Evaluating Propaganda in the Great War


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Evaluating Propaganda in the Great War

  1. 1. Evaluating PROPAGANDA in the GREAT WAR By Dr. Peter Hammond
  2. 2. Evaluating PROPAGANDA in the GREAT WAR By Dr. Peter Hammond
  3. 3. “Then Jesus said: … ‘And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32
  4. 4. The first casualty in war is truth.
  5. 5. As my history teacher in Rhodesia reminded us: Beware the victor’s version!
  6. 6. Propaganda aims to do other people’s thinking for them.
  7. 7. Propaganda today has moved into prop-agenda, not only controlling what we think, but how we think, and what we think about.
  8. 8. Propaganda uses highly selective images, devious and prejudicial language.
  9. 9. Dubious linkages, confusing issues and distorting reality with disinformation, is a daily reality.
  10. 10. George Orwell wrote: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
  11. 11. Karl Marx declared: The first battlefield is the rewriting of history.
  12. 12. Vladimir Lenin – Propaganda and Agitation In his book, What is to be Done, published in 1902, Vladimir Lenin defined propaganda as the use of historical and scientific arguments to indoctrinate the educated and intelligent masses.
  13. 13. Agitation was described by Lenin as the use of slogans, stories and selective half- truths to exploit the grievances of the un-educated and ignorant masses.
  14. 14. Deceit is Justified Every unit of the Communist Party was to have an Agit-Prop section. Deceit in propaganda is justified because the end justifies the means.
  15. 15. As Vladimir Lenin regularly said: Treaties are like pie crusts, made to be broken. To tell the truth is a petty bourgeois habit, but to lie and to lie convincingly is a sign of superior intelligence.
  16. 16. Mobilise the Masses The aim of propaganda is to rally people behind a cause. If this requires exaggerating, misrepresenting, or even lying ,about the issues, in order to gain that support, the end justifies the means.
  17. 17. Tactics of Propaganda Common tactics used in propaganda are: 1. Ignoring the historic context 2. Using selective stories 3. Utilising a narrow source of experts, those who tow the party line 4. Demonising the enemy and 5. Using a narrow focus (the zoom lens, rather than the wide angle lens of context.)
  18. 18. 1. Ignoring the historic context
  19. 19. 2. Using selective stories, making the exceptional representative.
  20. 20. 3. Utilising a narrow source of experts, those who tow the party line
  21. 21. 4. Demonising the enemy, often with ficticious stories.
  22. 22. Bizarre Inventions One of the most vicious posters of WWI shows as German nurse standing beside a wounded British soldier, lying in his poor makeshift sick bed pleading for water.
  23. 23. According to the caption: Wounded and a prisoner, our soldier cries for water. A German sister pours it on the ground before his eyes. There is no woman in Britain who would do it. There is no woman in Britain who will forget it!
  24. 24. Malicious Doubtless there was no woman in Germany who would do it either. No such incident ever occurred. It was manufactured in one of the malicious minds in Wellington House.
  25. 25. On Christmas Day Football matches were played in no-man's land as the competing armies mingled and enjoyed fellowship together, even visiting one another's trenches.
  26. 26. 5. Using a narrow focus (the zoom lens, rather than the wide angle lens of context.)
  27. 27. Cutting the Cord On 4th August 1914, as Europe began mobilising for the most disastrous war in history
  28. 28. Cutting the Cord Britain’s first act of war was not military, but aimed at communication.
  29. 29. The steam cable vessel Telconia, was anchored in the North Sea under cover of darkness to trawl for cables on the seabed.
  30. 30. By dawn her engineers had located and cut all five German cables, to France, Spain, Tenerife and the two cables to New York.
  31. 31. A War of Words The severing of these transatlantic links heralded the beginning of a war of words.
  32. 32. The deep wounds inflicted by the propaganda war would last far beyond the ending of the First World War and created a climate of mistrust and suspicion that poisoned Anglo-German relations for over a generation.
  33. 33. Cutting the transatlantic cables also signaled the start of a new kind of war, a war of propaganda.
  34. 34. Separating Family and Friends It cut the ties that had bound Britain and Germany closer than any other two nations on earth for over 100 years.
