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World War II Propaganda, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 382

Essay

Thesis: World War II propaganda is historically significant as the first time propaganda used market segmentation to appeal to the psychology of women as a separate and viable market entity in their war bond posters.

War propaganda was a large and purposeful undertaking during the First and Second World Wars.  In the twenty years between the wars, propagandists and advertisers alike studied the ads that were created in the previous years and learned new, more subtle tactics that were then employed in the course of World War II. Propaganda itself is a form of communication that attempts to evoke a specific response in its audience that achieves a desired intent.  This differs significantly from persuasion in two important ways: persuasion is interactive rather than one-sided and it attempts to satisfy the needs of both one who is persuading and the one who is being persuaded.  Both elements of informative and persuasive communication enter into the development and implementation of propaganda (Jowett, & O’Donnell, 2006, p. 1).

One of the themes used in the war bond posters was a visual or written appeal to women’s fears about the enemy, the Nazis. For example, in Figure below, a beautiful picture of three children is set against a backdrop shadowed by the Nazi emblem.  The oldest child is looking away as if in innocent wonderment.  They are playing with toys of a military theme and are dressed in red, white, and blue.  They seem to be all alone and quite vulnerable.  To add to this visual appeal to protect children, the poster’s creators added the ominous words “Don’t let that shadow touch them.”  And then, to relate this fearful need to protect with a totally unrelated idea, which is the ultimate meaning of the poster, the poster continued, “Buy war bonds.”

Figure 1 – An Appeal to Fear and the Need to Protect Children

An Appeal to Fear and the Need to Protect Children

(NW University)

This visual and written message is propaganda in that it is completely one-sided and has a particular aim: to convince women to buy war bonds and to support the purchase of bonds.

References

Jowett, Garth, & O’Donnell, Victoria. (2006).  Propaganda and Persuasion. CA: Sage Publications.

Northwestern University.  World War II Posters. Retrieved from http://www.library.northwestern.edu/otcgi/digilib/llscgi60.exe.

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