November 22, 1891
|Died||March 9, 1995 (aged 103)|
|Education||Cornell University, (BS)|
(m. 1922; died 1980)
|Relatives||Martha Bernays (aunt)|
Sigmund Freud (uncle)
Isaac Bernays (great-grandfather)
Marc Randolph (great-nephew)
Edward Louis Bernays (// bur-NAYZ, German: [bɛʁˈnaɪs]; November 22, 1891 − March 9, 1995) was an American theorist, considered a pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, and referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations". His best-known campaigns include a 1929 effort to promote female smoking by branding cigarettes as feminist "Torches of Freedom", and his work for the United Fruit Company in the 1950s, connected with the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government in 1954. He worked for dozens of major American corporations including Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and for government agencies, politicians, and nonprofit organizations.
Of his many books, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) and Propaganda (1928) gained special attention as early efforts to define and theorize the field of public relations. Citing works of writers such as Gustave Le Bon, Wilfred Trotter, Walter Lippmann, and Sigmund Freud (his own double uncle), he described the masses as irrational and subject to herd instinct—and he outlined how skilled practitioners could use crowd psychology and psychoanalysis to control them in desired ways. Bernays later synthesized many of these ideas in his postwar book, Public Relations (1945), which outlines the science of managing information released to the public by an organization, in a manner most advantageous to the organization. He does this by first providing an overview of the history of public relations, and then provides insight into its application.
Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the twentieth century by Life. He was the subject of a full-length biography by Larry Tye entitled The Father of Spin (1999) and later an award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC by Adam Curtis entitled The Century of the Self.
Family and education
Edward Bernays was born in Vienna to a Jewish family. His mother, Anna (1858-1955), was Sigmund Freud's sister, and his father Eli (1860-1921) was the brother of Freud's wife, Martha Bernays; their grandfather, Isaac Bernays, was the chief rabbi of Hamburg and a relative of the poet Heinrich Heine.
The Bernays family moved from Vienna to the United States in the 1890s. After Ely Bernays started working as a grain exporter at the Manhattan Produce Exchange, he sent for his wife and children. In 1892, his family moved to New York City, where Bernays attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1912 he graduated from Cornell University with a degree in agriculture, but chose journalism as his first career.
Later, however, she changed her mind and her name, becoming Doris Bernays. By all accounts, Fleischman played a major though quiet role in the Bernays public relations business—including ghost-writing numerous memos and speeches, and publishing a newsletter.
After graduating from Cornell, Bernays wrote for the National Nurseryman journal. Then he worked at the New York City Produce Exchange, where his father was a grain exporter. He went to Paris and worked for Louis Dreyfus and Company, reading grain cables. By December 1912, he had returned to New York.
Following a meeting in New York with school friend Fred Robinson, Bernays became coeditor of Medical Review of Reviews and Dietetic and Hygienic Gazette in 1912. They took editorial positions in favor of showers and against corsets, and distributed free copies to thousands of physicians across the country.
Two months later they took up the cause of Damaged Goods, an English translation of Les Avariés by Eugène Brieux. After publishing a positive review of the play, Bernays and Robinson wrote to its lead actor, Richard Bennett: "The editors of the Medical Review of Reviews support your praiseworthy intention to fight sex-pruriency in the United States by producing Brieux's play Damaged Goods. You can count on our help."
The play controversially dealt with venereal disease and prostitution—Bernays called it "a propaganda play that fought for sex education." He created the "Medical Review of Reviews Sociological Fund Committee" and successfully solicited the support of such elite figures as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, Reverend John Haynes Holmes, and Anne Harriman Sands Rutherford Vanderbilt, wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt.
After his foray into the world of theater, Bernays worked as a creative press agent for various performers and performances. Already, he was using a variety of techniques that would become hallmarks of his later practice. He promoted the Daddy Long Legs stage play by tying it in with the cause of charity for orphans. To create interest in Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, he educated Americans about the subtleties of ballet—and publicized a picture of Flore Revalles, wearing a tight-fitting dress, at the Bronx Zoo, posed with a large snake. He built up opera singer Enrico Caruso as an idol whose voice was so sensitive that comically extreme measures were taken to protect it.
World War I
After the US entered the war, the Committee on Public Information (CPI) hired Bernays to work for its Bureau of Latin-American Affairs, based in an office in New York. Bernays, along with Lieutenant F. E. Ackerman, focused on building support for war, domestically and abroad, focusing especially on businesses operating in Latin America. Bernays referred to this work as "psychological warfare".
After fighting ended, Bernays was part of a sixteen-person publicity group working for the CPI at the Paris Peace Conference. A scandal arose from his reference to propaganda in a press release. As reported by the New York World, the "announced object of the expedition is 'to interpret the work of the Peace Conference by keeping up a worldwide propaganda to disseminate American accomplishments and ideals.'"
Bernays later described a realization that his work for the CPI could also be used in peacetime:
There was one basic lesson I learned in the CPI—that efforts comparable to those applied by the CPI to affect the attitudes of the enemy, of neutrals, and people of this country could be applied with equal facility to peacetime pursuits. In other words, what could be done for a nation at war could be done for organizations and people in a nation at peace.
Counsel on public relations
Bernays, who pursued his calling in New York City from 1919 to 1963, styled himself a "public relations counsel". He had very pronounced views on the differences between what he did and what people in advertising did. A pivotal figure in the orchestration of elaborate corporate advertising campaigns and multi-media consumer spectacles, he is among those listed in the acknowledgments section of the seminal government social science study Recent Social Trends in the United States (1933).
Notable clients and campaigns
In the 1930s, his Dixie Cup campaign was designed to convince consumers that only disposable cups were sanitary, by linking the imagery of an overflowing cup with subliminal images of genitalia and venereal disease.
Light's Golden Jubilee
In 1924 Bernays set up a vaudeville "pancake breakfast" for Calvin Coolidge to change his stuffy image prior to the 1924 election. Entertainers including Al Jolson, Raymond Hitchcock, and the Dolly Sisters performed on the White House lawn. The event was widely reported by American newspapers, with The New York Times running the story under the headline "President Nearly Laughs".
A desperate Herbert Hoover consulted with Bernays a month before the 1932 presidential election. Bernays advised Hoover to create disunity within his opposition and to present an image of him as an invincible leader.
Bernays advised William O'Dwyer, in his candidacy for mayor of New York City, on how to appear in front of different demographics. For example, he should tell Irish voters about his actions against the Italian mafia—and Italian voters about his plans to reform the police department. To Jews he should appear as a committed opponent of the Nazis.
During World War II, Bernays advised the United States Information Agency, as well as the Army and Navy. He was chairman of the National Advisory Committee of the Third U.S. War Loan, co-chairman of the Victory Book campaign, and part of the New York State Defense Council.
Bernays also worked on behalf of many nonprofit institutions and organizations. These included, to name just a few, the Committee on Publicity Methods in Social Work (1926–1927), the Jewish Mental Health Society (1928), the Book Publishers Research Institute (1930–1931), the New York Infirmary for Women and Children (1933), the Committee for Consumer Legislation (1934), and the Friends of Danish Freedom and Democracy (1940).
In 1920, Bernays organized the publication of Freud's Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis in the U.S., sending royalty money to his uncle in Vienna. Freud turned down further offers at promotion, such as a possible lecture tour and an invitation to write 3,000-word newspaper columns, for $1,000 each, on topics such as "The Wife's Mental Place in the Home" and "What a Child Thinks About."
In 1927, Bernays worked briefly for Liggett and Myers, makers of Chesterfield cigarettes. He pulled a stunt against the competing brand, Lucky Strike, which involved mocking the endorsements of opera singers who said Lucky Strikes were "kind to your voice". George Washington Hill, head of the American Tobacco Company, which made Lucky Strike, promptly hired Bernays away from Liggett and Myers.
When he started working for American Tobacco Company, Bernays was given the objective of increasing Lucky Strike sales among women, who, for the most part, had formerly avoided smoking. The first strategy was to persuade women to smoke cigarettes instead of eating. Bernays began by promoting the ideal of thinness itself, using photographers, artists, newspapers, and magazines to promote the special beauty of thin women. Medical authorities were found to promote the choice of cigarettes over sweets. Home-makers were cautioned that keeping cigarettes on hand was a social necessity.
Torches of Freedom
The first campaign succeeded; women smoked more cigarettes; American Tobacco Company brought in more revenue; and Lucky Strike led the market in growth. But a taboo remained on women smoking in public. Bernays consulted with psychoanalyst Abraham Brill, a student of Freud's, who reported to him that cigarettes represented "torches of freedom" for women whose feminine desires were increasingly suppressed by their role in the modern world.
Because it should appear as news with no division of the publicity, actresses should be definitely out. On the other hand, if young women who stand for feminism—someone from the Women's Party, say—could be secured, the fact that the movement would be advertised too, would not be bad. . . While they should be goodlooking, they should not be too 'model-y.' Three for each church covered should be sufficient. Of course they are not to smoke simply as they come down the church steps. They are to join in the Easter parade, puffing away.
In 1934, Bernays was asked to deal with women's apparent reluctance to buy Lucky Strikes because their green and red package clashed with standard female fashions. When Bernays suggested changing the package to a neutral color, Hill refused, saying that he had already spent millions advertising the package. Bernays then worked to make green a fashionable color.
The centerpiece of his efforts was the Green Ball, a social event at the Waldorf Astoria, hosted by Narcissa Cox Vanderlip. The pretext for the ball and its unnamed underwriter was that proceeds would go to charity. Famous society women would attend wearing green dresses. Manufacturers and retailers of clothing and accessories were advised of the excitement growing around the color green. Intellectuals were enlisted to give highbrow talks on the theme of green. Before the ball had taken place, newspapers and magazines (encouraged in various ways by Bernays's office) had latched on to the idea that green was all the rage.
Throughout the job, Bernays concealed the fact that he was working for the American Tobacco Company, and succeeded in keeping his own name out of the affair as well. Staff were instructed never to mention his name. Third parties were used, and various notable people received payments to promote smoking publicly as if on their own initiative. (Decades later, however, Bernays boasted about his role.)
Bernays did not smoke cigarettes himself, and persistently tried to induce his wife Doris to quit.
United Fruit and Guatemala
The United Fruit Company (today's Chiquita Brands International) hired Bernays in the early 1940s for the purpose of promoting banana sales within the United States, which he did by linking bananas to good health and to American interests and by placing them strategically in the hands of celebrities, in hotels, and other conspicuous places. Bernays also argued that United Fruit needed to put a positive spin on the banana-growing countries themselves, and for this purpose created a front group called the Middle America Information Bureau, which supplied information to journalists and academics.
