The Art of Manipulation: Agents of Influence and the Rise of the American National Security State, 1914-1960
Arlington, James R.
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Throughout the twentieth century, British and Chinese agents of influence, fellow travelers and their unwitting allies conducted political warfare campaigns designed to exploit America’s rising xenophobia to achieve specific diplomatic goals. The result of these “friendly” political warfare campaigns led the United States to not only fight in two world wars but also lead to a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign and domestic policy. By creating a culture of fear, these political warfare specialists influenced the U.S. political climate making it amiable toward their respective governments’ diplomatic agendas. These foreign agents infiltrated the media, created front organizations, and quietly worked behind the scenes to shape American foreign and domestic policy. During the First World War, British intelligence played on American fears by suggesting that “hyphenated” Americans might be treasonous. Patience, luck, and nerve finally paid off as a reluctant president asked Congress to declare war. Two decades later, England, once again, found itself embroiled in war. By the summer of 1940, Winston Churchill, the newly appointed British Prime Minister, knew the only way the British Empire could survive was to drag the United States into the conflict. Using the lessons learned from the Great War, British intelligence began working to drag a reluctant nation to war. British agents of influence suggested that German Fifth columnists working on American soil sought to undermine the nation. The fear of subversion helped to shift U.S. attitudes. The British were not the only nation struggling to survive. Half a world away, the Chinese fought Imperial Japan, and like the British, the Chinese began lobbying the United State for support. The British and the Chinese competed for American aid. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor did not end this competition nor did the defeat of the Axis powers. As the “Good War” ended, the British and the Chinese worked to ensure that U.S. aid would help rebuild their shattered economies. The blowback from these operations led the rise of the American national security state. This is the story of how these agents of influence and their domestic allies worked to change the course of a nation.