From the 1950s to the aftermath of communist rule, two American-funded international broadcasting organizations - Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty - engaged in a prolonged battle of ideas. With persistence, the Radios fought against the spread of communist ideology. This book is a personal account of Cold War combat over the air waves, of psychological battles that succeeded in eroding the international appeal of the Soviet system and ultimately in helping to bring about the implosion of the Soviet empire. George R. Urban offers an insider's perspective on the history of Radio Free Europe, drawing on his service during the 1960s and his term as overall director in the 1980s. In detail Urban describes how the Radios promoted the case of liberal democracy and the free market economy for more than four decades, standing up against a Soviet system with its clandestine offshoots and fifth columns in all the countries of the west. Urban contends that a second opponent was less visible but more powerful: influential members of the American and west European left who believed the Soviet superpower should not be thwarted. The author explores the often controversial strategies and tactics employed by the staff and administrators of the Radios, shed light on their role in the tragic 1956 Hungarian Revolution, examines the ideas and convictions of key figures, and reveals how communism was intellectually unmasked in a psychological contests that also made possible reconciliation between nations and individuals.
Yale University Press
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