  35. 35. The torrent of lies and deceit unleashed by clandestine public relations campaigns continue to inspire hate and prejudice in Hollywood films to this day.
  36. 36. Propaganda War Under Lloyd George, a secret British propaganda agency was set up which secretly enlisted the active support of virtually every great British writer, then alive, including: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  37. 37. Arnold Bennet
  38. 38. John Buchan,
  39. 39. John Masefield,.
  40. 40. G.K. Chesterton,
  41. 41. Thomas Hardy,
  42. 42. Rudyard Kipling
  43. 43. and H.G. Wells.
  44. 44. A Legacy of Deceit Pens were dipped in the poison of lies and directed against their recent close friends in Germany.
  45. 45. British Military Intelligence not only mobilised the literary big guns for its propaganda campaigns, but manufactured the most outrageous atrocity stories to attribute to their new enemies.
  46. 46. The legacy of bitterness and disillusionment created by this clandestine propaganda war had far-reaching devastating consequences for world history throughout the 20th century.
  47. 47. Media Manipulation David Lloyd George was the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the beginning of the war.
  48. 48. He was one of the first politicians to understand how the media game was played and he shamelessly exploited the press for personal and professional advantage.
  49. 49. In 1911, Lloyd George had championed the National Insurance Act, an important foundation stone of the welfare state.
  50. 50. To push this highly controversial act through against strong resistance, Lloyd George sponsored media manipulation to mobilise public opinion.
  51. 51. It was possibly the first time that a modern, democratically elected government had spent public money setting up an organisation specifically to manipulate public opinion.
  52. 52. The National Insurance Commission set up by Lloyd George was the first government public relations machine producing newspaper articles, pamphlets and nationwide lectures in favour of legislation.
  53. 53. Lloyd George’s appointed leader of this commission was a fellow Liberal Member of Parliament, and a journalist, Charles Masterman.
  54. 54. Wellington House So it was in 1914, that Lloyd George turned again to Charles Masterman to set up the British War Propaganda Bureau, based in Wellington House, London.
  55. 55. On 2 September, Masterman invited Britain’s top literary talent to a secret meeting at Wellington House.
  56. 56. Promoting War The authors were requested to produce books, articles and pamphlets promoting British war aims.
  57. 57. The Bureau would arrange to have these books published through normal commercial publishing houses: Oxford University Press, Thomas Nelson, Hodder and Stoughton, McMillan, etc. and guarantee their financial success.
  58. 58. Endorsing War These well-known authors were also requested to sign full page advertisements to appear in New York Newspapers, denouncing Germany and appealing for American support.
  59. 59. All these would be secretly financed by Wellington House.
  60. 60. Top Secret This clandestine disinformation operation was so effective that it was only by 1935 that the existence of the War Propaganda Bureau became known.
  61. 61. Conflict of Interest John Buchan, author of espionage tales such as The 39 Steps and Director of Thomas Nelson Publishing House, ended up as Director of the Ministry of Information.
  62. 62. Managing the Media On 11 September 1914, Masterman held a meeting with all the editors of leading newspapers and formed the Neutral Press Committee to ensure that all British newspapers towed the line, advanced British war aims and disseminated British propaganda overseas.
  63. 63. Disinformation In May 1915, the British War Propaganda Bureau produced the notorious Report on the Alleged German Outrages.
  64. 64. This report was reported to be an independent and objective official review under the chairmanship of Viscount Bryce, former British Ambassador to the United States.
  65. 65. It was in fact nothing but a piece of black propaganda loaded with fictitious atrocities and outrageous lies.
  66. 66. Yet many of its claims, such as the bayonetting of babies, raping of nuns and chopping off of children’s hands and feet in Belgium, ended up in school history textbooks!
  67. 67. Rewriting Reality The British War Propaganda Bureau produced over 1,100 pamphlets and a vast number of books including:
  68. 68. To Arms! by Arthur Conan Doyle,
  69. 69. The Barbarism in Berlin by G.K. Chesterton,
  70. 70. The New Army by Rudyard Kipling,
  71. 71. The Two Maps of Europe by Hillarie Belloc,
  72. 72. Liberty, a Statement of the British Case and
  73. 73. War Scenes on the Western Front Line by Arnold Bennet.
