Institutional Building Blocks: Defense Dollars
Between 1945 and the mid-1960s, the U.S. military was, by far, the country's major institutional sponsor of psychological research, a living illustration of what socially minded experts could accomplish, especially with a "not too gentle rain of gold." Some of the reasons for the meteoric rise of military psychology were not very subtle. The military had more money than any other public institution during these years, and during the Korean War, the DOD spent more on social and behavioral science than all other federal agencies combined. Projects that would have represented heavy investments for civilian bureaucracies could, on occasion, simply be ways of satisfying the military's curiosity, or appeasing psychology's overheated advocates. Although impressive, the staggering sums that were spent on military psychological services between 1945 and 1970 are not, in themselves, convincing evidence that the military establishment had been thoroughly enlightened by psychology or converted to the experts' world-view. The military spent staggering sums on many things during these years and psychology was, in relative terms at least, dirt cheap.
Many of the academic professionals who had worked in the World War II military were relieved to return home to their universities in 1945, much like the ordinary soldiers they had studied. Samuel Stouf-
fer, who had managed the Research Branch of the army's Information and Education Division, returned briefly to the University of Chicago, then moved on to Harvard, where he became director of the new Laboratory of Social Relations. Rensis Liken, head of the Department of Agriculture's Division of Program Surveys and director of the Strategic Bombing Survey's Morale Division, went to Ann Arbor, where he headed the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Leonard Doob returned to his post at the Yale Institute of Human Relations. Even from such scattered locations in civilian academic life, however, World War II-era experts kept close tabs on the progress of military psychology (typically by serving as DOD advisors) and carefully nurtured the professional networks they had constructed during the world war, to their lasting benefit. According to Nathan Maccoby, a psychologist who worked in the Army Research Branch under the direction of Samuel Stouffer, "The Research Branch not only established one of the best old-boy (or old-girl) networks ever, but an alumnus of the Branch had an open door to most relevant jobs and career lines. We were a lucky bunch."
Those who chose to stay on in the military, or young professionals who spent their entire careers in the new defense-oriented research organizations that proliferated in the postwar era, were fond of pointing out that nothing much distinguished psychology on campus from psychology administered, directly or indirectly, by the Pentagon; virtually all psychological research had military applications. Further, work that was officially nonmilitary took on a military flavor, if only because association with national defense during the Cold War ensured the government's generous and sustained patronage. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), both important civilian sources of funding for psychological and behavioral research in the postwar years, came into existence on the heels of World War II. NIMH was established in 1946 as one component of the National Mental Health Act. General Louis Hershey, head of the Selective Service and one of the most vocal lobbyists for this legislation, made liberal use of the military's mental health data and warned that the psychiatric casualties of World War II were but the tip of the iceberg. The NSF was created four years later, after five years of congressional debate over twenty-one separate bills. By 1950 the Cold War climate was firmly in place and the Korean War had just begun.
NSF and NIMH were sensitive to military requirements and institutionally bound to the DOD in a number of ways in spite of their allegedly nonmilitary purposes. The NSF director, for example, served on
the President's Defense Science Board and was responsible for initiating and supporting military research at the request of the Secretary of Defense. Employment patterns were also quite fluid, and experts moved back and forth between military and civilian institutions. Theodore Val-lance, for example, a psychologist and the director of the military research organization, the Special Operations Research Office (Camelot's sponsoring organization in the early 1960s), became Chief of the NIMH Planning Branch just a few years later. Job location changed frequently; the nature of the work did not.
During the 1950s, all the types of work that psychological experts had done in the World War II military were further institutionalized (in the DOD and on campus) with the support of military funding: psychological warfare, intelligence classification, training, clinical treatment, and "human factors" (previously called "man-machine") engineering. Even the mysteries of morale and other fields of human relations research were vigorously pursued on the theory that, however speculative in the short run, their potential military payoff was large enough to justify, the investment.
In the wake of World War II, practical applications counted above all, and the patriotic rush to make psychology (and other behaviorally oriented disciplines) serviceable generated expectations that at least certain kinds of expertise would be dependable enough, and hence indispensable enough, to be called "policy sciences." Lingering skeptics typically confronted the passion—and sometimes the arrogance—of true believers, such as sociologist Talcott Parsons.
