The required reading list is extensive. All students must keep up with the readings and master them, or they will not pass the course.
Refer to the course category posts to keep abreast of changes and additional information.
The general syllabus of the course follows.
In this first class of the semester, we discuss “what is political warfare” in civilian and military terms, and as part of a national psychological strategy. Study terms include political warfare, psychological warfare, propaganda, counterpropaganda, political action, public diplomacy, psychological operations and strategic influence.
Then we discuss the development and conduct of political warfare in classical Athens and Rome, with a study of writings of Aristotle, Thucydides and Virgil. We also look at political warfare as waged by the ancient Hebrews and Persians, survey the psychological strategy of Attila the Hun; and discuss the political warfare methods behind how different civilizations measure the passage of time.
Required readings – note that the required readings include downloads that do not appear on the syllabus:
- Harold D. Lasswell, “Political and Psychological Warfare,” reprinted in William E. Daugherty and Morris Janowitz, eds., A Psychological Warfare Casebook (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1958, pp. 21-24. Download the essay here: Download Lasswell PSYOP_PW_pp21-24
- Paul M. A. Linebarger, “Definition of Psychological Warfare,” in Psychological Warfare (WWII Era Reprint) (Infantry Journal Press, 1948; Coachwhip reprint, 2010), pp. 37-47.
- Angelo Codevilla, “Political Warfare: Means for Achieving Political Ends,” in J. Michael Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (Institute of World Politics Press, 2008), Chapter 10, pp. 206-223. The entire text of this book is available here as a PDF: Download StrategicInfluenceCLASS_COPY
- [Textbook] Smith, On Political War, Chapter 1, “The Nature of Political War,” pp. 3-28; and Chapter 2, “Antiquity,” pp. 29-50.
- [Textbook] Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, “Introduction,” pp. 1-18; “Part One: Propaganda in the Ancient World,” Chapter 1, “In the Beginning,” pp. 19-24; Chapter 2, “Ancient Greece,” pp. 25-34; Chapter 3, “The Glory that was Rome,” pp. 35-50.
- [Textbook] H. C. Lawson-Tancred, in Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric, trans. H. C. Lawson-Tancred (London: Penguin Classics, 1991), “The Importance of Ancient Rhetoric,” pp. 1-8, “Rhetoric as Techne,” pp. 14-21; and “Psychology in the Rhetoric,” pp. 21-31.
- [Textbook] Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric, trans. Lawson-Tancred, Chapter 1.1, “The Nature of Rhetoric,” pp. 65-70.
- Thucydides, “Funeral Oration of Pericles,” in The Peloponnesian War, Richard Crawley or David Grene translation.
- A.B. Bosworth, The Legacy of Alexander: Politics, Warfare and Propaganda under the Successors (Oxford and London: Oxford University Press, 2002).
- John Ferguson, “Classical Civilization,” in Harold D. Lasswell, Daniel Lerner and Hans Speier, eds., Propaganda and Communication in World History, Vol. I, The Symbolic Instrument in Early Times (Honolulu: East-West Center, University Press of Hawaii, 1979), pp. 257-298.
- Harold D. Lasswell, Daniel Lerner and Hans Speier, eds., Propaganda and Communication in World History: Volume 1, The Symbolic Instrument in Early Times (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1979).
- Rex Mason, Propaganda and Subversion in the Old Testament, Appendix, “The Terms ‘Propaganda’ and ‘Subversion,’” pp. 170-174; Chapter 1, “Propaganda in the Ancient Near East,” pp. 1-21; Chapter 2, “Royal Propaganda in the Old Testament,” pp. 22-50; Chapter 3, “Priestly Propaganda in the Old Testament,” pp. 51-66; Chapter 4, “Propaganda and Subversion – The Deuteronomists,” pp. 66-90; Chapter 5, “The Subversion of the Prophets,” pp. 91-130; Chapter 6, “The Subversion of the Visionaries,” pp. 131-147; Chapter 7, “The Subversion of the ‘Universalists,’” pp. 148-163; and Conclusion, pp. 164-169. (Note: When you find repetition in the Mason book, skip over that section and move on. Most readers find that the book becomes excessively repetitive around the halfway point.)
- Abraham Munson, Twelve Decisive Battles of the Mind (New York: Greystone Press, 1942), esp. Chapter 2, “The Propaganda of Religion: Paul’s Epistle to the Romans,” pp. 21-31.
- Rose Mary Sheldon, Intelligence Activities in Ancient Rome: Trust in the Gods, but Verify (London and New York: Frank Cass, 2005), esp. Chapter 2, “Rome Conquers Italy: Methods and Motives,” pp. 27-41; Chapter 7, “Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic,” pp. 120-140; and Chapter 8, “The Augustan Revolution: Communications and Internal Security,” pp. 143-163.
- Thucydides, On Justice, Power and Human Nature: Selections from The History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. and ed. Paul Woodruff (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993), esp. “The Funeral Oration of Pericles,” pp. 39-46.
- Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. David West (London: Penguin Classics, 1990). A classical propaganda work to promote the political mythology of the Roman Empire.
- Max Weber, “Judaism: The Psychology of the Prophets,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, pp. 299-329.
In this class, we study political, psychological and cultural warfare in classical Asia, focusing on The Arthashastra (also spelled Arthasastra) by Kautilya and On War by Sun Tzu, and the cultures of the ancient Indian and Chinese civilizations.
- T. N. Ramaswamy, Essentials of Indian Statecraft: Kautilya’s Arthasastra for Contemp…. (New Delhi: Munshiram Maoharlal, 1962, 1994), “Introduction,” pp. 1-37; Book One, “Discipline and Environment,” pp. 47-71; Book Three, “Inter-State Policy and Administrations,” pp. 109-137; and Book Four, “State in Crisis,” pp. 141-147.
- Kautilya, The Arthashastra, translated and edited by L. N. Rangarajan (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 1992), Introduction,” pp. 13-41; “The Kautilyan State and Society,” pp. 42-98; Part IX, “Covert Operations,” pp. 498-540; Part X, “Foreign Policy,” pp. 541-674; Part XI, “Defence and War,” pp. 675-742.
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (London and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), especially Chapter I, “Estimates”; Chapter III, “Offensive Strategy”; Chapter IV, “Dispositions”; and Chapter XIII, “Employment of Secret Agents.” Another translation, by Giles, is also acceptable: Giles translation of The Art of War (MIT)
- Ross Hassig, Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control (The Civilization of the American Indian, Vol. 188) (University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), esp. Chapter 1, Introduction, pp. 3-14; Chapter 2, “The Political Bases of Aztec Warfare,” pp. 17-26; Chapter 11, “Mocteuczomah Ilhuicamina,” pp. 157-175; Chapter 16, “The Spanish Conquest,” pp. 236-250; and Conclusion, pp. 251-267.
- Leo Oppenheim, “Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, Propaganda and Communication in World History, Vol. I, The Symbolic Instrument in Early Times (Honolulu: East-West Center, University Press of Hawaii, 1979), pp. 111-144.
- John A. Wilson, “Egyptian Civilization,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, pp. 145-174.
- R. S. Sharma, “Indian Civilization,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, pp. 175-204.
- Arthur F. Wright, “On the Spread of Buddhism to China,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, pp. 205-220.
- Arthur F. Wright, “Chinese Civilization,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, pp. 220-256.
Take a look at the following commentaries on the Arthashastra:
Arthashastra from Wikipedia (Wikipedia entries contain useful references but are not acceptable as bibliographical sources at IWP)
Retired Indian general likens social networking and texting to Arthashastra tactic (AcmeOfSkill.com/Deccan Herald, 2012)
Class 3 – Political warfare in Christendom
This class surveys the development of political warfare in post-classical Western Civilization: the cultures of Europe from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. The lecture and readings explore the religious and political thinking of the Christian knights and monarchies, and the unity of Christianity and political power.
This quick survey covers Charlemagne (shown at left, smiting the Saracens), the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisitions, the Protestant Reformation, Pope Gregory XV; and British Protestant rule under Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, the Stuart kings, Cromwell and the Commonwealth, the “Glorious Revolution,” and George III. A short reading provides insights into the political thinking of the Muslims and Arabs of the period, particularly during the Crusades.
(Recommended: View Cromwell, a dramatization of the Puritan revolt against King Charles I, the attempt at a British republic under Cromwell, and the Cromwell dictatorship. Video is in the library on reserve. If you have a Netflix account, you can download the movie. We may show a portion of the movie in class.)
- Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, “Part Two: Propaganda in the Middle Ages,” Chapter 4, “The ‘Dark Ages’ to 1066,” pp. 51-61; Chapter 5, “The Norman Conquest,” pp. 62-66; Chapter 6, “The Chivalric Code,” pp. 67-72; Chapter 7, “The Crusades,” pp. 73-80; Chapter 8, “The Hundred Years War,” pp. 81-86.
- Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, “Part Three: Propaganda in the Age of Gunpowder and Printing,” Chapter 9, “The Gutenberg Galaxy,” pp. 87-88; Chapter 10, “Renaissance Warfare,” pp. 89-96; Chapter 11, “The Reformation and the War of Religious Ideas,” pp. 97-101; Chapter 12, “Tudor Propaganda,” pp. 102-108; Chapter 13, “The Thirty Years War,” pp. 109-116; Chapter 15, “Louis XIV,” pp. 121-128.
- Smith, On Political War, Chapter 3, pp. 51-90.
- Jonathan Riley-Smith, What Were the Crusades? (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 3rd ed., 2002), entire book.
- Robert Payne, The Dream and the Tomb: A History of the Crusades (New York: Stein & Day, 1984; reprint Cooper Square Press, 2000), Chapter 1, “The Dream and the Tomb,” pp. 17-20; and Chapter 2, “Thunder Out of Arabia,” pp. 18-30, for insights into the minds of the early Christian Crusaders and their Muslim contemporaries. Download 3 The Dream and the Tomb – A History of the Crusades
- “The Crusades: Crescent & The Cross” (History Channel, 2005). Documentary. First 17:10 minutes of Vol. 1 pertain to political aspects of the First Crusade, including views from a Muslim scholar and other views from a perspective different than the readings. View the first 17:10 here or below (required):
- “Cromwell” (Columbia Pictures, 1970). A historically faithful dramatization of the political rise of Oliver Cromwell and the attempt to establish a democratic republic in 17th century England. Though not a documentary, the movie attempts to maintain historical accuracy. On reserve. (Recommended, not required.)
- John E. Alvis and Thomas G. West, eds., Shakespeare as a Political Thinker (ISI Books, 2000).
- Alan Axelrod, Elizabeth I, CEO: Strategic Lessons from the One who Built an Empire (Prentice Hall, 2000).
- Matthias Becher, Charlemagne, trans. David S. Bachrach (Yale University Press, 2003).
- Robert Brentano, “Western Civilization: The Middle Ages,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, Propaganda and Communication in World History: Volume 1, The Symbolic Instrument in Early Times (University of Hawaii, 1979), pp. 552-595.
- George Kirk, “Communication in Classical Islam,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, pp. 348-380.
- Bruce McGowan, “Ottoman Political Communication,” in Lasswell, Lerner and Speier, 444-492.
- Thomas More, Utopia, ed. Paul Turner (Penguin Classics, 2003).
- Robert Payne, The Dream and the Tomb: A History of the Crusades (New York: Stein & Day, 1984; reprint Cooper Square Press, 2000).
- Regine Pernoud, The Crusaders: The Struggle for the Holy Land, trans. Enid Grant (Ignatius, 1963, 2003).
- William Thomas Walsh, Characters Of The Inquisition (P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1940; TAN, 1983).
- _____, Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader (1451-1504) (McBride, 1930; TAN, 1987).
- Gerard P. Wegemer, Thomas More: A Portrait of Courage (Scepter, 1995).
- _____, Thomas More on Statesmanship (Catholic University Press, 1996).
Class 4 – Machiavelli’s Renaissance revolution
This entire class is voted to the writings of 15th and 16th century Florentine writer Niccolò Machiavelli. The class concentrates on Machiavelli’s employment and deployment of language to further one’s political cause, morality and power, and on his commentaries about the ancient Roman historian Titus Livius (Livy).
- Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (Rethinking the Western Tradition), trans. and ed. Angelo M. Codevilla (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), “Editor’s Introduction,” pp. viii-xviii; and “Angelo M. Codevilla: Words and Power,” pp. xix-xxxviii. Survey or scan the entire book, but it is not necessary to read it in-depth. For the purposes of this course, students must be familiar with The Prince as explained by Codevilla.
- Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield & Nathan Tarcov (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996), as follows in the First, Second and Third Books of the same volume:
- Discourses on Livy, First Book,
- Chapter 7, “How Far Accusations May Be Necessary in a Republic to Maintain It in Freedom,” pp. 23-26;
- Chapter 8, “As Much As Accusations Are Useful to Republics, So Much are Calumnies Pernicious,” pp. 26-28;
- Chapter 42, “How Easily Men Can Be Corrupted,” pp. 90-91;
- Discourses on Livy, Second Book,
- Chapter 3, “Rome Became a Great City through Ruining the Surrounding Cities and Easily Admitting Foreigners to Its Honors,” pp. 133-135;
- Chapter 11, “It Is Not a Prudent Policy to Make a Friendship with a Prince Who Has More Reputation Than Force,” pp. 150-151;
- Chapter 26, “Vilification and Abuse Generate Hatred against Those Who Use Them, without Any Utility to Them,” pp. 191-193;
- Chapter 30, “Truly Powerful Republics and Princes Buy Friendships Not with Money but with Virtue and the Reputation of Strength,” pp. 199-202;
- Discourses on Livy, Third Book,
- Chapter 2, “That It Is a Very Wise Thing to Simulate Craziness at the Right Time,” pp. 213-214;
- Chapter 6, “Of Conspiracies,” pp. 218-236;
- Chapter 13, “Which Is More to Be Trusted, a Good Captain Who Has a Weak Army or a Good Army That Has a Weak Captain,” pp. 249-251;
- Chapter 47, “That a Good Citizen Ought to Forget Private Injuries for Love of His Fatherland,” p. 307;
- Chapter 48, “When One Sees a Great Error Made by an Enemy, One Ought to Believe That There Is a Deception Underneath,” pp. 307-308.
- Discourses on Livy, First Book,
- Roger Boesch, “Moderate Machiavelli? Contrasting The Prince with the Arthashastra of Kautilya,” Critical Horizons, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2002, pp. 253-276. Download moderate_machiavelli_contrasting_the_prince_with_the_arthash.pdf
Machiavelli lecture powerpoint: HPW Machiavelli
Political warfare and psychological warfare made the American Revolution possible, and Samuel Adams of Boston was, as King George III put it, the “chief incendiary.” British parliamentary policies had the unintended consequence of playing into the hands of a few agitator/propagandists who used British law as a weapon against the empire.
This class will cover the first stage of the political/psychological aspects of the American revolutionary movement as led by Samuel Adams and the Boston patriots, examining how the revolutionary leadership worked with the impoverished and aggrieved sailors and dockworkers.
We will pay particular attention to the political warfare methodology of the Boston patriots, and of Samuel Adams in particular. The class covers the ideology of John Locke and the Whig movement, British parliamentary acts, the Stamp Act protests, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the British blockade, the founding of the Committees of Correspondence and the Continental Congress, American political warfare efforts in England and other British colonies, the battles of Lexington & Concord and Bunker Hill, the invasion of Canada, early American psychological warfare, and British efforts to neutralize the rebels politically; and the idea of the American Revolution as a 18th century British civil war.
- J. Michael Waller, “The American Way of Propaganda: Lessons from the Founding Fathers,” in Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare, Chapter 1 (IWP Press, 2008). Download StrategicInfluenceCLASS_COPY
- John K. Alexander, Samuel Adams: America’s Revolutionary Politician(Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), entire book.
- Russell Bourne, Cradle of Violence: How Boston’s Waterfront Mobs Ignited the American Revolution (Wiley, 2006), entire book. (This is a great tale, intended to add to the Alexander book; it is OK to skim this book if one is pressed for time.)
- Richard Cummings, “Paul Revere and the Mechanics,” in Edmund R. Thompson, ed., Secret New England: Spies of the American Revolution (Portland, Maine: The Provincial Press, 2001), Chapter 1, pp. 3-14. The chapter concerns the Sons of Liberty in Boston, and their political and intelligence operations against the British in Massachusetts.
- “First ‘official’ report of the Boston Massacre,” AcmeOfSkill.com reprint from The Gentleman’s Magazine (Lond0n), April, 1770.
- Waller, ed., Founding Political Warfare Documents of the United States(Crossbow, 2009). Read the following sections, which supersede those on the syllabus:
- “The Stamp Act and Its Opposition, 1765-66″ and beyond. These works are generally in chronological order in the book, and it is best to follow them chronologically.
- Scan the actual British laws – the Sugar Act, Currency Act, Stamp Act, Quartering Act, Declaratory Act, Townshend Revenue Act, Tea Act; the Coercive (Intolerable) Acts (Boston Port Act, Massachusetts Government Act, Administration of Justice Act and Quartering Act); the Quebec Act, and the New England Restraining Act. It is not necessary to read these laws line by line; just skim them to get the flavor of them and understand their contents.
- Familiarize yourselves with the American and Whig objections to these laws – “Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved” by James Otis, “The Objections to the Taxation of our American Colonies” by Soame Jenyns, “If This be Treason” by Patrick Henry, the Virginia Resolves of 1765, the Stamp Act-related cartoons, and Benjamin Franklin’s attacks on the Stamp Act. It is not necessary to read these works line by line.
- Read the follow-on opposition-
- the Massachusetts Circular Letter by Samuel Adams, the Resolution of the Boston Town Meeting by Samuel Adams (1768),
- the Report of the Committee of the Town of Boston by Samuel Adams (1770),
- “The Rights of the Colonists: A Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting” by Samuel Adams (1772),
- the Preface to the English Edition of the Boston Report by Benjamin Franklin, the Virginia Resolves of 1773, and
- all material relating to the Boston Tea Party of 1773. It IS necessary to read and know these contents.
- Benjamin Franklin, “Rules for Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion” (1750).
- Read the “Reason and Rhetoric” section, including Franklin’s “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One,” and the commentary accompanying the cartoons.
- Skim the “American Political Warfare versus Great Britain” section to familiarize yourself with the contents. Pay particular attention to how the Continental Congress first addressed the King and the British public in 1774, and how that rhetoric began to change in 1775; note that the tone is deferential to “the King’s most Excellent Majesty,” and how the tone changes in the addresses to the British public and to the mayor of London. See how the Continental Congress used international public diplomacy to state its case, and also used political warfare to promote divisions within the royal court and parliament. In the letters and addresses to Canada, Jamaica and Bermuda, see how the Continental Congress and General Washington sought to exploit differences between those colonies and the crown.
- “The Stamp Act and Its Opposition, 1765-66″ and beyond. These works are generally in chronological order in the book, and it is best to follow them chronologically.
- Video: “A re-enactment of Boston mob action against the crown,” AcmeOfSkill.com commentary and segment from John Adams HBO video (lengthier section to be shown in class).
- Eric Burns, Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism (PublicAffairs, 2006).
- David W. Conroy, In Public Houses: Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts (Chapel Hill, 1995).
- Philip Davidson, Propaganda & the American Revolution(University of North Carolina Press, 1941).
- Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese, Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence (Quirk Books, 2009).
- John C. Miller, Sam Adams: Pioneer in Propaganda (Stanford University Press, 1936, 1966). This book takes a more cynical view of Adams than presented in class.
- Hiller B. Zobel, The Boston Massacre (Norton, 1970, 1996).
- Collection of British political cartoons from the American Revolution. Click here to view.
Samuel Adams was a skilled propagandist, political operator, orator and visionary, but his talents were more suited to tearing down a tyranny than building the democracy he advocated. Though he remained an important figure after early 1776, others quickly eclipsed him.
Among the builders who would overshadow Adams: George Washington, whose psychological warfare skills provided the asymmetrical advantage he needed to defeat the world’s most powerful army; Thomas Paine (pictured), whose Common Sense and other essays provided a more popular ideological component to the independence movement; and Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson.
We’re going to begin class by watching parts of the HBO docudrama on John Adams and discussing various aspects of the events and techniques that the program portrays.
- Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, Chapter 16, “The Press as an Agent of Liberty,” pp. 129-132; Chapter 17, “The American Revolution,” pp. 133-144. Note the decidedly British perspective of the American Revolution in this chapter.
- G. J. A. O’Toole, “Intrigue in Paris,” in Edmund R. Thompson, ed., Secret New England: Spies of the American Revolution (Portland, Maine: The Provincial Press, 2001), Chapter 5, pp. 65-81. The chapter covers Benjamin Franklin’s political operations in Europe.
- Waller, ed., Founding Political Warfare Documents of the United States.
- Read: Thomas Paine, “Common Sense,” February 1776; “Introduction” and “Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession.” Even though I’m not assigning the full text of Common Sense and might not will not ask you about the entire document on the final exam, this is one of the only prompts you’re likely to receive in life to read this very important founding document. So pop open a cold Samuel Adams, sit back, and enjoy the whole thing!
- Read: Continental Congress, “Declaration of Independence” (1776). Note how this founding document opens up with a statement of high principles that echo John Locke, and then reads like a criminal indictment of the king.
- Read the “Military PSYOP” section: Song, leaflet, British Amnesty Proclamation, further PSYOP against Samuel Adams and John Hancock, Franklin’s “Sale of the Hessians” fabrication, and the item on Miss Jane M’Crea.
- Read the “Sophisticated Satire” section: Franklin’s dialogue between Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Saxony and America; and the cartoons with introductory material.
- Craig Nelson, Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations (Viking, 2006).
- Thomas Paine, Thomas Paine : Collected Writings (The Library of America, 1995).
- Alexander Rose, Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring (Bantam, 2006).
- Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. This Archiving Early America site contains commentary about Paine and his most influential writing, as well as digital images of an 18th century copy of Common Sense.
This is a huge section of time to compress into one evening, but the bottom line is that the industrial revolution spawned the industrialization of communication and therefore an increase in both the supply of, and the demand for, tools of political warfare.
The class topic surveys a great amount of philosophy and history, and in the interests of brevity it only scratches the surface; students will note many gaps that they might choose to fill in on their own initiative. General points include the Industrial Revolution, politics, communication and warfare, the rise of republicanism, Marxism and other ideology, mass immigration into the United Sates, and the role of the press in politics and warfare. Case studies include the French Revolution, the War of 1812, the American Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, British and Belgian attempts to involve the United States in the Great War (World War I), and German attempts to keep the United States passive or neutral.
- Smith, On Political War, Chapter 4, “The Napoleonic Era,” pp. 91-100; Chapter 5, “World War I,” pp. 101-118.
- Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, Chapter 18, “The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars,” pp. 145-157; Chapter 19, “War and Public Opinion in the Nineteenth Century,” pp. 158-172; Chapter 20, “War and the Communications Revolution,” pp. 173-175; Chapter 21, “The First World War,” pp. 176-197.
- Jeremy D. Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1995, 2002), “The Growth of Public Opinion,” pp. 18-20. Download Popkin
- Abraham Lincoln, “The Emancipation Proclamation,” January 1863.
- National Archives page concerning the Emancipation Proclamation, with image of original document in President Lincoln’s handwriting (visit this page and read the six-paragraph National Archives commentary; it’s not necessary to read beyond that).
- Emancipation Proclamation map. Click here for an image of the US area covered by the Emancipation Proclamation (in red) and those areas that were specifically excluded (in light blue). This map corresponds to the Janowitz essay assigned below.
- Morris Janowitz, “The Emancipation Proclamation as an Instrument of Psychological Warfare,” in William E. Daugherty and Morris Janowitz, eds., A Psychological Warfare Casebook (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1958), pp. 73-79. Download MJ – Emancipation Proclamation as an Instrument of Psychological Warfare (A Psychological Warfare Casebook)
- John J. Tierney, “Political War vs Political Terror: Case Study of an American Success Story,” in J. Michael Waller, ed., Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (IWP Press, 2008), Chapter 12, pp. 244-268. Download StrategicInfluenceCLASS_COPY
- Lawrence W. Bielenson, Power Through Subversion (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1972), Chapter 9, “The Vergennes Variation and the French Revolutionists,” pp. 117-135.
In this class we’ll take a look at the main forms of totalitarian socialism – Communism, Naziism and Fascism – but will concentrate on the theory of the brilliant Italian Communist Party leader Antonio Gramsci.
I emphasize Gramsci (pictured) for three purposes:
(1) He doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the advancement of totalitarian political culture in the Western world;
(2) He was brilliant and the knowledge of his theories and techniques is important for the study of political warfare; and
(3) The US and its allies can exploit Gramsci’s theories and techniques and adapt them to wage the war of ideas abroad.
Gramsci became famous in his prison writings (1929-1935) by differing with the Bolshevik road to power. Prison allowed him to develop his ideas from the operationally political to the strategic and theoretical. Gramsci embraced the idea of a dictatorship, but, while in prison developed a theory of long-term penetration of political and cultural institutions, including public education, in a strategy of cultural subversion.
Gramsci is important because he took Marxist theory and Leninist strategy and tactics, and combined them with his careful study of the writings of Machiavelli. He can therefore be known as a Marxist-Machiavellian.
Gramsci was imprisoned under the fascists and is now known as a “political prisoner under Mussolini” or “political prisoner of the fascists” rather than as an agent of Stalin as chief of Italy’s communist party.
- Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, Chapter 22, “The Bolshevik Revolution and the War of Ideologies,” pp. 198-207;
- Smith, On Political War, Chapter 5, “World War I,” pp. 101-118; Chapter 6, “Marxism-Leninism,” pp. 119-140; Chapter 7, “The Nazis,” pp. 141-159; and Chapter 8, “Britain and America in World War II,” pp. 159-184.
- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, various editions; or online Project Gutenberg e-edition, Chapter XI, “Propaganda and Organization.”
- David Forgacs, ed, The Antonio Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings 1916-1935 (New York: New York University Press, 2000), Chapters VII-XIV.
- Antonio Gramsci, “Newspapers and the Workers,” 1916. This is a simple call to boycott the “bourgeois press” but shows a general approach to the media until the party could infiltrate media organizations or build its own. The item is short and uncomplicated, part of the “bring the system down” phase of revolution. Notably it predates the Bolshevik Revolution.
- Gramsci, “Neither Fascism nor Liberalism: Sovietism!” 1924. A short piece in which Gramsci underscores his long-term goals, but without the thoughtful theoretical and strategic approach that he would develop in prison.
- Barry Burke, “Antonio Gramsci, Schooling and Education,” The Encyclopedia of Informal Education (1999, 2005). Pay close attention to this sympathetic analysis of Gramsci’s approach to using the educational system as a means of totalitarian formation.
- Antonio Maira, “Hugo Chavez Presents Gramsci to Hundreds of Thousands of People. A Beautiful Revolution.” InSurGente.org. Translated by Iris Buehler and James Hollander on AxisofLogic.com, June 28, 2007. This essay is a very interesting look from the Left at how Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is carrying out his revolution, and how Chavez invokes Gramsci. (Click here for the original article in Spanish.)
Optional Gramsci reading:
- Gramsci, Theory.org.uk
- International Gramsci Society
- Gramsci’s Works Online (by Marxists.org – a funny one, because the very capitalistic copyright owners of the English translations of Gramsci’s key works have invoked their property rights to force Marxists.org to remove the translations from the Internet.)
- Gramsci Links Archive
Optional Gramsci videos:
How to Do Theory, “Cultural Hegemony by Antonio Gramsci,” 2009. This rather offbeat video attempts to illustrate, laboratory-style, how the Gramscian concept of cultural hegemony works. It’s less than 2-1/2 minutes long.
Peter Thomas, “Gramsci and us: Building socialist hegemony today,” May 2011. Thomas, a British Gramscian scholar and writer, is also a true believer who seeks to apply Gramsci’s principles to political organization. His lecture, at 51:50, is very instructive, especially toward the end when he shows his political hand.
Strongly recommended additional reading (not required, but you won’t want to miss them)
- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Project Gutenberg e-book) Vol. 2, Chapter IX, “Fundamental Ideas Regarding the Nature and Organization of the Storm Troops“; and Chapter X, “The Mask of Federalism.” Like Gramsci, Hitler was too busy doing his political work to find the quiet time for introspection to write a definitive political warfare theory and strategy, and found that being thrown in prison was actually an excellent opportunity to sit back, think and write. This is something the US must think about when it holds enemies captive, and when it gives them access to literature, writing implements and communication devices while in custody. As Hitler notes in the first paragraphs of his preface, being imprisoned at the Fortress of Landsberg am Lech was almost a favor to the Nazi movement as it gave Hitler the time he needed to write. As a whole, Mein Kampf is a superb example of a coherent political warfare strategy. Students who have not read Mein Kampf should do so, although nothing about the book is likely be on this course’s final exam. The full text of Mein Kampf in this Project Gutenberg e-book can be accessed here.
- Viktor Reimann, Goebbels: The Man Who Created Hitler (Doubleday, 1976). This entire book is instructive about the thinking and actions of the propagandist who gave coherence, excitement and enforcement to the National Socialist movement and who turned the Nazi party from an extreme political group into a cultural phenomenon. If you can read only one chapter, I recommend Chapter 3, “Propaganda Devours Culture.”
Class 9 – Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals
This week we will turn our attention to Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky and his work, Rules for Radicals. As the paper syllabus says, students should come to class prepared to discuss Alinsky’s book in detail.
We’ll look at the sociology behind Alinsky’s community organizing formula, how he got his ideas from his work as a criminologist in the 1930s, and how he implemented his ideas into action.
We will also discuss Alinsky’s legacy after his death in 1972 and how his community organizer trainees transformed politics.
One of the take-aways from this class will be to apply Alinsky’s principles to present-day politico-military conflicts, particularly to insurgency and counterinsurgency.
- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (Random House, 1971, Vintage, 1989). Read entire book.
- “Interview with Saul Alinsky,” Playboy, 1972 [month not available]. At Progress.org. Read the full text of the 12-part interview here, or at least the following parts below:
- David Horowitz, ed., “Saul Alinsky,” DiscovertheNetworks.org. This is a very important article that describes Alinsky, his development, his philosophy and his times, from the perspective of a critic. Horowitz is a former Marxist-Leninist and Alinsky follower who over the past two decades has devoted his life to describing the elements, individuals, structures and methods of the revolutionary left.
- Saul D. Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals (1946, 1969).
- “Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy,” a sympathetic website narrative and video narrated by Alec Baldwin.
- Noam Cohen, “Know Thine Enemy,” New York Times, August 22, 2009. A piece about how American conservatives are reading up on Alinsky and adopting his tactics against the present administration.
US psychological strategy: The Truman and Eisenhower offensives
Following World War II, the United States developed a national psychological strategy to wage ideological warfare against the Soviet Union. This class emphasizes American psychological strategy under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, but covers strategy through Reagan and looks toward the future.
We will also discuss the general concept of psychological strategy and how it might pertain to current conflicts.
- The introductory essay on the Psychological Strategy Board files at the Harry S Truman Library;
- Harry S Truman, Directive Establishing the Psychological Strategy Board, 20 June 1951.
- J. Michael Waller, ed., The Public Diplomacy Reader (Institute of World Politics Press, 2007). Download a pdf of the entire book here Download public_diplomacy_reader.pdf and read the following sections. See the book’s table of contents for the corresponding page numbers. (Note: Be careful when printing this file – it’s more than 500 pages long.) The pdf contains the text of the entire book. Those wishing to order a hard copy of the book may do so at Amazon.com.
- “Functions of the PSB [Psychological Strategy Board],” Department of State Memorandum of Conversation, 26 March 1952.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Excerpt of letter to Rev. Edward L. R. Ebson, 31 July 1958.
- John F. Kennedy, Excerpt from “Speech to the University of California,” 23 March 1962.
- Excerpt, “Ideological Operations and Foreign Policy,” Report No. 2 on Winning the Cold War: The US Ideological Offensive, Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House of Representatives, 27 April 1964.
- Col. Stephen Tanous USAF, excerpt from “Building a Psychological Strategy for the US: Leveraging the Informational Element of National Power,” US Army War College paper, April 2003.
- Ronald Reagan, “Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security,” National Security Decision Directive No. 77, 14 January 1983.
- William E. Daugherty and Morris Janowitz, A Psychological Warfare Casebook (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1958). Every practitioner or expert in the field must have this book.
- Kenneth Osgood, Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad (University of Kansas, 2006).
- Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research & Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960 (Oxford University Press, 1994).
- Benjamin Williams, ed., Psychological Aspects of Global Conflict, Vol. XVII of The Economics of National Security (Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1955).
How to defeat a superpower:
The asymmetrical warfare of North Vietnam and El Salvador’s FMLN insurgency
With Soviet support, the North Vietnamese government devised an inexpensive but brilliant political warfare campaign to force the United States to defeat itself and abandon its South Vietnamese ally, enabling Hanoi to win the war in 1975 without a single military victory against the US. Five years later, El Salvador’s FMLN guerrillas, with Soviet, Cuban and Vietnamese support, tried to replicate a similar strategy.
In this class we will study the Vietnam experience, with a focus on the 1968 Tet Offensive in which the enemy turned its tactical military defeat into a strategic victory by means of political warfare; and the FMLN guerrillas of El Salvador in the 1980s, focusing on the FMLN’s political warfare efforts to augment their guerrilla operations, as well as the successful counterinsurgency campaign that the US devised to defeat the FMLN without involving US combat troops, and to bring about political reconciliation. The FMLN did not defeat the US and its Salvadoran ally, but it could have with a different US leadership. The FMLN was defeated as an insurgency, so we use this example as an illustration of a successful US counter-political warfare effort.
(The image above is the iconic photo of the South Vietnam National Police chief executing a Vietcong prisoner during the Tet Offensive. The summary execution, carried out in front of NBC and Associated Press cameramen, played into the communist propaganda campaign and helped turn American opinion against the war.)
- Taylor, Chapter 24, “Propaganda, Cold War and the Advent of the Television Age,” Munitions of the Mind, pp. 249-282.
- SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret), “National Liberation Front (NLF) Anti-American Leaflets of the Vietnam War,” Psywarrior.com. This is a good basic military primer on Vietnamese communist political warfare inside Vietnam.
- Marc D. Bernstein, “Ed Lansdale’s Black Warfare in 1950s Vietnam,” HistoryNet.com. This article tells how the US tried to wage political warfare against the communists in North Vietnam early in the conflict, during the Eisenhower Administration. Colonel Edward Lansdale was a brilliant warfighter whose approach to conflict remains unappreciated. You might have heard Professor Tierney speak of Lansdale’s successful work against the Huks in the Philippines.
