Propaganda Through The Ages Essay

1353 words - 5 pages

Each time we turn on our computers, radios, television, read a magazine, a book, or a newspaper, someone is attempting to educate us, to influence us to buy products or persuade us to a particular ideology and belief. Advertisers spend a great deal of money trying to convince us to buy their products. Often however this influence is not necessarily all that obvious. The impact that television shows, news programs and even political figures have is not as blatant as an advertisement. The influence and affect television programs have can be subtle or possibly unintentional. Still even when media commentators and other communicators are not attempting to directly or intentionally sell a product or idea to us, they can successfully influence our outlook on the world and the way we react to various events in our lives. The practice of using manipulation to disseminate these view points and self-serving perspective of the facts is known as propaganda.
No one will dispute that the growth of propaganda in Western Society in the last 2,000 years has been tremendous. Some may even argue that the idea of propaganda goes even further back in history than was initially thought. Perhaps as long as there has been information, there has been someone propagating propaganda. Nevertheless propaganda has enjoyed no more powerful and influential role in local, regional and global society as it is during the 20th and 21st centuries. Propaganda has paved the way for major worldwide conflicts and set the stage for battle between cultures, religions, and ideologies. The First World War (WWI) was witness to the momentous rise of propaganda and its role in nationalism and fascism. WWI was not just fought deep in the cold muddy trenches but in peoples minds on multiple continents.The role propaganda played during WWI has been dissected and analyzed to exhaustion by historians. Perhaps it was because of advanced photography and communication technology that gave us such a wide insight into how propaganda shaped the will of the people in Europe, Africa and North America to fight the war that was errantly and infamously crowned “The War to End All Wars.” The vanquished blamed the propagandist of their opposition for their failures. This debate along with the increase of propaganda material during wartime led to an increase in propaganda research and its role in modern communication. In truth propaganda is seldom used to guide a population’s opinion in favor of the unadulterated truth as was expertly demonstrated by the instigators of the Second World War.
For years government entities have known very well the importance of using propaganda to regulate political information, manipulate the climate of opinion and manage the minds, behavior, and nature of the public. The concept and usage of propaganda is an essential element of the human psyche and the utilization of various overtly persuasive techniques can be found throughout the history of humanity. A slew of...

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