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French Propaganda Postcard from World War I era showing a caricature of Kaiser Wilhelm II biting the world
Poster for Thirteenth Naval District, United States Navy, showing a rat representing Japan, approaching a mousetrap labeled "Army, Navy, Civilian", on a background map of the Alaska Territory

Propaganda is a form of communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels.
— Richard Alan Nelson, A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States



The English term is an 18th century coinage, from the Latin feminine gerund of propagare "to propagate", originally in Congregatio de Propaganda Fide "Congregation for Propagating the Faith", a committee of cardinals established 1622 by Gregory XV. In its turn, the word propagare is related to the word propages' ', "a slip, a cutting of a vine"[1] and refers to the gardener's practice to disseminate plants by planting shoots.[2]

The term is not pejorative in origin and its political sense dates back to World War I.


Poster of the 19th century Scandinavist movement

Defining propaganda has always been a problem. Garth Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell have provided a concise, workable definition of the term: "Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist."[3] This definition focuses on the communicative process involved—more precisely, on the purpose of the process, and allows "propaganda" to be considered as a neutral activity, which can be seen as positive or negative behavior depending on the perspective of the viewer.

Propaganda is generally an appeal to emotion, not intellect. It shares techniques with advertising and public relations, each of which can be thought of as propaganda that promotes a commercial product or shapes the perception of an organization, person or brand, though in post-World War II usage the word "propaganda" more typically refers to political or nationalist uses of these techniques or to the promotion of a set of ideas, since the term had gained a pejorative meaning, which commercial and government entities could not accept.[citation needed] The refusal phenomenon was eventually to be seen in politics itself by the substitution of "political marketing" and other designations for "political propaganda".

Propaganda was often used to influence opinions and beliefs on religious issues, particularly during the split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches. Propaganda has become more common in political contexts, in particular to refer to certain efforts sponsored by governments, political groups, but also often covert interests. In the early 20th century, propaganda was exemplified in the form of party slogans. Also in the early 20th century the term propaganda was used by the founders of the nascent public relations industry to describe their activities. This usage died out around the time of World War II, as the industry started to avoid the word, given the pejorative connotation it had acquired.

The execution of British nurse Edith Cavell by the German Army in 1915 was a major theme of World War I anti-German propaganda.

Literally translated from the Latin gerundive as "things that must be disseminated", in some cultures the term is neutral or even positive, while in others the term has acquired a strong negative connotation. The connotations of the term "propaganda" can also vary over time. For example, in Portuguese and some Spanish language speaking countries, particularly in the Southern Cone, the word "propaganda" usually refers to the most common manipulative media — "advertising".

In English, "propaganda" was originally a neutral term used to describe the dissemination of information in favor of any given cause. During the 20th century, however, the term acquired a thoroughly negative meaning in western countries, representing the intentional dissemination of often false, but certainly "compelling" claims to support or justify political actions or ideologies. This redefinition arose because both the Soviet Union and Germany's government under Hitler admitted explicitly to using propaganda favoring, respectively, communism and Nazism, in all forms of public expression. As these ideologies were repugnant to liberal western societies, the negative feelings toward them came to be projected into the word "propaganda" itself.

Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism—the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion.
—Richard Alan Nelson, A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States, 1996
A 1947 comic book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society warning of "the dangers of a Communist takeover".

Roderick Hindery argues[4] that propaganda exists on the political left, and right, and in mainstream centrist parties. Hindery further argues that debates about most social issues can be productively revisited in the context of asking "what is or is not propaganda?" Not to be overlooked is the link between propaganda, indoctrination, and terrorism/counterterrorism. He argues that threats to destroy are often as socially disruptive as physical devastation itself.

Propaganda also has much in common with public information campaigns by governments, which are intended to encourage or discourage certain forms of behavior (such as wearing seat belts, not smoking, not littering and so forth). Again, the emphasis is more political in propaganda. Propaganda can take the form of leaflets, posters, TV and radio broadcasts and can also extend to any other medium. In the case of the United States, there is also an important legal (imposed by law) distinction between advertising (a type of overt propaganda) and what the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of the United States Congress, refers to as "covert propaganda".

Journalistic theory generally holds that news items should be objective, giving the reader an accurate background and analysis of the subject at hand. On the other hand, advertisements evolved from the traditional commercial advertisements to include also a new type in the form of paid articles or broadcasts disguised as news. These generally present an issue in a very subjective and often misleading light, primarily meant to persuade rather than inform. Normally they use only subtle propaganda techniques and not the more obvious ones used in traditional commercial advertisements. If the reader believes that a paid advertisement is in fact a news item, the message the advertiser is trying to communicate will be more easily "believed" or "internalized".

Such advertisements are considered obvious examples of "covert" propaganda because they take on the appearance of objective information rather than the appearance of propaganda, which is misleading. Federal law specifically mandates that any advertisement appearing in the format of a news item must state that the item is in fact a paid advertisement.

US Office for War Information poster implying that working less helped the Axis powers.

The propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or situation for the purpose of changing their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the interest group. Propaganda, in this sense, serves as a corollary to censorship in which the same purpose is achieved, not by filling people's minds with approved information, but by preventing people from being confronted with opposing points of view. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people's understanding through deception and confusion rather than persuasion and understanding. The leaders of an organization know the information to be one sided or untrue, but this may not be true for the rank and file members who help to disseminate the propaganda.

More in line with the religious roots of the term, it is also used widely in the debates about new religious movements (NRMs), both by people who defend them and by people who oppose them. The latter pejoratively call these NRMs cults. Anti-cult activists and countercult activists accuse the leaders of what they consider cults of using propaganda extensively to recruit followers and keep them. Some social scientists, such as the late Jeffrey Hadden, and CESNUR affiliated scholars accuse ex-members of "cults" who became vocal critics and the anti-cult movement of making these unusual religious movements look bad without sufficient reasons.[5][6]

The much-imitated 1914 "Lord Kitchener Wants You!" poster

Propaganda is a powerful weapon in war; it is used to dehumanize and create hatred toward a supposed enemy, either internal or external, by creating a false image in the mind. This can be done by using derogatory or racist terms, avoiding some words or by making allegations of enemy atrocities. Most propaganda wars require the home population to feel the enemy has inflicted an injustice, which may be fictitious or may be based on facts. The home population must also decide that the cause of their nation is just.

Propaganda is also one of the methods used in psychological warfare, which may also involve false flag operations. The term propaganda may also refer to false information meant to reinforce the mindsets of people who already believe as the propagandist wishes. The assumption is that, if people believe something false, they will constantly be assailed by doubts. Since these doubts are unpleasant (see cognitive dissonance), people will be eager to have them extinguished, and are therefore receptive to the reassurances of those in power. For this reason propaganda is often addressed to people who are already sympathetic to the agenda. This process of reinforcement uses an individual's predisposition to self-select "agreeable" information sources as a mechanism for maintaining control.

Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.

Propaganda can be classified according to the source and nature of the message. White propaganda generally comes from an openly identified source, and is characterized by gentler methods of persuasion, such as standard public relations techniques and one-sided presentation of an argument. Black propaganda is identified as being from one source, but is in fact from another. This is most commonly to disguise the true origins of the propaganda, be it from an enemy country or from an organization with a negative public image. Grey propaganda is propaganda without any identifiable source or author. A major application of grey propaganda is making enemies believe falsehoods using straw arguments: As phase one, to make someone believe "A", one releases as grey propaganda "B", the opposite of "A". In phase two, "B" is discredited using some strawman. The enemy will then assume "A" to be true.

In scale, these different types of propaganda can also be defined by the potential of true and correct information to compete with the propaganda. For example, opposition to white propaganda is often readily found and may slightly discredit the propaganda source. Opposition to grey propaganda, when revealed (often by an inside source), may create some level of public outcry. Opposition to black propaganda is often unavailable and may be dangerous to reveal, because public cognizance of black propaganda tactics and sources would undermine or backfire the very campaign the black propagandist supported.

Propaganda may be administered in insidious ways. For instance, disparaging disinformation about the history of certain groups or foreign countries may be encouraged or tolerated in the educational system. Since few people actually double-check what they learn at school, such disinformation will be repeated by journalists as well as parents, thus reinforcing the idea that the disinformation item is really a "well-known fact", even though no one repeating the myth is able to point to an authoritative source. The disinformation is then recycled in the media and in the educational system, without the need for direct governmental intervention on the media. Such permeating propaganda may be used for political goals: by giving citizens a false impression of the quality or policies of their country, they may be incited to reject certain proposals or certain remarks or ignore the experience of others. See also: black propaganda, marketing, advertising.


Anti-Capitalist propaganda

Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, junk science, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters. Less common nowadays are letterpost envelopes examples of which of survive from the time of the American Civil War. (Connecticut Historical Society; Civil War Collections; Covers.) In principle any thing that appears on a poster can be produced on a reduced scale on a pocket-style envelope with corresponding proportions to the poster. The case of radio and television, propaganda can exist on news, current-affairs or talk-show segments, as advertising or public-service announce "spots" or as long-running advertorials. Propaganda campaigns often follow a strategic transmission pattern to indoctrinate the target group. This may begin with a simple transmission such as a leaflet dropped from a plane or an advertisement. Generally these messages will contain directions on how to obtain more information, via a web site, hot line, radio program, et cetera (as it is seen also for selling purposes among other goals). The strategy intends to initiate the individual from information recipient to information seeker through reinforcement, and then from information seeker to opinion leader through indoctrination.

A number of techniques based in social psychological research are used to generate propaganda. Many of these same techniques can be found under logical fallacies, since propagandists use arguments that, while sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.

Some time has been spent analyzing the means by which the propaganda messages are transmitted. That work is important but it is clear that information dissemination strategies become propaganda strategies only when coupled with propagandistic messages. Identifying these messages is a necessary prerequisite to study the methods by which those messages are spread. Below are a number of techniques for generating propaganda:

Propaganda to urge immigrants to move to California, 1876

Ad hominem

A Latin phrase that has come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments.

Ad nauseam

This argument approach uses tireless repetition of an idea. An idea, especially a simple slogan, that is repeated enough times, may begin to be taken as the truth. This approach works best when media sources are limited and controlled by the propagator.

Appeal to authority

Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action.

Appeal to fear

Appeals to fear and seeks to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population, for example, Joseph Goebbels exploited Theodore Kaufman's Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people.

Appeal to prejudice

Using loaded or emotive terms to attach value or moral goodness to believing the proposition. Used in biased or misleading ways.


Bandwagon and "inevitable-victory" appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to join in and take the course of action that "everyone else is taking".

  • Inevitable victory: invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already or at least partially on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is their best course of action.
  • Join the crowd: This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their best interest to join.
Getting What He Deserves. Heroes of the Fiery Cross 1928.

Beautiful people

The type of propaganda that deals with famous people or depicts attractive, happy people. This makes other people think that if they buy a product or follow a certain ideology, they too will be happy or successful.

Big Lie

The repeated articulation of a complex of events that justify subsequent action. The descriptions of these events have elements of truth, and the "big lie" generalizations merge and eventually supplant the public's accurate perception of the underlying events. After World War I the German Stab in the back explanation of the cause of their defeat became a justification for Nazi re-militarization and revanchist aggression.

Black-and-white fallacy

Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice. (e.g., George W. Bush: "Either you are with us or against us.")

Common man

The "plain folks" or "common man" approach attempts to convince the audience that the propagandist's positions reflect the common sense of the people. It is designed to win the confidence of the audience by communicating in the common manner and style of the target audience. Propagandists use ordinary language and mannerisms (and clothe their message in face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in attempting to identify their point of view with that of the average person. For example, a propaganda leaflet may make an argument on a macroeconomic issue, such as unemployment insurance benefits, using everyday terms: "Given that the country has little money during this recession, we should stop paying unemployment benefits to those who do not work, because that is like maxing out all your credit cards during a tight period, when you should be tightening your belt."

Demonizing the enemy

A separatist poster glorifying Sikh terrorists as heroes on Indian Army's assault on Golden Temple in 1984 Operation Bluestar. It quotes Byron's Sonnet on Chillon

Making individuals from the opposing nation, from a different ethnic group, or those who support the opposing viewpoint appear to be subhuman (e.g., the Vietnam War-era term "gooks" for National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam aka Vietcong, or "VC", soldiers), worthless, or immoral, through suggestion or false accusations.

World War I poster by Winsor McCay, urging Americans to buy Liberty Bonds

Direct order

This technique hopes to simplify the decision making process by using images and words to tell the audience exactly what actions to take, eliminating any other possible choices. Authority figures can be used to give the order, overlapping it with the Appeal to authority technique, but not necessarily. The Uncle Sam "I want you" image is an example of this technique.


The creation or deletion of information from public records, in the purpose of making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organization, including outright forgery of photographs, motion pictures, broadcasts, and sound recordings as well as printed documents.


The use of an event that generates euphoria or happiness, or using an appealing event to boost morale. Euphoria can be created by declaring a holiday, making luxury items available, or mounting a military parade with marching bands and patriotic messages.


An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea. The feeling of patriotism this technique attempts to inspire may not necessarily diminish or entirely omit one's capability for rational examination of the matter in question.

The Finnish Maiden - personification of Finnish nationalism

Glittering generalities

Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words applied to a product or idea, but which present no concrete argument or analysis. A famous example is the campaign slogan "Ford has a better idea!"


A half-truth is a deceptive statement, which may come in several forms and includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade blame or misrepresent the truth.

Intentional vagueness

Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application. The intent is to cause people to draw their own interpretations rather than simply being presented with an explicit idea. In trying to "figure out" the propaganda, the audience forgoes judgment of the ideas presented. Their validity, reasonableness and application may still be considered.


A Euphemism is used when the propagandist attempts to increase the perceived quality, credibility, or credence of a particular ideal. A Dysphemism is used when the intent of the propagandist is to discredit, diminish the perceived quality, or hurt the perceived righteousness of the Mark. By creating a "label" or "category" or "faction" of a population, it is much easier to make an example of these larger bodies, because they can uplift or defame the Mark without actually incurring legal-defamation. Example: "Liberal" is a dysphemism intended to diminish the perceived credibility of a particular Mark. By taking a displeasing argument presented by a Mark, the propagandist can quote that person, and then attack "liberals" in an attempt to both Example: "Racist" is another dysphemism intended to diminish credibility of a particular mark: (1) create a political battle-ax of unaccountable aggression and (2) diminish the quality of the Mark. If the propagandist uses the label on too-many perceivably credible individuals, muddying up the word can be done by broadcasting bad-examples of "liberals" into the media. Labeling can be thought of as a sub-set of Guilt by association, another logical fallacy.


Propagandists use the name-calling technique to incite fears and arouse prejudices in their hearers in the intent that the bad names will cause hearers to construct a negative opinion about a group or set of beliefs or ideas that the propagandist would wish hearers to denounce. The method is intended to provoke conclusions about a matter apart from impartial examinations of facts. Name-calling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against the an idea or belief on its own merits.[7]

Obtain disapproval or Reductio ad Hitlerum

This technique is used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. Thus if a group that supports a certain policy is led to believe that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible people support the same policy, then the members of the group may decide to change their original position. This is a form of bad logic, where a is said to include X, and b is said to include X, therefore, a = b.


Favorable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic, or military problems.

Illustration by Rev. Branford Clarke from Heroes of the Fiery Cross by Bishop Alma White published by the Pillar of Fire Church 1928 in Zarephath, NJ

Quotes out of context

Selectively editing quotes to change meanings—political documentaries designed to discredit an opponent or an opposing political viewpoint often make use of this technique.


Individuals or groups may use favorable generalities to rationalize questionable acts or beliefs. Vague and pleasant phrases are often used to justify such actions or beliefs.

Red herring

Presenting data or issues that, while compelling, are irrelevant to the argument at hand, and then claiming that it validates the argument.


Assigning blame to an individual or group, thus alleviating feelings of guilt from responsible parties and/or distracting attention from the need to fix the problem for which blame is being assigned.


A slogan is a brief, striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. Although slogans may be enlisted to support reasoned ideas, in practice they tend to act only as emotional appeals. Opponents of the US's invasion and occupation of Iraq use the slogan "blood for oil" to suggest that the invasion and its human losses was done to access Iraq's oil riches. On the other hand, "hawks" who argue that the US should continue to fight in Iraq use the slogan "cut and run" to suggest that it would be cowardly or weak to withdraw from Iraq. Similarly, the names of the military campaigns, such as "enduring freedom" or "just cause", may also be regarded to be slogans, devised to influence people.


This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. For instance, reporting on a foreign country or social group may focus on the stereotypical traits that the reader expects, even though they are far from being representative of the whole country or group; such reporting often focuses on the anecdotal. In graphic propaganda, including war posters, this might include portraying enemies with stereotyped racial features.

Straw Man

A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.[1][2]


Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited. The testimonial places the official sanction of a respected person or authority on a propaganda message. This is done in an effort to cause the target audience to identify itself with the authority or to accept the authority's opinions and beliefs as its own. See also, damaging quotation

"The Bulgarian Martyresses", 1877 painting by the Russian painter Konstantin Makovsky depicting the rape of Bulgarian women by Ottoman troops during the suppression of the April Uprising a year earlier, served to mobilise public support for the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) waged with the proclaimed aim of liberating the Bulgarians.


Also known as association, this is a technique that involves projecting the positive or negative qualities of one person, entity, object, or value onto another to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. It evokes an emotional response, which stimulates the target to identify with recognized authorities. Often highly visual, this technique often utilizes symbols superimposed over other visual images. These symbols may be used in place of words; for example, placing swastikas on or around a picture of an opponent to associate the opponent with Naziism.

Unstated assumption

This technique is used when the propaganda concept that the propagandist intends to transmit would seem less credible if explicitly stated. The concept is instead repeatedly assumed or implied.

Virtue words

These are words in the value system of the target audience that produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue. Peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom, "The Truth", etc. are virtue words. In countries such as the U.S. religiosity is seen as a virtue, making associations to this quality affectively beneficial. See Transfer.


Herman and Chomsky's propaganda model

First Red Scare depiction of a "European Anarchist" attempting to destroy the Statue of Liberty.

The propaganda model is a theory advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky that alleges systemic biases in the mass media and seeks to explain them in terms of structural economic causes.

The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views the private media as businesses selling a product — readers and audiences (rather than news) — to other businesses (advertisers) and relying primarily on government and corporate information and propaganda. The theory postulates five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented in news media: Ownership of the medium, the medium's Funding, Sourcing of the news, Flak, and Anti-communist ideology.

The first three (ownership, funding, and sourcing) are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles the model postulates as the cause of media biases. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Chomsky stated that the new filter replacing communism would be terrorism and Islam.

Ross' epistemic merit model

The epistemic merit model is a method for understanding propaganda conceived by Sheryl Tuttle Ross and detailed in her 2002 article for the Journal of Aesthetic Education entitled "Understanding Propaganda: The Epistemic Merit Model and Its Application to Art".[10] Ross developed the Epistemic merit model due to concern about narrow, misleading definitions of propaganda. She contrasted her model with the ideas of Pope Gregory XV, the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Alfred Lee, F.C. Bartlett, and Hans Speier. Insisting that each of their respective discussions of propaganda are too narrow, Ross proposed her own definition.

American World War I poster: "Remember Your First Thrill of American Liberty"

To appropriately discuss propaganda, Ross argues that one must consider a threefold communication model: that of Sender-Message-Receiver. "That is... propaganda involve[s]... the one who is persuading (Sender) [who is] doing so intentionally, [the] target for such persuasion (Receiver) and [the] means of reaching that target (Message)." There are four conditions for a message to be considered propaganda. Propaganda involves the intention to persuade. As well, propaganda is sent on behalf of a sociopolitical institution, organization, or cause. Next, the recipient of propaganda is a socially significant group of people. Finally, propaganda is an epistemic struggle to challenge other thoughts.

Ross claims that it is misleading to say that propaganda is simply false, or that it is conditional to a lie, since often the propagandist believes in what he/she is propagandizing. In other words, it is not necessarily a lie if the person who creates the propaganda is trying to persuade you of a view that they actually hold. "The aim of the propagandist is to create the semblance of credibility." This means that they appeal to an epistemology that is weak or defective.

False statements, bad arguments, immoral commands as well as inapt metaphors (and other literary tropes) are the sorts of things that are epistemically defective... Not only does epistemic defectiveness more accurately describe how propaganda endeavors to function... since many messages are in forms such as commands that do not admit to truth-values, [but it] also accounts for the role context plays in the workings of propaganda.

Throughout history those who have wished to persuade have used art to get their message out. This can be accomplished by hiring artists for the express aim of propagandizing or by investing new meanings to a previously non-political work. Therefore, Ross states, it is important to consider "the conditions of its making [and] the conditions of its use."


Ancient propaganda

English Civil War cartoon entitled "The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert" (1643)

Propaganda has been a human activity as far back as reliable recorded evidence exists. The Behistun Inscription (c. 515 BC) detailing the rise of Darius I to the Persian throne, can be seen as an early example of propaganda. The Arthashastra written by Chanakya (c. 350 - 283 BC), a professor of political science at Takshashila University and a prime minister of the Maurya Empire in ancient India, discusses propaganda in detail, such as how to spread propaganda and how to apply it in warfare. His student Chandragupta Maurya (c. 340 - 293 BC), founder of the Maurya Empire, employed these methods during his rise to power.[11] The writings of Romans such as Livy (c. 59 BC - 17 AD) are considered masterpieces of pro-Roman propaganda. Another example of early propaganda would be the 12th century work The War of the Irish with the Foreigners, written by the Dál gCais to portray themselves as legitimate rulers of Ireland.

German peasants greet the fire and brimstone from a papal bull of Pope Paul III in Martin Luther's 1545 Depictions of the Papacy.

Propaganda during the Reformation

Propaganda during the Reformation, helped by the spread of the printing press throughout Europe, and in particular within Germany, caused new ideas, thoughts, and doctrine to be made available to the public in ways that had never been seen before the sixteenth century. The printing press was invented in approximately 1450 and quickly spread to other major cities around Europe; by the time the Reformation was underway in 1517 there were printing centers in over 200 of the major European cities.[12] These centers became the primary producers of both Reformation works by the Protestant Reformers and anti-Reformation works put forth by the Roman Catholics.

19th and 20th centuries

With the beginnings of the mass media in the 19th century, war rape was sometimes used as propaganda by European colonialists to justify the colonization of places they had conquered. The most notable example was perhaps during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, known as "India's First War of Independence" to the Indians and as the "Sepoy Mutiny" to the British, where Indian sepoys rebelled against the British East India Company's rule in India. While incidents of rape committed by Indian rebels against English women or girls were generally uncommon during the rebellion, this was exaggerated to great effect by the British media to justify continued British colonialism in the Indian subcontinent.[13] At the time, British newspapers had printed various accounts about English women and girls being raped by the Indian rebels, but with little physical evidence to support these stories. It was later found that some of these accounts were false stories created to paint the native people of India as savages who need to be civilized by British colonialists, a mission sometimes known as "The White Man's Burden". One such account published by The Times, regarding an incident where 48 English girls as young as 10–14 were supposedly raped by the Indian rebels in Delhi, was criticized as a false propaganda story by Karl Marx, who pointed out that the story was reported by a clergyman in Bangalore, far from the events of the rebellion.[14]

Gabriel Tarde's Laws of Imitation (1890) and Gustave Le Bon's The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1897) were two of the first codifications of propaganda techniques, which influenced many writers afterward, including Sigmund Freud. Hitler's Mein Kampf is heavily influenced by Le Bon's theories. Journalist Walter Lippmann, in Public Opinion (1922) also worked on the subject, as well as the American advertising pioneer Edward Bernays, a nephew of Freud, early in the 20th century.[15]

During World War I, Lippmann and Bernays were hired by then United States President, Woodrow Wilson, to participate in the Creel Commission, the mission of which was to sway popular opinion in favor of entering the war, on the side of the United Kingdom. The Creel Commission provided themes for speeches by "four-minute men" at public functions, and also encouraged censorship of the American press. The Commission was so unpopular that after the war, Congress closed it down without providing funding to organize and archive its papers.

The war propaganda campaign of Lippmann and Bernays produced within six months such an intense anti-German hysteria as to permanently impress American business (and Adolf Hitler, among others) with the potential of large-scale propaganda to control public opinion. Bernays coined the terms "group mind" and "engineering consent", important concepts in practical propaganda work.

The current public relations industry is a direct outgrowth of Lippmann's and Bernays' work and is still used extensively by the United States government. For the first half of the 20th century Bernays and Lippmann themselves ran a very successful public relations firm. World War II saw continued use of propaganda as a weapon of war, both by Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels and the British Political Warfare Executive, as well as the United States Office of War Information.

In the early 2000s, the United States government developed and freely distributed a video game known as America's Army. The stated intention of the game is to encourage players to become interested in joining the U.S. Army.

Russian revolution

Russian revolutionaries of the 19th and 20th centuries distinguished two different aspects covered by the English term propaganda. Their terminology included two terms: Russian: агитация (agitatsiya), or agitation, and Russian: пропаганда, or propaganda, see agitprop (agitprop is not, however, limited to the Soviet Union, as it was considered, before the October Revolution, to be one of the fundamental activities of any Marxist activist; this importance of agit-prop in Marxist theory may also be observed today in Trotskyist circles, who insist on the importance of leaflet distribution).

Soviet propaganda meant dissemination of revolutionary ideas, teachings of Marxism, and theoretical and practical knowledge of Marxist economics, while agitation meant forming favorable public opinion and stirring up political unrest. These activities did not carry negative connotations (as they usually do in English) and were encouraged. Expanding dimensions of state propaganda, the Bolsheviks actively used transportation such as trains, aircraft and other means.

Joseph Stalin's regime built the largest fixed-wing aircraft of the 1930s, Tupolev ANT-20, exclusively for this purpose. Named after the famous Soviet writer Maxim Gorky who had recently returned from fascist Italy, it was equipped with a powerful radio set called "Voice from the sky", printing and leaflet-dropping machinery, radio stations, photographic laboratory, film projector with sound for showing movies in flight, library, etc. The aircraft could be disassembled and transported by railroad if needed. The giant aircraft set a number of world records.

Nazi Germany

Most propaganda in Germany was produced by the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Joseph Goebbels was placed in charge of this ministry shortly after Hitler took power in 1933. All journalists, writers, and artists were required to register with one of the Ministry's subordinate chambers for the press, fine arts, music, theatre, film, literature, or radio.

The Nazis believed in propaganda as a vital tool in achieving their goals. Adolf Hitler, Germany's Führer, was impressed by the power of Allied propaganda during World War I and believed that it had been a primary cause of the collapse of morale and revolts in the German home front and Navy in 1918 (see also: Dolchstoßlegende). Hitler would meet nearly every day with Goebbels to discuss the news and Goebbels would obtain Hitler's thoughts on the subject; Goebbels would then meet with senior Ministry officials and pass down the official Party line on world events. Broadcasters and journalists required prior approval before their works were disseminated. Along with posters, the Nazis produced a number of films and books to spread their beliefs.

America in World War II

Britain in World War II

Soviet Union in World War II

Cold War propaganda

German Democratic Republic poster showing the increase of timber production from 7 million cubic metres in 1970 to 11 million in 1990, although in reality it was the opposite. (also see Economy of the German Democratic Republic)
Poster showing the increase of agricultural production in the German Democratic Republic from 1981 to 1983 and 1986
Soldier loads a "leaflet bomb" during the Korean war.

The United States and the Soviet Union both used propaganda extensively during the Cold War. Both sides used film, television, and radio programming to influence their own citizens, each other, and Third World nations. The United States Information Agency operated the Voice of America as an official government station. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, which were, in part, supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, provided grey propaganda in news and entertainment programs to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union respectively. The Soviet Union's official government station, Radio Moscow, broadcast white propaganda, while Radio Peace and Freedom broadcast grey propaganda. Both sides also broadcast black propaganda programs in periods of special crises.

In 1948, the United Kingdom's Foreign Office created the IRD (Information Research Department), which took over from wartime and slightly post-war departments such as the Ministry of Information and dispensed propaganda via various media such as the BBC and publishing.[16][17]

The ideological and border dispute between the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China resulted in a number of cross-border operations. One technique developed during this period was the "backwards transmission", in which the radio program was recorded and played backwards over the air. (This was done so that messages meant to be received by the other government could be heard, while the average listener could not understand the content of the program.)

When describing life in capitalist countries, in the US in particular, propaganda focused on social issues such as poverty and anti-union action by the government. Workers in capitalist countries were portrayed as "ideologically close". Propaganda claimed rich people from the US derived their income from weapons manufacturing, and claimed that there was substantial racism or neo-fascism in the US.

When describing life in Communist countries, western propaganda sought to depict an image of a citizenry held captive by governments that brainwash them. The West also created a fear of the East, by depicting an aggressive Soviet Union. In the Americas, Cuba served as a major source and a target of propaganda from both black and white stations operated by the CIA and Cuban exile groups. Radio Habana Cuba, in turn, broadcast original programming, relayed Radio Moscow, and broadcast The Voice of Vietnam as well as alleged confessions from the crew of the USS Pueblo.

George Orwell's novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four are virtual textbooks on the use of propaganda. Though not set in the Soviet Union, these books are about totalitarian regimes that constantly corrupt language for political purposes. These novels were, ironically, used for explicit propaganda. The CIA, for example, secretly commissioned an animated film adaptation of Animal Farm in the 1950s with small changes to the original story to suit its own needs.[18]

Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe

During the democratic revolutions of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe the propaganda poster was an important weapon in the hand of the opposition. Printed and hand-made political posters appeared on the Berlin Wall, on the statue of St. Wenceslas in Prague and around the unmarked grave of Imre Nagy in Budapest and the role of them was important for the democratic change.

Yugoslav wars

During the Yugoslav wars propaganda was used as a military strategy by governments of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia.

Propaganda was used to create fear and hatred and particularly incite the Serb population against the other ethnicities (Bosniaks, Croats, Albanians and other non-Serbs). Serb media made a great effort in justifying, revising or denying mass war crimes committed by Serb forces during the Yugoslav wars on Bosniaks and other non-Serbs.[19] According to the ICTY verdicts against Serb political and military leaders, during the Bosnian war, the propaganda was a part of the Strategic Plan by Serb leadership, aimed at linking Serb-populated areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina together, gaining control over these areas and creating a separate Serb state, from which most non-Serbs would be permanently removed. The Serb leadership was aware that the Strategic Plan could only be implemented by the use of force and fear, thus by the commission of war crimes.[20][21]

Croats also used propaganda against Serbs throughout and against Bosniaks during the 1992–1994 Croat-Bosniak war, which was part of the larger Bosnian War. During Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing Croat forces seized the television broadcasting stations (for example at Skradno) and created its own local radio and television to carry propaganda, seized the public institutions, raised the Croatian flag over public institution buildings, and imposed the Croatian Dinar as the unit of currency. During this time, Busovača's Bosniaks were forced to sign an act of allegiance to the Croat authorities, fell victim to numerous attacks on shops and businesses and, gradually, left the area out of fear that they would be the victims of mass crimes.[22] According to ICTY Trial Chambers in Blaškić case Croat authorities created a radio station in Kiseljak to broadcast nationalist propaganda.[23] A similar pattern was applied in Mostar and Gornji Vakuf (where Croats created a radio station called Radio Uskoplje).[24] Local propaganda efforts in parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina controlled by the Croats, were supported by Croatian daily newspapers such as Večernji list and Croatian Radiotelevision, especially by controversial reporters Dijana Čuljak and Smiljko Šagolj who are still blamed by the families of Bosniak victims in Vranica case for inciting massacre of Bosnian POWs in Mostar, when broadcasting a report about alleged terrorists arrested by Croats who victimized Croat civilians. The bodies of Bosnian POWs were later found in Goranci mass grave. Croatian Radiotelevision presented Croat attack on Mostar, as a Bosnian Muslim attack on Croats in alliance with the Serbs. According to ICTY, in the early hours of May 9, 1993, the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) attacked Mostar using artillery, mortars, heavy weapons and small arms. The HVO controlled all roads leading into Mostar and international organisations were denied access. Radio Mostar announced that all Bosniaks should hang out a white flag from their windows. The HVO attack had been well prepared and planned.[25]

During the ICTY trials against Croat war leaders, many Croatian journalists participated as the defence witnesses trying to relativise war crimes committed by Croatian troops against non-Croat civilians (Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbs in Croatia). During the trial against general Tihomir Blaškić (later convicted of war crimes), Ivica Mlivončić, Croatian columnist in Slobodna Dalmacija, tried to defend general Blaškić presenting number of claims in his book Zločin s pečatom about alleged genocide against Croats (most of it unproven or false), which was considered by the Trial Chambers as irrelevant for the case. After the conviction, he continued to write in Slobodna Dalmacija against the ICTY presenting it as the court against Croats, with chauvinistic claims that the ICTY cannot be unbiased because it is financed by Saudi Arabia (Muslims).[26][27]

Afghan War

In the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, psychological operations tactics were employed to demoralize the Taliban and to win the sympathies of the Afghan population. At least six EC-130E Commando Solo aircraft were used to jam local radio transmissions and transmit replacement propaganda messages. Leaflets were also dropped throughout Afghanistan, offering rewards for Osama bin Laden and other individuals, portraying Americans as friends of Afghanistan and emphasizing various negative aspects of the Taliban. Another shows a picture of Mohammed Omar in a set of crosshairs with the words "We are watching." This technique has been shown to be rather ineffective in terms of long term opinions change given current political and social conditions in Afghanistan.[citation needed]

US PSYOP pamphlet disseminated in Iraq. Text: "This is your future al-Zarqawi" and shows al-Qaeda fighter al-Zarqawi caught in a rat trap.

The US Air Force can use cluster bombs to deliver leaflets. The LBU-30 clusterbomb is designed to allow an aircraft to deliver leaflets to a target area while minimizing wind drift.

Iraq War

The United States and Iraq both contributed to the use of propaganda and like strategy during the Iraq War. With the growing discomfort in the hearts of the American and Iraqi people, there needed to be a way to gain the support of the on-going war. The United States established campaigns towards the American people on the justifications of the war while using similar tactics to bring down Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.[28] By looking at the ways America and Iraq used propaganda to benefit their individual views it is clear that both sides had similar ideas on how to gain the support needed to win the war.

  • Iraqi Propaganda
The Iraqi insurgency had a plan, and that was to gain as much support as possible by using violence as their propaganda tool.[29] By using the inspiration of the Vietcong[30], the insurgents were using rapid movement to keep the coalition off-balance.[29] By using low-technology strategies to convey their messages, they were able to gain support.[31] Graffiti slogans were used on walls and houses praising the virtues of many group leaders while condemning the Iraqi government. Others used flyers, leaflets, articles and self published newspapers and magazines to get the point across.[31]
Low-tech methods were most common in Iraqi propaganda however, they were also proficient in high-tech methods. The insurgents would produce CDs and DVDs and distribute them in communities that the Iraq and the U.S. Government were trying to influence.[32] The insurgents designed advertisements that cost a fraction of what the U.S. was spending on their ads aimed at the same people in Iraq with much more success.[32] In addition, the Iraqis also created and established an Arabic language television station to transmit information to the people of Iraq about the rumors and lies that the Americans were spreading about the war.[30]
  • American Propaganda in Iraq
For the U.S. to achieve their aim of a moderate, pro-western Iraq, the U.S. authorities have been careful to avoid conflict with Islamic culture that would produce passionate reaction from the Iraqis. As a result, differentiating between "good" and "bad" Islams has proved challenging for the U.S.[30]
The U.S. implemented something called “Black Propaganda” by creating false radio personalities that would disseminate pro-American information but supposedly run by the supporters of Saddam Hussein. One radio station used was Radio Tikrit.[30] Another example of America’s attempt with Black Propaganda is that the U.S. paid Iraqis to publish articles written by American troops in their newspapers under the idea that they are unbiased and real accounts; this was brought forth by the New York Times in 2005.[33] The article stated that it was the Lincoln Group who had been hired by the U.S. government to create the propaganda, however their names were later cleared from any wrong doing.[34]
The U.S. was more successful with the “Voice of America” campaign, which is an old Cold War tactic that exploited people’s desire for information.[30] While the information they gave out to the Iraqis was truthful, they were in a high degree of competition with the opposing forces after the censorship of the Iraqi media was lifted with the removal of Saddam from power.[35] If the U.S. had wished to be more successful with their news media they could have followed Hussein’s lead and prohibited Satellite TV and popular access to the internet directly after the Fall of Hussein.[35]
In addition to the employment of Black Propaganda and other types of mass communication attempts in Iraq, the U.S. also used many different leaflets that were pro-western in nature. Some of which read that the no-fly zones were for the safety of Iraqis and others attempt to persuade Iraqis to become civil servants for the post-Saddam era in Iraq.[36]
In November 2005, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, alleged that the United States military had manipulated news reported in Iraqi media in an effort to cast a favorable light on its actions while demoralizing the insurgency. Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Iraq, said the program is "an important part of countering misinformation in the news by insurgents", while a spokesman for former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the allegations of manipulation were troubling if true. The Department of Defense has confirmed the existence of the program.[37] The New York Times published an article about how the Pentagon has started to use contractors with little experience in journalism or public relations to plant articles in the Iraqi press.
These articles are usually written by US soldiers without attribution or are attributed to a non-existent organization called the "International Information Center." Planting propaganda stories in newspapers was done by both the Allies and Central Powers in the First World War and the Axis and Allies in the Second; this is the latest version of this technique.[38][39][40]
  • Propaganda aimed at Americans

Media such as daily news coverage, advertisements, videos, pictures, polls, and various others are indirectly controlled by the news media. The country has strayed from its popular form of mass advertising media and focused more on its biased coverage found in the news.[28] This is seen as a credible source, allowing information on the current situation to be known to the general public. As noted in the book Selling Intervention & War by Jon Western, the president is “selling the war” to the public.[41]

People had their initial reactions to the War on Terror, but with more biased and persuading information, Iraq as a whole has been negatively targeted..[42] America’s goal was to remove Saddam Hussein’s power in Iraq with allegations of possible weapons of mass destruction related to Osama Bin Laden.[43] Video and picture coverage in the news has shown shocking and disturbing images of torture and other evils being done under the Iraqi Government.[43] This is one way United States media is fabricating the enemy. By providing purely negative and exaggerated alleged evidence on the situation, Americans are provided with the generally accepted opinion of hatred towards the evil in Iraq. While torture and mass murder of the civilian population was common in Iraq, there were positive positions. The Iraqi government's strong military position was able to keep terrorists under control, a position that changed quickly after that fall of the regime.
Cover page of Album de la Revolucion Cubana, a series of comic trading card and music compilation that targets children

People's Republic of China

Republic of China(Taiwan)

North Korea

Kim Jong-il’s sinister regime of Mafiosos, the Dear Leader has a heartier side: he sells comic books and animation to raise government funds—and to brainwash the masses. Every year, a state-owned publishing house releases several cartoons (called geurim-chaek in North Korea), many of which are smuggled across the Chinese border and, sometimes, mysteriously end up in university libraries in the United States.The books are designed to instill the Juche philosophy of Kim Il-sung (the ‘father’ of North Korea)—radical self-reliance of the state. The plots brim with propaganda, featuring scheming capitalists from the United States and Japan who create dilemmas for naïve North Korean characters.

