Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Wartime - Typecasting

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wartime - Typecasting

In his chapter. "type-casting" Fussel does well to point out how the dehumanizing of the enemy was integral to inspiring troops to fight. While it would be difficult to instruct troops to treat cruelly another human being, to inflict these horrors on a mindless animal bent on destruction was not.
The stereotyping of enemies as different or animalistic was not new to WWII. As far back as Roman times, clear distinctions were made between citizens and barbarians. Nor did these practices vanish after WWII. The same tactics were used to demonize Iraqi troops during the Gulf War (planted stories about bayoneting babies in incubators, ect).
While some would argue that these nationalistic, jingoistic tendencies are just part of man's natural aggressiveness, remnants of our hunter-gatherer roots, others would say that these tactics are skillfully and aggressively used by governments that have realized their potential.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

True enough. I would say that both are correct, governments use our nationalistic and jingoistic tendencies to manage public opinion. What is worse, often the population demands it.

3/13/2006 10:56 PM  

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