“Don't be afraid of ideas that are contrary to present practice. Most everyone who gets to the top gets there for doing something different.”
—Arthur W. Page, November 1, 1935

 

Edward L. Bernays
Chester Burger
Carl R. Byoir
Moss Kendrix
Arthur W. Page
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Early in his publishing career Page had forged what would be a life-long friendship with American statesman Henry Stimson. As Secretary of War during WWII, Stimson asked Page to serve as the head of the Joint Army and Navy Committee on Welfare and Recreation, an organization that supervised military troop information. This was only the beginning of Page's involvement with the War.

Stimson needed someone to talk to about the use of the [atomic bomb] during the war.

In 1945 Page wrote what would probably be his most widely read words ever. On August 6 at 11:00 a.m., President Harry S. Truman announced, "Sixteen hours ago, an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British 'Grand Slam' which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare."

His involvement with the Manhattan Project came to be after he was asked to reorganize the Army's Bureau of Public Relations. He completed the task but was asked to stay on because as he came to realize, Stimson needed someone to talk to about the use of these new weapons during the war. According to Page, 'He had a great conscience about whether he should use this doggoned thing or not, and if so, how.'

The U.S. Government awarded Page the Medal of Merit for his wartime service.

Arthur Page was camera shy. This rare 1958 photo shows him at far left, publicizing the Crusade for Freedom.

In the late 1940's Page became very involved in providing assistance to European countries that were ravaged during the War. He was a member of the Stimson Committee, a group of influential men that were lobbying for the passage of the Marshall Plan, a European recovery program developed by Secretary of State George Marshall. The Marshall Plan was signed into law in 1948, and by 1952 the U.S. had channeled millions of dollars in economic aid to 16 countries.

Instead of retaliating, Page simply offered to provide Lewis with any information he wanted.

In 1949 Page helped organize the National Committee for a Free Europe. According to Noel Griese, Public Relation s Quarterly, Fall 1976, the organization was, "A 'black propaganda' organization supposedly funded by the contributions of American citizens but in reality a Central Intelligence Agency front company." The committee's goal was aimed at both foiling communism and furnishing democracy in Eastern European countries. In 1953 he became Chairman of the Executive Committee and in the following years used his public relations know-how to find influential people that would also hold this position. The list of followers is impressive and includes such notables as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry Ford II and General Lucius Clay.

When the Committee and its associated agencies, i.e. Radio Free Europe and the Crusade for Freedom, came under attack by syndicated columnist and radio personality Fulton Lewis, Jr., Page used his public relations talents to thwart the situation. Lewis claimed that the entire committee was a group of "misguided souls." Instead of retaliating Page simply offered to provide Lewis with any information he wanted about the group and even offered to meet with him at any time to discuss their goals and achievements. By the time it was over the Committee had emerged unscathed; in fact, the tables seemed to have turned on Lewis who came out looking like he was carrying out an unjustified vendetta. Until his death in 1960, Page contributed large amounts of time and money to the Free Europe Committee.

Page took a special interest in the 1952 presidential election. He devoted a lot of time and energy towards the nomination and election of Eisenhower. Rather than being part of the campaign, he chose to focus his efforts on his own influential friends and acquaintances. Page took Eisenhower's thoughts and words from previous speeches and wartime talks and applied them to the issues of the day. By communicating these ideas to his chosen audience, he was successful in gathering ample support for the election.

To Page the most important message he could convey to the public would be the importance of freedom in American society. Nowhere was this more evident than in his establishment of the Center for the Study of the History of Liberty in America at Harvard in 1958. Funded by a $400,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation (he was a trustee), the center published more than 20 major works including two that earned Pulitzer Prizes. When fellow public relations counselor Earl Newsom asked Page why he became involved with this project, he replied,"...It seemed to me that something ought to be done about the teaching of history in our colleges. So I set about trying to do something. That is the tale."

Doubleday, Page and Company
The AT&T Years 1927 - 1946
WW II and the Years Following
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