Accession Number : ADA606038


Title :   Messaging, Missions, and Mindsets: The Unintended Consequences of National Messaging and Policy when Translated into Operations and Soldier Actions in the Second World War


Descriptive Note : Master's thesis


Corporate Author : ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES


Personal Author(s) : Harris, Jess K


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a606038.pdf


Report Date : 23 Jun 2013


Pagination or Media Count : 79


Abstract : The US Army entered WWII with the declared intention of adhering to the Laws of War and the Hague and Geneva Conventions. The reality of working with allies and against an enemy who were not committed to the same ideals, created internal dissonance. Operations which apparently devalued civilian life, coupled with harsh strategic messaging, led to an erosion of the values America had proclaimed at the beginning of the war. This led to actions by individual soldiers and units, at times with the approval or even at the direction of their officers, which violated American values and the laws of war. This monograph will use a chronological examination of events and trends, coupled with official communications and biographical information, to determine the evolution of attitudes and actions before, during, and after the war. It then considers the strategic impact at that time. This monograph does not judge the Soldiers or leaders of 1945 through the social lens of 2013. It seeks to understand how and why the soldiers and leaders of that war failed to live up to their own standards. It concludes that Americans did commit war crimes, by modern standards and the standards of their own day, although at a rate lower than nearly any other participant. This paper also concludes that national propaganda had a detrimental effect on the information environment, and that some decisions at the most senior levels also contributed to that negative information environment. In the Second World War, the U.S. Government was able to tightly control the flow of information, preventing news of unlawful soldier actions from having a negative strategic impact. That kind of control is not possible in modern operations. Leaders and planners cannot significantly reduce the likelihood of the dissemination of unhelpful information, nor should that be their focus. Instead, the focus should be on understanding, educating, and leading soldiers, in order to prevent war crimes from occurring. Finally, th


Descriptors :   *MILITARY INFORMATION SUPPORT OPERATIONS , *PROPAGANDA , *SECOND WORLD WAR , ATTITUDES(PSYCHOLOGY) , MILITARY COMMANDERS , MILITARY PLANNING , MILITARY STRATEGY , MISSIONS


Subject Categories : Humanities and History
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE