With World War III trending on social media and just about everywhere else, this idea got me thinking: What types of warfare will be used during this massive conflict if it ever happens? While doing some research, I may have found one of my answers. This type of warfare is conventional and has been employed during many wars, such as World War I, World War II, The Vietnam War, and The Korean War. This type of warfare is known as psychological warfare.
Psychological warfare can be used by both sides of a war and can include uses of propaganda, false statements about the enemy, as well as threats and intimidation tactics used to make the enemy lose soldiers and have them cower in fear. The use of Psychological warfare will make sure that at the end of the day the enemy is either demoralized so much that they can’t fight anymore or make them cry in their trenches.
When referring to specific examples used during wartime, things can go from mild propaganda posters glorifying your homeland, to using the other side’s religion against them. During World War I and II, posters were used to make each side look like monsters. Great Britain used posters making Germany look like a gorilla taking away a woman and child, asking for citizens to take up arms against the horrible German monster. On the other hand, Germany also had their propaganda posters, making Great Britain look like a massive spider, taking over all of the German land. All of this is good for making soldiers join up in arms against the opposing war machine, but nothing compares to what went down during the Vietnam War.
While fighting in Vietnam, the Americans wanted to know everything about their enemy and so did the North Vietnamese. They both found out many things about their enemy, but one on each side stood out. The Americans found out that the Vietnamese buried their dead in their home villages. If they didn’t they would haunt their children and the places that they were falsely buried in. The Americans knew about this, and made recordings of their own distorted voices and played them on loudspeakers in the forests of Vietnam for the enemy to hear, creating a nightmarish walk in the woods. This took a toll on both the Americans and the North Vietnamese, since some of the Americans didn’t know where it was coming from or what it was.
The North Vietnamese wanted to play the Americans little game, too. Trịnh Thị Ngọ, also known as Hanoi Hannah, was a radio personality working for the North Vietnamese military. She was in charge of propaganda on loudspeakers in the forests and in cities and villages. Her propaganda was directed at American soldiers, saying how their democracy was wrong and that communism was the right way to go. Her radio work was so effective, some of the American soldiers actually listened to her and either left the American military or defected (joined the opposing force) to the North Vietnamese.
Psychological warfare may be just a war of the mind, but it is a warfare nonetheless. Whether posting propaganda posters, going on the radio, or bringing in the opponent’s religion or loved ones into the fray, it’s an effective type of war fought on all fronts.