  74. 74. Is England Apathetic? by Gilbert Parker,.
  75. 75. Gallipoli by John Masefield
  76. 76. The Old Front Line by John Masefield
  77. 77. A Sheaf by John Galsworthy.
  78. 78. and Another Sheaf by John Galsworthy.
  79. 79. H.G. Wells produced The Research Magnificent and Mr Britling Sees it Through.
  80. 80. War Mania Most memorably, H.G. Wells produced The War that Will End War
  81. 81. The War that Will End War
  82. 82. John Buchan produced flag waving propaganda such as: The Battle of the Somme.
  83. 83. John Buchan also produced The Battle of Jutland.
  84. 84. Buchan’s greatest hit was his espionage adventure: The 39 Steps. This book helped generate spy mania throughout Britain .
  85. 85. Buchan followed this up in 1916, with Greenmantle.
  86. 86. Distortion An example of the distortions published by Buchan was his Illustrated History of the War published in 1915, which claimed that the Germans were on the verge of defeat having lost 1.3 million soldiers, compared to less than 100,000 British lives lost!
  87. 87. Fiction vs Fiction Arthur Conan Doyle brought the world’s most famous detective out of retirement to turn Sherlock Holmes deductive powers to trapping Von Bork – a fictitious German spy in England.
  88. 88. Engineering Public Opinion Because the press was in on the deception, the public and most members of the British government remained in the dark and accepted the ever growing torrent of anti-German literature as spontaneous expressions of journalists, authors and historians.
  89. 89. German Propaganda In response the German Foreign Office set up and funded the Central Office for Foreign Services under the direction of Matthias Erzberger, the leader of the Catholic Centre Party.
  90. 90. The Foreign services office was primarily concerned with collecting and studying printed works from abroad, and later published German newspapers and magazines for distribution abroad, including The Continental Times, Kriegs-Chronik (War Chronicle), and The Great War in Pictures.
  91. 91. Pictures for Propaganda Each photograph was captioned in up to six languages, including English. Also the weekly Illustrated War-Courier.
  92. 92. The German Foreign Services Office was especially keen on publishing photographs because visual propaganda needed no translation and pictures could touch the emotions directly and present evidence of their case.
  93. 93. Later in the war they would also distribute films.
  94. 94. Building up Morale In Berlin German writers, journalists and artists were encouraged to extol German courage, self-sacrifice and military prowess
  95. 95. and to expose English treachery,
  96. 96. cowardice and failure.
  97. 97. Demoralising the Enemy The propaganda machines in Britain and Germany aimed to demoralize the enemy armed forces and civilian populations by damaging press reports and by dropping leaflets from the air.
  98. 98. Aside from bolstering their own population with positive propaganda, the Bureau targeted the enemy population for negative propaganda.
  99. 99. Anti-German pamphlets, leaflets and newspapers were distributed in Germany and Austria.
  100. 100. Aircraft and balloons dropped propaganda leaflets over enemy areas. Propaganda was directly posted to selected addresses through enemy mails. German and Austrian postage stamps were forged.
  101. 101. Moral Blockade Along with the British Navy’s starvation blockade of Germany, came a moral Blockade through propaganda in neutral countries.
  102. 102. German General Erich Ludendorff wrote in his post-war memoirs: We were hypnotised by the enemy propaganda as a rabbit is by a snake. It was exceptionally clever, and conceived on a great scale.
  103. 103. It worked by strong mass suggestion, kept in the closest touch with the military situation, and was unscrupulous as to the means it used…
  104. 104. Encouraging One’s Own Forces Secondly they aimed to inspire their own civilian populations, gaining moral support for the war, inspiring young men to enlist and fight,
  105. 105. and encouraging greater industrial and agricultural production.
  106. 106. Enlisting Sympathy and Support from Neutrals The third goal of these propaganda departments was to gain the support of neutral countries. In this respect, both Britain and Germany had the same primary propaganda target – The United States.
  107. 107. Breaking the Stalemate As the militaries were locked in stalemate on the Western front, the propaganda war became decisive.