- Maj. Monte R. Bullard, “Political Warfare in Vietnam,” Military Review, October 1969. (On South Vietnamese political warfare against the communists) Download Bullard PW Vietnam
- Douglas Pike, Viet Cong: The Organization and Techniques of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1966), Chapter 7, “Communication and Ideas,” pp. 119-135. Download pike_vietcong.pdf
- Cecil B. Currey, Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American (Potomac, 1998)
- Edward Geary Lansdale, In the Midst of Wars: An American’s Mission to Southeast Asia (Fordham University Press, 1991)
Islam, Islamism and cultural warfare
Is there a difference between Islam, the religion, and Islamism, the range of political ideologies based on the religion? Should the US make a distinction for its own operational purposes? What about for strategic purposes? What are the differences between Islamism in general and radical Islamism (or Islamist extremism)? What are the strategic goals of adherents to each?
Does official US policy to “counter violent extremism” address the matter of countering extremism that is not presently violent?
In this class we are interested in radical Islamism as a form of political and cultural warfare. We will look at various radical Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi-backed Salafism/Wahhabism, al Qaeda, Iraqi insurgents and Islamist movements inside the United States, and the Shi’ite regime in Iran, as well as discuss strategies to combat them both abroad and at home.
- Taylor, Chapter 25, “The Gulf War of 1991,” pp. 285-297; Chapter 26, “Information-Age Conflict in the Post-Cold War Era,” pp. 298-314; Chapter 27, “The World After 11 September 2001,” pp. 315-319; “Epilogue,” pp. 320-324.
- Andrew McCarthy, “Islam or Islamist?” National Review, October 29, 2011. McCarthy was the US attorney who prosecuted Omar Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheik,” who was the spiritual leader of the terrorists who tried to blow up the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.
- Ikhwanweb.com. This is the official English-language website of the Muslim Brotherhood. Familiarize yourself with the site. For those of you who speak Arabic, compare the contents of the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language site versus what the Brotherhood says in Arabic.
- Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo, Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2007). Read entire study and view accompanying slide presentation. Download a pdf of the report here: http://realaudio.rferl.org/online/OLPDFfiles/insurgent.pdf.
- J. Michael Waller, Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War (Institute of World Politics Press, 2007). Read entire monograph. Order a hard copy online, or download a free pdf here: Download fighting_the_war_of_ideas_like_a_real_war.pdf
- Douglas Farah, “US Muslim Brotherhood Groups Called ‘Threat Organization’ in DoD Memo,” Counterterrorism Blog, September 10, 2007. (Farah, a former Washington Post reporter, takes issue with my above monograph and implies that your professor is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.)
- Joseph E. Schmitz, former DoD Inspector General, letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein on Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the US military chaplain program, November 8, 2010. Download Schmitz Feinstein 2010
- Suleyman Nyang, “On the Status, Method and Fallout of the Global Spread of Wahhabism,” Islamic Supreme Council of America. (Note: The Islamic Supreme Council of America, a Sufi Muslim organization led by Sheikh Mohammed Hisham Kabbani, actively warned against the spread of Saudi-backed Wahhabist radicalism in the United States and around the world.) [The Islamic Supreme Council of America has removed the Suleyman Nyang interview from its site. The interview can now be found here: http://malaysian-times.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-status-method-and-fallout-of-global.html.]
- J. Michael Waller, “Larry, Curly and Musab,” Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2006. (This short piece concerns using ridicule as a weapon against Islamist extremists. (The original title, as it appeared in the LA Times paper and online editions, was “Larry, Curly and Osama.” Someone at the LA Times went back and changed the headline after the fact to “Musab.” Interesting. . .)
- Alex Alexiev, “Islamic Finance or Financing Islam?” Center for Security Policy Occasional Paper No. 29, October 2007.
- Alex Alexiev, “Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005.
- Frank Gaffney vs Suhail Khan, “Is Sharia Consistent with the US Constitution?” Debate, Harbour League, Baltimore, September 2008 (text and audio).
- J. Michael Waller, “Statement,” or “Terrorist Recruitment and Infiltration in the United States: Prisons and Military as an Operational Base,” Hearing of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security of the Senate Judiciary Committee, October 14, 2003. This testimony was the first to identify the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as a Muslim Brotherhood front organization.
- _____, “Muslim Pop Artists Lead Youthful Resistance to Islamic Extremism,” Serviam, January-February 2008.
- See the “Extremism” page of the Islamic Supreme Council of America website.
- The LibForAll Foundation, based in the US and Indonesia, is tied to the world’s largest Muslim organization and political and cultural pluralism.
- J. Michael Waller, “‘Wahhabi Lobby’ takes the offensive,” Insight, July 12, 2002.
- Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, trans. Anthony F. Roberts (Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2002).
- Richard P. Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Oxford, 1969, 1993).
- ‘Team B,’ Shariah: The Threat / Team B II Report (Center for Security Policy, 2010). Order from Amazon for a hard copy, or download a PDF here: Download Shariah – The Threat to America (Team B Report) 09132010