What Do Hitler, Dr. Seuss, Pope Gregory XV and Walt Disney Have in Common?

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Definition: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

Where it Began:

● The word propaganda originally referred to the biological reproduction of plants and animals
● Modern propaganda began in the 17th century with a special division of the Catholic Church
● The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Fatih (propaganda fide)
○ Established to spread Catholic doctrine throughout the world
○ to win new converts
○ to stem the rising tide of Protestantism
● Propaganda came to connote the systemic spread of religious ideas to shape mass audiences
● 18th and 19th centuries: propaganda became more politically important due to:
○ growth of literacy
○ liberal demands for freedoms of
■ press
■ speech
■ assembly
■ representative governments
● Governments no longer relied purely on censorship for social control
○ regimes used newspapers to spread propaganda as official “news”
● WWI: propaganda became a powerful weapon for shaping public opinion
○ All major belligerent governments employed writers, artists and filmmakers
■ their messages aimed at
● mobilizing populations for war
● weakening enemy morale
● winning audience in neutral countries
● Post WWI propaganda began to be identified with lies and manipulation
● Some American leaders feared unregulated propaganda would destroy democracy

WWII Affected by Propaganda

Adolf Hitler: one of the most well-known propaganda experts in war history

● He dedicated an entire section to war propaganda in his book Mein Kampf
○ He described the purpose of war propaganda
■ to support Germany in the war and help bring victory
● Using propaganda to spreading his dislike of the Jews
○ Hitler gained the support of his army and country
○ He caused the breakout of WWII
○ Result: the Holocaust and the extermination of 6 million Jews
● 1945: Hitler wrote
○ “It is untrue that I or anyone else in Germany wanted war in 1939. It was wanted and provoked solely by international statesmen either of Jewish origin or working for Jewish interests”
● “The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for.
Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness;
its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly”

Theodor Seuss Geisel AKA Dr. Suess: Prolific creator of children’s books and wartime propaganda

● Political cartoonist for the New York daily newspaper from 1941-1943
● Dr. Seuss presented progressive opinions with entertaining artistry
● According to the biography Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel, he was “haunted by the war in Europe”
● He used his cartoons to support the war effort and to
○ convey social messages
○ fight against racism and anti-semitism
● The 1940s was considered the Golden Age of comics
○ clearly drawn lines between “good” and “evil” helped define the superhero concept
● Dr. Seuss’ political caricatures were not always “politically correct” by today’s standards
○ Ex. His unflattering portrayal of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito
● His progressive outlook is displayed among his propaganda and his children’s books

Walt Disney: created animated propaganda during WWII

● Disney’s goal: to educate Americans about their enemies
● Disney’s propaganda included Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bambi and Pluto
● One film “Der Fuehrer’s Face” won the 1943 Oscar for best animated short film
○ Donald Duck wakes up from a “Nutzi Land” nightmare exclaiming, “Oh boy, am i glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!”
○ The movie ends with a tomato landing on Hitler’s face
○ Disney said it was “made in service of the US government“
● Some Disney wartime films were clearly directed at adults
○ In the 1940s, 2/3 of Americans visited a theater weekly
● In one film, Donald Duck encourages Americans to pay their taxes
○ “Taxes will keep democracy on the march”

Vietnam War

● Propaganda was used to distract and deplete enemy efforts in the Vietnam war
○ Americans would kidnap and blindfold Vietnamese fishermen
○ They would take them to an island and tell them they were part of a resistance group “The Sacred Sword of the Patriot League”
○ The fishermen were returned to the mainland
○ They spread rumors about the fake resistance group
○ Result: Vietnamese concentrated efforts to destroy a nonexistent group

Propaganda Today

● Propaganda is now more prevalent than ever due to the number of media sources
● More than 600 journalists have been in military units to report on the Iraq War

Iraq War

● The US has dropped leaflets and radio broadcasts all over Iraq
○ They put blame on Saddam for the suffering of the Iraqis
○ They tell people not to fight and to go home
○ The purpose is to minimize casualties
● Journalist Peter Maass wrote an article about this propaganda event
○ Nearly 100 journalists filmed the event
○ British tanks rolled up in a V formation
○ Soldiers were running to attack
○ The reported purpose was the “bolster support back home”
■ British Colonel Chris Vernon stated
● “We’re showing what we’ve got, and we would like the message to get out the the people and the regime of Iraq”

North Korea

These are posters from North Korea during the Korean War and some WWII US posters

