Propaganda in the Early Twentieth Century

Essay by jjock86College, UndergraduateA, February 2008

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In the aftermath of World War I, global cynicism towards government, poor direction and a disordered economic situation powered political revamps and allowed the creation of numerous tyrannical governments. The most dominant emerging powers at the time were the communist USSR emerging from the Russian empire, The National Fascist Party in Italy, and the National Socialist Party in Germany. Not to be underestimated were countries like Japan, Hungary, and Portugal who also had a great deal of political change during this brutal era. Each party fought for absolute direct control over their people through the use of propaganda and sometimes threats that intimidated them into compliance.

Propaganda had many different faces and was used through many different mediums. Intensive media campaigns instilled messages geared towards persuading and molding the beliefs and ideology of mass amounts of particular nations’ citizens. Propaganda was not used as an un-opinionated medium of information; rather it was a means to convince those receiving it to comply in full agreement.

Fact based propaganda was what most people responded to and was the most successful. However, this didn’t mean that the facts were not biased and that in most cases some important facts are left out. The messages were usually presented in a way to strike the minds of the recipient and provoke an almost primal thought process, leaving normal reasoning behind. It is the goal of the propagandists to put those viewing it under an almost mental spell or even in a brain washed state. This quote from Bertrand Russell exemplifies this notion, “You must not kill your neighbor, whom perhaps you genuinely hate, but by a little propaganda this hate can be transferred to some foreign nation, against whom all your murderous impulses become patriotic heroism”.

During this time when propaganda seemed to run rampant...