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Propaganda and Psychological Warfare Lessons from World War I PowerPoint Presentation
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Propaganda and Psychological Warfare Lessons from World War I

Propaganda and Psychological Warfare Lessons from World War I

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Propaganda and Psychological Warfare Lessons from World War I

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  1. Propaganda and Psychological Warfare • Lessons from World War I • A. Atrocity Propaganda • B. “War to End All Wars”? • C. Postwar Dislocation and Disillusionment • FDR Determined to Avoid these Pitfalls • A. OWI and the “Strategy of Truth” • B. Postwar Vision of Internationalism • C. Anticipate Postwar Transformation • 1. GI Bill • 2. Rosies • 3. Prosperity at Home • 4. World Leader Abroad • World War II Propaganda: Homefront • A. Mobilization of Workforce & Armed Forces • 1. Themes: Unity, Patriotic Service, “Good vs. Evil” • 2. Methods: Film, News, Posters, Ad Men • B. Censorship • 1. Domestic: Race, Labor, Internment • 2. War Coverage • a. Phase I: Suppress Reality for fear civilians will reject war effort • b. Phase II: Reveal Horrors of war for fear civilians will otherwise become complacent • C. Prepare for Demobilization – Postwar Vision • 1. GI Bill (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act) • 2. Whatever Happens to the Rosies? • 3. US as Leader of United Nations • 4. Life is Good in Suburban America

  2. Why Teach Military History?Because “War is too important to be left to the generals,” Georges Clemenceau, French Prime Minister • It’s important • War transforms people, nations, and the global balance of power • Students like it • It’s wonderfully interdisciplinary, incorporating: -politics & international affairs -economics (mobilization, finance) -science (advances in medicine, technological innovation) -social & cultural developments (labor relations, issues of race, class & gender) -geography -literature (biography, memoir, fiction) -film studies

  3. What do you teach students about WWII? What should students know about WWII and why? How do we accomplish these objectives?

  4. On the Teaching Military History“War is an instrument of politics by other means,” Karl von Clausewitz • National military establishments are part of the larger society from which they are drawn & embody that society’s values • Define the political objectives first, then assess the military strategy designed to achieve those objectives -- Cannot isolate the battlefield from the larger political context -- Cannot isolate foreign policy from domestic issues -- War does not take place in a political, social, economic vacuum • Focus on the big picture: war’s causes, objectives, significance -- Specific battles are useful as case studies but avoid the minutia of military operations -- Always use good maps – military history an excellent way to increase students’ geographic awareness -- Discuss the war’s meaning and significance for the people and societies engaged in it or victimized by it.

  5. World War II: The Anomaly in American Military History • Unequivocably a “good war” -- Allies occupy high moral ground, righteous cause • Unified homefront in support of war effort • Virtually no opposition to the war itself, or conscription • Veterans welcomed as liberators overseas and as victors upon return home • Full-bore coalition warfare, unprecedented international cooperation to defeat forces of fascism and militarism • Comparatively, very minimal loss of life • Continental US escapes devastation of total war – landscape emerges literally unscathed • Wartime production as “Arsenal of Democracy” pulls US out of Depression and into huge economic resurgence • Postwar economic boom ensues • US emerges as military superpower, economic powerhouse, and defender of the free world • With perhaps dangerous results . . .

  6. But how was it perceived elsewhere? By the victors, the vanquished, or the victims? • What if you’re French? Or British? • Japanese? German? Or a German Jew? Or Polish? • Do the Chinese, Koreans, or Vietnamese see a “good war”? • The Russian people? Western Europe in ruins Eastern Europe in ruins & occupied by the Red Army Soviet Russia is devastated and determined to prevent aggression from the west from recurring Southeast Asia peoples struggling to attain independence How do COMBATANTS of every nationality remember the “good war”? The Point: The US experience was unique -- Unlike the experience of any other WWII belligerent, and unlike any other US wartime experience

  7. WWII Death Count Per Country: Death Distribution Of Both World Wars:

  8. Potential Dangers of American Perceptions of the “Good War” • Dangerous lessons: “Appeasement” produces tyrants, fighting is better than talking, military force is best solution to problems in international relations. • Wars are good for the economy. • Arrogance of Victory: If the US can defeat global forces of evil, it can accomplish virtually anything. • Arrogant and erroneous notion that the US won the war. Tendency toward American triumphalism, failure to recognize the great sacrifices of the coalition partners. • Arrogance of Power: failure to recognize limits of military power as US becomes defender of the “free world”. • Americans yearn for a return to that “Golden Age,” when society was united, the cause was righteous, the world recognized American leadership. • Americans expect war to conform to this pattern – are disillusioned when it doesn’t. • And seek out that magic formula: fight the good war against the forces of evil, results will be domestic unity, spirit of self sacrifice, economic dominance, military victory, international harmony & respect. • Danger of trying to relive something that never really happened, WWII has become heavily mythologized. Tendency to overlook the more disturbing aspects of the war. • Imperial overstretch? Failure to recognize limits of military power? Willingness to turn first to use of military force & believe US can accomplish virtually anything, anywhere in the world – the entire world becomes the US sphere of influence.