Do we have or can we develop a knowledge of human social relations that can serve as the basis of rational "engineering" control? ... The evidence we have reviewed indicates that the answer is unequivocally affirmative. Social science is a going concern; the problem is not one of creating it, but rather of using and developing it. Those who still argue whether the scientific study of social life is possible are far behind the times. It is here, and that fact ends the argument.
Such confidence drowned out whatever tentative speculation existed that the explosion of job opportunities in the military, and elsewhere in government, was turning experts into obedient servants of the state. The panic set off by Sputnik in 1957 about the state of U.S. scientific and technological know-how did nothing, of course, to inspire a more critical mood; it only increased the gush of defense dollars.
By the early 1960s the DOD was spending almost all of its social science research budget on psychology, around $15 million annually, more than the entire budget for military research and development be-
fore World War II. By the end of the 1960s the figure had almost tripled, but even the huge sums spent by the DOD had been swamped years earlier by Great Society programs wishing to direct psychological expertise toward domestic policy problems. Whatever the intentions of military planners for their in-house and contract research during the Cold War, psychologists were hopeful, during the years following World War II, that "the military may serve for psychology the role that the industrial revolution served for the physical sciences."
After 1945, and until the formal establishment of the NSF in 1950, the federal agency most responsible for funding psychological research was the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Established in August 1946 as the first federal agency dedicated to supporting scientific research, it took up pretty much where Word War II left off. ONR inherited many wartime research contracts that employed psychologists in areas of personnel and training (test design and measurement), group dynamics (conformity, motivation, and leadership studies), human factors engineering (equipment design), and physiological psychology (sensation and perception). With a total budget for psychological research of around $2 million each year, the ONR represented a military commitment to psychological research and expertise far outstripping that of other public agencies. A decade after its establishment, the American Psychological Association (APA) celebrated the work of the ONR at an elaborate Washington banquet, "in recognition of the exceptional contributions of the Office of Naval Research to the development of American psychology and other sciences basic to the national welfare."
In 1950 the Korean War confirmed the wisdom and reliability of the military-psychology combination. Widely publicized "brainwashing" of U.S. POWs by Chinese Communists gave special impetus to studies of sensory deprivation and techniques of ideological conversion, although there was a concerted effort to keep this kind of politically sensitive military research quiet. Ultimately, research related to the mechanisms of mass communications and persuasion found their most eager customer in the evolving U.S. intelligence community. The CIA, in particular, launched an ambitious mind control program during this period. With a professional self-image that leaned heavily on psychological factors, the agency's embrace of behavioral technologies—in-eluding personality measurement and assessment—was not at all surprising. Consider the following description of an agent's primary mission by the CIA's inspector general in 1963: "The CIA case officer is first and foremost, perhaps, a practitioner of the art of assessing and
exploiting human personality and motivations for ulterior purposes... by bringing the methods and disciplines of psychology to bear.... The prime objectives are control, exploitation, or neutralization. These objectives are innately anti-ethical rather than therapeutic in their intent."
While the CIA's determination to train agents in the intricacies of psychological manipulation and its research into mind control were covert, not a matter of public record until decades later, the military's response to the Korean War was to reaffirm, often quite publicly, the fundamental lesson learned during World War II: war should be treated as a psychological struggle and laboratory. The Personnel Research Branch of the U.S. Army, along with several new contract research outfits (including the army's Operations Research Office of Johns Hopkins University and the air force's Human Resources Research Institute) sent psychologists to Korea to pursue the question of what exactly made a good solider. These investigations proceeded under the watchful eyes of advisors, including Samuel Stouffer, who had pioneered this sort of attitude assessment effort in World War II. The army also launched Project CLEAR, an effort to check up on the slow progress of military racial integration after President Truman issued an executive order in July 1948 to desegregate the armed forces. These studies too were reminiscent of the work of the Army Research Branch during World War II. Finally, the U.S. Psychological Strategy Board, which coordinated all psychological warfare campaigns in Korea, consulted with behavioral experts including Hadley Cantril, Daniel Lerner, Harold Lasswell, Rensis Likert, Gabriel Almond, Clyde Kluckhohn, and Alexander Leighton. The result was that the World War II experience was grafted onto the Cold War conflict. The commitment to psychology as a weapon continued unabated (fig. 14).