United Fruit shut down the Middle America Information Bureau in 1948 under the new presidency of Thomas Dudley Cabot. Bernays resented this change but stayed on with the company, for a reported annual fee of more than $100,000. Bernays worked on the national press and successfully drummed up coverage of Guatemala's Communist menace.
He recommended a campaign in which universities, lawyers, and the U.S. government would all condemn expropriation as immoral and illegal; the company should use media pressure "to induce the President and State Department to issue a policy pronouncement comparable to the Monroe Doctrine concerning expropriation." In the following months, The New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, Time, Newsweek, and the Atlantic Monthly had all published articles describing the threat of Communism in Guatemala. A Bernays memo in July 1951 recommended that this wave of media attention should be translated into action by promoting:
(a) a change in present U.S. ambassadorial and consular representation, (b) the imposition of congressional sanctions in this country against government aid to pro-Communist regimes, (c) U.S. government subsidizing of research by disinterested groups like the Brookings Institution into various phases of the problem.
Per Bernays's strategy, United Fruit distributed favorable articles and an anonymous Report on Guatemala to every member of Congress and to national "opinion molders". They also published a weekly Guatemala Newsletter and sent it to 250 journalists, some of whom used it as a source for their reporting. Bernays formed close relationships with journalists including The New York Times reporter Will Lissner and columnist Walter Winchell. In January 1952 he brought a cohort of journalists from various notable newspapers on a tour of Guatemala, sponsored by the company. This technique proved highly effective and was repeated four more times. In June, 1954, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency effected a coup d'état code-named Operation PBSuccess. The CIA backed a minimal military force, fronted by Carlos Castillo Armas, with a psychological warfare campaign to portray military defeat as a foregone conclusion. During the coup itself, Bernays was the primary supplier of information for the international newswires Associated Press, United Press International, and the International News Service.
Following the coup, Bernays built up the image of Guatemala's new president Carlos Castillo Armas, giving advice for his public appearances both in Guatemala and in the U.S. In 1956, Bernays produced a pamphlet comparing the Communist way and the Christian way.
In 1959, United Fruit dispensed with all external advisors including Bernays.
Bernays argued that the covert use of third parties was morally legitimate because those parties were morally autonomous actors.
"If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway", he said. In order to promote sales of bacon, for example, he conducted research and found that the American public ate very light breakfast of coffee, maybe a roll and orange juice. He went to his physician and found that a heavy breakfast was sounder from the standpoint of health than a light breakfast because the body loses energy during the night and needs it during the day. He asked the physician if he would be willing, at no cost, to write to 5,000 physicians and ask them whether their judgment was the same as his—confirming his judgment. About 4,500 answered back, all concurring that a more significant breakfast was better for the health of the American people than a light breakfast. He arranged for this finding to be published in newspapers throughout the country with headlines like '4,500 physicians urge bigger breakfast' while other articles stated that bacon and eggs should be a central part of breakfast and, as a result of these actions, the sale of bacon went up.
Describing the response to his campaign for Ivory Soap, Bernays wrote: "As if actuated by the pressure of a button, people began working for the client instead of the client begging people to buy."
Businesses found these covert methods irresistible. Strother Walker and Paul Sklar wrote in Business Finds Its Voice (1938) that Bernays had offered a solution to popular skepticism of business which arose in the depression: better "to implant an idea in a group leader's mind and let him spread it than to write up an idea and send it to the papers as a release, in the old-fashioned way...".
Bernays pioneered the public relations industry's use of mass psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns: "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits." He later called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the engineering of consent.
But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given [the common man] a rubber stamp, a rubber stamp inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of tabloids and the profundities of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamp is the twin of millions of others, so that when these millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. [...] The amazing readiness with which large masses accept this process is probably accounted for by the fact that no attempt is made to convince them that black is white. Instead, their preconceived hazy ideas that a certain gray is almost black or almost white are brought into sharper focus. Their prejudices, notions, and convictions are used as a starting point, with the result that they are drawn by a thread into passionate adherence to a given mental picture.
Not only psychology but sociology played an important role for the public relations counsel, according to Bernays. The individual is "a cell organized into the social unit. Touch a nerve at a sensitive spot and you get an automatic response from certain specific members of the organism."
Bernays touted the idea that the "masses" are driven by factors outside their conscious understanding, and therefore that their minds can and should be manipulated by the capable few. "Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos."
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
– Propaganda (1928) pp. 9–10
Propaganda was portrayed as the only alternative to chaos.
One way Bernays reconciled manipulation with liberalism was his claim that the human masses would inevitably succumb to manipulation—and therefore the good propagandists could compete with the evil, without incurring any marginal moral cost. In his view, "the minority which uses this power is increasingly intelligent, and works more and more on behalf of ideas that are socially constructive."
Unlike some other early public relations practitioners, Bernays advocated centralization and planning. Marvin Olasky calls his 1945 book Take Your Place at the Peace Table "a clear appeal for a form of mild corporate socialism."
Bernays also drew on the ideas of the French writer Gustave Le Bon, the originator of crowd psychology, and of Wilfred Trotter, who promoted similar ideas in the anglophone world in his book Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War.