  108. 108. No Photographs of Dead Soldiers! One of the first rules that Masterman enforced on British reporters was that there were to be absolutely no photographs published of the war, except those taken by official photographers appointed by the Bureau. There were to be no pictures of dead soldiers published.
  109. 109. No Cameras Allowed! Realising that unrestricted photography of the war could be very dangerous to civilian morale, the prohibition of cameras was enforced very seriously.
  110. 110. No officer or soldier was permitted to be in possession of a camera.
  111. 111. Technically, owning and using a camera in an operational area could be punishable by death by firing squad.
  112. 112. However, as anyone who has visited World War I Museums, such as Hill 60 near Ypres, can see hundreds of contemporary photographs which British soldiers risked taking that survived the war.
  113. 113. Artists for War Propaganda In 1916, Masterman recruited a talented artist, Murihead Bone, to paint more idealised depictions of the war.
  114. 114. These pencil and charcoal sketches were so successful that some 90 war artists were employed, including William Orphen and William Rothenstein.
  115. 115. Recruitment The most memorable propaganda image from WWI, that of General Kitchener announcing: Your country wants you! was actually ineffective.
  116. 116. Voluntary recruitment fell so far below the levels needed for 1915, that the British government was obliged to introduce conscription.
  117. 117. Targeting America The primary target for British propaganda - the United States, was successfully recruited to join the allied war effort.
  118. 118. In fact so effective was the British propaganda in the USA, that even when the US government had declared war on Germany, the general perception among Americans was that America would only need to provide food, weapons and ammunition for the already victorious English, French and Russian armies.
  119. 119. Deception It came as a shock to the Senate Majority Democratic leader that the US would have to send an army to Europe! Thomas Fleming observed:
  120. 120. Leading newspapers such as the New York Tribune and the Los Angeles Times assured their readers that no American army was needed in Europe…. Everyone thought that the war was as good as won.
  121. 121. All the virtually victorious English, French and Russians needed from the United States was large amounts of food, weapons and ammunition, paid for by American loans….
  122. 122. Illusion Fleming attributed this state of ignorance on the effectiveness of the British War Propaganda Bureau.
  123. 123. With the cutting of the German telegraph cables, and the effective censorship, America newsmen only knew of the war from the British and French side.
  124. 124. As early as 1916, a US congressman had inserted into the congressional record, a complaint that the US had been deluged with stories puffing British and French battlefield superiority. Speakers by the hundreds toured America telling the same lie.
  125. 125. Smear Campaigns British propaganda sought to seize the moral high ground by accusing their German enemy of atrocious behaviour.
  126. 126. Although Belgium had military alliances with France and Britain, the Germans were accused of violating Belgium neutrality. Germany pointed out that Belgium chose to put itself on the side of France…
  127. 127. Belgium was one great fortified camp against Germany. In fact the French and British military had begun pouring into Belgium, 30 July, before Germany responded.
  128. 128. Fabrications There could have been no one in Britain, and very few in the United States, who did not hear, or read, of the British Propaganda Bureau’s fabrications of German soldiers killing women and children indiscriminately, raping nuns, cutting off the hands and feet of children and bayonetting babies.
  129. 129. When Myth Becomes History The fact was that the German army was the most disciplined army in the world.
  130. 130. Despite many challenges, including from American Lawyer, Clarence Darrow, offering US $1,000 to anyone who could substantiate one of these atrocities, not one documented case could ever be shown.
  131. 131. Yet the Propaganda Bureau processed these urban myths into permanent historical fact by one of the most sophisticated and ruthless propaganda machines ever assembled.
  132. 132. War Hysteria The notorious report on the alleged German outrages was published simultaneously in 30 languages in May 1915.
  133. 133. Although completely discredited after the war, it was widely accepted at the time in Britain, America and in many neutral countries
  134. 134. Margaret Cole wrote of the war hysteria and A barrage of untrue and idiotic atrocity story about children with their hands cut off by Germans, priests tied upside down to the clappers of their own bells, dead bodies boiled down for fat, and the like.
  135. 135. The Absence of Evidence Irving Cobb, an American reporter for the Hearst press, reported that while many had stories to tell of German atrocities in Belgium, he wasn’t able to find a single eye-witness.
