Monday, April 3, 2017

Propaganda During WWI

During World War I there was an abundance of propaganda.  From Uncle Sam proclaiming “I WANT YOU” to posters depicting the enemy as gorilla-like brutes, propaganda was everywhere.  One poster that really stands out to me depicts 2 children asking their father “Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?” This poster is effective because it plays on the pressure that many men faced during WWI.  It uses guilt to persuade the audience to take a more active part in the war, in this case signing up to serve. 
"Daddy, what did you do during the Great War?", (1915)

There are a few techniques that make this propaganda instead of persuasion.  Persuasion takes time and effort to connect with the audience, where propaganda can be as simple as a single image. Propaganda, like the poster above, was attempting to change people’s perception of the war.  This was meant to manipulate someone’s emotions to the point that joining the military was the only logical option. 

This poster also takes a jab at people's desire for social acceptance. Along with other pieces of propaganda, the message at that time was clear: "What are you doing to contribute?" It seemed like everybody was doing something to contribute to the war cause and the people who weren't were made out to be weak. 

This could be viewed as positive or negative propaganda.  It can be considered negative because it uses emotional blackmail to force men to fight the war.  Unlike persuasion, the poster is flat out saying that any man who does not join the armed forces will be embarrassed to talk to their children about the war. On the other hand, it could be viewed as a positive use of propaganda because, along with other propaganda at the time, it created an army of soldiers willing to fight to protect their self-image. 

Image - 53bd1d19c5d2a.jpeg

No comments:

Post a Comment