Recognition and legacy
Much of Bernays' reputation today stems from his persistent public relations campaign to build his own reputation as "America's No. 1 Publicist". During his active years, many of his peers in the industry were offended by Bernays' continuous self-promotion. According to Scott Cutlip, "Bernays was a brilliant person who had a spectacular career, but, to use an old-fashioned word, he was a braggart."
Bernays attracted positive and negative attention for his grand statements about the role of public relations in society. Reviewers praised Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) as a pioneering study of the importance of something called public opinion. Propaganda (1928) drew more criticism for its advocacy of mass manipulation.
In the 1930s, his critics became more harsh. As the leading figure in public relations and a notorious advocate of "propaganda", Bernays was compared to European fascists such as Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler. (Bernays wrote in his 1965 autobiography that Goebbels read and used his books.)
Rather than retreating from the spotlight, Bernays continued to play up his ideas—for example, stating in a 1935 speech to the Financial Advertisers Association that strong men (including publicists) should become human symbols to lead the masses. On other occasions he tempered this message with the idea that, while propaganda is inevitable, the democratic system allows a pluralism of propaganda, while fascist systems offer only a single official propaganda.
At the same time, Bernays was praised for his apparent success, wisdom, foresight, and influence as an originator of public relations.
While opinions ranged negative to positive, there was widespread agreement that propaganda had a powerful effect on the public mind. According to John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, in a published review of Larry Tye's biography of Bernays:
It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of Bernays and his professional heirs in the public relations industry. PR is a 20th-century phenomenon, and Bernays—widely eulogized as the "father of public relations" at the time of his death in 1995—played a major role in defining the industry's philosophy and methods.
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- Crystallizing Public Opinion. New York: Boni and Liveright (1923). OCLC 215243834.
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- What the British Think of Us: A Study of British Hostility to America and Americans and Its Motivation, with Recommendations for Improving Anglo-American Relations, with Doris Fleischman (1950).
- The Engineering of Consent (as contributor). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press (1955). OCLC 550584.
- Your Future in Public Relations (1961).
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- The Case for Reappraisal of U.S. Overseas Information Policies and Programs (Incorporating Congressman Fascell's Report), with Burnet Hershey, eds. New York: Praeger (1970).
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- Tye (1998), p. 147. "Feeling he was too short, at 5 feet 4 inches, Eddie seemed determined to make everything else larger than life. He even inflated his name with an L., a middle initial that was not on his birth record in Vienna. It apparently stood for Louis, although even his daughters aren't sure, since he didn't like to talk about it.
- "Edward Bernays, 'Father of Public Relations' And Leader in Opinion Making, Dies at 103". The New York Times. 10 March 1995. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- "Edward Bernays, 'Father of Public Relations' And Leader in Opinion Making, Dies at 103". The New York Times. March 10, 1995. Archived from the original on January 24, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
- Bernays, Edward (1923). Crystallizing Public Opinion. Ig Publishing. ISBN 193543926X.
- Bernays, Edward (1928). Propaganda. Ig Publishing. ISBN 0970312598.
- Ewen, Stuart (1996). "Visiting Edward Bernays". PR! A Social History Of Spin. Basic Books. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008.
- Lavin, Maud (July 21, 2002). "A literary couple's muted memoir of 1950s New York". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2018-09-11. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
Edward and his wife, Doris Fleischman, were nonpracticing, highly assimilated, wealthy German-American Jews, and Anne grew up a self-professed hothouse flower on New York's Upper East Side.
- Held, Lisa (December 2009). "Psychoanalysis shapes consumer culture". Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association (APA). 40 (11): 32.
- Bakan, David (1958). Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition. Princeton University Press, p. 196.
- Tye (1998), p. 115.
- Colford, Paul D. (December 5, 1991). "A Birthday Salute to the Father of Public Relations". Newsday (Nassau ed.). Part II p. 78. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- Tye (1998), 4–5.
- Cook, Joan (July 12, 1980). "Doris Fleischman Bernays Dead; Pioneer Public Relations Counsel". The New York Times. Metropolitan Report p. 22. Archived from the original on July 23, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Doris Fleischman". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
- Tye (1998), pp. 1–3, 123–124. "Once she resolved to enter her husband's world of public relations, Doris did play a central role in building the Bernays empire, and when the press dubbed him the prince of publicity she could rightfully claim to be the princess. She made her mark first as a wordsmith, churning out press releases and polished stories on clients ranging from the U.S. War Department to the American Tobacco Company. She also conceived of, wrote, and edited a four-page newsletter called Contact, which reprinted parts of speeches and articles on public relations, sorted through new ideas in the field, and promoted the activities of the Bernays office. And she ghost-wrote scores of speeches and strategy papers that were delivered under her husband's name. It's easy to pick out her writings from among the many papers that Eddie Bernays left behind: they're the ones with rich vocabulary and poetic flourish, free from the more formal style that was his trademark."
- Tye (1998), pp. 5–6. "They used the Medical Review to argue against women wearing corsets with stays and to encourage shower baths; they published expert opinions on health controversies, a relatively novel approach; and they distributed free copies to most of the 137,000 licensed physicians in the United States."
- Tye (1998), pp. 6–7. "Bennett quickly accepted the offer, pumping up the young editor with visions of a crusade against Victorian mores, promising to recruit actors who would work without pay and prodding him to raise money for the production. Eddie was so excited that he volunteered to underwrite the production."
- Rampton & Stauber (2001), p. 44.