War in Somalia


Of all the potential targets for propaganda, children are the most vulnerable because they are the most unprepared for the critical reasoning and contextual comprehension required to determine whether a message is propaganda or not.[citation needed] Children's vulnerability to propaganda is rooted in developmental psychology. The attention children give their environment during development, due to the process of developing their understanding of the world, will cause them to absorb propaganda indiscriminately. Also, children are highly imitative: studies by Albert Bandura, Dorothea Ross and Sheila A. Ross in the 1960s indicated that children are susceptible to filmed representations of behaviour. Therefore television is of particular interest in regard to children's vulnerability to propaganda.[citation needed]

Another vulnerability of children is the theoretical influence that their peers have over their behaviour. According to Judith Rich Harris's group-socialization theory, children learn the majority of what they do not receive paternally, through genes, from their peer groups. The implication then is that if peer-groups can be indoctrinated through propaganda at a young age to hold certain beliefs, the group will self-regulate the indoctrination, since new members to the group will adapt their beliefs to fit the group's.[citation needed]

Poster promoting the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. The text reads, "Sandinista children: Toño, Delia and Rodolfo are in the Association of Sandinista Children. Sandinista children use a handkerchief. They participate in the revolution and are very studious."

To a degree, socialization, formal education, and standardized television programming can be seen as using propaganda for the purpose of indoctrination. The use of propaganda in schools was highly prevalent during the 1930s and 1940s in Germany, as well as in Stalinist Russia.[citation needed]

Anti-Semitic propaganda for children

In Nazi Germany, the education system was thoroughly co-opted to indoctrinate the German youth with anti-Semitic ideology. This was accomplished through the National Socialist Teachers League, of which 97% of all German teachers were members in 1937. It encouraged the teaching of “racial theory.” Picture books for children such as Don’t Trust A Fox in A Green Meadow Or the Word of A Jew, The Poisonous Mushroom, and The Poodle-Pug-Dachshund-Pincher were widely circulated (over 100,000 copies of Don’t Trust A Fox... were circulated during the late 1930s) and contained depictions of Jews as devils, child molesters, and other morally charged figures. Slogans such as “Judas the Jew betrayed Jesus the German to the Jews” were recited in class.[44] The following is an example of a propagandistic math problem recommended by the National Socialist Essence of Education:

The Jews are aliens in Germany—in 1933 there were 66,606,000 inhabitants in the German Reich, of whom 499,682 (.75%) were Jews.[45]

Tomorrow's Pioneers(Arabic: رواد الغد‎; also The Pioneers of Tomorrow) is a children's program, broadcast since April 13, 2007 on the official Palestinian Hamas television station, Al-Aqsa TV (Arabic: مرئية الأقصى قناة الأقصى‎). The program deals with many life aspects Palestinan children face. Assoud (Arabic: اسود‎; also rendered as Assud), a Bugs Bunny-like rabbit character whose hiname means lion was introduced after his brother, the previous co-host, Nahoul died of illness.[46]

In explaining why he is called Assoud (lion), when Arnoub (rabbit) would be more appropriate, Assoud explains that "A rabbit is a term for a bad person and coward. And I, Assoud, will finish off the Jews and eat them."[46][47] Before Nahoul's death, Assoud lived in Lebanon; he returned "in order to return to the homeland and liberate it."[47] Assoud has hinted in episode 113 that he will be replaced by a tiger when he is martyred.

See also


  1. ^ "Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English", by Eric Partridge, ISBN 0203421140, 1977, p. 2248
  2. ^ "Olympic sports and propaganda games: Moscow 1980", by Barukh Ḥazan, ISBN 087855436X, 1982, p. 7
  3. ^ Garth Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, PROPAGANDA AND PERSUASION, 4th ed. Sage Publications, p.7
  4. ^ Hindery, Roderick R., Indoctrination and Self-deception or Free and Critical Thought? (2001)
  5. ^ "The Religious Movements Page: Conceptualizing "Cult" and "Sect"". Retrieved December 4, 2005. 
  6. ^ "Polish Anti-Cult Movement (Koscianska) - CESNUR". Retrieved December 4, 2005. 
  7. ^ Propaganda Techniques
  8. ^ "Letter from Noam Chomsky" to Covert Action Quarterly, quoting Alex Carey, Australian social scientist.
  9. ^ review of Carey, Alex (1995) Taking the Risk out of Democracy: Propaganda in the US and Australia, University of NSW Press.
  10. ^ Ross, Sheryl Tuttle. "Understanding Propaganda: The Epistemic Merit Model and Its Application to Art." Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 36, No.1. pp. 16–30
  11. ^ Boesche, Roger. "Kautilya’s Arthasastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India", The Journal of Military History 67 (p. 9–38), January 2003.
  12. ^ Mark U. Edwards, Printing Propaganda and Martin Luther 15; Louise W. Holborn, “Printing and the Growth of a Protestant Movement in Germany from 1517 to 1524”, Church History, 11, no. 2 (1942), 123.
  13. ^ Beckman, Karen Redrobe (2003), Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism, Duke University Press, pp. 31–3, ISBN 0822330741 
  14. ^ Beckman, Karen Redrobe (2003), Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism, Duke University Press, pp. 33–4, ISBN 0822330741 
  15. ^ About Edward Berneys book chapter
  16. ^ "Records". Retrieved December 4, 2005. 
  17. ^ "Reports". Retrieved December 4, 2005. 
  18. ^ Guardian — The cartoon that came in from the cold -
  19. ^ ""Serbian Propaganda: A Closer Look"". April 12, 1999. "NOAH ADAMS: The European Center for War, Peace and the News Media, based in London, has received word from Belgrade that no pictures of mass Albanian refugees have been shown at all, and that the Kosovo humanitarian catastrophe is only referred to as the one made up or overemphasized by Western propaganda.
    Also, and we quote from the report, "information programs are designed to present the illegitimacy of a NATO aggression on Yugoslavia, the unanimity of the Serbian people in resisting the enemy and Serbian invincibility. All three aims are wrapped in a nationalistic code, `most powerful Western nations, killers, death disseminators, fascists, dictators, criminals, villains, bandits, vandals, barbarians, gangsters, vampires, cowards, perverts, lunatics, scum and trash who want to destroy the small but honorable, dignified, freedom-loving Serbian nation."
  20. ^ "ICTY: Radoslav Brđanin verdict - 1. Joint Criminal Enterprise". 
  21. ^ "ICTY: Radoslav Brđanin verdict — C. The implementation of the Strategic Plan in the Bosnian Krajina". 
  22. ^ "ICTY: Blaškić verdict — A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993 - b) The municipality of Busovača". 
  23. ^ "ICTY: Blaškić verdict — A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993 - c) The municipality of Kiseljak". 
  24. ^ "ICTY: Kordić and Čerkez verdict — IV. Attacks on towns and villages: killings - 2. The Conflict in Gornji Vakuf". 
  25. ^ "ICTY: Naletilić and Martinović verdict — Mostar attack". 
  27. ^ Igor Lasić — Izlog izdavačkog smeća
  28. ^ a b Altheide, David L. "War and Mass Mediated Evidence." Cultural Studies — Critical Methodologies 9 (2009): 14-22.
  29. ^ a b Garfield, Andrew. "The U.S. Counter-propaganda Failure in Iraq." Middle East Quarterly 14 (2007): 23-32.
  30. ^ a b c d e Schleifer, Ron. "Reconstructing Iraq: Winning the Propaganda War in Iraq." Middle East Quarterly (2005): 15-24.
  31. ^ a b Garfield, Andrew. "The U.S. Counter-propaganda Failure in Iraq." Middle East Quarterly 14 (2007): 24
  32. ^ a b Garfield, Andrew. "The U.S. Counter-propaganda Failure in Iraq." Middle East Quarterly 14 (2007): 26
  33. ^ Shah, Anup. Iraq War Media Reporting, Journalism and Propaganda. Aug 1, 2007. May 12, 2009. <>
  34. ^ Shah, Anup. Iraq War Media Reporting, Journalism and Propaganda. Aug 1, 2007. May 12, 2009. <>
  35. ^ a b Goldstein, Sol. "A Strategic Failure: American Information Control Policy in Occupied Iraq." Military Review 88.2 (Mar. 2008): 58-65.
  36. ^ N.D.A. May 13, 2009.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Baldor, Lolita C. (November 30, 2005). "U.S. Military Unclear on 'Planted' Stories". Associated Press. 
  39. ^ "U.S. military plants stories in the Iraqi media -". Retrieved December 4, 2005. 
  40. ^ Baldor, Lolita C. (December 2, 2005). "Pentagon describes Iraq propaganda plan". Associated Press. 
  41. ^ Thrall, A. Trevor. "A Review of: "Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq, by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Marketing the War Against Iraq, by Paul Rutherford Selling Intervention & War: The Presidency, the..." Political Communication 24.2 (Apr. 2007): 202-207.
  42. ^ John, Sue Lockett, et al. "Going Public, Crisis after Crisis: The Bush Administration and the Press from September 11 to Saddam." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 10.2 (Summer2007 2007): 195-219.
  43. ^ a b O'Shaughnessy, Nicholas. "Weapons of Mass Seduction: Propaganda, Media and the Iraq War." Journal of Political Marketing 3.4 (2004): 79-104. America: History & Life.
  44. ^ Mills, Mary. "Propaganda and Children During the Hitler Years". Jewish Virtual Library.
  45. ^ Hirsch, Herbert.|Genocide and the Politics of Memory. Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. pg. 119
  46. ^ a b "Assoud Arrives". Tomorrow's Pioneers. 2008-02-01. No. 11, season 1.
  47. ^ a b Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, "PA TV Bunny Rabbit Threatens to 'Eat the Jews'", Arutz Sheva, February 12, 2008 (6 Adar 5768).


  • Fred Cohen. ``Frauds, Spies, and Lies — and How to Defeat Them. ISBN 1-878109-36-7 (2006). ASP Press.
  • Fred Cohen. ``World War 3 ... Information Warfare Basics. ISBN 1-878109-40-5 (2006). ASP Press.
  • Appendix I: PSYOP Techniques (August 31, 1979). Psychological Operations Field Manual No.33-1. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters; Department of the Army. (partial contents here)
  • Bytwerk, Randall L. Bending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-87013-710-7
  • Edwards, John Carver. Berlin Calling: American Broadcasters in Service to the Third Reich. New York, Prager Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0275939057
  • Howe, Ellic. The Black Game: British Subversive Operations Against the German During the Second World War. London: Futura, 1982.
  • Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World Revisited, New York: Harper, 1958
  • Hindery, Roderick, "The Anatomy of Propaganda within Religious Terrorism", Humanist, March-April 2003, 16-19.
  • Jowett, Garth S. and Victoria O'Donnell, "Propaganda and Persuasion", Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, Inc, 2006. ISBN 1-4129-0897-3.
  • Le Bon, Gustave, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, 1897 (1895 original version)
  • Linebarger, Paul M. A. (aka Cordwainer Smith). Psychological Warfare. Washington, D.C., Infantry Journal Press, 1948.
  • Nelson, Richard Alan. A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States. Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press, 1996. ISBN 0-313-29261-2.
  • Young, Emma (October 10, 2001) Psychological warfare waged in Afghanistan. New Scientist.
  • Shirer, William L. Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934–1941. New York: Albert A. Knopf, 1942.

Further reading


  • Altheide, David L. & Johnson, John M. Bureaucratic Propaganda. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc. (1980)
  • Brown, J.A.C. Techniques of Persuasion: From Propaganda to Brainwashing Harmondsworth: Pelican (1963)
  • Chomsky, Noam and Herman, Edward. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books. (1988)
  • Cole, Robert. Propaganda in Twentieth Century War and Politics (1996)
  • Cole, Robert, ed. Encyclopedia of Propaganda (3 vol 1998)
  • Combs, James E. & Nimmo, Dan. The New Propaganda: The Dictatorship of Palaver in Contemporary Politics. White Plains, N.Y. Longman. (1993)
  • Cull, Nicholas John, Culbert, and Welch, eds. Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encyclopedia, 1500 to the Present (2003)
  • Cunningham, Stanley, B. The Idea of Propaganda: A Reconstruction. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. (2002)
  • Ellul, Jacques. Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes. Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. New York: Knopf, 1965. New York: Random House/ Vintage 1973
  • Jowett, Garth S. and O'Donnell, Victoria. Propaganda and Persuasion 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, Inc. 2006. ISBN 1-4129-0897-3.
  • Lasswell, Harold D.. Propaganda Technique in World War I. Cambridge, Mass: The M.I.T. Press. (1971)
  • Le Bon, Gustave, The Crowd: a study of the Popular Mind (1895)
  • MacArthur, John R.. Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War. New York: Hill and Wang. (1992)
  • Marlin, Randal. Propaganda & The Ethics of Persuasion. Orchard Park, New York: Broadview Press. (2002)
  • McCombs M. E. & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 176-87.
  • Linebarger, Paul M. Psychological Warfare. International Propaganda and Communications. ISBN 0-405-04755-X (1948)
  • Pratkanis, Anthony & Aronson, Elliot. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. (1992)
  • Rutherford, Paul. Endless Propaganda: The Advertising of Public Goods. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (2000)
  • Rutherford, Paul. Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Marketing the War Against Iraq. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (2004)
  • Sproule, J. Michael. Channels of Propaganda. Bloomington, IN: EDINFO Press. (1994)
  • Stauber, John, and Rampton, Sheldon Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995.


External links

Current propaganda

Historical propaganda


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation directly aimed at influencing the opinions of people, rather than impartially providing information.


  • In war, truth is the first casualty
  • PROPAGANDA: Patriotism as practiced by our enemies.
    • Bayan, Rick, The Cynic's Dictionary
  • The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
  • The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.
  • Goebbels [...] was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me.
    • Edward Bernays, Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel (1965)
  • [In] Democratic societies ... the state can't control behavior by force. It can to some extent, but it's much more limited in its capacity to control by force. Therefore, it has to control what you think. ... One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there's a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, then you can have a debate.
  • The media want to maintain their intimate relation to state power. They want to get leaks, they want to get invited to the press conferences. They want to rub shoulders with the Secretary of State, all that kind of business. To do that, you've got to play the game, and playing the game means telling their lies, serving as their disinformation apparatus.
  • But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists ... By placing responsibility for the loss of the world war on the shoulders of Ludendorff they took away the weapon of moral right from the only adversary dangerous enough to be likely to succeed in bringing the betrayers of the Fatherland to Justice. All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.
  • No matter what an amount of talent employed in the organization of propaganda, it will have no result if due account is not taken of these fundamental principles. Propaganda must be limited to a few simple themes and these must be represented again and again. Here, as in innumerable other cases, perseverance is the first and most important condition of success.
    • Variant: No amount of genius spent on the creation of propaganda will lead to success if a fundamental principle is not forever kept in mind. Propaganda must confine itself to very few points, and repeat them endlessly. Here, as with so many things in this world, persistence is the first and foremost condition of success.
    • Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (1925) ; translated to English by James Murphy, February, 1939
  • The “Conqueror from Berlin,” as he has named himself, has completely conquered Germany. And not only that. Unfortunately, many, all too many Germans living abroad, also have fallen for the cunning propaganda.
  • When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S government, they're aiding propaganda efforts. In sharp contrast, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies. When they put bombs in cars and kill people, they're uncivilized killers. When we put bombs on missiles and kill people, we're upholding civilized values. When they kill, they're terrorists. When we kill, we're striking against terror.
    • Solomon, Norman, "Orwellian Logic 101 ~ A Few Simple Lessons"
  • Propaganda is not French, it is not civilized to want other people to believe what you believe because the essence of being civilised is to possess yourself as you are, and if you possess yourself as you are you of course cannot possess any one else, it is not your business.


  • The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
  • It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.
Look up propaganda in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity


What it is

According to, propoganda is the "manipulation of information to influence public opinion." It says what you want it to say, usually making you look good and your opponent bad.

Wikipedia has a very good article on propaganda. Read it.

Creating your own

Once you have an idea of what professionals are creating, you can try making some of your own for an organization you are involved with, a cause you want to fight for, or just for fun.

Finding the Audience

To create propoganda, you must first have a target audience. You must understand this audience and be able to predict their reaction to relevant ideas and combinations of ideas. The material you have to work with doesn't need to be truthful, just convincing. If it doesn't matter who in particular you need to convince, just numbers, as in a political campaign, you may wish to target a group that you feel may be the easiest to convince.

Generating Ideas

If you read the wikipedia page, you will have a good collection of techniques to try out. Certainly not all will be necessary for your project, and you do not want to overload your piece with too many ideas, but it is a good idea to consider all of them to see what will be the most effective for your target.


Production and Distribution

Where you place your materials can be vital to the success of your campaign. Make sure your materials are placed where they can reach your target but (if need be) not be in the way of something or someone that will remove it before the target is reached.

Reality Check

Once you come up with an idea and means of distribution, do a reality check. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Will this really convince anyone of anything?
  • Will it offend anyone?
  • Does it matter if it offends that group?

Sample Case

Some groups like to tape fliers up in bathroom stalls. Everyone that enters the stall will see the flyer and may be your captive audience for at least a few seconds as they evaluate the flyer to see if it is worth looking at further. Since you have such little time to get them interested, many bathroom fliers have a large picture or large bold text, are colorful, or in some way draws their attention in. It is not a good idea to include large blocks of text in these because most people are not going to sit in the bathroom for an extended period of time just to read a flyer. They will either ignore it or take it with them to read later, which reduces the effectiveness of the flyer since it reaches fewer people.


  • Poster
  • Flyer
  • Handbill
  • Banner
  • Flag
  • etc.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

"PROPAGANDA, the term applied to a concerted scheme for the promotion of a doctrine or practice; more generally, the effort to influence opinion; by a false analogy from such plural words as " memoranda," frequently applied to the means by which a propaganda is conducted. The objective of a propaganda is to promote the interests of those who contrive it, rather than to benefit those to whom it is addressed; in advertisement to sell an article; in publicity to state a case; in politics to forward a policy; in war to bring victory. This differentiates it from the diffusion of useful knowledge; the evangel of a mission; publication of the cure for a disease. In such objectives there may be a secondary advantage to the contriver, but to benefit the subjects of the effort is the leading motive. Similarly those engaged in a propaganda may genuinely believe that success will be an advantage to those whom they address, but the stimulus to their action is their own cause. The differentia of a propaganda is that it is self-seeking, whether the object be worthy or unworthy, intrinsically, or in the minds of its promoters.

Statements or arguments known to be self-interested tend to raise suspicion. A wide examination of propagandas supplies an empirical argument in justification of such an attitude. Indeed, casuistically considered, indifference to truth is a characteristic of propaganda. Truth is valuable only so far as it is effective. The whole truth would generally be superfluous and almost always misleading; the selections made range from a high percentage to a minus quantity. The time factor is vital. If a quick sale or a decisive victory is possible, opportunism may be more useful than exactitude. If a permanent market is to be opened or a protracted campaign is expected, caution is required in suppression or in misstatement. Although truth may thus be irrelevant to the success of a propaganda, it does not follow that those engaged in it are consciously unethical. Doubtless, in every effort to control opinion, there are persons either indifferent to justification, or who justify the means by the end. But the more the emotions are excited, whether by patriotism or by cupidity, by pride or by pity, the more the critical faculties are inhibited. It is a quality of propaganda, as of counter-propaganda, that high-minded persons on both sides commend their cause by identical arguments, and that high-strung persons soon come to believe what they wish to be true. Their character and their enthusiasm lend weight to many partial statements, or even make false coin ring true.

The suspicions aroused by an admitted propaganda lessen its effectiveness, from which it follows that much of the work has to be furtive. Part of the task, and that the more easy, is to whip up existing inclinations, but the more arduous and the more frequent duty is to reverse or to create opinion. Efforts are therefore made to present " tendencious " matter as impartial. The simplest case is seen in the familiar methods of newspaper advertisement. The crudest form is a direct printed recommendation of an object, obviously paid for. More subtle, but still plainly a paid advertisement, is a general paragraph in the " News " columns, with the letters Adv. at the foot. Best of all is commendation in the editorial columns or description disguised as news, these methods being seldom adopted in the responsible Press of the better kind, but familiar in organs subsidized to support an interest, possibly with a free hand on everything except that interest.

The methods of a propaganda are limited only by the resources and the ingenuity of its promoters. They may be studied in their most intensive form in the propagandist efforts during a war; the magnitude of the object secures the necessary funds, and at the same time attracts the services of persons of more intellect and character than would usually devote themselves to such a pursuit; in the atmosphere of war, moreover, truth, like many other fine qualities of humanity, is judged by expediency, with varying answers.

The use of propaganda in war dates from remote antiquity. It is plain that Herodotus, with his alert and modern mind, suspected the possibility of " working " the oracles whose pronouncements had so great an influence. But in Urania VIII., 22, he describes a propagandist effort made in the Persian War by Themistocles, son of Neocles, which in intention and method might have occurred in the recent World War: "Themistocles, having selected the best sailing ships of the Athenians, went to the places where there was water fit for drinking, and engraved upon the stones inscriptions, which the Ionians, upon arriving next day at Artemisium, read. The inscriptions were to this effect: ` Men of Ionia, you do wrong in fighting against your fathers, and helping to enslave Greece: rather, therefore, come over to us; or, if you cannot do that, withdraw your forces from the contest, and entreat the Carians to do the same. But if neither of these things is possible, and you are bound by too strong a necessity to revolt, yet in action, when we are engaged, behave ill on purpose, remembering that you are descended from us, and that the enmity of the barbarian against us originally sprung from you.' Themistocles, in my opinion, wrote this with two objects in view; that either, if the inscriptions escaped the notice of the king, he might induce the Ionians to change sides and come over to them; or, if they were reported to him, and made a subject of accusation before Xerxes, they might make the Ionians suspected, and cause them to be excluded from the sea-fights." (Herodotus VIII., Urania 22.) Propaganda on similar lines has been conducted in almost every war in history, but until the World War (1914-18) chiefly as a subsidiary part of the actual military or naval operations. Clausewitz, the Polish-Prussian officer (1780-1831) whose works on the conduct of war were translated into most modern languages and formed the basis of most military theory, laid it down partly as a prediction and partly as a precept that war must be waged with the whole force of a nation. Military propaganda may therefore be defined as the attempt to add the psychological factor to the other resources of warfare. It may be considered formally under four heads: - (1) Control of Home Opinion; (2) Control of Neutral Opinion; (3) Control of Allied Opinion; (4) Control of Enemy Opinion. Counter-propaganda is the effort to counter the operations of the Enemy.

(1). Control of Home Opinion. - In modern times even the most autocratic ruler or state cannot hope to conduct a protracted war, or a war that brings a great burden on a nation, or a war that sways with doubtful success, unless public opinion is favourable. A large part of propaganda must therefore be for home consumption. It will proclaim the certainty of victory, describe actual and prospective military and naval triumphs, obliterate or explain reverses. It will vaunt economic strength, financial resources, power of organization; it will explain difficulties in the supply of food and raw materials, give the reasons for vexatious regulations and interferences with the ordinary routine of trade. When the war appears to be going unfavourably, it will urge the need of endurance. But it will not neglect the moral appeal. It will insist that the war is one of defence, or at least for an unselfish purpose; that victory will be for the good of the world, will be a permanent triumph of right over wrong. At the same time, according to the mentality of the nation, it will insist on historical military glory, on the pursuit of the national aspirations such as recovery of ancient rights, redress of old wrongs, material benefits to be derived from victory, appalling consequences of defeat. The outrageous conduct of the enemy, his unnecessary cruelty, his breach of international law are all important.

Table of contents

(2). Control of Neutral Opinion

The propaganda addressed to Neutrals covers much of the same ground, with the least possible stress on the interested motives, much stress on the defensive and inevitable sides of the war, the certainty of victory and its benefit to all humanity. Very careful attention is devoted to explaining as necessities all the steps that have interfered with the rights of Neutrals or have been positively harmful to them. Much care is given to exposition of the thesis that victory would also be to the benefit of the Neutrals.

(3). Control of Allied Opinion

This is of great difficulty and of increasing importance with the prolongation of a war. It is necessary to anticipate points of friction, gloss over points of diverging interest, pay very careful deference to the Allied contribution to the common cause and to the absolute identity of interest. In the World War many mistakes were made in this aspect of propaganda, but by none more conspicuously than by the Germans, whose treatment of their Allies was marked by compulsion rather than by persuasion.

(4). Control of Enemy Opinion

The efforts in this direction fall under three main heads: - Insistence that victory is certain and that prolongation of the war is only increasing the inevitable disaster to the Enemy. Attempts to stir up disaffection amongst the Enemy's Allies; attempts to stir up internal trouble in the Enemy's country.

The four sub-divisions enumerated above cover the main purposes of both propaganda and counter-propaganda, but they are only formal, and it is of vital importance to remember that under modern conditions a propaganda cannot be limited to the group for which it was intended. The most rigid censorship and scrutiny at the frontiers did not retain within Allied Countries or in Germany what was prepared for home consumption, with the result that the propaganda of one camp was often used almost without alteration as counter-propaganda in another. Neutral countries were the battle-ground in which contending propagandas met, and where statements of alleged facts and arguments came in contact.

