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Biography of an Idea: The Founding Principles of Public Relations by Edward L. Bernays

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chapter 11

WORDS WIN THE WAR AND LOSE THE PEACE

The U.S. Committee on Public Information had no precedent in this country. Germany, of course, had operated an enormous propaganda machine for years before the war. England and France used the international cable and news services, Reuter’s and Agence Havas, which they owned, as propaganda tools. The U.S. Committee marked the first organized use of propaganda by our Government, and its work was the forerunner of modern psychological warfare. It built Allied morale in the United States, undermined enemy morale and won over neutrals. Cedric Larson and James R. Mock, in their book Words That Won the War, wrote that director George Creel and his associates “were literally public relations counsellors ...

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