- Tye (1998), p. 8. "The key with Damaged Goods, he realized, was to transform the controversy into a cause and recruit backers who already were public role models. The twenty-one-year-old editor formed a Medical Review of Reviews Sociological Fund Committee, then attracted members with an artful appeal that played on Bennett's reputation as an artist as well as the worthiness of battling prudishness. Among those who signed up were John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dr. William Jay Schieffelin, whose company had recently brought to America a treatment for syphilis, and the Reverent John Haynes Holmes of New York's Unitarian Community Church."
- Cutlip (1994), p. 162.
- Tye (1998), pp. 9–16.
- Tye (1998), p. 18. "Finally given his chance to serve, Eddie recruited Ford, International Harvester, and scores of other American firms to distribute literature on U.S. war aims to foreign contacts and post U.S. propaganda on the windows of 650 American offices overseas. He distributed postcards to Italian soldiers at the front so they could boost morale at home, and he planted propaganda behind the German lines to sow dissent. He organized rallies at Carnegie Hall featuring freedom fighters from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other states that were anxious to break free of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And to counter German propaganda he had American propaganda printed in Spanish and Portuguese and inserted into export journals sent across Latin America.
"In short, he helped win America over to an unpopular war using precisely the techniques he'd used to promote Daddy Long Legs and the Ballet Russe."
- James R. Mock, "The Creel Committee in Latin America Archived 2020-05-02 at the Wayback Machine", The Hispanic American Historical Review 22(2), May 1942, p. 276. "Another section of the New York office, however, was especially concerned with publicity channels and publicity for the nations south of us. This was the division known as the Bureau of Latin-American Affairs, with Edward L. Bernays and Lieutenant F. E. Ackerman playing possibly the leading roles. That organization appealed especially to American firms doing business in Latin America, and secured their cooperation. In addition to means already cited, this section utilized various kinds of educators, especially as a medium of distributing pamphlets."
- Ewen (1996), pp. 162–163. "During the war years, Bernays joined the army of publicists rallied under the banner of the CPI and concentrated on propaganda efforts aimed at Latin American business interests. Within this vast campaign of "psychological warfare", as he described it, Bernays—like others of his generation—began to develop an expanded sense of publicity and its practical uses."
- Axelrod, Alan (2009). Selling the Great War: The Making of American Propaganda. St. Martin's Publishing Group. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-230-61959-3. Archived from the original on May 8, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- Tye (1998), p. 19.
- Cutlip (1994), p. 165. "Bernays' release announced that the Official Press Mission to the Peace Conference was leaving the next day for Paris and instead of the narrow technical press support mission Creel had defined for the group, Bernays inserted this sentence: 'The announced object of the expedition is to interpret the work of the Peace Conference by keeping up a worldwide propaganda to disseminate American accomplishments and ideals.' Two days later, the New York World headlined the story: 'TO INTERPRET AMERICAN IDEALS.' George Creel was furious; already in a battle with Congress, Creel knew that this would add fat to the fire. He disavowed the story. Nonetheless, it hastened the demise of the CPI."
- Cutlip (1994), p. 168.
- President's Research Committee on Social Trends (1933). Recent Social Trends in the United States. Internet Archive. McGraw-Hill Book Company.
- Alix Spiegel. "Freud's Nephew and the Origins of Public Relations" Archived 2018-04-21 at the Wayback Machine, Morning Edition, 2005-04-22.
- Alan Bilton (2013). Silent Film Comedy and American Culture. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-137-02025-3. Archived from the original on 2020-05-07. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
- See "The New York world's fair, a symbol for democracy Archived 2017-04-06 at the Wayback Machine", address by Bernays to the Merchant's Association of New York, April 7, 1937.
- Tye (1998), pp 77–79. See "Breakfast With Coolidge Archived 2021-02-24 at the Wayback Machine" typescript, prepared 8 February 1962.
- Tye (1988), pp. 79– 80.
- Tye (1998), pp. 81–83.
- Tye (1998), pp. 84–85.
- Tye (1998), p. 89.
- Bernays, Edward L. (1965). Biography of an idea: memoirs of public relations counsel. Simon and Schuster. p. 606.
I offered to help organize the Friends of Danish Freedom and Democracy, made up for the most part of Americans of Danish ...
- Hasselriis, Caspar Henrik Wolffsen (1959). Helligdag: erindringer (in Danish). Udgivet af Dansk samvirke hos E. Munksgaard. p. 143. Archived from the original on 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
... at han vilde engagere den kendte Public Relations Ekspert Edward L. Bernays til at være Raadgiver. ... Resultatet blev Dannelsen af "American Friends of Danish Freedom and Democracy", et Navn foreslaaet af Mr. Bernays, som mente, ...
- Jensen, Mette Bastholm; Jensen, Steven L. B. (2003). Denmark and the Holocaust. Institute for International Studies, Department for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. ISBN 978-87-989305-1-8. Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
The "Father of Public Relations and Spin" and nephew of Sigmund Freud Edward L. Bernays (1890–1995), was also hired by the Friends of Danish Freedom and Democracy as a ...
- Tye (1998), pp. 185–190.
- Tye (1998), 35–36.
- Tye (1998), pp. 23–26. "Bernays launched the campaign against sweets with his tried-and-true tactic of enlisting 'experts', in this case convincing Nickolas Muray, a photographer friend, to ask other photographers and artists to sing praises of the thin. 'I have come to the conclusion', Muray wrote, 'that the slender woman who, combining suppleness and grace with slenderness, who instead of overeating sweets and deserts, lights a cigarette, as the advertisements say, has created a new standard of female loveliness. . . I am interested in knowing if my own judgment concurs with that of others, and should be most happy to have your opinion on the subject.'"
