History and Historiography

The Liberal Conspiracy: The Congress For Cultural Freedom And The Struggle For The Mind Of Postwar Europe

Peter Coleman’s classic work on the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

The activities of the Congress for Cultural Freedom constitute an important and controversial chapter in the intellectual and political history of Western Europe after World War II. Founded in 1950 in the aftermath of a series of Soviet-sponsored international “peace” conferences, the congress sought to combat the appeal of communist propaganda to intellectual and student circles. By the mid-1960s, with the Vietnam War, détente and the transformation of the liberal-conservative debate, it had lost some of its support; the final death knell was sounded with the revelations of CIA funding. Except for the CIA role, this is a thorough and balanced account by an Australian editor and barrister who found himself involved at a late stage in the congress’s existence and had pertinent questions to ask but no special ax to grind.


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