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American Public Address
Week 04: Traditional Propaganda Continued Plus Verbal Strategies
First 25 Years of 20th Century
• Preoccupation with “public opinion”
• This was due to:
• New large urban populations
• Overall population growth
• Expansion of media messages
• This led to the formation of modern propaganda and public
Beginnings of PR and Propaganda
• Public Relations
• Ivy Lee (1877-1934)
• Worked for John D. Rockefeller
• Edward Bernays (1891-1995)
• Developed PR theory
• Drew from his uncle Sigmund
• PR “necessary” due to herd
• Propaganda
• George Creel (1876-1951)
• Journalist who headed CPI during
• Harold Lasswell (1902-1978)
• Academic who studied the effect of
propaganda, beginning with its use
during WW1
Harold Lasswell (1902-1978)
• Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Economics – 1922 – Uni. of Chicago
• Ph.D. in Political Science – 1926 – Uni. of Chicago
• Significant Work:
• Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927)
• Politics: Who Gets What, When, How (1936)
Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927):
• “War of 1914” – so quaint
• The book is an international study of propaganda techniques
• Creel, Stuart, Nicolai, Waitz & Tonnelet
• “The books by Bernays and Wilder and Buell are pioneers in this
direction.” (p. 2)
• Edward Bernays – the “father of public relations”
• “A word has appeared, which has come to have an ominous clang
in many minds – Propaganda.” (p. 2)
Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927):
Why People are So Interested in the Subject?
• “We live among more people than ever, who are puzzled, uneasy
or vexed at the unknown cunning which seems to have duped and
degraded them.” (p. 3)
• Anger from the blood on their hands of those who were duped to kill
• Germany (in mid-’20s, post-WWI) demilitarized, is more open to using
propaganda to heal its wounds and understand according to Lasswell
• Pacifists (mid-’20s) see propaganda as potentially a new way to re-educate
and de-hate between nations
• “discouraged democrat” – a more pragmatic approach: keep the
majority convention BUT dictate to the majority
Propaganda Technique in the World War
• International Propaganda: “interests overlap boundaries” (p. 6)
• Precursor to real-time global economy
• Precursor to convergence culture; export of Western culture
• Lasswell uses three examples to illustrate:
• 1. prestige propaganda of the Japanese
• 2. German “myth of a single guilty nation”
• 3. Soviet propaganda for US recognition
Propaganda Technique in the World War
(1927): Lasswell’s Definition
• Propaganda: “the control of opinion by significant
symbols…stories, rumours, reports, pictures, and other forms of
social communication.” (p. 9)
• Concerned with:
• Management of opinions and attitudes by the direct manipulation of social
Propaganda Technique in the World War
(1927): Lasswell’s Definition
• 3 Implements of Operation available for use against the enemy:
• 1. Military Pressure (land, sea, and air forces)
• 2. Economic Pressure (interference with access to sources of
material, markets, capital, and labour power)
• 3. Propaganda (direct use of suggestion)
Propaganda Technique in the World War
• A government can influence its own people via:
Ceremonialism (we’ll discuss this in terms of collective memory)
Propaganda Technique in the World War
• A government uses propaganda on its people during war to:
• Promote an economy of goods (food, textiles, fuel, etc.)
• Stimulate military recruiting
• “mold the animosity of the community against the enemy, maintain friendly
relations with neutrals and allies, and to arouse the neutrals against the
enemy and break up the solid wall of enemy antagonism.” (p. 10)
• “The sacrifices of war had to be borne without complaints that
spread dissension at home and discouragement in the trenches.”
(p. 10)
Propaganda Technique in the World War
• “Civilian unity is not achieved by the regimentation of muscles. It
is achieved by a repetition of ideas rather than movements. The
civilian mind is standardized by news and not drills. Propaganda is
the method by which this process is aided and abetted.” (p. 11)
• Peace, not, war is the natural state, thus:
• “Propaganda is the war of ideas on ideas.” (p. 12)
• Later in the semester, we’ll discuss the idea of “persistent war”
Propaganda Technique in the World War
(1927): Chapter IX
• “The economic blockade strangles, the propaganda confuses, and
the armed forces delivers the coup de grace” (French, “final
blow”) (p. 214).
• “chief function is to demolish the enemy’s will to fight by
intensifying depression, disillusionment, and disagreement.” (p.
Propaganda Technique in the World War
(1927): Chapter IX
• Woodrow Wilson “the great generalissimo on the propaganda
• Declared war on autocracies everywhere
• Distinction between Germany people and German rulers
• Speeches “one prolonged instigation [for the German people] to
revolt.” (p. 216).
• 100 million Americans molded into a fighting whole “to make the
world safe for democracy.” (pp. 217-18)
Propaganda Technique in the World War
(1927): Chapter IX
• Final 3 paragraphs from pp. 221-22: