The Conspiracy of Brainwashing: the Experiences of the First and the Second Cold War

  • Gintaras Aleknonis Faculty of Media, Kiel University of Applied Sciences, Kiel, Germany; Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Keywords: Brainwashing, Propaganda, Conspiracy theory, Cold War, Mind control


With the recent rise of a new confrontation between the East and the West, the convergence of different understandings of brainwashing emerges as a problem of political communication and poses a challenge for information security. The principle objective of this paper is to present a contemporary understanding of brainwashing, determine its propaganda potential, and provide educated guesses about successor concepts, which could be traced back to the origins of brainwashing. Therefore, the article describes the ‘classical’ Western understanding of brainwashing; looks for the potential equivalents of brainwashing on the other side of the Iron Curtain; reveals the rebirth and transformations of the concept in post-communist countries during the period of time, when brainwashing in the West had already came out of fashion; notes to the potential misunderstandings between the new and old democracies, which arise because of the different interpretation of brainwashing.The contemporary comprehension of brainwashing continues to alternate between instrumental and political understanding. The broadened concept becomes more blurred, although the lack of precision compensates the potential loss of mystery and allows the brainwashing to preserve an image of an almighty technique.


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How to Cite
Aleknonis, G. (2020) “The Conspiracy of Brainwashing: the Experiences of the First and the Second Cold War”, Slovak Journal of Political Sciences, 20(1). Available at: (Accessed: 24April2024).