The Crusade for Freedom was an American propaganda campaign operating from 1950–1960. Its public goal was to raise funds for Radio Free Europe; it also served to conceal the CIA's funding of Radio Free Europe and to generate domestic support for American Cold War policies.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated the Crusade for Freedom on 4 September 1950 (Labor Day). The first chairman was Lucius D. Clay, Eisenhower's successor as military governor of occupied Germany. The Crusade for Freedom, officially managed by the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), had direct ties to the Office of Policy Coordination, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It was one of the highest-profile domestic propaganda operations in CIA history.
One of the Crusade's first actions was to create a Freedom Bell, designed after the American Liberty Bell. This bell traveled around the United States, along with a Freedom Scroll for people to sign, and was then sent to Berlin, where it was dedicated by Clay on 24 October 1950. Crusaders also organized rallies, parades, and contests to mobilize support from ordinary Americans.
The Crusade was conceived during 1948–1950 under the auspices of Frank Wisner and the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). The OPC began seeking ways to implement NSC 20/4, a National Security Council directive to "place the maximum strain on the Soviet structure of power and particularly on the relationships between Moscow and the satellite countries." After the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE) was formed in May 1949, its backers decided that to appear legitimate the organization would need to seem independently funded.
NCFE hired public relations experts Abbott Washburn and Nate Crabtree to help create a public image for its efforts. According to Washburn, "They said, 'if we can get something that will raise some money, too, that's great,' but it was clear that their first desire was involvement by the public to make this a volunteer thing." Washburn and Crabtree suggested using the Liberty Bell as the symbol for the Crusade and, under instructions from the NCFE, sought out General Lucius D. Clay as its chairman. (Clay had won popularity and recognition through his supervision of the Berlin Airlift).
Early on, the Crusade gained promises of support and cooperation from key individuals and groups, including John J. McCloy, high commissioner in Germany, and the Advertising Council, a high profile public-relations group previously known as the War Advertising Council.
The Crusade was launched with a speech by General Eisenhower, who preceded Clay as the military governor of Germany. The speech, given at 11:15PM (EST) on 4 September 1952 (Labor Day), was broadcast to millions of people over all major radio networks. It is now identified by historians as one of the major early public speeches of the Cold War. Eisenhower said:
To destroy human liberty and to control the world, the Communists use every conceivable weapon—subversion, bribery, corruption, military attack! Of all these, none is more insidious than propaganda. Spurred by this threat to our very existence, I speak tonight—as another private citizen, not as an officer of the Army—about the Crusade of freedom. This crusade is a campaign sponsored by private American citizens to fight the big lie with the big truth.
Eisenhower also introduced the concept of the Freedom Scroll:
In this Battle for Truth, you and I have a definite part to play. During the Crusade, each of us will have the opportunity to sign the Freedom Scroll. It bears a declaration of our faith in freedom, and of our belief in the dignity of the individual, who derives the right of freedom from God. Each of us, by signing the Scroll, pledges to resist aggression and tyranny wherever they appear on Earth. Its words express what is in all our hearts. Your signature on it will be a blow for liberty.
The text of Eisenhower's speech appeared in all major newspapers, as well as magazines Time and Newsweek, which received the text in advance for inclusion in the September 4 issue.
Washburn and Crabtree's Freedom Bell in Berlin was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague in New York. Written on the bell were words from Abraham Lincoln: “That this world Under God shall have a new birth of freedom.”
The bell was created in England and shipped to New York City for a parade following Eisenhower's speech. Traveling by truck, it made a circuit around the country and returned to New York by 8 October. It arrived in Berlin on 21 October and was officially dedicated by Clay on 24 October 1950.
Jurisdiction over the Crusade for Freedom was shared among several agencies, and the chain of command was ambiguous. The Psychological Strategy Board assumed ultimate control over the project (along with other propaganda and psychological warfare operations) in May 1952.
Corporate members were many and included Henry Ford II and Gardner Cowles, Jr., executive of the Farfield Foundation (another CIA front), donor to the Gardner Cowles Foundation, and sponsor of the journal History. The Crusade also gained the support of religious leaders such as Rabbi Bernard J. Bamberger, president of the Synagogue Council of America, and Archbishop Francis Spellman.