- Tye (1998), pp. 27–28. "Bernays understood they were up against a social taboo that cast doubt on the character of women who smoked, but he wasn't sure of the basis of the inhibition or how it could be overcome. So he got Hill to agree to pay for a consultation with Dr. A. A. Brill, a psychoanalyst and disciple of Bernays's uncle, Dr. Sigmund Freud.
"'It is perfectly normal for women to want to smoke cigarettes', Brill advised. 'The emancipation of women has suppressed many of their feminine desires. More women now do the same work as men do. Many women bear no children; those who do bear have fewer children. Feminine traits are masked. Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.'
"That rang a bell for Bernays. Why not organize a parade of prominent women lighting their 'torches of freedom'? And do it on Easter Sunday, a holiday symbolizing freedom of spirit, on Fifth Avenue, America's most prestigious promenade?"
- Tye (1998), p. 29.
- Tye (1998), pp. 30–31. "The actual march went off more smoothly than even its scriptwriters imagined. Ten young women turned out, marching down Fifth Avenue with their lighted 'torches of freedom,' and the newspapers loved it.
[...] Miss Hunt issued the following communiqué from the smoke-clouded battlefield: 'I hope that we have started something and that these torches of freedom, with no particular brand favored, will smash the discriminatory taboo on cigarettes for women and that our sex will go on breaking down all discriminations.'
Go on they did. During the following days women were reported to be taking to the streets, lighted cigarettes in hand, in Boston and Detroit, Wheeling and San Francisco."
- "Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of 'Freedom' Archived 2017-09-16 at the Wayback Machine" (part of a headline), The New York Times, 1 April 1929.
- Tye (1998), p. 38.
- Tye (1998), p. 39. "Vogelman signed up and invited fashion editors to the Waldorf for a Green Fashions Fall Luncheon with, of course, green menus featuring green beans, asparagus-tip salad, broiled French lamb chops with haricots verts and olivette potatoes, pistachio mousse glacé, green mints, and crème de menthe. The head of the Hunter College art department gave a talk entitled "Green in the Work of Great Artists," and a noted psychologist enlightened guests on the psychological implications of the color green. The press took note, with the New York Sun headline reading, "It looks like a Green Winter." The Post predicted a "Green Autumn," and one of the wire services wrote about "fall fashions stalking the forests for their color note, picking green as the modish fall wear."
- Tye (1998), pp. 31–32. "One way he found citizens and specialists was by offering money. Sometimes it came as an honorarium, like the $100 he proposed paying 'a dietician [who] talks on diet as the best means to produce moderate curves' and a 'physiologist induced to comment on benefits of modern trend to reasonable figure.' Then there was the $5000 he offered to donate to the favorite charity of Mrs. Charles Dana Gibson, wife of the creator of the renowned Gibson Girl illustrations, if she would agree to sign a statement saying 'she smoked Luckies and that they were kind to her throat.'"
- Tye (1998), pp. 33–34. "If he began by disguising his role in the battle to get women smoking, Bernays more than made up for that in later years. The parade story in particular became part of his repertoire on the speaking circuit and in scores of interviews until his death in 1995, and with each retelling the tale got more colorful and his claims more sweeping. In his 1965 memoirs, for instance, he discussed the slow process of breaking down conventions like the taboo against women smoking. But by 1971 he was telling an oral historian at Columbia University that 'overnight the taboo was broken by one overt act,' the 1929 Easter Sunday march."
- Tye (1998), pp. 27, 48 Archived 2020-05-07 at the Wayback Machine. "Whatever his attitude in public, at home he did all he could to persuade his wife, Doris, to give up her pack-a-day habit."
- Tye (1998), pp. 160–164. Tye notes: "The bureau even renamed the region, explaining that 'Middle America' was 'a rational and timely expansion of the phrase 'Central America,' which by long usage includes only the republics of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and the colony of British Honduras.' Middle America would include those countries, along with Mexico and the Caribbean island republics of Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic."
- Tye (1998), pp. 164–165. Tye's source for Bernays's $100,000 fee is probably Thomas McCann, whom he quotes on p. 178 as saying: "My estimate is we were spending in excess of $100,000 a year for Edward L. Bernays, just for his consulting services, which was an enormous amount of money in 1952."
- Richard H. Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention; University of Texas Press, 1982; ninth printing, 2004; ISBN 0-292-71083-6; pp. 112 Archived 2017-04-06 at the Wayback Machine–114.
- Tye (1998), pp. 167–170.
- Tye (1998), p. 175.
- John Kirch, "Covering a Coup: The American Press and Guatemala in 1954 Archived 2012-06-23 at the Wayback Machine", Paper presented at AEJMC National Convention, Washington DC; August 2007.
- Étienne Dasso, "Aux origines du coup d'État de 1954 au Guatemala : le rôle de la United Fruit Company dans la préparation du soulèvement contre Jacobo Arbenz Archived 2017-04-06 at the Wayback Machine", L'Ordinaire des Amériques 210 (2010), pp. 175–192.
