One of the most powerful aspects of warfare is that of psychological manipulation. But, what makes this form of warfare so effective? The power of psychological warfare is the inability to defend yourself against its effect. In this vlog, Dr. Jeff Logue shares how WWII was a vivid example of psychological warfare in the way it was employed by the Axis and Allied Powers to target the moral sentiment of soldiers.
– [MUSIC PLAYING] [MUSIC – DINAH SHORE, “I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE”] One of the most powerful aspects of warfare is that of psychological manipulation. People are often aware of the brutality and violence of war itself, but they ignore psychological warfare. World War II offers a vivid example of psychological warfare in the way it was employed to target the morale and sentiment of numerous soldiers. The most fascinating means of dissemination was in the form of leaflets that were dropped from bomber planes. These messages were intended to curb the motivation and enthusiasm of the soldiers. For example, some leaflets depicted scenes of marital infidelity, a theme that no doubt touches on the insecurity felt by many, many soldiers. The power of the psychological warfare is the inability to defend yourself against its effect. Psychological warfare aims at your insecurities and desires, and then uses these means of achieving objectives. Psychological warfare is defined as, “The systematic process of influencing the will, and directing the actions of people in enemy and enemy-occupied territories according to the needs of a higher strategy.” The use of propaganda against the enemy weaknesses lead to a new concept a psychological warfare known as the Fourth Arm of Warfare, requiring its own element of research, strategy, and action against the enemy. War is often viewed as a mechanical approach to human affairs, based on the development of a powerful and efficient war machine. Psychological warfare attempts to subvert the war machine through the attacks on individuals within the system, undermining political ideologies through personal motivations. Psychological warfare focuses on destabilizing the enemy by taking advantage of their most personal characteristics of human life in a scientific manner. Emotions that are often considered the worst and most vulnerable parts of human nature, such as fear, hate, deceit, pain, humiliation, and loneliness are systematically exploited until the enemy is too demoralized to continue to fight. World War II brought with it the beginning of a new style of war. No longer was war a test of superior weaponry and armed troops. It was suddenly a mental struggle for the minds and spirits of citizens and soldiers alike. Throughout the war, the Axis and Allies engaged in massive use of propaganda aimed at psychological manipulation of each of its subjects. They soon discovered that such forms of persuasion could be just as effective against the enemy. Learning from Hitler’s example, Britain began its mission to revolutionize its propaganda by using it on a scale never before imagined. Britain developed psychological warfare into a science through careful studies of the psychological vulnerabilities of the human mind. Now, military psychology was not a new concept in World War II. In both the first and second World Wars, the British government enlisted the help of thousands of psychologists to perform research, testing, and experimentation to determine the selection, the placement, and the training of its soldiers. But for the first time, the scientific application of psychology was used to weaken the enemy while strengthening its own soldiers. At the time of World War II, there was also a growing recognition of the cultural influences on man and how they determined individual motivations. Many psychologists claim that World War II was most responsible for the emergence of social and cultural psychology as a legitimate area of science. Prior to the war, most aspects of social psychology were simply philosophical. When the psychological warfare campaign began, governments began to actively recruit psychologists to take part in planning and testing. And a new style of systematic field research emerged. While Hitler openly and enthusiastically engaged psychologists in his war effort, the British were less inclined to admit that they, too, were using such illegitimate techniques for their own campaign. Throughout the war, they avoided using the term “psychological warfare” and preferred calling it “political warfare.” As a result, they remained very secretive about the psychologist they did employ and largely relied on the United States to perform much of the psychological research needed for their psy-war campaign. Psychological warfare techniques involved the analysis of long-term psychological strengths and weaknesses of both individuals and societies in order to ascertain their most vulnerable points. On an individual level, this is done with the use of personality psychology and combat psychiatry, with the goal of identifying psychological phenomenon applicable to the development of psychological weapons. So there’s two main questions of research here. Number one, how individual fears can be manipulated. And secondly, how the stresses of war can be systematically increased. Combat psychiatry examines the psychological effects of warfare on the individual. Now, as some of you may know, there are five enemies of individual survival. First, there is pain. Then, cold, hunger and thirst. Fourth, fatigue. And then boredom and loneliness. By exploiting these factors, psychological warfare attempts to focus on suffering rather than death. The typical psychological reaction pattern in battle consists of the following. First of all, you have this apprehensive enthusiasm. Troops are very excited to get into the fight. They’re gung ho. But there’s a little bit of anxiety or apprehension, I should say, about going into the fight. But overall, they’re very eager to get into the battle. Now, as they enter into combat, they experience what we call “resignation.” This consists of a chronically depressed state. As you can imagine, the experiences of combat and battle begin to wear on them. They become depressed, yet they are still able to efficiently execute the war routine. But as battle fatigue and the process of being in combat day in and day out continues, they enter into what we call “anxious apprehension.” And it’s at this place where they are most vulnerable in their psychological state. Anxious apprehension is characterized by feeling overwhelmed with loneliness. Imagine, you’re out there in the field. You’re in combat. You’re far away from your friends. You’re 1,000 miles from your family. And everything that is familiar is nowhere to be found. You’re in a completely different environment, a different country. People are speaking a different language. Many times, this is