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If your opponent is of choleric temper, try to irritate him. If he is arrogant try to encourage his egotism. (If the enemy troops are well prepared after reorganization, try to wear them down. If they are united, try to sow dissension among them.

General Tao Hanzhang, translated by Yuan Shibing, Sun Tzu's The Art Of War

To capture the enemy's entire army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a regiment, a company, or a squad is better than to destroy them. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the supreme of excellence. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.

Sun Tzu

The first casualty of war is truth.

Rudyard Kipling

One need not destroy one's enemy. One need only destroy his willingness to engage.

Sun Tzu

There are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the mind.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..

John Milton, Paradise Lost

In War, the moral is to the material as three is to one.

Napoleon Bonaparte

We were as hypnotized by the enemy's propaganda as a rabbit is by a snake.

General Eric Von Ludendorf, German General Staff, 1918

The British bombarded our front not only with drum-fire of shells, but also with a drum-fire of printed paper. Besides bombs which kill the body, they drop from the air leaflets which are intended to kill the soul.

Fieldmarshall Hindenberg, 1918

All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), Vol. I

...there was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, 'and this will always be the man in the street.' Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology...Hatred and contempt must be directed at particular individuals.

H. Trevor-Roper (ed), The Goebbels Diaries, p. XX, cited in Regan, Geoffrey. 1987. Great Military Disasters. New York: M. Evans and Company.

Capture their minds and their hearts and souls will follow.

Author Unknown

PSYOP...was a great threat to troop morale, second only to the coalition bombing campaign.

Iraqi General after Operation DESERT STORM

The mind of the enemy and the will of his leaders is a target of far more importance than the bodies of his troops.

Brigadier General S.B. Griffith, II, USMC

To seduce the enemy’s soldiers from their allegiance and encourage them to surrender is of special service, for an adversary is more hurt by desertion than by slaughter.

Flavius Vegetius Renatus, c. 378 AD

For a strong adversary (corps) the opposition of twenty-four squadrons and twelve guns ought not to have appeared very serious, but in war the psychological factors are often decisive. An adversary who feels inferior is in reality so.

Field Marshal Carl Gustav Baron Von Mannerheim, 1953

As the excited passions of hostile people are of themselves a powerful enemy, both the general and his government should use their best efforts to allay them.

Lieutenant General Antoine-Henri Baron de Jomini, 1838

The real target in war is the mind of the enemy command, not the bodies of his troops. If we operate against his troops it is fundamentally for the effect that action will produce on the mind and will of the commander; indeed, the trend of warfare and the development of new weapons – aircraft and tanks – promise to give us increased and more direct opportunities of striking at this psychological target.

Captain Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart, 1944

In most campaigns the dislocation of the enemy's psychological and physical balance has been the vital prelude to a successful attempt at his overthrow.

Captain Sir Basil H. Liddell Hart, 1944

It is your attitude, and the suspicion that you are maturing the boldest designs against him, that imposes on your enemy.

Frederick the Great, 1747

The enemy bombards our front not only with a drumfire of artillery, but also with a drumfire of printed paper. Besides bombs, which kill the body, his airmen also throw down leaflets which are intended to kill the soul.

Field Marshal Paul Von Hindenburg, 1847-1934

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who molds opinion is greater than he who enacts laws.

President Abraham Lincoln

In the sphere of leaflet propaganda the enemy has defeated us . . . The enemy has defeated us, not as man against man in the field of battle, bayonet against bayonet; no, bad contents poorly printed on poor paper have paralyzed our strength.

German Army report, WW I

The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to have its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards.

Sir William Francis Butler

The mind of the enemy and the will of his leaders is a target of far more importance than the bodies of his troops.

Mao Zedong

Without a doubt, psychological warfare has proven its right to a place of dignity in our military arsenal.

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower

In this war, which was total in every sense of the word, we have seen many great changes in military science.  It seems to me that not the least of these was the development of psychological warfare as a specific and effective weapon.

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower

Modern war has become a struggle for men's minds as well as for their bodies.

Brigadier General Robert McClure, Korean War

If we do go to war, psychological operations are going to be absolutely a critical, critical part of any campaign that we must get involved in.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf III, Operations Desert Shield - 1990

I knew theoretically what PSYOP could do – I’d learned that in school. But having experienced it firsthand, I found they’re far more valuable than I knew. In the future, I would be out looking for PSYOP support before deployment.

503rd MP Bn Operations Officer during operations in Haiti

On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory.

General Douglas MacArthur

One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda.

General Douglas MacArthur

If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do... the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.

General George S. Patton

By way of deception, thou shalt do war.