- Tye (1998), p. 176. "His Library of Congress files show he remained a key source of information for the press, especially the liberal press, right through the takeover. In fact, as the invasion was commencing on June 18, his papers indicate hew as giving the 'first news anyone received on the situation' to the Associated Press, United Press, the International News Service, and The New York Times, with contacts intensifying over the next several days."
- Tye (1998), p. 179. "And in 1956 Bernays came up with the idea of widely disseminating a comparison of the teachings of the Communists with those of the church. 'Hate is the driving force of communism,' the report concluded, whereas 'charity is the impelling motive of Christianity.' And under communism 'there is no moral law' and 'no personal liberty,' whereas in Christianity 'the moral law is the way which man is created to follow' and 'free will means liberty is possible, the liberty of the sons of God to do the right.'"
- Tye (1998), p. 180.
- Marks (1957), p. 82. "Bernays once spoke directly to the question of the ethics of a propagandist's speaking through a 'front.' There is no evidence that, at the time, he convinced anyone; but his position is worth considering as contrast to the prevailing judgment. While he readily admitted that a propagandist may not ethically buy the cooperation of a third party, he argued that it is perfectly legitimate for him to enlist the aid of a third party and conceal the relationship. The third party becomes a new advocate, not a subsidiary of the first. He continued:
That individual or organization may then propagandize it [the original client's point of view] through its own channels because it is interested in it. In such a case, the point of origin then becomes that individual or organization. The public relations counsel, having made the link between the interest of his client and the interest of the third party, no longer need figure in the resulting expression to the public. [Bernays, 'This Business of Propaganda,' p. 199.]
- "Edward L. Bernays tells the story of making bacon & eggs all-American Breakfast". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-11-18.
- Marks (1957), p. 73.
- Quoted in Olasky (1984), p. 10.
- Bernays, Edward (2005) . Propaganda. Brooklyn, N.Y: Ig Pub. p. 47. ISBN 0970312598.
- Bernays, Edward L. (March 1947). "The Engineering of Consent" (PDF). Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 250 (1): 113–20 at p. 114. doi:10.1177/000271624725000116. ISSN 0002-7162. S2CID 167534969. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 13, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
Any person or organization depends ultimately on public approval, and is therefore faced with the problem of engineering the public's consent to a program or goal.
- Bernays, "The Minority Rules" (1927), pp. 150, 151; cited in Marks (1957), p. 116.
- Bernays, Propaganda (book) (1928), p. 28; quoted in Olasky (1985), p. 20.
- Bernays, Propaganda (1928), p. 159. Quoted in Olasky (1984), p. 3.
- Olasky (1985), p. 17. "…his belief that behind-the-scenes controllers should exercise 'social responsibility' by devising clever public relations campaigns to direct 'human herds' into appropriate corals."
- Olasky (1985), p. 19; Olasky (1984), p. 19, f. 40. "Bernays emphasized that in a large scale society there were only two choices: manipulation or social chaos. He saw history moving in a certain direction and public relations practitioners obliged to climb on the locomotive".
- Olasky (1984), pp. 13–14. "What Potter did not understand, though, is that the contradictions apparent to a classically-trained political scientist formed a seamless web in the new world of public relations that Bernays was proposing. If the 'individual common man' has no real individuality, as Bernays argued in Propaganda – only 'rubber stamping' by one propagandist or another, then one more duping does no harm to individual souls. And if Hitler had hit upon the techniques and used them for evil purposes, then that would be all the more reason — given the inevitability of these techniques being put into use and the inability of men to resist them — for those hoping to avoid the chaos to rush the techniques into use before evil could turn them into a triumph of fire."
- Bernays, "The Minority Rules" (1927), p. 155; quoted in Marks (1957), p. 182.
- Olasky (1984), p. 12. "Bernays, however, anticipated greater centralization in government and media, and the consequent growth of a new bureaucracy. He advocated governmental licensing of public relations counselors, or at the least a set pattern of formal, university training befitting those who would form a latter-day mandarin class. Bernays also tried to enlist proponents of greater economic centralization in his public-relations planning.
- "Rule from the Shadows - The Psychology of Power". Storm Clouds Gathering. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- Strottman, Christine (June 18, 2013). "Edward L. Bernays". Transatlantic perspectives. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
- Cutlip (1994), p. 160.
- Olasky (1984), pp. 4–6.
- Olasky (1984), p. 8. "Bernays' own public relations also tended to suffer when comparisons were made between his techniques and those of the Nazis. One book in 1934, for instance, criticized the techniques of propaganda 'carried into perfection by the Lord Northcliffes in wartime England, the Edward Bernays in industrial America, and the Dr. Goebbels in fascist Germany.' Barrons linked American and German-style public relations in 1935 when it noted that 'Hitler, by making what Bernays calls "Devils" for the German masses to look down upon, has aroused the acclaim of the more easily swayed masses.' A 1934 article by Abraham H. Cohen in Opinion noted that Bernays had written a preface to a book on public opinion and commented, 'Now that the art of Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays has been reduced to a science, and is receiving the attention of the Universities, we may soon look to a new crop of manipulators of the public will. Who knows, but that a new American Goebbels...is now pouring over this book."
- Bernays (1965), p. 652. Quoted in Dennis W. Johnson, Routledge Handbook of Political Management, (New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 314 Archived 2017-04-06 at the Wayback Machine n. 3; and in Tye (1998), p. 111.
Karl von Wiegand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Wiegand his propaganda library, the best Wiegand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Wiegand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. ...Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.