The CIA provided much of the Crusade for Freedom's funding, spending $5 million in five years. According to Christopher Simpson's Blowback, the CIA, through the Crusade became the biggest political advertiser in the United States during this period.
The Crusade for Freedom helped to create public legitimacy for ex-Nazis who collaborated with the U.S. government to call for the downfall of the USSR. The CIA also used Crusade for Freedom to send money to this group covertly, by providing funds to a group called the International Refugee.
The Crusade for Freedom gained support from hundreds of national and local organizations, conducting a countless array of events across the United States. Some programs were national in scope:
The official domestic goal of the Crusade for Freedom was to solicit donations from American citizens, and it succeeded in raising $1,317,000 in its first year. However, these funds represented only a small portion of the total amount spent on Radio Free Europe and other propaganda activities.
The Crusade encouraged Americans to donate "Truth Dollars", small donations that confirmed their investment in the project without creating a major financial barrier. The 1954 fundraising campaign (the Crusade's most successful) used images of George Washington on money as a symbol of American freedom.
Leaping Lena was a homing pigeon, reported lost in early August, 1954 during a routine flight in West Germany, and then found again bearing an anti-Communist note signed "Unbowed Pilsen." She was flown to the United States, and treated as a Cold War hero. She was then adopted by Radio Free Europe and the Crusade as a mascot.
The Crusade for Freedom asked Americans to sign a "Freedom Scroll" with the following text:
In the belief that freedom is the most precious of human rights, I gladly sign my name to this Freedom Scroll as evidence of my participation as a free citizen In the Crusade for Freedom, supporting the National Committee for a Free Europe and its striking arm, Radio Free Europe. In so doing, I join hands with millions of other Americans in bringing truth and hope to the courageous freedom-hungry people behind the Iron Curtain.
Over 16 million people signed the scroll over the course of the campaign.
The Crusade for Freedom successfully generated American support for Cold War efforts abroad, promoting messages like "Fight the Big Lie with the Big Truth" and "Help Truth Fight Communism". Ronald Reagan was a major US spokesperson for the campaign. Reagan also starred in pro-Crusade film The Big Truth (1951), which depicts RFE broadcasts into Czechoslovakia. Clips this film were shown as advertisements (produced by the Hearst Corporation and the Advertising Council) for the Crusade for Freedom during the 1951–2 fundraising campaign.
The Crusade also secured the cooperation major Hollywood directors and producers, including Cecil B. DeMille, Darryl F. Zanuck, and particularly Walter Wanger, who became a major booster for the campaign in Los Angeles.
The Crusade organized a half hour radio program, with Bing Crosby and his four sons, called “Youth Crusade with the Crosbys.” Crosby asked young people to donate three cents (giving up three sticks of gum) for the sake of freedom in Europe. Wednesday, 3 October 1951, was declared "Youth Crusade Day", and students of all ages listened to the Crosby radio program in their school classrooms.
In 1954, the Fraternal Order of Eagles conducted an "Eagles Flight for Freedom", in which 4,164 helium balloons were dispersed across the United States. These balloons were similar to those being sent across the Iron Curtain into Eastern Europe. They carried leaflets, identification cards, and envelopes for Truth Dollar donations. The finder of the furthest-traveling balloon won a $25 bond, and the whole event was covered by Henry Luce's Life magazine. The Eagles executed similar programs in 1955 and 1956, and also asked respondents to nominate people and organizations for "Freedom Awards".
The Crusade held statement and essay contests encouraging Americans to draft language for broadcast into Europe. A few of these took place in 1950 and 1951. The concept went into widespread practice in 1958–1959, with the Truth Broadcast contest, which was operated and promoted chiefly by the Advertising Council. Advertisements asked listeners to complete the sentence: “As an American, I support Radio Free Europe because....”
The contest was announced through radio, magazines, newspapers, and journals. It was also promoted in the Educational Edition of Reader's Digest, used in 50% of American High Schools, with an exercise asking students to complete the sentence, imagine their own broadcasts, and answer some questions about Radio Free Europe. Winners flew to Munich and read their entries over the radio.
The Crusade began a second American campaign, led by Harold Stassen, on Labor Day (3 September) 1951. Eisenhower, now the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization gave another speech. These yearly campaigns continued throughout the decade.
In 1952, Clay stepped down as chairman, concerned that the Crusade was becoming "big business" and that large corporate donations would undermine its image. Henry Ford II took over as chairman (he also became chairman of the American Heritage Foundation, which backed the Crusade). Eisenhower (introduced over radio by Ford II) gave his third Crusade for Freedom speech on 11 November 1952—one week after he was elected president. In the same broadcast, listeners heard the defeated Adlai Stevenson also express his support for the Crusade, stating: "The programs have a spontaneity and freshness, which no official information agency can have. Freedom speaks most clearly between man and man, when its voice is neither muffled nor amplified by government intervention nor other official trappings." (Eisenhower had reportedly been prepared to order leaflet drops over immigrant communities such as Hamtramck blaming Stevenson for "betraying" the liberation agenda in Eastern Europe.)
The unmasking of RFE and RL is significant partly because it took so long, but more so because the press and broadcast media were, in many cases, well aware of the connection between the CIA and the stations and simply chose not to report the link. According to Sig Mickelson, former president of CBS News and later of RFE/RL, Inc., thousands of people knew or had insider knowledge about what was going on, especially as time passed.4 Among these thousands, Mickelson assures readers, were journalists and reporters. In an interview, he acknowledged that he himself knew about the connection while an employee of CBS.5 Beyond remaining silent, many journalists and news media members also knew about and supported a charade that CIA and Radio officials concocted to hide the agency's connections to the stations. The charade, a propaganda campaign called the Crusade for Freedom, successfully persuaded thousands of Americans to donate millions of dollars to the Radios, never telling them that the Radios were already completely funded. The Crusade, in effect, was a cover, making the Radios appear to be supported only through voluntary donations.
The ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration is the founding document of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was signed in Bangkok on 8 August 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and communist insurgency within their own borders. It states the basic principles of ASEAN: co-operation, amity, and non-interference. The date is now celebrated as ASEAN Day.Ann C. Whitman
Ann Cook Whitman (June 11, 1908 – October 15, 1991) was a native of Perry, Ohio. She briefly attended Antioch College in Ohio and then moved to New York in 1929 to obtain work as a secretary. For many years she was the personal secretary to Mrs. David Levy, whose father was one of the founders of Sears, Roebuck and Company. In 1941 she married Edmund S. Whitman, an official of the United Fruit Company.
In 1952, while working as a secretary in the New York office of the Crusade for Freedom, Mrs. Whitman was recruited by Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidential campaign staff. She went to Eisenhower’s headquarters at Denver, Colorado where she became Eisenhower’s personal secretary. After Eisenhower was elected president, Mrs. Whitman accompanied him to Washington, D.C., and served as his personal secretary the entire eight years of his presidency. She helped manage Eisenhower’s correspondence and was responsible for maintaining Eisenhower’s personal files which he kept in his office at the White House. The Ann Whitman File is held at the Eisenhower presidential library and has been deemed an "extraordinary resource" by historians.When President Eisenhower left office in January 1961, Mrs. Whitman accompanied him to his farm (now the Eisenhower National Historic Site) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and continued to work for a few months as his personal secretary. She later joined the staff of New York Governor and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, for whom she worked until she retired in 1977. A biography of Whitman, entitled Confidential Secretary, was written by journalist Robert Donovan in 1988.Asian Relations Conference
The Asian Relations Conference took place in New Delhi in March-April 1947. It was hosted by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who then headed a provisional government that was preparing for India's Independence, which came on 15 August 1947. The Asian Relations Conference brought together many leaders of the independence movements in Asia, and represented a first attempt to assert Asian unity. The objectives of the conference were "to bring together the leading men and women of Asia on a common platform to study the problems of common concern to the people of the continent, to focus attention on social, economic and cultural problems of the different countries of Asia, and to foster mutual contact and understanding."