  9. Lessons from World War I 1. Atrocity Propaganda 2. “War to End All Wars”? 3. Postwar Dislocation and Disillusionment

  10. Atrocity Propaganda

  11. World War I: “War to End All Wars”? • Wilson’s Idealism Shattered • horrors of trench warfare • 10 M deaths for no tangible benefits • idealistic war aims fail to materialize • US rejects League of Nations • “never again” mentality sets in

  12. League of Nations cartoon from Punch magazine Cartoon title: "Moral Suasion" Caption: "The Rabbit. 'My offensive equipment being practically nil, it remains for me to fascinate him with the power of my eye.'"

  13. World War I: Postwar Dislocation and Disillusionment • Old Order in Europe Destroyed • First Red Scare Ensues • Labor Unrest • Race Riots • Economic Dislocation • WWI Veterans Struggle with Reintegration • Great Depression


  15. Bonus Army March, 1932 Bonus Marchers’ Camp, Washington, DC. 1932

  16. World War II: The Propaganda War

  17. “Propaganda” --what is it? --what is its function in wartime? --who is the audience? --the audience determines the message

  18. “Over There” – • Propaganda to Allies • Propaganda to Neutrals • Propaganda directed to Enemies: Psychological Warfare

  19. On the Home Fronts

  20. “Healthy parents have healthy children.” "Victory or Bolshevism" proclaims this poster that appeared in February 1943, following the German Army defeat at Stalingrad. The contrast is clear -- the Soviet Communists must be defeated or the German way of life is finished.

  21. Caption We will ruthlessly defeat and destroy the enemy! The paper Nonaggression Treaty Between the USSR and Germany The sons of all the peoples of the Soviet Union are going into battle for their Soviet fatherland. Long live the Red Army – the army of the brotherhood and friendship of the peoples of the USSR!

  22. Office of War Information (est. June 1942) • Elmer Davis • Coordinates U.S. Government’s Information Activities • Mission: To inform American people (and others) of America’s purpose in fighting and progress of the war • Relies on a “Strategy of Truth” • Methods: posters, film, radio, advertising

  23. FDR’s Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech Freedom of Worship Freedom from Want Freedom from Fear

  24. Propaganda Messages to the Homefront: • Unity: At home & within United Nations • Patriotism: Do your part to support the cause • Sacrifice • Nobility of cause: good vs. evil motif • Defend traditional American values • Postwar prosperity & security

  25. “Selling the War” • How was the population recruited and for what tasks? • Nature, purpose & impact of government propaganda efforts

  26. After 1940 the Selective Service under Lewis Hershey registered 43 million men ages 18-65, but the army sought only the 30 million under 45. Selective Service was administered by 6443 local draft boards. The Tydings Amendment in November 1942 exempted all agricultural workers and essential occupations. Married men were exempt until 1944, then 1 million fathers were drafted. By the end of the war, Hershey drafted 7.5m into army, 2.8m into navy. A total of 16m men and women served in uniform.

  27. Women in the Nation’s Armed Forces: • Permanent, regular status, not auxiliaries • WACs, WAVES, SPARS • 300,000 serve • 75,000 serve as nurses

  28. The Womanpower Campaign • US government collaborates with national advertisers and magazine editors via OWI’s Magazine Bureau and War Advertising Council • Two objectives: • Convince women to take traditionally male jobs • Convince American society to accept this as essential to the war effort

  29. The National Advertising Council promised that stories and advertisements for consumer products would promote enlistment in the military and volunteerism at home. Note that the “idealized” America that was depicted by public relations firms and the media reflected a segregated society.

  30. With the help of women workers, industrial production doubled between 1939-1945. The military production was astounding: 300,000 aircraft, 12,000 ships, 86,000 tanks, and 64,000 landing craft, in addition to millions of artillery pieces and small weapons.

  31. WAC Officer: “I have precious little time to fuss with my face these days. Yet I know my skin has never been lovelier.”

  32. “Beautiful and brave . . . doing the difficult jobs gallantly . . . that is America’s women. “ “Your men admire the magnificent job you are doing . . . And the dream of coming back to a You as beautiful as ever. Adopt this effective one-cream treatment . . . “

  33. A riveting machine operator at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant joins sections of wing ribs to reinforce the inner wing assemblies of B-17F heavy bombers in Long Beach, CA.