Comes from propagate: to spread
Involves the systematic spread of information to influence
people’s behaviour, beliefs and attitudes, often
deliberately promoting a one-sided view in order to gain
support for the viewpoint or belief.
Is essentially ideology (values, attitudes and beliefs): may
be political, gender; class; race; ethnicity.
The word has negative connotations as it is often involved
with the distortion of the truth.
Employs main tools and devices: persuasive language
and appeals, propaganda devices.
Involves strong emotional appeals.
Where is it found?
In may be presented in a range of mediums: posters, stamps,
shirts, slogans, brochures, papers, speeches, autobiographies,
Is very prevalent in war.
Is behind any form of communication that has an agenda of
changing people’s beliefs or attitudes – public health
announcements, advertisements for beauty products, political
campaigns, school websites, although we tend to associate
propaganda with the political arena.
There is a huge cross-over with advertising. Advertisements can
be unpacked in terms of the ideological assumptions they present.
Some purposes of war-time
At its heart, war propaganda seeks to promote political
messages and gain support.
• Conscription – sign up
• Promote political messages and party beliefs.
• Rousing animosity towards the enemy
• Scare tactics – keep secrets safe!
• May be anti-war, depending on the political
sign up to fight for your country!
Promote political messages
World War Two propaganda
In Britain in World War Two, Lord
Woolton, the Minister of Food,
encouraged people to produce their
own food. It was a successful
campaign and between 1939 and
1945 imports of food were halved and
the acreage of British land used for
food production increased by 80%.
May be anti-
on the political
Ideology behind war propaganda
Just a start! Examine the political leadership and what they stand for…
Unity: working for the collective good
Strength: national pride, morale, physical strength
required for war,
Hope: looking forward to the future or victory
Patriotism: love of one’s country; national pride
Anger: towards the enemy or traitors.
Fear: uses scare-tactics and scaremongering.
CONTEXT – AUDIENCE - PURPOSE
• Context: when and where was the text produced? Did any
significant events occur at the time of production? What historical,
cultural, social or political knowledge allow you to interpret the
• Audience: define the intended audience, justifying your reasons,
identify and describe your response, consider the context, attitudes
and values influencing this response, what cultural myths, values
and attitudes are channeled?
• Purpose: what does it aim to do or why was it produced? What
messages, ideas or issues does it convey? Does it inform/entertain/
persuade/challenge viewers? When considering the purpose, make
sure you address the ideological concerns of the text and how it
constructs ideas of religion, class, gender, race, ethnicity.
• technical construction of the images; viewing
• use of persuasive devices and language or
• A visual text can include any propaganda piece,
advertisement, image, film or documentary
studied in class. For an essay-style response it is
wise to choose a more substantial viewing text to
discuss such as a film or documentary.
P r o p a g a n d a
An introductory YouTube video: