WARTIME PROPAGANDA

WARS ARE WAGED FOR POWER AND MONEY. Nonetheless, youth will engage in war efforts, which kill them and slaughter them, just based on words, poetry and rhetoric, seducing them to sacrifice their lives, and throw themselves at death.
Javier Cercas

Wartime propaganda constitutes one of the most important means of war. Its purpose is to encourage people to put their faith into state leaders and their decisions by creating a collective identity and invoking patriotism, while on the other hand to vilify the enemy and to negate the counter-propaganda efforts. By introducing daily newspapers and, as the war continued, other mass media, war propaganda became an integral part of every significant military apparatus. It still holds true today that the pen – or media – is mightier than the sword.

Devising and directing public opinion does not only keep armies at bay, but in particular also civilians, which, from the point of view of the military apparatus, is of downright fundamental importance. The means employed by war propagandists rapidly transformed and became increasingly sophisticated, varied and meticulously planned. Undoubtedly, England created the most powerful propaganda machine of World War I, while propaganda was first successfully introduced and used by the German Empire during the Bismarck rule. The main propaganda weapons of the time were newspapers, leaflets, postcards or other printed materials. Various manifestations and other public events were particularly effective at enthralling and recruiting soldiers. Propagandists would acquire the services of renowned and well-established writers, painters and musicians who, through their creations, attempted to appeal to and cajole the masses. In particular, they would focus on the most intense emotions – love and hatred, while portraying the enemy in the worst way possible based on stereotypes.


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