As an United States citizen surviving in the modern era of propaganda, possessing the contextual knowledge of any situation, whether it be at the voting booth, in class, or church, or rebuilding after a collapse, places that citizen in an advantageous position. Thus, it is imperative for all citizens to have a knowledge of history and varied methodologies of propaganda.
Propaganda Leading Up to World War II
In any mode, to win the hearts and minds of people, a propaganda operation must present the information in a method that inspires and persuades the consumer. As propaganda production grew leading up to World War II, the world witnessed an intensification of such manipulating schemes.
Great Britain Instituted the British Broadcasting Company
In 1922, Great Britain instituted the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). The intent was to provide, “an informed and enlightened electorate”, via a modernized radio transmission system as a means to compete with outside influence. By 1935, the British Ministry of Information added new, but classified, procedures to their directorate. Additionally, alongside an enormous increase in cinema infrastructure, by 1940 the majority of the British populace tuned in on their radios for their daily dose of informative medication. The British provide an example of a more democratic approach to propaganda policies.
Dissimilarly to the British, the Nazis exemplify the power that propaganda possesses. Arguably more successful, due to their propaganda methods providing the platform for the regime’s assent and continued control of the nation, the Nazi’s incorporation of education into their propaganda apparatus and their superior use of symbols constituted for a more persistent outcome.
Advancing War Strategies and Change in Means for Disseminating Information
Agreed on by many scholars, World War I (WWI) supplied the major source of advancing war strategies, tactics, and the methodologies used in World War II (WWII). According to propaganda-historian and author Nicholas Reeves, the, “core principles of [British] wartime propaganda were identified [during the] pre-war period”. In WWI, radio broadcasts and print constituted the main forms of disseminating information. However, by the start of WWII, most first world countries had multiple sources of communication that included film. For the first time England instituted and controlled a mass media system.
Increase in Governments’ Ability to Inform and Persuade
With the creation of the BBC, the governments’ ability to inform, and therefore persuade, the populace increased exponentially. In less than fifteen years after its birth, the number of radio subscribers scaled from 10 percent to “over 70 percent” of the populace. At last, the ruling class had a modern instrument of mass influence. As Reeves concludes, “[the BBC] made a real impact on the nation’s sense of its own identity”.ee to the desires of those in command, a risk not worth taking.
British Censoring of Public Media
After estimating “over a million civilian casualties” and for three times as many cases of psychological anguish during “the first six months of [the] war”, the British leaders realized the importance of censoring public media. Britain’s Ministry of Information’s (MoI) determination over the need for a propaganda campaign and new public media policies came to full realization. In late 1935, the MoI produced “secret guidelines” to dictate the dissemination of information. Accordingly, the MoI censored “the news at the source”, which allowed for the complete control of information. Moreover, due to zero unapproved facts reaching “the public domain, the media” appeared to operate as normal.
In addition to the “control of information” from a security rationale, the British government also sought to manipulate its populace by providing a scripted “truth” and twisted reality of the world, both from within and beyond its own border. In other words, merely dictating the definitions of classified and unclassified did not fit their needs. Hence, the government placed an extreme importance on rallying the populace for war. Because censorship inhibits one from accumulating a complete picture, the spectator must speculate as to the true means and true ends of his or her country committing to war.
Though a simple one, but often right, money suffices for many. As famous WWI Major General Smedley D. Butler argues in his book, “War is a Racket”, “out of war a few people make huge fortunes”. Butler continues with highlighting that according to the tax return records, “at least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during [WWI]”.
Britain’s Domestic Marketing Schemes and International Propaganda
Like any successful business venture, the British did not stop with only domestic marketing schemes. Britain rather expanded its propaganda realm into international frontiers. In a 1984 newspaper article, D-Day Propaganda, author Caroline Reed writes, “[the] Royal Air Force had commenced [propaganda] leaflet raids over Germany on September 3rd, 1939, and the British Army’s Psychological Warfare Branch had used medium with some success against enemy forces in North Africa and Italy”. From then on through to the end of the war, Britain “[dropped] morale boosting literature to the imprisoned peoples of northern Europe”, and continued to censor, augment, and create mass media.
Monopolized National Media and “Great Britain” Propaganda
Interestingly, Julius Yourman’s journal, “Propaganda Techniques within Nazi Germany,” argues that possessing any form of a monopolized national media suggests a dictatorial government. Nonetheless, the most successful use of British propaganda remains the simplest form thereof, titles: Great Britain! Their name alone propagates a certain message.
German Mass Propaganda Campaign to Wield Power
While the British use of propaganda suffices as an example of attempting to obtain complete control and manipulation of information, the fascist German state plays as the historic case of a regime grasping and wielding power over the people through a mass propaganda campaign. Unexpectedly, a campaign that first started in 1917 Russia, with Lenin’s Soviet Union (SU). By 1928, the SU equated to a propaganda-state, which provided Adolf Hitler the perfect playbook for rising to supremacy. Propaganda directly correlated to the success of the Bolshevik regime’s take over. Likewise, the Nazi regime’s assent to power rested on the success of its propaganda campaigns. Mainly adapting two of the SU’s propaganda tactics as his own, Hitler desired “direct, simple, [and] clear” messages and placed an emphasis on education.
Deliberate Burning For Propaganda Against Political Rival
As a devout propagandist and in a very straight forward way, Hitler ordered for the deliberate burning of a building, only to then blame the act on his political rival. Because the blunt and easy to understand propaganda played a heavier influence on Hitler’s view towards the perfect form thereof, his desires and in your face attitude lead to failed cinematic productions.
“The Eternal Jew”
Beginning production in late 1939, the “The Eternal Jew” released in late 1940. It portrayed the average Jew as an inferior people by comparing them to rats and therefore society’s pests. As Reeves contends, it placed at the top of failed performances. Though Hitler urged for the films production, approved the final cut, and eluded to the “perpetual parasite” theme, in some documented cases the audience dismissed themselves early from the viewing. Nevertheless, other popular accounts cited men chanting along with the drama, shouting names, and displaying the Nazi salute. Perhaps surprisingly, this form of propaganda directly contradicted Joseph Goebbels’ ideal formula.
Goebbels Formula for Propaganda
Counter to Hitler, Goebbels placed his emphasis on reinforcing predispositions through means disguised as simple entertainment. Thus, his productions and ideas constituted the majority of viable propaganda. Goebbels’ propaganda tactics became a cornerstone for the Nazi administration’s success, with his legacy resting within the myth he created that preceded Hitler. He believed that propaganda should never “weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but [used] exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth … its task is to serve our one right, always and unflinchingly”. To accomplish this, Yourman argues that the Nazi propaganda machine’s incorporation of seven persuasion techniques insured its domestic propaganda success: name calling, plain folks, glittering generalities, testimonials, transfer, band wagon, and card stacking.
Technique #1: Emotional Manipulation, Name Calling to Classify and Dehumanize
Through emotional manipulation, the propagandist uses “name calling” as a means to classify and eventually dehumanize a targeted group or class of people. By “[appealing] to [a person’s] hate and fear”, the producer attempts to induce a predisposed “judgment without [fully] examining the evidence.” This facilitates the society to become motivated and unified in the cooperation of a perceived justified cause. Simply, name calling enables the propagandist to create an enemy of the state via appealing to the emotions of the subjects. In this way, the vast majority of the German populace judged the Jewish folk from a predetermined position. And the production of propaganda documentary films, such as “The Eternal Jew”, only reinforced the preconceived notions name calling incites.
Tomorrow, we will continue looking at the remaining six persuasion techniques of domestic propaganda and more.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 75 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
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- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
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Round 75 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.