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British “Black” Productions: Forgeries, Front Groups, and Propaganda, 1951–1977

Cormac, Rory

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Authors

RORY CORMAC RORY.CORMAC@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of International Relations



Abstract

Recently declassified files reveal a sustained black propaganda campaign conducted by the United Kingdom at the height of the Cold War. This article examines around 350 operations in which the UK spread propaganda through forgeries and notional groups. Placing the campaign in its broader global history, the article demonstrates that UK black propaganda predominantly targeted Soviet activity in Africa and Asia as part of the post-colonial battle for influence. It argues not only that the UK engaged in more black propaganda than historians assume, but that this was often offensive and aggressive: seeking to disrupt, attack and sow chaos as much as simply to expose lies. Although much of the content was broadly accurate, the fake sources deliberately deceived audiences in order to encourage a reaction, incite violence, or incite racial tensions.

Citation

Cormac, R. (2022). British “Black” Productions: Forgeries, Front Groups, and Propaganda, 1951–1977. Journal of Cold War Studies, 24(3), 4-42. https://doi.org/10.1162/jcws_a_01087

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 26, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 2, 2022
Publication Date Sep 2, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2022
Journal Journal of Cold War Studies
Print ISSN 1520-3972
Electronic ISSN 1531-3298
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 3
Pages 4-42
DOI https://doi.org/10.1162/jcws_a_01087
Keywords Political Science and International Relations; History
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/6295895
Publisher URL https://direct.mit.edu/jcws/article-abstract/24/3/4/112897/British-Black-ProductionsForgeries-Front-Groups?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Additional Information Accepted for publication in Journal of Cold War Studies

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