world war i
“Propaganda is not a moment in the history of communication, rather it is an element in the structure of communication," notes public diplomacy's lead historian.
The phrase public diplomacy may not have become an official term in the popular press until World War I. But it was during the Civil War that deliberate, state sponsored programs began attempting to influence the public mind abroad about American foreign policy.
Today we take for granted that information warfare — whether the disruption of other nations’ computer systems, the monitoring of citizens’ telephone calls to detect terrorist threats or the use of social media to shape foreign attitudes — is a key tool of national security. But virtually all our concerns about such tactics find their roots in the Great War, particularly in its first hours, when the Alert’s hatchet-wielding crew began its work.