Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: I am Public Opinion

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I am Public Opinion

All men fear me!

I declare that Uncle Sam shall not go to his kness to buy his bonds.
That is no position for a fighting man. But if you have the money to buy,
and do not buy, I will make this No Man's Land for you!

I warn you-don't talk patriotism over here, unless your money is talking
victory Over There.

I am Public Opinion!

This quote from an advertisement for the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign, which was written in the form of a poem, was written for the purpose of persuading Americans to buy government bonds to support the war effort. Note the threatening tone, as in "I am warning you" and "I will make this No Man's Land for you!" Americans were being made to feel that it was their moral and financial obligation to support the war effort and, anyone who did not participate in the war bond program, was being unpatriotic and unworthy of calling themself an American.

Talk about advertising's hard sell! This ad, commissioned by the notorious U.S. Govt. Comm. on Public Information, left no room for argument. Americans were not supposed to question the war effort, for even one moment. The simple equation was that to be American = to be pro war. After all, America was charged with a very large task, as in, "Make the world safe for democracy!" How could Americans argue with that?


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post. There is an implicit threat here. Support the war or be considered disloyal. Wartime propaganda is always a mix of positive and negative reinforcement.

"Making the World Safe for Democracy" is perhaps the most famous slogan of the war. It is an example of the idealism of American propaganda during the Great War.

2/25/2007 9:37 PM  

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