Brian Crozier

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Journalist and strategist Brian Crozier in the Oval Office for a meeting with President Reagan in 1985

Brian Rossiter Crozier (4 August 1918, in Shire of Cloncurry, Queensland – 4 August 2012)[1] was a historian, propagandist and journalist. He was also one of the central staff members of a secret propaganda department belonging to the UK Foreign Office, known as the Information Research Department (IRD) which republished and supported much of his work,[2] and used his position to insert propaganda articles within British publications.[3]

Early life[edit]

Crozier was born in a small village in Australia, where his father worked as mining engineer. In 1923 his family moved to France. In 1930, it moved to England, where he received a scholarship to study piano and composition at the Trinity College of Music in London.[4][5] Early in life he believed in communism, as a reaction to the Great Depression and to Adolf Hitler, but he later changed his philosophy and worked to combat communism.[6]


Crozier eventually became interested in journalism and pursued a career that led him to become a foreign correspondent for Reuters, a columnist for The Economist, a reporter for the BBC and, during a brief return to Australia, a writer for Sydney Morning Herald.[7]

Crozier worked as the director of Forum World Features, set up in 1966 by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which had ties to the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While editing the Economist's "insider" news sheet Foreign Report, Crozier, as he later recorded in his memoirs, kept some of the best stories that reached him for the CIA. He stated in 1975 that Forum World Features had broken all ties to the CIA when he became its director in the 1960s.[8]

In 1970, Crozier founded the Institute for the Study of Conflict, based in London, to study insurgencies and terrorism. He presided over it for most of the 1970s. According to a profile written by David Rees in 1985 for the American fortnightly National Review "the Institute... was the first private think-tank devoted to the study of terrorism and subversion". Under his direction (he left in 1979) the institute specialised in the study of the "peacetime" strategy of the Soviet Union. Its analyses, including the Annual of Power and Conflict, which it published for ten years, have been used in war colleges throughout the West.[7]

For many years, Crozier wrote a regular column, "The Protracted Conflict", in the National Review. Joseph D'Agostino of Human Events stated, "Crozier has another distinction: in 1988 he appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records for having interviewed the most heads of state or government, 58 in all".[6]

Crozier provided advice to the British Secret Intelligence Service, to the Information Research Department (IRD) of the British Foreign Office, and to the CIA. Lecturing to Britain's staff college for army officers during the early 1970s, when the Labour Party was in power under Harold Wilson, Crozier stated if the government went "too far", it was the armed forces' duty to intervene (he claimed that he was enthusiastically applauded). In 1982, it was revealed from the papers of a former Bavarian state security chief, Hans Langemann, that Crozier was an attendant of Le Cercle and headed a secret international group that tried to influence the West German federal election of 1980 by using secret-service connections and cover-up financial transactions to make Franz Josef Strauß Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.[9]

Crozier was a co-founder of the group The 61, an organisation that wanted to counter Soviet communist propaganda.[4]

HarperCollins published Crozier's autobiography, Free Agent: The Unseen War 1941–1991, in 1993, which was revised and corrected in paperback edition in 1994.

Crozier was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow on War, Revolution, and Peace of the Hoover Institution.[10] He was also a member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[11] In 1985, he signed a petition in support for the far-right paramilitary Contras (Nicaragua).[12]

Personal life[edit]

Crozier was married twice. He had three daughters (Kathryn-Anne, Isobel and Caroline) and a son (Michael).[4]

He died on 4 August 2012 after a long illness at 94.[4]

Selected works[edit]

External video
video icon Washington Journal interview with Crozier on The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, 14 November 1999. C-SPAN.


Book contributions[edit]



Book reviews[edit]

  • Review of La Fin d'une guerre: Indochine 1954, by Jean Lacouture & Philippe Devillers. International Affairs, vol. 37, no. 2 (Apr. 1961), pp. 264–265. doi:10.2307/2611931.
  • Review of Indonesia: A Profile, by Jeane S. Mintz. Pacific Affairs, vol. 35, no. 2 (Summer 1962), pp. 184–185. doi:10.2307/2753261.
  • Review of The Story of Indonesia, by Louis Fischer; The Beginnings of the Indonesian-Dutch Negotiations and the Hoge Veluwe Talks, by Idrus Nasir Djajadiningrat. Pacific Affairs, vol. 35, no. 2 (Summer 1962), pp. 185–186. doi:10.2307/2753262.

In the media[edit]

Crozier was interviewed for a 1999 film by Peter Graves for A&E Network's Biography series, Chiang Kai-shek: The Battle for China, including other contributors such as John Stewart Service.[13]

He also appeared in The Mayfair Set, a 1999 four-part documentary series about the rise of business and the decline of political power, written and directed by Adam Curtis for BBC. He appeared in episode three, "Destroy the Technostructure," which Curtis described as "the story of how Sir James Goldsmith, through a series of corporate raids, became one of the world's richest men and a victim of his own success."


  1. ^ Staff writer (Aug. 8, 2012). "Brian Crozier" (obituary}. The Telegraph. Archived from the original.
  2. ^ Defty, Andrew (2005). Britain, America and Anti-Communist Propaganda, 1945-1953: The Information Research Department. Routledge (eBook). p. 16. doi:10.4324/9780203495193. ISBN 978-0203495193.
  3. ^ Jenks, John (2006). British Propaganda and News Media in the Cold War. Edinburgh University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0748623143. OCLC 494724772.
  4. ^ a b c d Norton-Taylor, Richard (Aug. 9, 2012). "Brian Crozier" (obituary). The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  5. ^ Scully, Steve (Nov. 14, 1999). "The Former Soviet Union". Interview with Brian Crozier. Washington Journal, C-SPAN.
  6. ^ a b D'Agostino, Joseph (Nov. 26, 1999). "Conservative Spotlight: Brian Crozier." Human Events. p. 24. ISSN 0018-7194.
  7. ^ a b Rees, David (Dec. 31, 1985). "Student of Subversion." National Review, vol. 37. pp. 106+. — via Gale General OneFile.
  8. ^ Nossiter, Bernard D. (Jul. 3, 1975). "CIA News Service Reported." Washington Post. p. A26.
  9. ^ Der Spiegel: Victory for Strauß. 37/1982 (PDF Archived 1 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine)
  10. ^ "Brian Crozier". The Times. 14 August 2012. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  11. ^ "International Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Quand Bernard-Henri Lévy pétitionnait contre le régime légal du Nicaragua". Le Monde diplomatique (in French). 21 March 1985. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  13. ^ Chiang Kai-shek: The Battle for China (1999). Peter Graves and A&E. — via Henry Carter Hull Library.


External links[edit]