In America today, not only is it possible for the entire population to be persuaded to believe a lie, but it is happening, just as it happened in Nazi Germany. Externally, the propaganda in America today is not as harmful as the propaganda in Nazi Germany, instead it eats away at societies’ morals and self-esteem. It is impossible to turn on the tv or even drive down the road without encountering propaganda. One man who understood propaganda and realized how easy it was to use was Adolph Hitler.
He used propaganda to make an entire country turn against certain groups of people and give their lives to the Nazi belief system, “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer” meaning one people, one country, one leader. (Bard, The Holocaust, p. 10) Propaganda, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is ” the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person”. It plays on peoples secret fears and desires and stirs up passion and desperation inside of them.Order now
Hitler’s propaganda, for example, played off of peoples fears, but today propaganda is geared towards secret desires. Propaganda is not always a bad thing, like anti-drug commercials and slogans like “drug free, way to be”. It is a power that can be used for unsurpassable good or it can used as a destructive force capable of undermining the entire moral fiber of a society. Before and during WWII, Hitler used propaganda to make the German people believe that the Aryans were the “master race” and everyone who was not pure German was “Undermenschen”, or unacceptable. His primary target was the Jews.
He claimed that the Jews were the cause of all the horrible things that happened after WWI and claimed that they were trying to take over Germany. He put up posters and published newspapers like Der Sturmer, “The Attacker”, to portray the Jewish people as poison to the perfect Aryan Race. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda and editor of Der Sturmer used the phrase “the Jews are our misfortune” at the bottom of every newspaper he published. (Coupe, “Cartoons of the Third Reich”) He also convinced German people that the Jews were the scum of the society.
Hitler’s reign of destruction, however, was not exclusive to the Jews. He also targeted Gypsies, Slavs, physically handicapped, and any one group of people who he believed was against him, like jazz musicians and writers. He began to get rid of the people he considered undesirable to provide “Lebensraum”, or living space, for the Aryan people. He built Ghettoes and concentration camps where he sent the Jews and others to die. The worst thing was that “the Germans were not content with just killing people, they tortured, dehumanized, and humiliated them” first.
His hatred and use of propaganda resulted in what is know as the Holocaust, which is a Greek term signifying destruction (Bard, The Complete History pf the Holocaust p. 28. ). Throughout the Holocaust over 6 million people were killed, all as a result of Hitler’s brainwashing of Germans. The propaganda in America today is a different type of propaganda. It is not targeted towards destruction of people externally, instead it degrades their souls. Propaganda is everywhere. It is on TV, in magazines, on billboards, even in schools. People are being taught that things that are not good are OK.
Like sex before marriage, homosexuality, drug and alcohol use, and even hurting people. More and more children are becoming violent because of video games, many teenage girls are developing eating disorders and having sex because that is what television and magazines make the ideal girl look like. People think that if they look and behave like the people on television then they are better. Peoples morals are being replaced with what is “cool” and what the world thinks is best. The weird thing is that American propaganda is extremely obvious (Bowman, “American Propaganda”) people just don’t seem to notice it.
Even little things like pro-life stickers and “Drug Free Way To Be” slogans are propaganda, but people just think of them as everyday occurrences. Propaganda is no longer something that is inching it’s way into our hearts, like the Nazi propaganda did, it is already there. Most people just do not see it. Propaganda is also is also incorporated in the arts. The best example of someone who turned art into propaganda is Leni Riefenstahl. She was born in 1902 in Berlin and began as a dancer. She then became an actress and soon began to produce her own movies. She understood art and she also knew how to make anything look wonderful.
She used her talents to produce one of the most powerful propaganda films of all time, Triumph of the Will, a movie about Hitler and the Third Reich. It glorified Hitler and made the Nazis seem like heroes, not monsters. Another example of propaganda in the arts is the ballet “Red, White, and Blue” and songs like “The Star Spangled Banner” , which glorify everything American. Propaganda is art and art is propaganda because everything has a message, whether good or bad. (Corliss, “When Art Becomes Compromised”) There is no way to really tell whether another Holocaust could happen to day, but all of the signs point to yes.
People everywhere believe everything they hear, that is why they buy weight loss pills and go on crazy diets. They believe that every new pill will work to make them look like the ideal person. In America, girls as young as 8 are becoming self-conscious, they want to look like the girls in the magazines and they believe that everyone who does not look good is worth less that the people who do. The society is shallow and with the right leadership could be formed into believing everything. People just do not listen when they hear people say “don’t believe everything you see and hear on TV or the radio”.