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Propaganda is information that is used to influence an audience, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a synthesis. Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but other activist groups, companies and the media can also produce propaganda to get benefit from the influence caused by propaganda.
Propaganda was widely used throughout history. During the Reformation and the American Revolution, propaganda helped spreading new ideas, thoughts and made them available to the public. From the past to our modern day living, propaganda plays an important role in reflecting the mood of the times, mobilizing people, raising public awareness of new ideas and their goals at a certain period of time.
In a war situation such as World War1, the main function of propaganda is mobilizing people and to suggest new ways of looking at the war. Propaganda was used by both sides in World War1 as a powerful weapon. The Allies used propaganda as a way to dehumanize their enemy and to create hatred toward the German armies. They created figures and images of inhumane German soldiers slaughtering civilians and prisoners of war. The Germans attempted to influence public opinion existed alongside numerous popular endeavors to delineate the parameters of Germany’s wartime identity. They created images of soldiers having good time in the war front, they showed their ambition to conquer the world as well as their nobleness of their nationality. The purpose of both sides’ propaganda in the war is to create a negative image of their enemy in order to recruit men to join the army, to encourage people to work in factories and farms and to keep morale high and encourage people to buy government bonds in order to have citizens support war at all cost.
Propaganda plays an important role throughout the history, it’s function is obvious in some particular situations, especially during war. Propaganda could be the most effective way to encourage people to support war and make them be positive toward war because of the content that the propaganda show can be selectively.
Here are some examples of wartime propaganda that’s is used by both sides participated in war to encourage people to support war in different aspects. The first propaganda is a French propaganda which purpose is to encourage people not to waste food. The propaganda uses an image of sliced bread on the table, with a striking slogan that say “Our duty is not to waste bread”. The propaganda is made to encourage people to save their food and to send them to the front line in order to support the war and feed more soldiers. During World War1, France is the front line against German army. The invasion to Europe by the German started in Belgium and then turned to France. France became the front line and started battles against German troops. The war lasted long and both sides are in great reduction in soldiers and supply. Most of the soldiers that were from The Allies are sent to the front line just to slow down or to beat the German troops. The supply and food is a great pressure to the French government. So the French government produce this propaganda to introduce the thinking of saving food and resources for the war.
The second propaganda is from Germany. In the middle of the propaganda lies a pan that is placed on fire. The slogan below says that ‘The German war pan. The German housewife’s way of demonstrating the commitment to the war effort.’ The text around the pan reads: ‘World War 1916. The German housewife’s sense of sacrifice. She gave copper away for iron.’ It shows that during the war, even women tried their best to support war. The housewife is willing to sacrifice their precious things for the victory of the war. During World War1, Germany had a military competition against Britain and France even before the war broke out. They required resources and money in order to keep their advantage to the Allies during the war. They tried to use propaganda with positive news and images to show their advantages in the war. They tried to make everyone citizen support the war by telling them how good they did in the front line and how successful they did at the support, they tried their best to keep the citizens’ morale high so that they can support them at war.
The third propaganda is a poster from Canada. In the poster is a soldier in a battlefield when people are shooting in a fight. The smoke that came out of the soldier’s rifle formed a vignette that people back in the home is watching a hockey game. The background color and the battlefield shows that the soldier is in a dangerous and lethal condition when the people back in his country is having fun in a hockey game. The slogans that are in black is in contrast with the yellow background, which makes people pay more attention on to the slogan. The slogan is “Why don’t they come? … join the 148th Battalion ”. Also the smoke that comes out of the gun can also refer as the peace and harmony that the soldiers desire and can bring to the world once the war is over. In the war, Canada is one of the most important country that participated in the battles. Especially in 1917, Canada’s role in the war had expanded dramatically. Fewer and fewer man are willing to join the army as they are unwilling to sacrifice. In order to get enough army oversea to fight against the Germans, Canada started conscription for their oversea duty. It shows out inn the propaganda that it says “Why be a mere spectator here when you should play a mans part in the real game overseas?” This slogan encourages people and fight and to act like a man and to be a part of justice that defend their rights against the brutal invasion of the German troops. The result of the propaganda and the conscription is obvious. Canada became an important role in the war and is admitted buy many more countries in the world to be a separate country exist in the world. Their mankind and their willingness to sacrifice earns them their respect and dignity as a country in the world during and after the war.
In conclusion, propaganda is an effective way for either government or groups to spread their ideas and thinks in order to influence more and more people. Most of the propaganda has the form of a slogan combined with an image and can represent and show the main idea accurately. Some of them use high contrast colors to emphasize the slogans or some particular parts in the poster. These techniques can be found in some modern day propaganda. The fourth propaganda is a modern day propaganda that is made for the election in America. This iconic image represents Obama’s presidential campaign. It shows him as a symbol of hope, and is very reminiscent of the Che Guevara poster – which is a reflection of the revolution of the young generations who supported Obama’s campaign. The background color is blue, white and red, which is the color of American flag, this shows that Obama is the one who can represent America. This poster uses the representative colors as the background and also the Che Guevara poster as a use of reference to show that Obama can do a revolution to the American society. The slogan HOPE is appealing and shows that Obama can give hope to America and is American’s future.
To sum up, propaganda plays an important role in both war time and in peaceful time. The role that propaganda plays in the society is to influence what people are thinking and also the media, so that the government can spread the ideas and thoughts that they want to spread to the audience. The public are made to see what the government want them to see by using propaganda.
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