Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: All for War

Monday, March 06, 2006

All for War

American people financed the whole war and "it was only wealth that tipped the scales in favor of the Allies."(Wartime, P123)Pondering over the sharp contrast between the severe deprivation American people had during those years and the cost of the whole war(just think about the fact that each war how many imprecise or dead bombs were thrown), it's easy to imagine the tension existing in daily life at that time, because you would never know which was going to be rationalized next.
Isolationism never works as the capitalist problems as well as its callous and exploitative nature become increasingly stark as the development of industrilization. Having just suffered from the big depression, Americans could never afford to close its doors to the outside. Inevitably, they went back to the road of war for the sake of exploring larger market. With this goal in mind, home front's opinion was manipulated in order to support the war no matter what huge price they would pay for it. No wonder, Edmund Wilson drew the conclusion that " our whole world is poisoned now."
As the Great War saw the burgeoning of PR industry, Advertising and film(especially cartoons and comedies)played important roles for the promotion of the war both within home front and the army abroad. By the 1940s, America was in the midst of a communications revolution, thanks to movies, radio and perhaps most importantly, the invention of offset printing, which exponentially boosted capacity in the U.S. to produce newspapers, pamphlets and color posters, as we can see in those posters that portrayed the Axis powers. However, the fact that the media needed government support for development made it easy for the government to assure that they speak with one optimistic and morale-sustaining voice and typecast the enemies as the images the government wanted them to be. They decided under government censorship what was reality for the public and the army to embrace and non-exceptionally the enemy was characterized as dehumanized and demeaned under typecasting which is a common rule for any country at wartime. In other words, racism propaganda prevails in every foreign war regarding the portrait of the enemy. This reminds me of the "double victory campaign" during that time initiated by black journalists which called for the revolution both within and outside the nation.
Compare to the Great War, the loss and gain of this war are both much more tremendous. It not only strengthens the status of dollars in the world economic system, but further influences international relations on a much broader scale.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A great post.

There was censorship, but more importantly there was a partnership in which the interests of the media and the interests of the government came together. Advertising was not an essential industry during wartime, because advertising budgets dryed up as the production of consumer goods shifted to war production? Instead the advertising industry and manufacturers worked in collaboration with the OWI to advertise for the war and for the corporations that were supporting the war effort with a massive increase in industrial production. Economic and political interests came together in a campaign of patriotic propaganda.

The "double victory" campaign is another outstanding example of a partnership of a special interest group selling the war to the American public even as it promoted it's own goals. It is this kind of collaboration multiplied many times over that made wartime propaganda inescapable.

3/09/2006 11:37 AM  

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