  136. 136. It had always happened to someone else, in another town.
  137. 137. Robert Graves, a young British officer on the Western front wrote
  138. 138. In his memoirs Good Bye to All That: Propaganda reports of atrocities, it was agreed, were ridiculous. We no longer believed the highly coloured account of German atrocities in Belgium.
  139. 139. War on Two Fronts As historian A. J. P. Taylor pointed out, by Germany being forced to fight a war on two fronts, with Russia in the East and Britain and France in the West, the German rail network was compelled to mobilise the millions of soldiers necessary to neutralise these threats on both the eastern and western fronts according to a very rigid time table.
  140. 140. The German government had requested the Belgian government to allow passage for the German military to counter the French mobilisation against it.
  141. 141. As the German chancellor, Bethmann Hollweg, explained to the British ambassador, this was a matter of life and death to Germany.
  142. 142. A Fight for Survival The German Army was not an expeditionary force crossing the channel to some other land mass. They were fighting for their life against the two greatest armies in the world at that time: France and Russia.
  143. 143. Suspicion Those who had first hand knowledge rejected the propaganda entirely. The better educated sections of Britain regarded such accounts with suspicion.
  144. 144. The uninformed majority of the public gullibly assumed that the reports they were being fed were true and accurate.
  145. 145. As a result of the propaganda war of words, Germans came to be perceived by the newspaper reading public in France, Britain and the USA as militaristic, brutal, bestial barbarians.
  146. 146. Fabricated Atrocities In 1917, Masterman published A Corpse Conversion Factory which claimed that the Germans were loading the bodies of dead soldiers onto railway carriages to be transported to a factory where they were to be melted down for soap!
  147. 147. Historians were later able to trace the story back to its source, which was that the bodies of dead horses were being processed. The Times of London then twisted the story to involve human corpses.
  148. 148. Falsehood in War Time In 1928, British Member of Parliament, Arthur Ponsonby, published Falsehood in War Time.
  149. 149. In 200 pages, he detailed examples of the blatant lies and black propaganda published by British government departments and newspapers between 1914 and 1918.
  150. 150. One of the memorable examples exposed by Ponsonby by tracking down the sources of these atrocity stories included the fate of the priests in Antwerp.
  151. 151. The Priests in Antwerp In November 1914, the Cologne Daily News reported: When the fall of Antwerp became known, the church bells were rung. This referred to the celebrating of the German victory.
  152. 152. This item was the picked up by the French Le Matin with a deliberate distortion, claiming that according to the Cologne Daily News: The Clergy at Antwerp were compelled to ring the church bells when the fortress was taken.
  153. 153. The Times of London then picked up this story and embellished it further: According to what Le Matin has heard from Cologne by Paris, the unfortunate Belgium priest who refused to ring the church bells when Antwerp was taken, have been driven away from their places.
  154. 154. The Italian Corriere Della Sera then quoted the Times as reporting that: The unfortunate Belgium priests who refused to ring the church bells when Antwerp was taken have been sentenced to hard labour.!
  155. 155. Le Matin in France then reported that according to this Italian newspaper: It is confirmed that the barbaric conquerors of Antwerp punished the unfortunate Belgium priests for their heroic refusal to ring the church bells by hanging them upside down as live clappers to the bells with their heads down!!!
  156. 156. This farcical games of Chinese whispers as newspaper editors in France, Italy and England all sought to outdo one another with more bizarre, one upmanship.
  157. 157. As MP Arthur Ponsonby declared: If lies were only used to deceive the enemy in the game of war, it would not be worth troubling about.
  158. 158. But, as the purpose of most of them is to fan indignation and induce the flower of the countries youth to be ready to make the supreme sacrifice, it becomes a serious matter.
  159. 159. Propaganda Kills As Ponsonby’s documentation in Falsehood in War Time so eloquently demonstrated: Lies in propaganda kill innocent people.
  160. 160. Reported atrocities of the enemy inspire counter atrocities by one’s own forces.
  161. 161. Atrocious behaviour is justified by lies about atrocious behaviour allegedly done by one’s opponents.
