2Propaganda (noun)The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.
3The word “propaganda” has existed since the 17th century and can be used to refer to the spreading of a faith, seeds, or ideas.
4Propaganda can be positive or negative, and the context in which it appears is very important. How we view certain elements of propaganda today may be different from how they were viewed in the 1920’s, ’30’s, or ’40’s.
5Information can be accurate or inaccurate but, because we are humans, it cannot be unbiased. There is always a point of view.
6So, What is Propaganda?Propaganda is biased information designed to shape public opinion and behavior.
7How has it been used?In the 18th and 19th centuries, propaganda took on greater importance in the political realm with the growth of literacy, liberal demands for freedoms of the press, speech, and assembly, and representative governments. Politicians and governments of all types recognized the importance of winning over and molding public opinion through propaganda and other methods of mass persuasion.
8During war?World War I, however, witnessed the public discovery of propaganda as a powerful weapon for shaping public opinion and behavior. All the major belligerent governments (Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, the United States, Germany, and Austria-Hungary) employed writers, artists, and filmmakers to craft political messages aimed at mobilizing their populations for war, at weakening the enemy’s morale and will to fight, and at winning over audiences in neutral countries.
9After World War IAfter World War I, propaganda became a subject of considerable debate and study throughout the western world, but particularly in the United States and Germany. The term came to be perceived in a negative light and identified in many circles with lies, manipulation, and falsehood.
10Propaganda as a WeaponIn Germany, like the United States, propaganda became the subject of serious discussion and intellectual study.
11Propaganda as a WeaponSome politicians and scholars of propaganda urged Germans to learn from the victors. Among these was Adolf Hitler, a former German soldier and leader of an obscure right-wing extremist party in Bavaria. "Propaganda," he wrote five years after the war, "is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert."
12Propaganda as a WeaponOnce in power, the Nazis eliminated the "marketplace of ideas" through terror and media manipulation and mobilized propaganda as a weapon to unite the German people around a "leader" and to facilitate aggression, mass murder, and genocide.
13How does it work?Propaganda generally employs symbols, whether in written, musical, or visual forms, and plays upon and channels complex human emotions towards a desired goal. It is often employed by governmental and private organizations to promote their causes and institutions and denigrate their opponents.
14How does it work?Propaganda does not aim to encourage deliberation by presenting a variety of viewpoints and leaving it up to the audience to determine which perspective is correct. The propagandist transmits only information geared to strengthen his or her case, and consciously omits detrimental information.
15How does it work?Not all propaganda is bad. Propaganda is used to shape opinion and behavior. Public health campaigns, for example, can utilize propaganda. Elections, even in democratic states, often display elements of propaganda, as candidates and political parties vie for office. The real danger of propaganda lies when competing voices are silenced –and unchecked, propaganda can have negative consequences.
16TechniquesPropaganda is characterized by these traits — it simplifies complex issues, is biased, geared to achieving a particular end, plays on emotions, and defines a cause. It can be true, partially true, or blatantly false. The strategies employed by Nazi propagandists were drawn from a broader history of public information campaigns employed in the service of a variety of causes, in peacetime and wartime.
18AssertionEnthusiastic or energetic statement presented as fact, but not necessarily true; the statement should be accepted without question
19BandwagonAn appeal to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so well; because so many people have joined, victory is inevitable and defeat is impossible
20Card StackingSelective omission which involves only presenting information that is positive to an idea or proposal and omitting information contrary to it
21Glittering Generalities Words that have different positive meanings for individual subjects, but are linked to highly valued concepts (honor, glory, love of country); they demand approval without thinking since such an important concept is involved
22Lesser of Two EvilsTries to convince audience of an idea or proposal by presenting it as the least offensive option; used to convince people to make sacrifices; adds blame on an enemy country or political group
23Name CallingUse of derogatory language that carries a negative connotation when describing an enemy; labels the target as something that the public dislikes
24Pinpointing the EnemySimplifies a complex situation by presenting one specific group or person as the enemy; clear-cut right and wrong
25Plain FolksConvinces the public that his/her views reflect those of the common person and they are working for the benefit of the common person
26SimplificationReduces a complex situation to a clear-cut choice involving good and evil; useful in swaying uneducated audiences
27TransferUsed in politics and during wartime; often used to transfer negative feelings for one object to another; transferring blame or bad feelings from one politician to another of his/her friends or party members
28Things to Think About:Who created this message and what is the purpose?What creative techniques are used to attract and hold attention?How might different people understand this message differently?What values, lifestyle and points of view are represented in this message?What is omitted from the message?
