Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: "The Remote-Controlled War"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"The Remote-Controlled War"

Paul Fussell

The book "Wartime" by Paul Fussell, is a collection of the psychological behaviors of the second World War. In it, he discusses the initial mission and notion of the war, both from the American perspective and the British. He furthermore, discusses how the war transforms from "light to heavy duty." There is no doubt, that the government always likes to project war, as a quick and easy job, so that they can easily mobilize the citizens, who would go into the battlefields and fight the actual war. However, this campaign of "easy war" was strongly used in the Second World War. For example:

"At first everyone hoped, and many believed, that the war would be
fast-moving, mechanized, remote-controlled, and perhaps even rather easy. In 1940 Colonel William J. Donovan, later head of the American Office of Strategic Services, was persuaded, as he wrote in a pamphlet Should Men of Fifty Fight Out Wars?, that, instead of marching to war,
today's soldier rides to war on wheels.
" - Fussell, Pg. 3
This above paragraph quoted directly from Fussel's book, puts forth the initial
notion of what World War II would be like. The recruiting line was not just
"fight for your country," but rather "fight this war, for it is an easy job."
The entire campaign underestimated the complexity of the war. However, as time
went on, the Defense Department realized the seriousness of the war, as Fussel

"Still hidden in the future were Bataan and Guadalcanal, Saipan and Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Dieppe, Normandy, Cassino, and the virtual trench warfare of
the European Winter of 1944 - 45."

If one compares how the war strategies have changed during the American history, it would be quiet intriguing to see how the tactic of painting the war as "easy and quick," has been the paramount of the War strategists. The Vietnam were was also portrayed as a "quick and easy" job. Also, the current war in Iraq, was continually illustrated as a war that would be "easy." Furthermore, the government convinced the people, that America will be greeted as the "liberators." Unfortunately, just like any other previous wars, the government was dead wrong on selling both notions to the American people. In conclusion, it is significant to understand the phases of the war, and how propaganda plays a vital role in molding the minds of the citizens, for no war is "easy and quick." The government will always put it an "easy and quick" label on every war, for they are not the ones who fight on the grounds, it is the blood of young men and civilians that sheds throughout the war.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A thoughtful discussion.

Fussell makes a strong case for this standard progression of war culture from 'light' to 'heavy' duty. From our perspective the question becomes: is that a natural outgrowth of human culture and psychology? Or is this an artificial creation of government propaganda convincing the population that the war will be 'light duty'? Half full then half empty?

3/29/2009 11:43 AM  

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