- uploaded: Jan 11, 2009
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It has been suggested that War of the Worlds was a psychological warfare experiment. In the 1999 documentary, Masters of the Universe: The Secret Birth of the Federal Reserve, writer Daniel Hopsicker claims the Rockefeller Foundation funded the broadcast, studied the panic, and compiled a report available to a few. A variation has the Radio Project and the Rockefeller Foundation as conspirators. In a theatrical trailer for his film F For Fake, Welles joked about such theories, jesting that the broadcast indeed "had secret sponsors".
While Mercury Theatre had no sponsor, CBS and the Rockefeller Foundation were contracting the leading crowd psychology researchers of the time; CBS had Edward Bernays, the Rockefeller Foundation had Ivy Lee. With the involvement of Frank Stanton in the Radio Project and his position in the CBS research department, it is possible the "creative curiosity" of Orson Welles came from conversations within these business circles. A detailed documentary on these circles and the ideas behind social manipulation was made by the BBC called, The Century of the Self.
There has been continued speculation that the panic generated by War of the Worlds inspired officials to cover up unidentified flying object evidence, avoiding a similar panic. U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the first head of UFO investigatory Project Blue Book wrote, "The [U.S. government's] UFO files are full of references to the near mass panic of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles presented his now famous The War of the Worlds broadcast."