29Is Propaganda Effective? Propaganda, of course, is not always successful. Its effectiveness depends upon a variety of factors, including the receptivity of an audience to the message and a favorable social context.
30Is Propaganda Effective? Propaganda alone, regardless of the skills of its users, cannot win wars or transform thinking human beings into mindless automatons. Regardless of the power of their messages, for instance, the Nazis could not turn back the tide of Allied victory after the middle of Nazi propaganda delayed defeat but it could not bring Germany victory.
31Works CitedBachrach, Susan D., Edward J. Phillips, and Steven Luckert. State of deception: the power of Nazi propaganda.. Washington, D.C.: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum ;, Print.
32A Nazi propaganda poster encourages healthy Germans to raise a large family. The caption, in German, reads: "Healthy Parents have Healthy Children." Germany, date uncertain.— John Ingram Website
33Nazi propaganda often portrayed Jews as engaged in a conspiracy to provoke war. Here, a stereotyped Jew conspires behind the scenes to control the Allied powers, represented by the British, American, and Soviet flags. The caption reads, "Behind the enemy powers: the Jew." Circa 1942.— USHMM Collection, Gift of Helmut Eschwege
34Poster: "He is guilty for the war" 1943 anti-Jewish poster by the artist "Mjolnir" intended to persuade Germans that Jews were responsible for starting the war. "Mjolnir" was the pen name of the artist Hans Schweitzer who created many of the most popular Nazi propaganda posters.Bundesarchiv Koblenz (Plak )
35Poster: "Workers of the Mind, of the Fist, Vote for the Front Soldier / HITLER!" Nazi propagandists distinguished themselves from their leftist opponents by reaching out to both industrial workers "of the fist" and white-collar workers "of the mind." This 1932 presidential election poster also highlights the patriotic appeal of Hitler's status as a World War I veteran. Felix Albrecht, artist; 1932Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.
36Poster:"The German student" This poster from 1936 emphasizes the role of students for the "Führer and People." Nazi propagandists were especially concerned to reach and persuade German youth, the future leaders of the nation, to support the goals and policies of the Nazi Party.Kunstbibliothek
37Poster: "You too belong to the Führer" Propaganda such as this poster emphasized that the goal of the League of German Girls was to prepare its young members for the role in German society specified for them by Nazi ideology: wife, mother, housewife, and communal volunteer.Bundesarchiv Koblenz (Plak )
38Poster: "Produce Weapons for the Front" Nazi propagandists held out the threat of annihilation of German life and culture at the hands of "Jewish Bolshevism" if the Allies won the war. They unrealistically guaranteed victory through miracle weapons or the sheer willpower of the Führer and the German people. Faced with defeat, Hitler's regime responded with increased terror and with propaganda aimed at inspiring fanaticism.Bundesarchiv Koblenz (Plak )
39Poster promoting German railway The eagle has been the German national symbol since the 15th century. During the Nazi period, the Reichsadler (national eagle) standing on a swastika was used widely as an element in the design of insignia, medals, letterheads, and stamps. The Reichsadler was also the symbol of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, the national railway of Germany and in 1938, of Austria as well. In the design of this poster, the eagle appears to be rising and casting rays of light like the sun, suggesting German national renewal and a brighter future for its people.Unknown
40Depiction of the "pure Aryan" family, 1938 A depiction of the "pure Aryan" family on the cover of the 1938 calendar published by Neues Volk, the magazine of the Nazi Party's Race Political Office. Note the eagle hovering in the background.TBD
41Poster: "We're for Adolf Hitler!" Poster: "We’re for Adolf Hitler!" This poster was aimed at unemployed miners. Nazi propaganda targeted specific subgroups in the German population with messages specially crafted to speak to a group’s desires, hopes, and needs. This poster appears to imply that a vote for Hitler will mean an end to unemployment for this group.Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.