In December 1942, General Dwight D. Eisenhower created a separate psychological warfare branch of the army to participate in the Allied invasion of North Africa. In 1944 he created an even larger organization, the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, to prepare propaganda for the D-Day invasion. Psychological warfare was especially important in the Pacific theater, where U.S. propaganda sought to convince Japanese soldiers—who had been taught by their army that to surrender meant relinquishing their place as members of Japanese society—to cease resistance.
In 1950, Truman called for an intensified program of propaganda known as the Campaign of Truth. In a speech delivered to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Truman articulated the perennial domestic justification for official U.S. propaganda: in order to combat enemy lies, the U.S. needed to promote the truth. Under the Campaign of Truth cartoons depicting bloodthirsty communists, vituperative anticommunist polemics, and sensational commentary was made at a massive scale.
In April 1951, Truman created the Psychological Strategy Board to coordinate the American psychological warfare effort. The board acted as a coordinating body for all nonmilitary Cold War activities, including covert operations. It supervised programs for aggressive clandestine warfare and propaganda measures against the Soviet bloc and it developed "psychological strategy" plans for dozens of countries in Western Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. By the time Truman left office, the U.S. government had established a far-reaching apparatus for influencing public opinion in both friendly and hostile countries.
The CIA also conducted clandestine propaganda operations in allied and neutral areas. The agency subsidized noncommunist labor unions, journalists, political parties, politicians, and student groups. In Western Europe the CIA conducted a secret program of cultural and ideological propaganda through the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a purportedly private, but CIA-funded, organization that supported the work of anticommunist liberals. Through the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the agency published more than twenty prestigious magazines, held art exhibitions, operated news and feature service, organized high-profile international conferences, published numerous books, and sponsored public performances by musicians and artists.
During the Korean War, sensationalized charges that the United States had been waging bacteriological warfare, accounts of Soviet brainwashing techniques, and communist-inspired "peace" campaigns, focused American attention on psychological warfare as a mysterious Cold War weapon. During the 1952 presidential campaign, Eisenhower repeatedly called for an expansive and coordinated psychological warfare effort on a national scale. In San Francisco he delivered a major speech on the subject, arguing that every significant act of government should reflect psychological warfare calculations. He emphasized that the Cold War was a struggle of ideas and argued that the United States must develop every psychological weapon available to win the hearts and minds of the world's peoples