For many years people have discussed what propaganda is. See propaganda models that were defined for the PhD project, and some propaganda links.

Origins of Propaganda

The term propaganda originated from the ‘Congragatio de propaganda fide’ (congregation for propagating the faith), a Roman Catholic organisation founded in 1622 for the purposes of missionary work. By the end of the First World War, it had become an unsavoury term: the Americans believed that they had been ‘lured’ into the war through the use of British propaganda. The Nazis appeared to believe the same, as Goebbels had a great admiration for British propaganda, and modelled the German Propaganda Ministry upon it. Note that the British had a ‘Ministry of Information’, not a ‘Ministry of Propaganda’ – and a great deal of thought was put into naming the Ministry, with Persuasion not thought to be strong enough, and Propaganda thought to be too strong!

Defining Propaganda

The word ‘propaganda’ is defined as “The systematic propagation of nformation or ideas by an intrested party,¬† esp. in a tendentious way to encourage or instil a particular¬† attitude or response. Also, the ideas, doctrines, etc., disseminated thus; the vehicle of such propagation.” (OED Online, Accessed 11th April 2000)

Encarta defines propaganda as the “dissemination of ideas and information for the purpose of inducing or intensifying specific attitudes and actions. Because propaganda is frequently accompanied by distortions of fact and by appeals to passion and prejudice, it is often thought to be invariably false or misleading. This view is relative, however. Although some propagandists may intentionally distort fact, others may present it as faithfully as objective observers. A lawyer’s brief is as much propaganda as a billboard advertisement. Education, whatever its objective, is a form of propaganda. The essential distinction lies in the intentions of the propagandist to persuade an audience to adopt the attitude or action he or she espouses.” [Encarta]

And of course, these days, no “description” would be complete without Wikipedia and!

By Second World War Posters

Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.

One reply on “Propaganda”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.