sacred teaching became obvious. One gets the impression that, by the beginning of 1953, RFE was...

  13. 10 The Uprisings in Poland and Hungary
    (pp. 170-199)

    Nikita Khrushchev included in his now-famous speech on the “cult of the individual” a warning to the Communist faithful: “We should in all seriousness consider the question of the cult of the individual. We cannot let this matter get out of the Party, especially not to the press. . . . We should know the limits . . .”

    In the Soviet Union, Krushchev was able to keep the campaign to eradicate the “cult of the individual” fairly well within the intended limits. The debate could not be restricted to party circles; it could not be kept out of the...

  14. 11 A Nonofficial Instrument of American Foreign Policy
    (pp. 200-214)

    Both at home and abroad Radio Free Europe is generally looked upon as an American institution. The Crusade for Freedom’s advertising campaigns to solicit funds to support the activities of the Free Europe Committee tell the American people that RFE is their station. The western European press refers to RFE as the “private American propaganda network.” Even significant parts of the audiences in the captive countries are aware of the American sponsorship, and although they appreciate the native character of the programing, the fact of American sponsorship actually seems to lend prestige to the activities of the exiles. However private...

  15. Appendix
    (pp. 217-231)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 232-242)
  17. Index
    (pp. 243-249)