Introduction to World War I Propaganda
The definition of propaganda has been debated, for there are many different viewpoints on it. However, it is usually defined as any type of material used in hopes of influencing a community’s thoughts and viewpoints towards one subject. Many different types of propaganda were used in World War I successfully since people only received the information that the government wanted them to know. It twisted the truth and allowed for governmental control of people’s thoughts and viewpoints towards the war. Usually, people supported the war because propaganda allowed them to believe that war was worth fighting for. Some examples include: convincing people to go to war, unification of the nation, conserving food, buying bonds, and more.
Good examples of literary propaganda would be: countries fabricating the total number of deaths, only choosing to report information that is beneficial to them, and even eliminating information completely, all done in order to give the allusion that fighting the war is beneficial when in actuality, it is not. They even used music and postcards to get ideas through towards everyone, as music is universal, and also an important part of the family during that time. Additionally, countries constantly used posters to show superiority against other countries.
Some posters even called for people’s help based on ties they had with another country. They were also used to get people to enlist in combat. Some posters depicted how everyone was a part of the war, how everyone had a responsibility as they called for male and female soldiers, female workers, families to save food so the armies can have food, which is using people’s emotions as the posters stir up feelings of nationalism. The average person has definitely seen the poster of Uncle Sam stating he needs you to join the army and also the poster of a woman revealing her biceps stating we can do it. Propaganda attacked the emotional parts of human beings as women, children, dogs, etc. were used to stir up emotions.
“Lead this people into war, and they’ll forget there was ever such a thing as tolerance. To fight, you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fibre of national life, infecting the Congress, the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street.” Woodrow Wilson was a keen user of propaganda, and he used it successfully as he convinced the United States of America to go into World War I. In conclusion, propaganda was heavily and successfully used in World War I in order to manipulate people’s thoughts and feelings towards it.
“First World War.com – Propaganda Posters.” First World War.com – A Multimedia History of World War One. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. <http://www.firstworldwar.com/posters/index.htm>.
“Propaganda In Wartime – World War I”” Untitled Document. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. <http://www.100megspop3.com/bark/Propaganda.html>.
“Propaganda Critic: World War One Demons, Atrocities and Lies.” Propaganda Critic: Index of Site Dedicated to Propaganda Analysis. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. <http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/ww1.demons.html>.