Promoting the War Effort
Robert Horton and Federal Propaganda, 1938-1946
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Series: Media and Public Affairs
One thing leads to another. Researching a book on FDR’s Office of Government Reports (OGR), I often ran across references to OGR’s sister agency, the Division of Information (DOI) in the Office for Emergency Management. Both were within the new Executive Office of the...
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Government Public Relations: What’s OK and What’s not?
The collective American historical consciousness and folk memories about World War II often include images of salvage-collection drives for aluminum pots and pans to be recycled for military uses, newsreels of America as the arsenal of democracy, shuttered factories springing back to life, posters...
Part I. Government PR in Peacetime
1. Government PR for Widely Held values: Horton at the Maritime commission, 1938–1940
Like most public relations officers in the federal government during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, Robert Horton was a former reporter. That earlier career contributed to his understanding of the role of the press in democracy...
2. Government PR When the President is Running for Reelection: Horton at the National Defense Advisory Commission, June–November 1940
As PR director for the Maritime Commission, Horton had to learn quickly the do’s and don’ts of government PR. It was not as though he had been thrown into the deep end of the pool, but professionally...
Part II. Government PR in the Twilight between Peace and War
3. Horton at the Office of Production Management, November 1940–February 1941
Everything changed with Roosevelt reelected. The omnipresent political fears, the cautious trimming of the sails, the efforts to keep a lid on bad news, and all other similar considerations could now be relaxed a bit—but not a lot. The United States was still a noncombatant in a war, public opinion...
4. An overview of Horton’s Autonomous Division of Information, March–December 1941
The “rules” of government public relations (as described in the introduction) were pretty clear in their application for times of peace and times of war. Only neutral information in peacetime, some persuasive communications..
5. The Division of Information’s Programs and Management, March–December 1941
In 1941, during its existence as an independent agency within OEM, DOI was at its fullest flowering as a government PR department when the United States was not at war. The preceding chapter recounted the traditional government PR...
Part III. Government PR in Wartime
6. An Overview of Horton’s Autonomous Division of Information, December 1941–June 1942
Contrary to popular memory, Pearl Harbor was not a bolt out of the blue, although the location of the attack was something of a surprise. Largely sifted out of the standard historical narrative is that there were several...
7. The Division of Information’s Programs and Management, December 1941–June 1942
Besides the most traditional government PR functions of press relations and public reporting, other now-standard DOI activities accelerated after Pearl Harbor, simply much, much more of what it had been doing before. Just...
8. Horton and Government PR after the Division of Information, June 1942–June 1946
About a month after Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt asked Milton Eisenhower of the USDA Office of Information to prepare a study of wartime information needs. Working closely with BOB, Eisenhower surveyed...
Conclusion: Robert Horton and the Practice of Government PR
One of the two central themes of this inquiry relates to the issue of propaganda versus information in government public relations. As a general rule, the political culture that gradually emerged in Washington...