A Century of Information Operation: From Crewe House to Twitter

A Century of Information Operations: From Crewe House to Twitter

On 5 April, the King’s Centre for strategic Communications and the Centre of Military and Political Studies, in association with the Gerda Henkel Foundation, held a workshop investigating the changing role and place of Information Operations from the First World War to the Syrian Conflict.

While today Information Operations are associated with the Information Revolution that has shaped the character of war in the last several decades, the story of the modern Information Operations begins with the British Royal Army balloons that, by the end of the First World War, bombarded Germans with five million leaflets a month. Since then, the distribution of leaflets has become an essential part of Information Operations and has been used in all major conflicts up to the recent military interventions in the Syrian Civil War. With the introduction of new communication technologies – such as radio, television, and the Internet – the role of Information Operations and their potential to influence an enemy’s political and military will have been constantly increasing.

Following this observation, this project focuses on the development of the modern Information Operations from the First World War to the present day. Funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, this workshop brought together scholars from Russia and the West to discuss the role of Information Operations on the battlefields during the last hundred years.

This workshop offered a rare dialogue between Russian and Western experts on how military organisations have been using information domain to support their strategic goals, presenting a unique perspective on Russian and Western experiences.

The workshop focused on the following case studies:

  • British Information Operations against Germany in WWI
  • Soviet Information Operations against Germany in WWII
  • US Information Operations during the Vietnam War
  • Soviet Information Operations in Afghanistan
  • NATO Information Operations in Afghanistan
  • Russian Information Operations in Georgia in 2008
  • West-led Information Operations in Syria
  • Russia’s Information Operations in Syria

The proceedings will be published as an edited volume by Lynne Rienner Publishers in 2020.

For more details about this workshop, please contact Dr. Ofer Fridman