THE British Effort In The World War. - In the usual British fashion propaganda in the World War came into existence by the extension of the normal duties of several different bodies, with the result that there was much overlapping, as well as many gaps and considerable diversity of aim and method. From time to time new bodies were created, partly absorbing, partly replacing and partly combining the agencies in operation. Even when the Armistice came, no complete organization had been achieved, and the very great success actually obtained may be ascribed to the flexibility of the methods, the devotion of those who conducted them, and a very remarkable unity of purpose which overbore such personal rivalries as are inevitable in human affairs. A logical and consecutive account of the British propaganda is impossible. No complete organization ever existed, and as much of the most successful work was necessarily conducted secretly, and much was done by private enterprise, for instance by the spontaneous patriotism of universities, publishers, newspapers and private persons, an exhaustive description is impossible. The official side of it was conducted at first chiefly by the Foreign Office, the War Office and the Admiralty, as extensions or side issues of their normal duties. Many special missions were inaugurated by these bodies, or directly by the Cabinet.

In the beginning of 1918 a special body, the Ministry of Information, under a Cabinet Minister, Lord Beaverbrook, was created to combine and extend British propaganda with special reference to the control of Home and Neutral opinion, and another special body, the Department of Enemy Propaganda (afterwards the British War Mission), under Lord Northcliffe, for the same purpose, with special reference to control of opinion in enemy countries. Under the energetic direction of these two great publicists and the brilliant staffs they assembled, British propaganda enlarged its sphere, increased its potential and began to approach coherence. The steps of most vital consequence, however, must be attributed to Lord Northcliffe and his staff. They were early impressed with the conception that propaganda must be closely linked with policy. With the willing cooperation of the Ministry of Information, they first secured a general unity of method and purpose in purely British work, and, next, by propaganda conferences in London, extended a similar unity to British, French, Italian and American propaganda. Still later, as the war appeared to be nearing its end, they formed a general committee containing representatives of all the great Departments of State and worked out a Peace Propaganda Policy, to which the assent of the British Cabinet was obtained and which was at once made the basis of all British propaganda. Arrangements had been made for another conference of Allies in which the British Peace Propaganda Policy was to be coordinated with the policy of our Allies, when the signing of the Armistice made further effort of this kind unnecessary. Later in this article the steps which led to this ultimate coordination will be described more fully, or will become more apparent as the scattered agencies which led to it have been explained. But it is pertinent here to observe that the final stage, reached by slow experience, should have been the initial. stage. In any national propaganda, the national policy, if such indeed exist, should be within the cognizance of those who have to create and direct the machinery for endeavouring to control opinion.

From the outbreak of the war in 1914 to the end of 1915, the official organization of British propaganda was highly tentative. The task of creating and directing public opinion during war had never before been a function of British Governments and did not consort well with the national traditions. In the first months of the war, during Mr. Asquith's Ministry, a War Propaganda Bureau was set up in the National Assurance Offices at Wellington House; a Neutral Press Committee, with special reference to Cabling was established under the Home Office, and a News Department, to deal with the Press, was formed by the Foreign Office. Gradually these three departments came more under the authority of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but they operated to a large extent as independent agencies without central control.

The Admiralty and the War Office had to exercise strict control over the publication of news relating to actual or proposed operations and other matters relating to the navy and army. The censorship which they had to exercise strictly for military reasons, gradually acquired a wider purpose and passed into a dissemination of news essentially propagandist. The direct effect of this bias given to news was upon home opinion, but naturally passed from home countries to neutrals, and from neutrals to enemies. It had therefore the legitimate objects not only of concealing what it was useful to conceal, but of making suggestions which might deceive. From indirect or accidental propaganda, it passed over to deliberate propaganda. Similarly the official representatives of the Foreign Office in Allied and neutral countries quickly found that their routine duties of explaining the intentions of the British Government, and of assisting public and private British interests, necessarily acquired a propagandist bias. As there were obvious inconveniences in this course, the propagandist activities in foreign countries gradually became detached from the official diplomatic activities, and acquired direct relationship with special departments at home. A similar series of events took place in the case of the representatives of the British army and navy in foreign countries, especially those attached to the Secret Services. As their efforts became more propagandist, it was convenient to separate them. Thus in various ways a propagandist service crystallized out of normal services.

During this period, and, indeed until the end of the war, the voluntary work of the great newspapers and publishing houses made an important contribution to British propaganda. It is perhaps necessary to insist on the voluntary side of this work. It has never been the tradition of the British Government to subsidize or to control the British Press, and although some efforts were made in that direction, they were signal failures. The great newspapers and the great publishing houses jealously maintained their independence and their right of criticism; they were willing to accept censorship so far as it was supposed to prevent the leaking of information that might be of service to the enemy. But they fought bitterly, and successfully, any attempts of the Censorship to overstep the bounds of military needs. (See Censorship.) The independence of their attitude and the strength of their patriotism combined to make their voluntary propagandist effort of the utmost importance.

Ministry of Information

It will be convenient to deal first with the grouping of propagandist agencies under the Department, later the Ministry, of Information, as this body was the first to combine a number of scattered bodies under one direction, although, as will be shown later, the War Office, under the Directorate of Military Information, created earlier an extensive propagandist headquarters.

The Department of Information was formed by a resolution of the War Cabinet on Feb. 20 1917. According to that resolution its object was to take over and unify the various foreign propaganda activities, and to act as a general publicity bureau under the War Cabinet. Col. John Buchan was brought back from France and appointed Director of Information. Propaganda thus acquired its own specific organization separate from other Government Offices and directly under the Prime Minister. There was necessarily much overlapping with the War Office, but on the whole the Department of Information worked toward the control of civilian opinion, the War Office to that of military opinion; the former concentrated attention on political and general subjects, the latter on military subjects.

The Department of Information, during the time of its existence, covered the work of British propaganda in Allied, neutral and enemy countries. It was arranged in four sections: (a) An administrative section, divided into branches, corresponding to the different countries, each branch being under the charge of an official who was a specialist in that geographical area.

(b) A producing section which dealt with literature and art and was virtually a large publishing establishment.

(c) A producing section concerned with cables and wireless and the distribution of cinema films and press articles.

(d) A political intelligence section, which provided reports upon political and civil matters in foreign countries.

Foreign propaganda was conducted (a) among foreigners on a visit to Britain or resident there as correspondents, and (b) in the foreign countries themselves. (a) The first task involved hospitality to foreign visitors, the securing of facilities for Allied and neutral correspondents, and the arranging of visits to the British front, the British fleet and other centres of interest for writers and public men from Allied and neutral countries. Three chateaux on the western front were used for guests by the Department of Information - one for American visitors, one for the Allied and neutral press, and one for visitors in general. A large number of distinguished foreigners were invited to Britain, since it was held, with reason, that the best propaganda in any country was that done by the citizens of the country themselves. (b) Propaganda in foreign countries was conducted by the issue of a very large number of publications in different languages, including pictorial journals, pamphlets and books. The War Pictorial was issued monthly in eight editions with a circulation of over 700,000. Six oriental papers were published fortnightly in different languages, and the Department published fortnightly journals in Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese. Exhibitions of photographs and war films were arranged throughout the world. Over a million words of propaganda material a month were cabled by Reuter, and there were also daily cable and wireless messages sent from the Department. An average of 400 articles per week was sent out to the foreign press. Bureaux of Information were established in the different Allied and neutral countries, which assisted to distribute the material prepared by the Department, and also acted as intelligence centres. A special section dealt with propaganda in enemy countries by means of articles and cables printed in the newspapers of adjacent neutral States, and by aeroplane and balloon distribution on the different fronts.

The organization of the Department of Information obviously left much to be desired. In the first place it was not a ministry and had no ministerial head. This led to two disadvantages: the War Cabinet had little time to spare for the supervision and direction of its policy, and in dealing with other ministries it lacked the prestige necessary to safeguard its interests and enforce its requirements. Again, it had no single domicile, being housed in four different parts of London, and this led not only to a great deal of delay in its work, but prevented it being organized according to the normal plan of a Government office.

The Ministry of Information was constituted on March 4 1918, with Lord Beaverbrook as minister. It took over the whole organization of the old Department of Information, with the exception of the Political Intelligence branch, which was transferred to the Foreign Office, and the section dealing with enemy propaganda (excluding Turkey and the Middle East), which was transferred to Lord Northcliffe. The new Ministry was organized on the normal lines of a Government department, and was able to draw for its increased staff upon a large number of distinguished volunteer workers. The new Ministry had four main departments: (I). The Intelligence Department received and digested all information necessary to the efficient work of propaganda in the different countries, translating policy into terms of propaganda. The special cable and wireless messages which were issued daily were prepared under the direct supervision of this Department.

(2). The Propaganda Department was in charge of the actual administration of propaganda in foreign countries. Under its director there was a section for each important country, or group of countries. Each section was in charge of a " National " at the headquarters of the Ministry, and in each foreign area there was a corresponding organization which carried on the work in that area. Over each of the main sections there was a special officer called the controller, whose business it was to supervise the work of the "Nationals," more especially with a view to the expenditure of public money.

(3). The material for propaganda - apart from the cables and wireless, which were directly under the Intelligence Department - consisted of press articles prepared or arranged for at the Ministry's headquarters; literature in the shape of journals and pamphlets; and war photographs, films, pictures. The preparation of pictures, photographs and films, as well as their distribution, was directly controlled by the minister, and was no longer in the hands of War Office Committees, as had been the case with the old Department of Information.

(4). The Ministry gave special attention to what might be called " personal " propaganda, securing facilities for foreign correspondents to visit British centres of interest and to meet representative British public men, and, generally speaking, the widening of sympathy for Britain's cause by the personal and social contact of Britons with the citizens of other lands. In this direction the work was large and ramified. A Facilities branch arranged for visits and entertainments; an Overseas Press Centre acted as a clearing house between all branches of the Ministry and the correspondents of the Overseas Press in this country; a special organization dealt with the entertainment of American troops in Britain. Besides the work of personal propaganda done in Britain itself, much was done by representatives of the Ministry abroad, who acted as popular and democratic ambassadors, keeping in touch, not with official, but with unofficial powers.

The nature of its duties made it impossible for the Ministry of Information to be a rigid organization like an ordinary Government office. Propaganda is not a static thing and can never be standardized, and the constitution of a propaganda department had to be adapted to so fluctuating a subject matter. Constant revision was necessary, both in material and method. Moreover, the larger part of the work of the Ministry had to be done quietly and unofficially, and without advertisement, since popular opinion in every country is so delicate an instrument that attempts to play upon it in the name of a foreign government, even an Allied Government, would without doubt have been resented. The anomalous character of its duties was reflected in the curious variety of its staff. It is probable that never before in any Government department had there been so many distinguished men of a type so remote from that of the normal official. All varieties of talent were needed - the skilled journalist and the expert in publicity for the actual business of propaganda, the experienced business man for the control and expenditure of machinery, and the student of public affairs for Intelligence and Policy.

Directorate of Military Intelligence

Until the end of 1915, the Intelligence Section of G.H.Q. (France), and the Director of Special Intelligence at the War Office, made somewhat casual efforts in the direction of propaganda at home, abroad and amongst the enemy forces, and did more in the direction of acquiring information about the propagandist activities of the enemy. The supreme military authorities, however, either attached little value to propaganda, or were more absorbed by their directly combatant functions, and gave no encouragement to the development of propaganda. In the beginning of 1916 Gen. Sir George Macdonough returned from France to become Director of Intelligence on the Imperial General Staff. Thenceforward until the end of the war, a branch of his directorate was devoted to propaganda with continually increasing intensity. Under his stimulation and with the encouragement and the active assistance of Brig.-Gen. Cockerill, his second-incommand, a small group of men, half of them regular officers and half distinguished civilians with temporary commissions, a very large and successful organization was built up. It worked in close cooperation with General Headquarters at the various fronts and with the propagandist agencies in England. Its command of material drawn from all the branches, open and secret, of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, and its close connexion with the fighting services, gave it very large opportunities, of which it took full advantage; on the other hand, the fact that it was a branch of the War Office, run on strict military lines, prevented the full extent of its activities being known, and the credit of much that it accomplished was assigned to organizations more accustomed to work before the footlights.

Reports, captured documents, photographs and any other matter with a possible propagandist use, were collected from all the fronts. Samples of all propaganda prepared by the enemy were obtained from neutral countries, through the postal censorship, by direct capture, from the navy and from all other available sources. Details of the actual fighting operations, stories from the fronts, and all matter tending to show the conditions of fighting on both sides were assembled. Letters written by prisoners of war were read in the special censorship and copies of any judged to be of utility were preserved for reproduction in facsimile. Illustrated booklets describing the happy conditions of enemy prisoners in British camps were prepared. The foreign press, especially that from enemy countries, was regularly read, and extracts taken. From these and similar materials propaganda was prepared for distribution, partly by the regular staff of the section, partly by distinguished civilians who gave their services, and largely by wounded or otherwise disabled officers of literary capacity seconded for the purpose. The propagandist material prepared in this way was first carefully censored from the military point of view, in case inadvertently it might contain information which it was desired to keep secret. It was next submitted, especially where it contained matter with any political significance, to the Foreign Office. It was then ready for use. A staff of linguists was maintained to examine and translate material from foreign sources which covered almost every known language. The prepared propaganda, if useful for other than English readers, was translated into foreign languages ranging from Urdu to Spanish, from Russian to Arabic.