- Olasky (1984), pp. 8–9. "Bernays himself added some gasoline to this fire when he argued, as did Goebbels, for the necessity of strong men, human gods, to emerge as influencers of public opinion; for instance, in a speech to the Financial Advertisers Association in 1935, Bernays said that the main answer to financial problems is 'to acquire an entire new set of outstanding human living symbols that will hold public confidence...Publicists, economists, leaders in research, the heads of great educational institutions can and should be made the human symbols to bring new faith and strength.' Journalists compared statements of that sort by Bernays to the thoughts of Goebbels or, alternately, Stalin."
- Marks (1957), p. 200 "By that time [the mid-1930s] he had developed a keen sense of the threat from fascism and frequently urged that the democracies use propaganda in their own defense. It was in this context that Bernays began treating propaganda as synonymous with free speech and debate, as an unexceptional feature of democracy itself rather than as its antithesis. As a participant on 'Town Meeting of the Air' in 1937 he said,
Propaganda is the voice of the people in the democracy of today because it gives everyone an opportunity to present his point of view. Fascist or Communist societies have no alternate propagandas; they must accept the official propagandas of those in power. [...]
- Olasky (1984), p. 9. "Bernays was able to overcome criticism partly because there was, for many, little arguing with success. Life in 1933 noted that '...at 1 Wall St., there is Edw. L. Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, who has probably made more money out of applied psycho-analysis than all Vienna ever saw.' The Bulletin of the Financial Advertisers Association examined profit figures in 1935 and then called Bernays 'the outstanding counsel on public relations in the United States today, a profession he was largely instrumental in creating.'"
- Marks (1957), p. 99. "And Bernays' word was respected. Said the Committee on Propaganda of the National Education Association, citing Bernays and, incidentally using another conventional metaphor, 'This continual and universal activity [i.e. of the 'thousands of highly trained and ingenious men' who work at 'the great occupation of "putting it over"'] is regimenting the public mind as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers.' In addition, there was a plethora of independent testimony such as that of the utility executive who told the F. T. C. that without the industry's propaganda 'state, municipal, and Government [sic] ownership would have been 100% ahead of what it is today; and Adolf Hitler's widely quoted comment that 'by sagacious and persistent use of propaganda heaven itself may be presented to a people as hell and, inversely, the most wretched existence as paradise.'"
- Stauber, John and Sheldon Rampton. "Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of PR Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback Machine" (book review). PR Watch 6:2, Second Quarter, 1999 (p. 11).
|Booknotes interview with Larry Tye on The Father of Spin, September 20, 1998, C-SPAN|
- Bernays, Edward. Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965.
- Cutlip, Scott M. The Unseen Power: Public Relations. A History. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1994. ISBN 0-8058-1465-5
- Ewen, Stuart. PR! A Social History of Spin. New York: Basic Books (Perseus), 1996. ISBN 0-465-06179-6
- Marks, Barry Alan. "The Idea of Propaganda in America." PhD dissertation accepted at the University of Minnesota, 1957.
- Olasky, Marvin. "Reception of Edward Bernays' Doctrine of 'Manipulating Public Opinion". Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 6 August 1984; (ERIC).
- Olasky, Marvin. "Bringing 'Order Out of Chaos": Edward Bernays and the Salvation of Society Through Public Relations". Journalism History, 12(1), Spring 1985.
- Rampton, Sheldon, and John Stauber. Trust Us, We're Experts! How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2001. ISBN 1-58542-059-X
- Tye, Larry. The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations. New York: Crown, 1998. ISBN 0805067892
|"Edward Bernays and Corporate Public Relations" - Presentation by University of Michigan professor David Hancock, December 5, 2013, C-SPAN|
- American National Biography v. 2, Oxford University Press, 1999.
- John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry
- Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of a Public Relations Counsel (excerpt )
- Curtis, Adam (November 26, 2008). "Century Of Self. 1-1 Happiness Machines". BBC. Archived from the original on 2021-11-18. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- "Freud's Nephew and the Origins of Public Relations". NPR.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- Nimmo, Dan D.; Chevelle Newsome (1997). Political Commentators in the United States in the 20th Century: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 1–9. ISBN 0-313-29585-9.
- Marvin Olasky column on his interview with Bernays at Townhall.com
- Wilfred Trotter (1919). Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War – 4th impression, with postscript. New York, MacMillan.
- Stephen Bender. Karl Rove & the Spectre of Freud's Nephew, LewRockwell.com, 2005-02-04
- Edward L. Bernays papers at Library of Congress (finding aid)
- Some Bernays papers at LOC are online as part of "Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921–1929".
- The Edward L. Bernays papers, 1982–1998 (bulk 1993–1995) are located in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, Boston, MA.
- Torches of Freedom Video Clip
- Edward L. Bernays tells the story of "Torches of Freedom" in his own words – video clip −1999
- "Everett Dean Martin and Edward L. Bernays, Are We Victims of Propaganda? (Library of Congress reproduction from The Forum Magazine, March, 1929)". Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Works by Edward Bernays at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Edward Bernays at Internet Archive
- LETTER TO MR. EDWARD L. BERNAYS FROM <Sanitized> RDP80B01676R003800020083-0 ; "LETTER TO MR. EDWARD L. BERNAYS FROM <Sanitized> RDP80B01676R003800020084-9 ", 1958, Central Intelligence Agency,