Abstract

Studies in the wake of the “cultural turn” in diplomatic history have shown that propaganda and public diplomacy were key aspects of Western Cold War strategy. This article expands recent literature by focusing on propaganda practices at the grassroots level, making use of West and East German archival records to trace information campaigns in relation to the Vietnam War. In addition to explaining the organization of East German propaganda campaigns, the article explores the methods used by the psychological warfare section of West Germany’s Ministry of Defense. This section maintained an unofficial network that helped publish “camouflaged propaganda” at home as well as in France and Great Britain. Germany’s Nazi past was an important aspect of East Germany’s campaign that accused West Germany of having deployed a “Vietnam Legion.” Interestingly, Germany’s Nazi legacy also cast a shadow over the methods West German psychological warfare experts relied on to counter East German accusations.

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