  162. 162. Destructive Lies Some historians have noted that the harm caused by the propaganda war proved to be even more damaging than the personal agony and destruction caused by trench fighting, unrestricted submarine warfare and aerial bombing of civilian targets.
  163. 163. These created lasting physical and emotional trauma for individuals and lasting enmity between the nations.
  164. 164. Germany’s goal was to persuade the US to remain neutral and Britain’s goal was to persuade the USA to military involvement on the allied side.
  165. 165. Truth Surrounded by Lies Sir Winston Churchill, the British prime minister during World War II declared: In war time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
  166. 166. Hidden Manipulators German philosopher George Hegel, in his 1821 book: The Philosophy of Right, explained how in democracies the public is manipulated and persuaded by hidden persuaders and hidden manipulators. French author Anatole France, wrote: Democracy is run by an unseen engineer.
  167. 167. Propaganda in America Mark Twain, in 1916, described the rise of propaganda in America: Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them;
  168. 168. and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
  169. 169. President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, by executive order, created the Committee on Public Information in association with the Military Intelligence Bureau.
  170. 170. The CPI was America’s propaganda office. The CPI defined propaganda as: The systematic, widespread dissemination, or promotion, of particular ideas, doctrines, or practices, meant to further a particular cause or agenda and weaken that of another. It is a systematic effort to manipulate attitudes, beliefs and actions by the use of symbols.
  171. 171. The Committee on Public Information Edward L. Bernays (1891-1995) was a nephew of Sigmund Freud. Bernays was a theatrical publicist who was employed by George Creel as a propagandist for the Committee on Public Information (CPI).
  172. 172. Psychology and Social Science Bernays based his methodology on the social science researches of French psychologist Gustav Le Bon in his 1895 book: The Psychology of the Crowd;
  173. 173. and on Sigmund Freud’s 1922 book: Group Psychology and The Analysis of the Ego .
  174. 174. as well as the research of Russian experimental psychologist Ivan Pavlov, as published in his 1926 book: Conditioned Reflexes.
  175. 175. Controlling Public Opinion Bernays based much of his methodology upon the works of Walter Lippmann, who wrote about controlling and managing public opinion. His ideas were later published in Public Opinion (1922) and The Phantom Public (1925).
  176. 176. Enlightening Elites Walter Lippmann was a member of US Army Military Intelligence during World War I. Lippmann believed that most people are irrational and act chaotically. Because people are unable to independently make rational choices, they need to be guided by a specialised class of enlightened elites.
  177. 177. Lippmann described people as: Simple minded and sheep-like, incapable of formulating or organising their desires, interests and wishes. Therefore, enlightened elites can lead and educate the masses. As Lippmann put it: Making of one general will out of a multitude of general wishes. Bernays stated: The public must be regimented.
  178. 178. Mobilising Hate and War In 1927, Harold D. Lasswell, a professor in Political Science at the University of Chicago, analysed the propaganda techniques employed by the Allies in WWI:
  179. 179. A new and subtler instrument must weld thousands and even millions of human beings into one amalgamated mass of hate and war and hope… Propaganda
  180. 180. is the new dynamic of society… the fact remains that propaganda is one of the most powerful instrumentalities in the modern world. Propaganda is a reflex to the immensity, the irrationality & the woefulness of the modern world.
  181. 181. Lasswell explained that to: Mobilise the hatred of the people against their enemy, represent the opposing nation as a menacing, murderous aggressor… represent the opposing nation as satanic; it violates all the moral standards…
  182. 182. Objectives of Propaganda Lasswell identified four major objectives of Propaganda: 1. To mobilise hatred against the enemy who must be de- humanised, portrayed as barbaric, brutal, cruel and uncivilised. 2. To preserve the friendship of Allies. 3. To preserve the friendship, and if possible, to procure the cooperation, of neutrals; and 4. To demoralise the enemy.
  183. 183. 1. To mobilise hatred against the enemy who must be de-humanised, portrayed as barbaric, brutal, cruel and uncivilised.
  184. 184. 2. To preserve the friendship of Allies. .
  185. 185. 3. To preserve the friendship, and if possible, to procure the cooperation of neutrals; and
  186. 186. 4. To demoralise the enemy.