Israel's Mossad

If you give a man the correct information for seven years, he may believe the incorrect information on the first day of the eighth year when it is necessary, from your point of view, that he should do so. Your first job is to build the credibility and the authenticity of your propaganda, and persuade the enemy to trust you although you are his enemy.

A Psychological Warfare Casebook Operations Research Office Johns Hopkins University Baltimore (1958)

Psychological forces exert a decisive influence on the elements involved in war.

Carl von Clausewitz

War does not belong in the realm of arts and sciences; rather it is part of man's social existence…Politics, moreover, is the womb in which war develops.

Carl von Clausewitz

Killing the enemy's courage is as vital as killing his troops.

Carl von Clausewitz

The mind has no firewall.

Timothy L. Thomas,  PARAMETERS, Spring 1998

Psychological Warfare has always rested as an uneasy activity in democracies, even in wartime. It is partly to do with the suspicion that using the mind to influence the mind is somehow unacceptable. But is it more unacceptable to shoot someone's brains out rather than to persuade that brain to drop down their weapon and live?

Dr. Phillip M. Taylor, Author of "Munitions of the Mind", Manchester University Press, 1995

Psychological warfare does help save lives on both counts. On the count of the American soldier who isn't going to be killed trying to dig the enemy soldier out of his foxhole or bunker, and on the other count, the enemy soldier whose life is saved.

Dr. Al H. Paddock, Colonel,U.S. Army Retired, former Commander 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) and Author, US Army Special Warfare, Its Origins: Psychological and Unconventional Warfare, 1941-1952. , Published by National Defense University Press, Washington D.C., 1982 

Truth is the best PSYOP

Colonel Fred Walker, USSOCOM

Psychological warfare employs age-old ideas in twentieth century dress.

D. Lincoln Harter and John Sullivan, Propaganda Handbook, 20th Century Publishing Co., 1953, p. 198

PSYOP is the most powerful weapon in the SOF inventory.

General Carl Stiner, Former CINCSOC, 14 April 1993, speaking at the AUSA Symposium

In effect, the human being should be considered the priority in a political war. And conceived as the military target ... the human being has his most critical point in his mind. Once the mind has been reached, the 'political animal' has been defeated without necessarily receiving bullets.

US Central Intelligence Agency training manual

Strategic PSYOP proved to be the instrument through which the U.S. and Coalition Forces were successfully able to isolate the enemy and deny him acceptance by the world community.

General Carl Stiner, Former CINCSOC

The great 19th century strategist Carl von Clausewitz famously observed that: "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Yugoslavia’s release Sunday of the three American POWs suggests a corollary for the 21st century: Television is the continuation of war by other means.

Kenneth Allard on MSNBC News, May 5, 1999

There's a war out there old friend, a world war, and it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information: about how we think, how we see and hear, how we work. It's all about information.

"Sneakers", MCA Universal Pictures, 1992

Psychological Operations soldiers use persuasion to influence perceptions and encourage desired behavior. The cornerstone of PSYOP is truth, credibly presented to convince a given audience to cease resistance or take actions favorable to friendly forces.


U. S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command Missions and Functions.


 The key is always to tell the truth, and never promise something we cannot deliver. Once we have credibility, then we have an effective message that will win over propaganda and stories told by other factions.


310th PSYOP Company, Bamian, Afghanistan.


Actually, in military psychological operations (PSYOP), there is no game-playing. Truth is of the utmost importance to achieving the mission.


362nd PSYOP Company


PSYOP messages must remain truthful to maintain credibility however, the impact on the target audience is only limited by the imagination of the PSYOP specialist, the staff, and the commander.

Headquarters, Department of the Army, FM 33-1-1, Psychological Operations, May 1994

Credibility is a condition of persuasion. Before you can make a man do what you say, you must make him believe what you say. A necessary condition for gaining his credence is that you do not permit him to catch you in lies. Hence, the constraint upon all propagandists to accurate reporting of matters which are subject to verification by the audience…Propaganda, to be effective, must be not only factually true, but credible.

Sykewar, Daniel Lerner, George W. Stewart, NY., 1949.

Credibility and truth do not necessarily march in step in psychological warfare. What is said, written, printed or broadcasted in the field must be credible within the terms in which it is projected; it need not necessarily be the truth in every instance. In fact the truth can in certain circumstances defeat credibility.

Psychological Warfare, by Charles Roetter, B.T. Batsford, Ltd. London, 1974

Propaganda vs. Truth. How can I tell the apart? The answer is simple: If you agree with it, it is the truth. If you don't agree, it's propaganda.

Psychological Warfare, Second Edition, by Paul Linebarger, Combat Forces Press, Washington D.C. 1954

…The magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler.

Our soldiers learned to think the way the enemy wanted them to think.

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, comments on the success of the Allies propaganda/psychological warfare efforts during WWI.

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.