Propaganda Of Wwi Essay

1042 words - 4 pages

Body of Essay :

The United States decision to enter W.W.I. was not greatly supported by the people. To gain the support they felt was needed to send troops to war; the government began a propaganda campaign to change the minds of the American citizens. Not only did they create propaganda but also created legislation that made it illegal to question the government in the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Political enemies must be created to achieve the greater good of the country. The use of propaganda by the United States government turned Germany into this enemy to strengthen the homefront. President Woodrow Wilson campaigned for reelection in 1916 on the promise to keep us out of W.W.I. Barely three months after his inauguration in 1917, the United States was sending troops to Europe. German submarines attacked our shipping to Britain. Wilson believed in freedom of the seas so he was outraged that Germany would stop a neutral country from trading on the open seas. In April, the United States declared war on the Central powers, Germany, Hungary, and Austria. Americans, many of who were recent immigrants and had relatives in Germany or were just politically opposed did not universally approve of this war. To change the sentiment of the people, George Creel, a veteran newsman, was made director of the newly found Committee of Public Information (CPI). Its function was to whip up enthusiasm for the war. It did so by sending thousands of speakers to organized rallies, where each gave a five-minute pep talk written by the CPI. This was not the only tool of the CPI. The CPI was created to gain public support for the war. This committee used propaganda to unite the country domestically while publicizing American war aims abroad. "To support a war against a foreign aggressor who threatens national sovereignty and moral decencies is to construct oneself as a member of a nation of innocent heroes" . By using newspapers, academics, artists, and filmmakers, they intended to make a nation of innocent heroes. In doing this, the CPI was able to depict the government of Germany as a political enemy. Murray Edelman, Constructing the Political Spectacle writes, "the linking of diverse issues through language about the nature of an enemy who somehow combines them is a common political phenomenon and a potent maneuver for winning support for causes" . This method helps to build public support for an issue and is a tactic propagandists use to convey their message. When the United States entered, World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information (CPI). In Wilson's address to Congress in 1917, he appealed to the people by attacking the German government, not the people of Germany. He spoke of how the German people were not asked if they wanted to participate in the war but forced into it by the government. This statement is meant to appeal to our love of democracy and our spirit to protect all men's freedom. Such...

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