In his writings and speeches, Nehru had laid great emphasis on the manner in which post-colonial India would rebuild its Asia connections. At this conference Nehru declared: "... Asia is again finding herself ... one of the notable consequences of the European domination of Asia has been the isolation of the countries of Asia from one another. ... Today this isolation is breaking down because of many reasons, political and otherwise ... This Conference is significant as an expression of that deeper urge of the mind and spirit of Asia which has persisted ... In this Conference and in this work there are no leaders and no followers. All countries of Asia have to meet together in a common task ..."CIA activities in the United States
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world.
The National Resources Division is the domestic wing of the CIA. Although the CIA is focused on gathering intelligence from foreign nations, it has performed operations within the United States to achieve its goals. Some of these operations only became known to the public years after they had been conducted, and were met with significant criticism from the population as a whole, with allegations that these operations may violate the Constitution.Daily Express
The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. It is the flagship of Express Newspapers, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell (which is owned by publisher Trinity Mirror). It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918. In February 2019, it had an average daily circulation of 315,142.The paper was acquired by Richard Desmond in 2000. Hugh Whittow was the editor from February 2011 until he retired in March 2018. Gary Jones took over as editor-in-chief in March 2018. The paper's editorial stances have often been seen as aligned to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Euroscepticism and other right-wing factions including the right-wing of the Conservative Party.On 9 February 2018, Trinity Mirror said it would acquire the Daily Express' parent company, Northern and Shell Media, in a deal worth £126.7m.In addition to its sister paper, Express Newspapers also publishes the red top newspapers the Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday.Freedom Bell
The Freedom Bell (in German, Freiheitsglocke) in Berlin, Germany, is a bell that was given as a gift from Americans to the city of Berlin in 1950 as a symbol of anti-communism, and was inspired by the American Liberty Bell. Since 1950, the bell has been located in the Rathaus Schöneberg, the former city hall of West Berlin.Glasnost
In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.Guerrilla war in the Baltic states
The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states or the Forest Brothers resistance movement was the armed struggle against Soviet rule that spanned from 1940 to the mid-1950s. After the occupation of the Baltic territories by the Soviets in 1944, an insurgency started. According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance. While estimates related to the extent of partisan movement vary, but there seems to be a consensus among researchers that by international standards, the Baltic guerrilla movements were extensive. Proportionally, the partisan movement in the post-war Baltic states was of a similar size as the Viet Cong movement in South Vietnam.Jamaican political conflict
The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.James Lambie
James M. Lambie, Jr. (September 19, 1914 – November 30, 1999) served in the Eisenhower Administration (1953–1961) as Special Assistant and Assistant Staff Secretary coordinating public information programs between the Advertising Council and the U.S. government.
Lambie was born in Washington, Pennsylvania and attended Washington and Jefferson College, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Pennsylvania State College.
Before joining Dwight D. Eisenhower’s campaign staff in 1952 he worked for the National Committee for a Free Europe, Inc., and Crusade for Freedom. In 1953 President Eisenhower assigned him the job of Special Assistant in the White House where he served as the coordinator of public information programs between the Advertising Council and the U.S. government and arbitrated conflicting government claims for the use of the Advertising Council’s facilities for public service campaigns. In 1960 he was appointed the Assistant Staff Secretary on the White House staff.From September 1954 to January 1961 Lambie also served in an unofficial capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Interagency Committee for Agricultural Surplus Disposal. The purpose of this committee, chaired by Clarence Francis, was to carry out the provisions of P.L. 480 by coordinating the various agricultural surplus disposal activities of the U.S. government.Johnson Doctrine
The Johnson Doctrine, enunciated by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson after the United States' intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, declared that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when "the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship". It is an extension of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Doctrines.Joseph John Richards
Joseph John Richards (August 27, 1878 – March 16, 1956) was a composer, conductor, and music educator best known for writing over 300 compositions for circus and school bands. His most successful works were marches, including Crusade for Freedom, Emblem of Unity, and Shield of Liberty.