  187. 187. Warning Against War Before being elected as a candidate for peace in the Presidential Elections of 1916, Woodrow Wilson warned: Lead this people into war, and they’ll forget there was ever such a thing as tolerance.
  188. 188. To fight, you must be brutal and ruthless, and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fibre of national life, infecting the congress, the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street. In January of 1916, Wilson stated: This is a government of the people and this people is not going to choose war.
  189. 189. Reversal of Policy After being elected, under the slogan of he has kept us out of the war, Woodrow Wilson established the Committee on Public Information which forged the nation (which was overwhelmingly opposed to intervention) into a situation where, if anyone believed that America’s entry into Europe’s war was a mistake, then they were branded a traitor!
  190. 190. Changing Perspectives More than 8 million German- Americans lived in the USA and many were sympathetic to the cause of their homeland. One third of Americans were immigrants. Most Americans were not connected to the European conflict by blood, or capital and were not interested in waging war overseas.
  191. 191. The Committee on Public Information (CPI) developed into the most formidable propaganda apparatus in history. A muck-raking journalist, George Creel, was appointed to lead the CPI.
  192. 192. With a phenomenal budget, the CPI recruited from the best of business, media, academia and the art world. The CPI blended advertising techniques with a sophisticated understanding of human psychology.
  193. 193. Democratic Propaganda It was the first time that a modern government disseminated propaganda on such a large scale. Although propaganda came to be linked with totalitarian regimes such as the Soviet Union and Red China, it is a fact of history that it first emerged in a democratic state.
  194. 194. Although, as a journalist, George Creel had been an outspoken critic of censorship, the CPI immediately took steps to limit conflicting information.
  195. 195. With the Espionage Act and Sedition Act Voluntary Guidelines were enforced on the news media and ensured that the mass media in the United States was flooded with pro-war material and perspectives. On any given week more than 20,000 newspaper columns were filled with material gleaned from CPI press releases.
  196. 196. Mobilising the Masses The CPI created a Division of Syndicated Features and recruited the help of leading novelists, short story writers and essayists to present the pro-war position in popular digestible format, reaching 12 million readers a month.
  197. 197. The Division of Pictorial Publicity had at its disposal the most talented advertising illustrators and cartoonists of the time.
  198. 198. Powerful posters painted in patriotic colours presented compelling images throughout the country. The poster propaganda motivated millions to enlist in the army and navy.
  199. 199. or buy Liberty bonds
  200. 200. The Division of Films ensured that the war was promoted in the cinema. The Hollywood film industry wholeheartedly supported the war effort with movie titles like: The Kaiser – The Beast of Berlin, Wolves of Kultur, To Hell with the Kaiser and Perishing’s Crusaders!
  201. 201. The cause of the Allies was creatively publicised in every available communication channel, including pulpits. Lasswell pointed out that propaganda wins wars, with words, pictures, songs, parades and many similar devices… by the manipulation of collective attitudes. Propaganda Changes Attitudes
  202. 202. Emotional Appeal CPI propaganda showed the way for future propaganda agencies by appealing to the heart, not the mind. Emotional agitation and skilful manipulation made use of manufactured atrocity stories and simplistic slogans such as: Make the world safe for Democracy!
  203. 203. Will Irwin, a member of the CPI, wrote after the war: We never told the whole truth – not by any manner of means. G. S. Viereck quoted a Military Intelligence officer who declared: You can’t tell them the truth. Victories were routinely manufactured by American military authorities while defeats were suppressed. Dishonesty was encouraged.
  204. 204. Sentimentality The analysts attributed the failure of German propaganda in America to the fact that: It emphasised logic over passion. As Count Von Bernstorff observed: The outstanding characteristic of the average American is rather a great, though superficial, sentimentality.
  205. 205. The factual German Press releases failed to grasp this.
  206. 206. Altering Perceptions As Lasswell observed: So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations that every war must appear to be a war of defence against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate.
  207. 207. Made Up Atrocity Stories Bernays openly admitted that he and his colleagues used made-up stories to provoke the hate and fear necessary to raise war-bonds and recruits for the war. Some of their stories, such as a bathtub full of eyeballs and children being killed by the enemy were actually recycled from previous conflicts.
