Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Anglo-Saxons' War

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Anglo-Saxons' War

In Paul Fussell's "Wartime" an entire chapter is devoted to the different type-casting in the War. Soldiers created social hierarchy within the different branches of the military and within their own companies. Also, alliances were categorized by ethnicity and race. Fussell explains,
"In fiction or film, the GI might be Jewish or Italian, Polish or Hispanic or "Colored," but never in advertising, where only ideal imagery can be allowed to enter. In advertising, the Allied war is fought by white Anglo-Saxons, officers or aviators, with neat, short hair, clear eyes, gleaming teeth, and well-defined jawlines." Promoting the war through the media meant creating an image of the ideal WASP in high ranking and "respectable" military positions. In realistic or true life mediums, soldiers were represented as the ideal and acceptable clean cut vision of the Caucasian troops which exposes society's racism. Although different countries of equally diverse cultural backgrounds were present on the front, they were underrepresented in advertising. The misrepresentation of the Allied troops in advertising reflects the views and prejudices of society as a whole.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

Fussell makes an interesting observation. Hollywood portrayed a much more diverse vision of the war than Madison Avenue. The mass media audience expected a white anglo ideal stereotype and adverstising reflected that ideal.

I would say that that has changed today. Madison Avenue is creating adverstising that portrays a the military as real melting pot of races and ethnicities.

3/22/2008 9:07 PM  

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