Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Jean Anouilh wrote in 1952, “Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way.” When the Cold War began in the years following World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union took up arms, but for the better part of forty years, these arms were “soft weapons” used to freeze out their political adversaries and spread their own values globally.
This thesis examines efforts made by the U.S. State Department and their representatives in the Middle East to influence Middle Eastern views of the US between 1947, the beginning of the Cold War, and 1979, the beginning of the Iran Hostage Crisis. It focuses on how the United States produced and altered its propaganda, both in content and medium, to adjust Middle Eastern perceptions of the United States. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran serve as the central focus of this study; these three nations provide the best lens for examining U.S. efforts in the Middle East because of the U.S. economic interests, mainly in oil production, in the post-war period. This thesis argues that American understandings of the region tailored United States’ propagandist efforts to shape Middle Eastern perceptions of the United States and relations between the United States and the Middle East. Often underestimated in historic conversations on U.S.-Middle East affairs, understanding propaganda’s role in the formation of relations between the two regions allows for a better understanding of present-day interactions.
Lindsey, Ayana, "Soft Weapon: Cold War-Era American Propaganda in the Middle East (1947-1979)" (2016). Ethel Waddell Githii Honors Program Theses. 11.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.