Propaganda techniques began with World War I. From the beginning of the war. Both German and British propagandists worked hard to win sympathy and support in the U. S. German propagandists appealed to the many Americans of German descent and to those of Irish descent who were traditionally hostile to Great Britain. Germany was virtually cut off from direct access to the U. S. and British propaganda had little competition in the U. S. , and it was conducted more skillfully than Germans. Once engaged in the war, the U. S. nized the Committee on Public Information, an official propaganda agency, to mobilize American public opinion.
This committee proved highly successful, particularly in the sale of Liberty Bonds. Fear “The streets of our country are in turmoil. The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threatening us with her might, and the Republic is in danger. Yes – danger from within and without. We need law and order! Without it our nation cannot survive. ” – Adolf Hitler, 1932
When a propagandist warns members of her audience that disaster will ensue if they do not follow a particular course of action, she is using the fear appeal. By playing on the audience’s fears, people who use this technique hope to redirect attention away from the merits of a particular proposal and toward steps that can be taken to reduce the fear. It is usually used in less dramatic ways. ? A television commercial portrays a terrible automobile accident (the fear appeal), and reminds viewers to wear their seatbelts (the fear-reducing behavior).
A pamphlet includes pictures of houses destroyed by floods, and follows up with details about homeowners’ insurance. ? A letter from a pro-gun organization begins by describing a lawless America in which only criminals own guns, and concludes by asking readers to oppose a ban on automatic weapons. Bandwagon The propagandist hires a hall, rents radio stations, fills a great stadium, and marches a million or at least a lot of men in a parade. He employs symbols, colors, music, movement, and all the dramatic arts. He gets us to write letters, to send telegrams, to contribute to his cause.
He appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd. Because he wants us to follow the crowd in masses, he directs his appeal to groups held together already by common ties, ties of nationality, religion, race, sex. Which makes propagandists campaigning for or against a program will appeal to us as Catholics, Protestants, or Jews, as farmers or as school teachers, as housewives or as miners. The basic theme of the bandwagon appeal is that “everyone else is doing it, and so should you. ” Since few of us want to be left behind, this technique can be quite successful.