the first combat experience that maybe you’ve had. As a result of that overwhelmed and feeling of loneliness, often times troops would lose their appetite. We know this to be a classic symptom of major depressive disorder. Following that, often times, or coupled with that, is guilt– guilt associated with killing a fellow human being. Many of US troops were Christians. They were raised on the 10 Commandments. Murder is wrong. And so they were having to come to grips with this idea of killing someone who looked oftentimes just like them. Guilt associated with leaving family back home. Leaving a wife. Leaving their children. Leaving aging parents or leaving the farm where they were so useful to their family. Guilt associated with surviving an attack after many of their friends were killed. We call that “survivor guilt.” Coupled with this overwhelmed feeling of loneliness, appetite loss, guilt, we also have this lessening of group identification. After losing yourself into the conflict and the battle and the combat that you are experiencing, oftentimes troops would begin to wonder and question the purpose of the war effort. Much of the propaganda, especially what you heard as I walked out here, tapped into that questioning. Is it really worth it? Why are we really here? That would oftentimes lead to withdrawal of physical and emotional investment. I mean, after you lose so many friends and so many comrades and so many buddies in combat, you begin to question, why should I really invest so much emotionally into anyone? US psychological warfare consists of the integrated use of all means to destroy the will of the enemy and deprive them of the support of their allies. Psychological warfare was broadly divided into three interdependent classes during World War II. You had strategic, tactical, and what we call consolidation. Strategic propaganda was directed toward the enemy in enemy-occupied countries and had the double task of not only undermining the enemy’s will to resist, but also sustaining the morale of those supporting the Allies over the long term. Tactical or combat propaganda was conducted against enemy forces in the forward areas and sought very strategic, short-term goals. Consolidation propaganda was directed towards civilians in the rear areas, in areas recently occupied by Allied troops, to ensure their continued cooperation. The United States had certain weapons in their PSYOPs. The weapons of psychological warfare were those of the civilian media in film, print, or audio form. During World War II, the armed forces relied primarily on the printed leaflet, newspaper, and news sheet. More than 8 billion leaflets were dropped by aircraft or delivered by artillery shells world wide by the Allied powers. In addition, the Allies used motion pictures, still photographs, and broadcasted radio programs to the home fronts of the enemy. On the tactical level, the US conducted front-line radio propaganda programs and used loudspeakers and megaphones. Nearly every campaign in the Pacific theater witnessed the use of some form of psychological warfare, waged by either a civilian population or a military agency. Now, Japanese psychological warfare was modeled on campaigns conducted by the British during World War I and the Germans during World War II. In fact, the Germans actually established a branch of their propaganda ministry inside of Japan, which resulted in a close psychological warfare collaboration between the two Axis powers. As a result, their propaganda themes were strikingly parallel. Now, the Japanese had a three-prong approach to their PSYOPs. First, they had a strategic propaganda that was directed against the home fronts– political leadership and status of Western powers in Asia. In fact, some researchers believe that the invading of China by the Japanese was a way to jab a stick in the eye of Western powers that were located in that area. Secondly, is operational and tactical propaganda. And these were directed against the military forces of the Western powers. An example of this is the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Now, this was not only a psychological warfare approach or tactic on the part of the Japanese to demoralize the United States. The Japanese believed that we would easily roll over and surrender and give them whatever it is that they were wanting. But it was arguably the biggest mistake that the Japanese ever made in World War II. Because by striking Pearl Harbor, it awakened the sleeping giant within the United States and aroused an anger and a revenge inside the American people that fueled the Pacific campaign that swept across the Pacific Islands and ultimately led to the bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Operational and tactical Japanese psychological warfare also included broadcasts made by Radio Tokyo, especially those of Tokyo Rose and The Zero Hour, which you heard as I came walking out today, as well as the dropping of propaganda leaflets. Radio Tokyo often broadcasted the latest American music. Jazz, big band, bebop, jitterbug. Music by Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, and Bing Crosby could be heard on Axis radio well before Allied broadcast disseminated them. But US sailors were so immune to Tokyo Rose that enemy broadcasts were actually piped through the sound system of Navy ships for the humor and so sailors could catch up on the latest stateside hits. Japanese tactical psy-war against the US troops was judged a complete failure. Author and researcher, Dr. Robert J. Bunker wrote, nowhere has there been such great listenership with so little result. As I close today, I want to talk a little bit about the real victim of psychological warfare. You heard her voice as I came out. Iva Toguri, better known as Tokyo Rose, was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 4, 1916. After graduating from UCLA with dreams of becoming a doctor, she visited Japan to see a sick aunt and was stranded there after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She graduated from college in 1941. Forced to renounce her US citizenship, she refused twice and was left to starve and fend for herself in a foreign country. Toguri eventually found work in radio and was asked to host The Zero Hour, which was a propaganda and entertainment program aimed at US soldiers because of her American accent. She was as American as you and I here today. She read from a script that two British POWs wrote for her. Their sarcasm and satire did more to encourage US troops than it did to destroy their morale. Now after the war, she was returned to the United States and convicted of treason. She served six years in prison. Finally, much later on, President Gerald Ford pardoned Iva Toguri in 1976. And she lived with a terrible stigma of Tokyo Rose until she died at the age of 90 in 2006. [MUSIC PLAYING]
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