  208. 208. Propaganda Kills So effective was the anti-German propaganda of the CPI in the USA that Dachshunds had to be renamed, 14 states banned the teaching, or speaking, of German in their public schools, Mobs assaulted American immigrants from Germany. At least one man, Robert Prager, a German coal miner, was lynched by an angry mob in Illinois.
  209. 209. Appealing to Idealists The CPI recognised that while emotional appeals and simplistic stereotypes of the enemy could influence many, the intellectuals and pacifists needed different motivation. To them American military intervention in Europe was described as: a campaign to end warfare forever and establish a league of nations.
  210. 210. To industrialists the war was modified as a conflict to destroy the competition of German industry.
  211. 211. The propagandist does not need to ask if it is true, but merely, does it work?
  212. 212. The Value of Propaganda in Peacetime In the final months of 1918, a war- weary American public ousted the Democrats who had led them into WWI. The Republican majority in Congress brought the CPI under increasing scrutiny.
  213. 213. The director of CPI’s foreign division later reported: The history of propaganda in the war would scarcely be worthy of consideration here, but for one fact – it did not stop with the Armistice. No indeed! The methods invented and tried out in war were too valuable for the uses of governments, factions and special interests.
  214. 214. Subverting Society Subverting Society Most Americans came to realise that they had been lied to and manipulated by deceit disguised as news. Many sought to pin complete responsibility for America’s involvement in the ruinous World War on the hate mongering propagandists in the CPI.
  215. 215. However, as one noted: Ultimately their guilt is less important than the questions their activities raised about the role of propaganda in a democratic society. The whole theory of democratic society was rooted in the belief that free citizens could form their own opinions about the issues of the day to decide their collective destiny.
  216. 216. Freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of association, freedom of thought, and freedom of religion are fundamental necessities for any democratic process.
  217. 217. Is Propaganda Compatible with Freedom? However, during the First World War, America’s political leaders decided that their citizens were not making the correct decisions, quickly enough.
  218. 218. So they flooded the channels of communication with dishonest messages that were designed to stir up emotions and provoke hatred of their long time trading partner, Germany. The war came to an end. But the propaganda did not.
  219. 219. Today many who espouse the ideals of democracy behave like dictators and propagandists. The question is whether propaganda is compatible with freedom. Propaganda clearly undermines a population’s ability to think clearly and critically about world events. Simplistic, emotional appeals undermine logic and reason.
  220. 220. Discerning Between Information and Disinformation Students of propaganda soon noted that while the CPI was the largest propaganda operation to that date, it was not actually the first such deception operation.
  221. 221. Shortly after the end of the American Civil War (or War Between the States) journalist Colburn Adams wrote: The future historian of the late war will have a very difficult task to perform… sifting the truth from falsehood as it appears in official records.
  222. 222. The Father of Spin After WWI, Edward Bernays pioneered Public Relations (PR) and became known as The Father of Spin.
  223. 223. As the PR consulter for the American Tobacco Company, he campaigned to convince American women that they should smoke Lucky Strike cigarettes (the torches of freedom) to emancipate themselves!
  224. 224. Public Relations Today American businesses spend trillions of dollars on marketing. PR firms employ over 150,000 workers.
  225. 225. The fact is that propaganda changes perceptions and people.
  226. 226. Propaganda kills.
  227. 227. THE TRUTH SETS FREE. That is why it is absolutely essential that we know the truth of history to recognize the lies of propaganda..
  228. 228. We need to study the truth in the Bible
  229. 229. so that we can be freed from the deceptions of the world.
  230. 230. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
  231. 231. REFORMATION SOCIETY PO Box 74 Newlands, 7725 Cape Town South Africa E-mail: info@ReformationSA.org Web: www.ReformationSA.org
  232. 232. This astonishing statistic is the result of decades of research, by political science Professor R.J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii. Prof. Rummel’s shocking research is presented in the 500 page book: Death By Government (2006, Transaction Publishers, New Branswick, NJ).
  233. 233. Yet, very few books have dealt with the overall human cost of “death by government” (The Black Book of Communism being one exception).
  234. 234. Photo Album by Joshua