Cover of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty by A. Ross Johnson
Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty
The CIA Years and Beyond
A. Ross Johnson


304 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804773560



Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty examines the first twenty years of the organization, policies, and impact of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, arguably one of the most important and successful policy instruments of the United States during the Cold War.

The book is based on extensive archival research both in the U.S .and in Germany, Poland, and Hungary, as well as on interviews and the author's own experiences. It uses CIA materials, in part declassified at the request of the author, extensively. Johnson concentrates on the origins and role of RFE/RL in the context of U.S. national security strategy, with particular attention to the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in covertly organizing and funding RFE/RL from 1949 to 1971. And he details RFE activities during the most important East European crises of the era—Poland and Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The study concludes with an analysis of the factors that accounted for RFE/RL's effectiveness, which may offer lessons today as the United States tries to "win the hearts and minds" of foreign elites and populations and promote positive political change, particularly in the Muslim world.

About the author

A. Ross Johnson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Project at the Hoover Archives. He has served as director of Radio Free Europe, director of the RFE/RL Research Institute, and acting president and counselor of RFE/RL. He is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

"[Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty] is at its best when it compares and contrasts the Radios' role in revolution."

—Jerry Edling, Public Diplomacy Magazine

"In 2004 the Hoover Institution held a conference examining the impact Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty made on the Cold War, the liberation of Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union's ultimate demise . . . Johnson does an excellent job detailing the activities of RFE and RL by painstakingly examining the broadcasts to both countries and their respective impacts."

—Gregory Mitrovich, The Russian Review