Richards was born in Cwmafan, Wales, but spent most of his childhood in Pittsburg, Kansas, United States. He began playing alto horn and cornet at the age of ten and became director of the Norton-Jones Circus Band at the age of nineteen. He would later play for and conduct several other circus bands, including the Barnum and Bailey Circus Band and the Ringling Brothers Band before they combined. When not playing for a circus, Richards studied music at Kansas State Teachers College and the American Conservatory of Music.
He began teaching music during World War I, first to Army bands and later to public schoolchildren. He conducted several municipal bands in Florida and Kansas until 1945 when he was selected to succeed Herbert L. Clarke as conductor of the Long Beach, California Municipal Band. He became a member of the American Bandmasters Association in 1936 and was elected president in 1949.
Richards died in Long Beach, California in 1956. He was inducted into the Windjammers' Hall of Fame in 1981.Leaping Lena
Leaping Lena was a West German racing pigeon who got lost in Czechoslovakia during a routine 1954 flight. When she returned home two days later, there was a message addressed to Radio Free Europe attached to one of her legs. It read:
We plead with you not to slow down in the fight against communism because communism must be destroyed. We beg for a speedy liberation from the power of the Kremlin and the establishment of a United States of Europe.We listen to your broadcasts. They present a completely true picture of life behind the Iron Curtain. We would like you to tell us how we can combat bolshevism and the tyrannical dictatorship existing here.We are taking every opportunity to work against the regime and do everything in our power to sabotage it.
It was signed "Unbowed Pilsen."
Leaping Lena was brought to the United States in August 1954, quarantined for 3 weeks, and then was used to raise money for Radio Free Europe as part of a publicity campaign for the Crusade for Freedom.Leaping Lena was then kept at Fort Monmouth's Pigeon Breeding and Training Center. When the Center was deactivated in 1957, fifteen hero pigeons were donated to zoos, while about a thousand others were sold to the public.Lucius D. Clay
General Lucius Dubignon Clay (April 23, 1898 – April 16, 1978) was a senior officer of the United States Army who was known for his administration of occupied Germany after World War II. He served as the deputy to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1945; deputy military governor, Germany, 1946; Commander in Chief, U.S. Forces in Europe and military governor of the U.S. Zone, Germany, 1947–1949. Clay retired in 1949.
Clay orchestrated the Berlin Airlift (1948–1949) when the USSR blockaded West Berlin.NDF Rebellion
The NDF Rebellion was an uprising in the Yemen Arab Republic by the National Democratic Front, under Yahya Shami, between 1978 and 1982.Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a United States government-funded organization that broadcasts and reports news, information and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East where it says that "the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed". RFE/RL is a 501(c)(3) corporation supervised by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an agency overseeing all U.S. federal government international broadcasting services.During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe (RFE) was broadcast to Soviet satellite countries and Radio Liberty (RL) targeted the Soviet Union. RFE was founded as an anti-communist propaganda source in 1949 by the National Committee for a Free Europe. RL was founded two years later and the two organizations merged in 1976. Communist governments frequently sent agents to infiltrate RFE's headquarters, and the KGB regularly jammed its signals. RFE/RL received funds covertly from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) until 1972. During RFE's earliest years of existence, the CIA and U.S. Department of State issued broad policy directives, and a system evolved where broadcast policy was determined through negotiation between them and RFE staff.RFE/RL was headquartered at Englischer Garten in Munich, West Germany, from 1949 to 1995. In 1995 the headquarters were moved to Prague in the Czech Republic. European operations have been significantly reduced since the end of the Cold War. In addition to the headquarters, the service maintains 17 local bureaus in countries throughout their broadcast region, as well as a corporate office in Washington, D.C. RFE/RL broadcasts in 25 languages to 23 countries including Armenia, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.Ulbricht Doctrine
The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.
East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.
West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.Western Bloc
The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".William A. Greene
Philip William Aldrich Greene (1913-1967), better known as William A. Greene, was a publicist. He served as the head of the Crusade for Freedom campaign that funded Radio Free Europe. Greene also served as vice president of InfoPlan, an international public relations firm.