More recent propaganda pics from North Korea

Sources:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda

http://www.ushmm.org/propaganda/resources/

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/10/dr-seusss-wartime-propaganda-cartoons/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/31/dr-seuss-world-war-2-cartoons-photos_n_1559760.html#slide=1043650

http://www.facinghistory.org/resources/facingtoday/walt-disney-art-wwii-propaga

http://www.stanford.edu/class/e297a/War%20Reporting%20on%20the%20U.S.%20War%20in%20Iraq.htm

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/01/21/north-koreas-gruesome-propaganda-posters-portray-us-military-as-sadistic-and-somewhat-zombified/

http://www.businessinsider.com/kim-jong-il-kim-jong-un-north-korea-propoganda-2011-12?op=1

Research:

Propaganda
: the spreading of ideas, information, or Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3
: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda

According to Webster’s College Dictionary, propaganda is “information or ideas methodically spread to promote or injure a cause, movement, nation etc, and the deliberate spread of such information or ideas

Another occurrence of wartime propaganda occurred in Vietnam where Americans would kidnap and blindfold Vietnamese fisherman. Then the Americans would take them to an island and tell them that it was part of a resistance group called “The Sacred Sword of the Patriot League.” The fishermen were then returned back to the main land where they would spread rumors of the fake resistance group. The result was the Vietnamese concentrating their efforts to destroy a nonexistent group.

One of the most well-known propaganda experts in war history was Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s use of war propaganda resulted in convincing his country of the National Socialism ideals, which ultimately resulted in the Holocaust and the extermination of Jews. In 1945 Hitler wrote a political statement describing his dislike of the Jewish people and asking that after his death people continue to stay strong in their beliefs. “It is untrue that I or anyone else in Germany wanted war in 1939. It was wanted and provoked solely by international statesmen either of Jewish origin or working for Jewish interests.” Hitler’s use of propaganda in spreading his beliefs of National Socialism and his dislike of the Jews resulted in the support of the his army and country and the breakout of World War II. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler dedicated an entire section to the discussion of war propaganda. He described the purpose of war propaganda was to support Germany in the war and bring help bring victory. His use of propaganda caused a movement against the Jewish people, which eventually led to the holocaust and the extermination of millions of Jewish people. “The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.” (Hitler, chap V1)

In the war on Iraq, propaganda is more apparent then ever due to the number of media sources embedded in the war. More than 600 Journalists are in military units reporting on the progress of the war (Maass, 20 Mar, 2003). Peter Maass wrote an article for the New Republic magazine describing a set-up event where almost 100 journalists filmed British tanks rolling up in a V formation and soldiers running to attack. The purpose of the media event was to “bolster support back home” however Maass couldn’t help but see right through the V formation “money shot” and look at the event as propaganda (Maass, 20 Mar, 2003). After the event Maass spoke with Colonel Chris Vernon, the spokesman for the British military, who stated, “We’re showing what we’ve got, and we would like the message to get out to the people and to the regime of Iraq” (Maass, 20 Mar, 2003). This planned out event to effects Iraq’s government is propaganda at its best. Another obvious example of propaganda in the war on Iraq is the United State’s dropping of leaflets and radio broadcasts all over Iraq. These leaflets and broadcasts put blame on Saddam for the suffering of the people of Iraq. They also tell people not to fight, to go home, and not to attack the coalition forces. The propaganda has the purpose of minimizing casualties.
http://www.stanford.edu/class/e297a/War%20Reporting%20on%20the%20U.S.%20War%20in%20Iraq.htm

The word comes from Latin and originally referred to the biological reproduction of flora and fauna, that is, to the propagation of plants and animals. It took on new meaning in the 17th century when the Papacy established a special division within the Catholic Church, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (propaganda fide), to systematically spread Catholic doctrine throughout the world to win new converts and stem the rising tide of Protestantism. Propaganda thus came to connote the dissemination of religious ideas in order to shape the opinions and behavior of mass audiences.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, propaganda took on greater importance in the political realm with the growth of literacy, liberal demands for freedoms of the press, speech, and assembly, and representative governments.

Politicians and governments of all types recognized the importance of winning over and molding public opinion through propaganda and other methods of mass persuasion. Instead of relying purely upon censorship as a tool of social control, regimes now created or subsidized newspapers and other organs to disseminate official “news.”

