Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Battle Cry for Peace

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Battle Cry for Peace

The movie "The Battle Cry for Peace" was written and produced by J. Stuart Blackton of the Vitagraph Company. It is a silent movie that was released in 1915 during World War I. At the time, the United States was not militarily involved in the war. This movie was the first propaganda movie used to convince the American public that the United States needed to be prepared and ready to go to war against the foreign enemy that could invade our borders. J. Stuart Blackton wrote the script for the movie after reading a book by Hudson Maxim entitled "Defenseless America".
In a review from Variety, dated August 13, 1915 the author Fred (that's all that was listed)he writes the announcement that Vitagraph released about the film. Here is an excerpt:

" It is a film that will come in for nation-wide discussion. In a publicity way it should be worth columns of space. Its value to Sunday editors throughout the country should be immense for it contains materials for a series of special stories that could run for weeks. Take each and every town and hamlet in the entire country and bring the question of the national defense home to them by taking their own buildings and tearing them asunder, in imagination, with the shells of the big guns of the enemy. "

The review in the New York Times dated August 7, 1915 explains how J.Stuart Blackton wanted to get the data and message from "Defenseless America" out to the government and the public at a faster pace than the book could do on its own. The review said that Blackton argument was:

"that with the screens of the country at his disposal, he could reach the people with the Maxim data at a much more rapid pace than the book itself could possibly achieve. In his brief talk yesterday he said he hoped and expected to show the picture to 75,000,000 persons in the next six months."

Blackton realized that to get to a bigger audience he needed to use film propaganda.

"Thus is the rising propaganda for greater preparedness carried into the


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