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Psychological Warfare (PSYOP)

The terms psychological warfare (PSYWAR) and psychological operations (PSYOP) are often used interchangeably. Both are of recent origin. They signify an activity, though, that is hardly new. The effort to influence the perception of others by employing nonlethal means of persuasive communication is as old as human conflict. Americans adopted the term PSYWAR during World War II to distinguish their operations from those of their enemies that they characterized as deceitful propaganda. The Cold War, an ideological contest waged principally by the Soviet Union and the United States following the Second World War’s conclusion, convinced Americans of the need for another change. They sought a more inclusive term to characterize the expanding array of psychological activities that America undertook to check communist expansion.

Consequently, the ...

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