World War I, however, witnessed the public discovery of propaganda as a powerful weapon for shaping public opinion and behavior. All the major belligerent governments (Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, the United States, Germany, and Austria-Hungary) employed writers, artists, and filmmakers to craft political messages aimed at mobilizing their populations for war, at weakening the enemy’s morale and will to fight, and at winning over audiences in neutral countries. British, American, and French publicists created potent images of the Germans as barbaric, brutal “Huns” who sought world domination and the destruction of western civilization. This portrayal reinforced reports of German atrocities, some real, others exaggerated or fabricated, which aimed to convince their populations of the righteousness of their cause and the need to continue the war until the enemy was defeated. After World War I particularly in the United States and Germany. The term came to be perceived in a negative light and identified in many circles with lies, manipulation, and falsehood. Some American opinion leaders feared that unregulated propaganda would destroy the foundations of democracy by creating a nation of obedient slaves marching in lockstep to the government’s orders.Still others believed that propaganda, when employed for the public good, could create a more educated, healthier, and progressive citizenry.
http://www.ushmm.org/propaganda/resources/

Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) may be best-remembered for his irreverent rhymes but he was also a prolific maker of subversive secret art during WWII, like Walt Disney, Geisel lent his creative talents to far more explicit, adult-focused wartime propaganda when he joined the New York daily newspaper PM as a political cartoonist Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel.
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/10/dr-seusss-wartime-propaganda-cartoons/

Penning editorial cartoons for the left-leaning New York newspaper PM from 1941 to 1943, Dr. Seuss covered the war from a unique angle that presented progressive opinions ornamented with entertaining flights of fancy. According to the 1995 biography, Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel, Dr. Seuss “was haunted by the war in Europe.” While he supported the war effort through his work, he also used his cartoons to convey social messages, fighting against racism and anti-semitism. It wasn’t uncommon for illustrators to align themselves with the war effort during the 1940s. In fact, this era, often called the Golden Age of comics, with its clearly drawn lines between “good” and “evil,” helped define and give rise to the concept of the superhero. While Dr. Seuss’ political caricatures show some vestiges of the age — his unflattering portrayal of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito among them — his progressive attitudes are sprinkled among the propaganda.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/31/dr-seuss-world-war-2-cartoons-photos_n_1559760.html#slide=1043650

During World War II, The Walt Disney Studios used animated characters to “spread propaganda and educate Americans about their enemies,” Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bambi, and Pluto all played a role. In one movie, Donald Duck wakes up from a “Nutzi Land” nightmare and exclaims “ ‘Oh boy, am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!’ ” . . . “The movie ends with a tomato landing on Hitler’s face.” This cartoon film, titled “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” was “made in the service of the US government” and won the 1943 Oscar for best animated short film. Some Disney wartime films had messages more clearly directed toward adults, for in the 1940s, two-thirds of Americans frequented movie theaters on a weekly basis. In one, Donald Duck encourages Americans to save their money in order to pay taxes: “ ‘Taxes will keep democracy on the march’ and ‘every dollar you spend for something you don’t need is a dollar spent to help the Axis.’ ”
http://www.facinghistory.org/resources/facingtoday/walt-disney-art-wwii-propaga

North Korea

These are posters from North Korea during the Korean War and some WWII US posters

More recent propaganda pics from North Korea

This tells about the North Korean youth pledging to defend their country

Oblivious to international tensions over a possible North Korean missile launch, Pyongyang residents spilled into the streets Monday to celebrate a major national holiday, the birthday of their first leader, Kim Il Sung. There was no sense of panic in the North Korean capital, where very few locals have access to international broadcasts and foreign newspaper headlines speculating about an imminent missile launch and detailing the international diplomacy under way to try to rein Pyongyang in. Officials in South Korea, the United States and Japan say intelligence indicates that North Korean officials, fresh off an underground nuclear test in February, are ready to launch a medium-range missile. North Korea’s own media gave little indication Monday of how high the tensions are. The Rodong Sinmun, the Workers’ Party newspaper, featured photos and coverage of current leader Kim Jong Un’s overnight visit to the Kumsusan mausoleum to pay respects to his grandfather. There was only one line at the end of the article vowing to bring down the “robber-like U.S. imperialists.” Loyalty to the Kims and to the state are drummed in citizens from an early age. But while there has almost no sense of crisis in Pyongyang, North Korea’s official posture toward the outside appears to be as hardline as ever. A top North Korean leader, Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, also told a gathering of high officials Sunday that the North must bolster its nuclear arsenal further and “wage a stronger all-out action with the U.S. to cope with the prevailing wartime situation,” North Korea has issued no specific warnings to ships and aircraft that a missile test is imminent, and is also continuing efforts to increase tourism.
http://www.npr.org/2013/04/15/177293218/north-koreans-mark-holiday-oblivious-to-tensions.