Disorder over design: strategy, bureaucracy and the development of U.S. political warfare in Europe, 1945-1950

Long, Stephen John (2009). Disorder over design: strategy, bureaucracy and the development of U.S. political warfare in Europe, 1945-1950. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This study explores factors behind the development of a covert political warfare capability by the United States government from 1945-1950. Specifically, it examines the place of political warfare within U.S. policy and bureaucracy towards Europe and the Soviet Union. Political warfare was defined expansively to comprise psychological, political, economic and paramilitary actions.
External factors are significant, above all the deterioration of relations between Washington and Moscow and the onset of the Cold War. But specific emphasis is given to internal aspects. In particular, strategic and bureaucratic factors are examined that shaped the inauguration of an unprecedented peacetime capability of subversive foreign intervention.
The central hypothesis is that disorder prevailed over design as a political warfare programme was developed against the Soviet bloc. Institutional conflicts overshadowed a unified national approach, while coordination between departments and agencies hampered effective implementation. Furthermore, the position of political warfare within broader U.S. foreign policy remained ambiguous and problematic. Washington failed to formulate a workable, unified strategy towards the east integrating political warfare. This undermined the fundamental American objective in the early Cold War to retract Soviet power peacefully from Eastern Europe. A legacy of strategic incoherence beyond 1950 resulted.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
E History America > E151 United States (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/1786


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