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White House publicity operations during the Korean War, June 1950 – June 1951

Casey, Steven (2005) White House publicity operations during the Korean War, June 1950 – June 1951. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 35 (4). pp. 691-717. ISSN 1741-5705

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2005.00272.x


Truman was the first modern president to face the challenge of selling a limited war. Based on a wide range of primary sources, this article explores the impact that the Korean War had on Truman’s publicity operations. Whereas all wars place important new demands on presidents to speak out more frequently and forcefully, limited wars place significant constraints on what presidents can say and do. During the Korean War, Truman refused to go public at key moments, often employed rhetoric that was more restrained than at earlier moments of the Cold War, and shied away from creating new structures to coordinate the official message. Such actions also had important consequences. In 1950-51, they hampered the task of effective presidential communication, and contributed to the war’s growing unpopularity. For the longer term, they demonstrated the difficulties of selling a limited war, and hence place into sharper context the problems that beset Truman’s successors during the subsequent conflict in Vietnam.

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Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an Article published in Presidential Studies Quarterly 35 (4), 691-717 © 2005 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: International History
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2006
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2024 16:24

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