A few examples may serve to illustrate the range covered by the War Office propaganda. A German Army Order captured in E. Africa showed contempt or ignorance of Mahommedan religious customs. It was reproduced in facsimile, with a translation into every known tongue spoken by Mahommedans.

A pamphlet written by Dr. Liebknecht, the German socialist leader, suppressed in Germany, was reproduced in German. Photographs of German prisoners showing their miserable condition on capture, their reception in the British lines with food, chocolate and cigarettes, and their happiness in their ultimate quarters in British prisoner of war camps, were reproduced as a small album. Letters written home by German prisoners of war, describing the comfortable conditions under which they lived, were reproduced in facsimile. An erroneous account of the battle of the Marne, written in Spanish for circulation as German propaganda in S. America, was followed by a correct account with exact maps, written by a British general who had been actually engaged in the battle. Every effort of German propaganda was followed and promptly countered in the same language as that in which it had been written. Perhaps the quickest exchange and counter-exchange took place through a cable and wireless service. All the messages issued by the enemy by cables or wireless telegraphy were intercepted and transmitted at once to the War Office. They were followed by a special staff, and the replies to them often reached their destinations a few hours after the originals, more often than not in time for the same editions of foreign newspapers.

Increasing attention was paid to the unification of the prop aganda issued by the Allies, and to the pooling of information useful for propaganda. Regular conferences took place at British and French military headquarters in France for the purpose of coordinating propaganda. With the same object constant touch was maintained between the military propagandist staffs in London and Paris. A weekly journal, Le Courrier de l'Air, was prepared and issued at the War Office for circulation in the part of Belgium under German occupation. It contained information as to the progress of the war, general news, political intelligence, and much ordinary magazine reading.

Articles suited for British newspapers were offered to editors, and were freely used. These for the most part consisted of descriptions of scenes in the war on various fronts, written by officers who had been engaged in them. Similar matter, and articles covering a wider field, were distributed to English newspapers in every part of the world. A special staff watched the newspapers to observe the kind of articles that were most freely taken by each, so as to suit the supply to the demand. In the same way articles on almost every subject connected with the war were translated into foreign languages and distributed to newspapers in foreign countries. Large quantities of matter were sent to the Department of Information for distribution by their agencies, especially in neutral and Allied countries. There were several military distributing agencies in the Near East, and farther away, of which the largest was an " Arab Bureau " in Egypt. Some of these had local presses at which copy sent from London was set up, but a very large bulk of matter, especially illustrated matter, was prepared and printed in London, and sent out in bulk. According to its objective, it was distributed through vernacular newspapers, or by special agents, who smuggled it into enemy countries.

As regards distribution to enemies, a certain amount of this important side of the propagandist effort was done through the Department of Information, but the War Office itself directed the greater part of the work, especially where it was desired to reach enemy soldiers directly, or the enemy civilian population through them. From the examination of prisoners of war and by the direct admission of the German authorities it became clear that this service was highly effective. Early in 1917 the decision was made to extend considerably the work of preparing and distributing propaganda for the enemy troops on the western front. A special sub-section was created under the charge of an officer who had just completed an analysis of over 2,000 books and pamphlets of enemy origin. At that time there was no objection to the use of aeroplanes for the distribution of literature over the enemy's lines. The sub-section prepared and had translated into German a large quantity of suitable literature, much of it written by the officer in charge of the section (the writer of this article), other matter selected from the work of the Department of Information or from other sections of the War Office. Some of these early efforts were too successful; in particular the Germans objected to a cartoon with the legend " A German Family that has had no losses in the War," depicting the Kaiser and his sons in uniform, on the ground that its distribution was an offence against military discipline Captured flying officers accused of distributing propaganda were tried in Germany by court martial and received severe sentences. Although in fact the sentences were not carried out, after negotiations had taken place through a neutral Power between the British and German Governments, the Germans let it be known that any future cases would be treated with the utmost severity. The French continued the use of aeroplanes in spite of this threat. But the British Air Ministry opposed the use of aeroplanes, partly on the ground of the " bad psychological effect of working under such threats, on young pilots and aviators," and partly on the more valid ground that the supply of trained men and of machines was no more than sufficient for the direct purposes of this branch of the forces. After an attempt, obviously impractical, to distinguish between propaganda that could not be regarded as " inflammatory " and that therefore could be distributed by aeroplanes, and propaganda that could not escape this charge, British G.H.Q. accepted the position and decided against the use of aeroplanes for the distribution of literature. The stock of literature prepared for the western front, except such small parts of it as could be used by other army devices, was transferred to the Ministry of Information and to the French army.

The War Office Enemy Propaganda Section then turned to the devising of other possible methods for the distribution of literature by mechanical means. Information was collected from all possible sources, the methods of the enemy being carefully watched. With the assistance of the Aerial Inventions Board and the Munitions Inventions Department, many devices were tried, and as soon as any had reached a promising stage, the officer in charge took it out to France, to discuss its possibilities, and, with the assistance of the intelligence officers of the army, to test it under field conditions.

A section of G.H.Q. Intelligence had obtained great success in dropping homing pigeons and other means of carrying messages on known areas where they could be found by British agents behind the enemy lines. In this work fabric balloons with timing devices for dropping loads at the required localities were employed, but the apparatus on the one hand was unnecessarily exact, and, on the other, much too costly for the distribution of literature. The Germans were found to be using very large balloons of scarlet Japanese paper which carried bundles of newspapers and other matter long distances, sometimes releasing them by slow-burning tinder fuzes. It was clear, however, that this method was haphazard, as balloons and loads destined for the neighbourhood of Verdun not infrequently dropped in Kent. Experiments were undertaken to study the lifting capacity of light balloons, the load and degree of filling that would enable them to rise to an approximately known height, and the arrangement of time fuzes so that they would liberate weights at known distances varying with the strength of the wind. At the same time experiments were made as to the shape, economical mode of manufacture and dimensions of paper balloons, and on the treatment of the paper to lower the rate of diffusion of coalgas or hydrogen.

A large number of devices such as rockets, grenades and shells were enquired into, but were not adopted because of various objections raised against their use by the military authorities.

A device consisting of a fire-balloon, the fabric of which consisted of propaganda sheets joined by strips of touch paper, seemed promising, but did not reach success.

Extensive experiments were carried out with the object of adapting an apparatus invented to distribute light bombs to the distribution of literature. It consisted of a box-kite with an automatic conveyer which carried five-pound loads of propaganda up the cable, liberated them at the required height, and automatically returned for another load, the sheets when liberated being carried to their destination by the wind. The method was extremely good; it was cheap, easy to work, and had a range of upwards of ten miles according to the strength of the wind. But objection to its use at the front was taken by the Air Force on the ground that the cable of the kite would be a danger to aeroplanes.

In connexion with the last-mentioned apparatus, extensive observations were carried out on the wind-driftage of sheets of paper of different shapes and weights, and of the methods of releasing them at height. Experiments were made from aeroplanes and from captive balloons, and the range and conditions of falling were ascertained. It was found, for example, that in a wind of approximately ten miles an hour, a bundle of 150 sheets liberated at a height of 2,500 ft., came to the ground two miles away, scattered over an area 500 yd. square. In higher winds and from greater heights much more distant ranges could be attained. The War Office Propaganda Section accordingly suggested that aeroplanes might be safely used, flying at heights proportioned to the strength of the wind, and the distance of the enemy lines, by flights well within the British lines. But this proposal also was " turned down." By the end of 1917 it became clear that the use of paper balloons was the only method which would encounter no opposition, and attention was therefore concentrated on producing them on a large scale and on applying the experience gained in other directions to them. By far the largest bulk of propaganda distributed by the Allies on the western front was released from balloons, and it may therefore be of historical interest to describe their final form. The propaganda balloons were made of paper cut in longitudinal panels, with a neck of oiled silk about 18 in. long. Their circumference was approximately 20 ft. and their height when inflated 8 feet. They were liberated inflated nearly to their full capacity - from 90 to 95 cub. ft. of hydrogen. The weight of the balloon was under one pound, the load of propaganda four pounds. The leaflets were attached to a fuze of treated cotton, similar to the tinder of flint pipe-lighters, and burning at the rate of an inch in five minutes. The string of propaganda was tied to the neck of the balloon, and just before liberation a slit was cut in the neck to permit the escape of gas, and the end of the fuze was lighted. The weight and lift were adjusted so that the balloon could rise several thousand feet into the air before the loss of gas due to expansion would have caused a state of equilibrium. At this point the first bundle of leaflets was set free, and the process was continued until, at the end of the run, the last bundle was released. The total time length of the fuze and the attachment of the bundles to it were calculated according to the area which it was desired to reach and the strength of the wind. Experimental improvement of the " dope," by which the rate of diffusion of the gas was lowered, and the manufacture of balloons of double the standard capacity, had made runs of upwards of 150 m. practical, before the Armistice suspended operations. But the bulk of the propaganda was actually scattered over an area of from 10 to 50 m. behind the enemy lines, rest camps and villages occupied by the troops being made the chief targets. Each distribution unit at the front consisted of two motor lorries which carried the balloons, hydrogen cylinders, and personnel to convenient positions, generally from 3 to 4 m. behind the front line.

Early in March 1918, the method of balloon distribution was in full working order, and the War Office Propaganda Section resumed the active preparation of material. The reproduction of selected letters written by prisoners of war was resumed, and Le Courrier de l'Air was enlarged and improved by the introduction of direct propaganda. A series of leaflets, known as the A.P. (Aerial Propaganda) was begun. The first of these, sent to France in March, was a complete German edition of the British Prime Minister's speech on British War Aims. This had been incompletely reported in the German newspapers, and in the new edition attention was directed to the portions which had been taken out by the German censorship; copy for other leaflets was selected from German and Austrian newspapers, was contributed by G.H.Q. (France), by the War Aims Committee, by the Ministry of Information, and by the new Directorate of Propaganda in Enemy Countries which had been established under Lord Northcliffe. But the whole series was selected, revised, edited, and produced by the War Office, and a very large proportion of the actual leaflets were prepared by the officer-in-charge. The first of the series was sent to France on March 16, the last, number 95, on Sept. 4; of the whole series over 12 million leaflets were sent to France.

Later, in 1918, when, under the energetic direction of Lord Northcliffe, the machinery for propaganda in enemy countries was greatly increased, there was a further extension of distribution by balloons. The military successes of the Allies were being concealed from their troops by the Germans, and it was thought that quick and accurate information would further demoralize the Germans. In conference with the War Office, Lord Northcliffe's department arranged that the leaflets should be divided into two categories, " stock leaflets," the contents of which would not deteriorate by a little delay, and " priority leaflets " containing matter of urgent importance. The latter were printed three times a week and sent in editions of 100,000 direct to Messrs. Gamage, who were manufacturing the balloons and the " releases." They were at once prepared for distribution, handed over to the Military Transport Department and sent via Boulogne direct to the distributing stations. In favourable weather they were thus actually in the hands of the Germans 60 hours after being written.

But even with the best arrangements, distribution by balloon is subject to many delays from weather and other conditions. Lord Northcliffe continued to urge on the Cabinet the need of distribution by aeroplane, and was at last successful in breaking down the resistance. The writer of this article, then liaison officer between Lord Northcliffe's department, the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the Air Force, in the second half of 1918 carried through the final stages of the negotiations. The last obstacle was the fear of the Air Ministry that bundles of leaflets suddenly scattered in the air might foul the steering guys of the aeroplanes; he devised a simple mode of packing the leaflets so that they would fall as a solid bundle for 20 ft. before dispersing. On the morning of the Armistice, the first packets of propaganda made up on this system were delivered to the Air Force in France.

The methods of distributing propaganda by the Allies were ascertained in a conference held in August 1918 at Crewe House under the chairmanship of Lord Northcliffe. Aeroplanes were used by the British forces in the Near East, and by the Italians, French and Belgians on the western front. But it was clear that either lack of aeroplanes or of personnel limited their use even by those who had no objection to it. The Italians used special devices such as rockets and shells, the French were experimenting with shells and trench-mortars and were trying to manufacture balloons on the British model, and both the French and Belgians sent large quantities of newspapers and of other matter to be distributed by the British balloons. The Americans had hardly reached the actual stage of distribution before the end of the war, but they had developed a small rubber balloon with a very ingenious timing device for releasing the load. It is a reasonable assumption, however, that all these methods would be replaced by aeroplanes in any later war.

Lord Northcliffe's Directorate

In Feb. 1918 the Prime Minister appointed Lord Northcliffe to be Director of Propaganda in Enemy Countries. Lord Northcliffe brought to the task a limitless faith in the possibility of controlling public opinion, a unique experience in the methods of publicity, and direct access to the Prime Minister and the War Cabinet. He selected a council of advisors and an executive staff of remarkable authority and talent, and Crewe House, in Mayfair, London, the headquarters of the new Department, quickly became the centre of far-reaching activity. A mere catalogue of the operations undertaken, and of the men who carried them out would occupy many pages.' But two names must be mentioned, as without them Crewe House would have been little more than a powerful addition to the existing propagandist agencies. Sir Campbell Stuart, a young Canadian who had been of great assistance to Lord Northcliffe on his mission to the United States of America, was selected as deputy-director of the de Secrets of Crewe House, by Sir Campbell Stuart (London, 1920), gives an account of Lord Northcliffe's undertaking.

partment and deputy-chairman of the committee. Lord Northcliffe's choice was fully justified by the remarkable powers of tact and conciliation shown by Stuart, who rapidly disarmed all suspicion on the part of existing organizations, found out how to get the best work out of all of them and how to combine their efforts towards a single resolute purpose. Lord Northcliffe selected Mr. H. Wickham Steed as his chief political adviser. Steed at the time was foreign editor of The Times, and for many years had been the representative of that journal in Rome and Vienna. He had an exceptional knowledge of the political personalities of modern Europe, the open policies and the secret aspirations of all the nationalities great or small. He was an idealist, believing that truth and justice could bring ordered peace to chaotic Europe; a realist, conscious of the stubborn obstinacy that would yield only to force and of the ignorance that misled the accepted leaders of men. Steed provided the knowledge and lofty enthusiasm which shaped the policy of Crewe House, Stuart the conciliatory tact which made concerted action possible, Lord Northcliffe the swift judgment between contending views, the experienced instinct for what was practical, and the driving force to make the practical actual. The present writer assisted at many intimate deliberations at Crewe House; he desires to add his own observations to the varying estimates that have been made of Lord Northcliffe. The Director of Propaganda in Enemy Countries was patient in listening to the facts and arguments put before him, decisive in coming to a judgment on them, swift and powerful when action began. Steed's knowledge, Stuart's organizing tact, and Lord Northcliffe's driving force and far-reaching influence, made Crewe House different in quality and energy from any preexisting agency.

The inspiring principle of the new organization was that propaganda should depend upon policy. It may be argued, although not convincingly, that a definite constructive Allied policy could not have existed in the earlier stages of the war, when fortunes were changing and the nature of the ultimate decision was uncertain. In any case, if a concerted policy did exist, it was unknown to those who were conducting propaganda. The wiser propagandists in most countries therefore endeavoured to limit themselves to a restricted field from which declared " war aims " and ultimate terms of peace were excluded. Rasher agents plunged, with results that were often ludicrous and sometimes disastrous. Dr. Lamprecht, the German historian, for example, confessed that the consequences of the German propaganda were often gruesome. Probably, he wrote, more harm came to the German cause from the efforts of the German professors than from all the efforts of the enemy. " None the less it was done with the best intentions. The selfconfidence was superb, but the knowledge was lacking. People thought that they could explain the German case without preparation. What was wanted was organization." A single example will illustrate the results of lack of organization amongst the Allies. The French military authorities complained to the War Office that German propaganda appeared to be entering France in large quantities through England. They sent examples, and asked that precautions should be taken. On enquiry it was found that the incriminated documents were the product of one of the British civilian propagandist agencies. Doubtless it was a matter of opinion whether the French or English judgment of the efficacy of the leaflets was the more correct, but the real fault was the absence of harmonious effort. In 1918, the fifth year of the war, it became of vital importance that the Allied peace aims should be explained with a clear and unanimous voice to the war-weary enemy. It was to this purpose that Lord Northcliffe addressed himself. He used his influence first to extract from the British Government the broad lines of a definite policy, in order that the propaganda of his Department might not be in conflict with the casual and sporadic utterances of ministers, next to secure unity of purpose among the British and Allied propagandist agencies.

The first campaign was against Austria-Hungary. The British Government, hampered by the secret Treaty of London, hesi tated between the policy of working for a separate peace with the Habsburg dynasty, leaving its territory almost untouched, and the alternative of trying to support and encourage all the anti-German and pro-Ally elements in the Austria-Hungarian Empire. The objective selected by Crewe House was to support the national desires of the Czechs, Southern Sla y s, Rumanes, Poles and Italians for independence, so as to form a strong nonGerman chain of Central European and Danubian States, and thus to encourage the disinclination of these peoples to fight for their German masters.

The chief obstacle to the policy of the British propaganda was the pledge given to Italy in 1915, to give her certain Austrian territories inhabited by Southern Sla y s. In 1917, the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had assembled in Corfu, and under the leadership of Dr. Trumbitch, president of the Southern SIav Committee, and M. Pashitch, prime minister of Serbia, had proclaimed the unity of the three Southern Slav peoples. Early in 1918, after recovery from the disaster of Caporetto had begun, the united Southern Sla y s, on the initiation of Mr. Wickham Steed and Dr. Seton Watson, came into conference with leading Italians and agreed to settle amicably the territorial controversies in dispute. Lord Northcliffe took up the position at that point, and almost the first step of his campaign was to send Mr. Steed and Dr. Seton Watson to the Congress of Oppressed Habsburg Nationalities which took place at Rome with the consent of the Italian Government. Meantime he urged on the War Cabinet the need of coming to a decision between the alternative policies and of obtaining the agreement of the French, Italians and Americans to the choice. He got only a dubious and halting opinion from the British Foreign Secretary, who urged that the same propaganda could be adapted at least to the earlier stages of either policy. This indecision, maintained through the war and through the peace negotiations, led to the disastrous adventure of D'Annunzio, for the Italians, like other peoples, flushed with the unexpected joy of complete victory, forgot the wise concessions to which they had been willing when the issue was doubtful. But Lord Northcliffe's mission achieved a temporary and successful unity of purpose.

A joint commission consisting of representatives of Italy, Great Britain and France, was established at the Italian general headquarters, with the special object of conducting propaganda directed to the oppressed nationalities in the Austrian armies. Representatives of committees of each of the oppressed nationalities were attached to the commission. A polyglot printing press was acquired, and large quantities of propaganda of all kinds were distributed by aeroplane, rockets, grenades and contact patrols. The latter consisted of deserters of Czechoslovak, Southern Slav, Polish and Rumanian nationalities, who volunteered for this service against their former oppressors. The effect was soon apparent. Deserters belonging to the subject races came over to the Italian armies in large numbers, so that the attack planned by the Austrians had to be postponed. Unfortunately, the complete success of the effort, apparently assured early in May, was prevented by the reactionary tendencies within the Italian Government, supported by the uncertain attitude of the Governments of France, Great Britain and the United States. But even in the face of this difficulty, the success was so great that, after the battle of the Piave, members of the Inter-Allied Propaganda Commission were received and thanked by the Italian commander-in-chief.

While this great campaign was taking place on the Italian front, the propaganda addressed to Germany was being intensified. On assuming office, Lord Northcliffe found the War Office propaganda department, described above, in full operation. Except that he at once began to press the Government to renew the original permission for the use of aeroplanes, he suggested no change in the War Office work. His committee at Crewe House, however, first with the assistance of Mr. H. G. Wells and after a few weeks with that of Mr. H. Hamilton Fyfe, set to work to frame a general propaganda policy directed against Germany, and to produce leaflets and other matter. Some of this material was given to the War Office Department; much of it was distributed by special means chiefly through neutral countries. In July, when the work in Italy had been established on permanent lines, and Mr. Steed had returned to London, it was decided to concentrate all the production of propaganda at Crewe House, with the object of bringing it more into line with a concerted policy. Accordingly, the writer of this article was transferred from the War Office to Crewe House, but kept in touch with the War Office as liaison officer, the army remaining the agent for distribution.

The General Committee met daily at Crewe House, receiving the reports of the different branches, collecting information from all possible sources, and stimulating the propagandist work against Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany. It became more and more obvious during the summer of 1918 that the spirit of the enemy was breaking on every front, that they were alert to every suggestion as to the approach of peace, and that the supreme necessity was a clear statement of the intentions of the Allies. Lord Northcliffe, with varying success, continued to press the Government for such a definition of policy as would serve as a true basis for propaganda. The fundamental principle on which he wished to act was that when a line of policy had been sanctioned as a basis for propaganda, the Allied Governments should be asked for their assent to it, so that their propaganda departments might act in concert. Failing to obtain a clear lead from the British Government, who at that time appeared to have no definite policy with regard to any issue of the war, Lord Northcliffe convened an inter-Allied propaganda conference at Crewe House. It was attended by Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Information, representatives of the British Foreign Office, War Office, Admiralty and Air Ministry, and by delegates from France, Italy and the United States, the U.S.A. delegation, however, being instructed to attend only as observers. The conference, after a plenary session, divided into committees to discuss details of policy, methods of publicity and methods of distribution. At a final plenary session the reports of the committees were adopted, and it was agreed that they should be submitted by the heads of the four missions to their respective Governments for approval. The conference then constituted a permanent Inter-Allied Body for the conduct of propaganda in enemy countries. Steps were at once taken to secure the permanency of contact between the propagandist agencies which had been established at the conference, and these became increasingly effective until, when the Armistice came, there was almost complete unity of action amongst the Allies.

As the possibility of peace drew nearer, it became still more urgent that propaganda should be kept free from any trace of confusion. To secure this, a Central Body, called the Policy Committee of the British War Mission, was formed at Crewe House; it consisted of representatives of Lord Northcliffe's department and of the War Cabinet, the Admiralty, War Office, Foreign Office, Treasury, Ministry of Information, Air Ministry, Colonial Office, India Office, War Aims Committee and Official Press Bureau. It decided to undertake the following activities: - Study of peace terms, study of utterances by important enemy representatives, their real significance and the nature of the response to be made to them. It had to take action almost at once, since the German Peace Note, with its reference to the publication of President 'Wilson's " fourteen points," required immediate attention from British propagandists. Lord Northcliffe's committee had been studying the fourteen points with a very close attention. It was plain that they could not be understood as a full recitation of the conditions of peace, and that it was therefore a matter of honesty and of prudence to define the interpretation put on them by Great Britain before accepting the surrender of Germany. This view was accepted by the Policy Committee, and, after detailed discussion, a statement drafted by the Crewe House Committee was adopted in principle. It was approved, by a representative of the Government designated for the purpose, for unofficial use as propaganda policy. Each department henceforward made it the text of its productions. As this document is of historical interest, it is here printed in full.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Propaganda f. (no plural)

  1. propaganda.

Simple English

File:Guerre 14-18-Humour-L'ingordo,
French Postcard - French Military Humour Propaganda : The Ingordo, from 1915.

Propaganda is information. It is always biased. The information is designed to make people feel a certain way or to believe a certain thing. The information is often political.

It is hard to tell whether the information is true or false. Very often, the information is confusing and unfair. Propaganda does tend to make disputes last longer, and be more difficult to resolve.

The word 'propaganda' comes from Latin. At first, it meant 'ideas to be spread around'. But in the First World War, it came to mean 'political ideas that are supposed to be misleading'.

Propaganda is like advertising in some ways. For example, it uses the mass media to spread its ideas. But advertising is usually trying to sell something, whereas propaganda is about ideas. It is often political, and used by states or political parties, not private companies.

Propaganda is often used during wars. There it can be very useful. It can take the form of posters, TV advertisements, and radio announcements. Sometimes it keeps the people of a country happy - telling them that their country is fighting well and telling them how important it is that the enemy is defeated. Sometimes it tries to make people hate the enemy. The information could tell people that the enemy is evil or make them seem not human. Sometimes a government gives propaganda to the enemy - telling them that the war is going badly for them and that they should stop fighting.

When a country is not at war, propaganda can still be used. The government may use propaganda to change what people think about a political situation. A group may try to change the way people act towards an issue.

Propaganda under some countries, like dictatorships, is used along with censorship. While propaganda tries to give people false ideas, censorship forces the ones who disagree with propaganda to keep quiet. Then the propaganda can say everything, because nobody can question it in public.

Propaganda is also used to win people by tricking them. Some people say that cults use propaganda to get people to join them.

Examples for propaganda:

Early history

Propaganda has been used in every known civilisation. It was used by Rameses II on his monuments in Ancient Egypt; it was used by Ancient Greek orators; it was used by Julius Caesar, and all Roman Emperors. The word itself is formed from propagate, meaning to multiply.

A landmark in propaganda was the Inquisition, founded in the 12th century. This was reinforced by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide) of the Catholic Church. This committee, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, had action branches in most European countries. These were the local branches of the Inquisition, which sought out heretics. With torture and the threat of death by burning at the stake, they forced heretics to recant (to publicly withdraw their previous beliefs). The objective was to remove all challenges to the supremacy of the Church in matters of belief.[1][2]

A 1578 handbook for inquisitors spelled out the purpose of inquisitorial penalties: ... quoniam punitio non refertur primo & per se in correctionem & bonum eius qui punitur, sed in bonum publicum ut alij terreantur, & a malis committendis avocentur. Translation from the Latin: "... for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit".[3] Therefore the purpose was truly propaganda in the modern sense.


  1. Lea, Henry Charles. "Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded". A History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. 1. Retrieved 2009-10-07. "Obstinate heretics, refusing to abjure and return to the Church with due penance, and those who after abjuration relapsed, were to be abandoned to the secular arm for fitting punishment." 
  2. Kirsch, Jonathan. The Grand Inquisitors Manual: a history of terror in the name of God. HarperOne. ISBN 0060816996. 
  3. Directorium Inquisitorum, edition of 1578, Book 3, page 137, column 1. Online in the Cornell University Collection. Retrieved: 2008-05-16.


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