The Making of the Cold War Enemy: Culture and Politics in the Military-Intellectual Complex

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Princeton University Press, Jan 26, 2003 - History - 277 pages
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At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government enlisted the aid of a select group of psychologists, sociologists, and political scientists to blueprint enemy behavior. Not only did these academics bring sophisticated concepts to what became a project of demonizing communist societies, but they influenced decision-making in the map rooms, prison camps, and battlefields of the Korean War and in Vietnam. With verve and insight, Ron Robin tells the intriguing story of the rise of behavioral scientists in government and how their potentially dangerous, "American" assumptions about human behavior would shape U.S. views of domestic disturbances and insurgencies in Third World countries for decades to come.

Based at government-funded think tanks, the experts devised provocative solutions for key Cold War dilemmas, including psychological warfare projects, negotiation strategies during the Korean armistice, and morale studies in the Vietnam era. Robin examines factors that shaped the scientists' thinking and explores their psycho-cultural and rational choice explanations for enemy behavior. He reveals how the academics' intolerance for complexity ultimately reduced the nation's adversaries to borderline psychotics, ignored revolutionary social shifts in post-World War II Asia, and promoted the notion of a maniacal threat facing the United States.

Putting the issue of scientific validity aside, Robin presents the first extensive analysis of the intellectual underpinnings of Cold War behavioral sciences in a book that will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in the era and its legacy.

 

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Contents

Inventing the Behavioral Sciences
6
The Culture of Think Tanks
25
Psychopolitics and Primary Groups Theories of Culture and Society in Cold War Academia
44
Part Two Normal Science
60
The Obstinate Audience The Art of Information Management in the Cold War
62
The War of Ideas Ideology and Science in Psychological Warfare
81
Deus ex Clinica Psychopolitics and Elite Studies of Communism
111
Collective Behavior in Totalitarian Societies The Analysis of Enemy POWs in Korea
131
Prison Camps and Culture Wars The Korean Brainwashing Controversy
149
PART THREE CRISIS
170
Vietnam From Hearts and Minds to Rational Choice
172
Paradigm Lost The Project Camelot Affair
193
Epilogue Report from Iron Mountain and Beyond
213
Notes
226
Index
258
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About the author (2003)

Ron Robin is Professor of History and Dean of Students at Haifa University in Israel. He is the author of Enclaves of America: The Rhetoric of American Political Architecture Abroad and The Barbed Wire College: Reeducating German POWs in the United States during World War II (both Princeton).

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