People may think that propaganda is a thing of the past, but we do not realize that we are being tricked into believing propaganda-based ideas every day. Propaganda is any association, systematic scheme, or concerted movement for the propagation of a particular doctrine or practice (Simpson 1466). I explain propaganda as a way for the media or people in power to get the audience to be on their side and make you believe what they want you to. This concept is terrible in my eyes because they are telling you what they think is true and wanting you to believe it. As a result, people end up in fights and can not defend themselves because they do not know enough about what they are trying to defend.
We will begin with how propaganda was used to manipulate adults and children in war-times. During World War I and World War II, propaganda was used to romanticize war. Or, in other words, leave out all the horrid details about what really goes on and make it seem like people do not die and that we all come out as heroes (Behreandt 37). A well-known use of propaganda is in our posters and advertisements. Propaganda posters in America during World War I often used images of children and sometimes women to drum up support for various aspects of the war (Behreandt 37). They used an emotional attachment to children known as Kindchenschema, baby schema, to trick adults, especially women, into buying liberty bonds to support the war. Liberty bonds are something that people bought into during the war to help finance the war effort (Behreandt 37). If you think about this for a moment, you may remember that people were not doing well off financially. Buying into these bonds would not only put them in debt, but they would have trouble feeding themselves and their families all because of some posters that persuaded them at the wrong time. The people who were creating the propaganda posters learned early on that when adults saw an infant in danger, they automatically thought they needed to protect the children (Behreandt 37).
Members of the junior division of the Hitler Youth were forced to take this oath, In the presence of this blood banner, which represents our F??hrer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the savior of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God (Behreandt 33). The German youth were to be prepared to be obedient subjects, instead of independent citizens, in the future dystopia. Second, a large group of children, easily manipulated into worshipping the state and its leader, was a potent source of propaganda that could be used to mold and manipulate public opinion at home and abroad (Behreandt 33). The people of that time were used as slaves and they did not even know it. The Hitler Youth organization was used to poison children with biases before they were old enough or knowledgeable enough to refute the messages they were being told (Behreandt 34). Some may say that no one really knew what was going on and, therefore, they could not come up with a way to think. But, they would never know because they were only being told what the government allowed. They were not being told the whole truth. A steady diet over the years of falsifications and distortions made a certain impression on one’s mind and often mislead people’s minds. No one can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dreaded consequences of a regime’s continuous propaganda (Behreandt 35). The Formation of Men’s Attitudes states that Nowadays, Propaganda pervades all aspects of public life (Behreandt 35). St. Nicholas, a popular magazine in 1917, would tell people that every person from every age group had a duty to prepare themselves for service. That way, when the government was ready for them, they would be quickly and conveniently allotted their proper places (Behreandt 36). To summarize, propaganda was using children and women as props to help them with something as serious as war.
Next, we will talk about how easily a child’s mind is manipulated and how kids and teens today think it is so important to avoid dorkdom (Golway 6). With all the stars rising up today, one can only imagine the amount of rumors and opinions floating around. And, of course, everyone wants to fit in because, as stated by MTV and echoed in mass media, A young person can face no worse fate than to be considered uncool, unhip, unchic-a dork (Golway 6). Take this into thought: there is a teen out there taking drugs because someone told her that they would make all of her problems go away. She does not even think twice about it because everyone takes drugs, right? She thinks, What harm can they really do? So, she takes the drugs and does a lot of harm to herself. Whether she realized it or not, she was manipulated into believing that drugs are acceptable just because of what other people say. She desired something that others had.
Another example would be how the media exaggerates things beyond proportion. Not long ago, when all of the hurricanes were happening, you would have reporters showing everyone the damage to the surrounding area. You could see reporters waist-deep in water, or holding on to a palm tree like they were going to blow away. We believed what they were describing was true because we were not there. It was not until we dug a little deeper and found some behind the scenes clips, that we saw what was really there. A reporter, down on his knees taping the news for that night. Another holding the trunk of a palm tree for dear life, only to find out that before editing, you could see the townspeople walking around like it was any normal day. Why must people blow things so far out of proportions instead of telling the truth? We put our trust in these people thinking they tell us nothing but the truth, but the reality is, we never get told the full story in treacherous situations. A person’s mind is a precious thing and something that shouldn’t be cheated out of the truth. Ultimately, we realize that no matter how hard we try to stop them, lies are something we can not put a stop to.
In addition to our earlier point, we know that tricks, lies, and manipulations are everywhere. We come to realize that propaganda is in everything, including our pop culture. Pop culture can consist of books, movies, comics, media, and what any celebrity has to say or do. As previously stated, our minds are so influenced by everything that goes around and sometimes we can not tell whether something is real or fake. Our pop culture is crammed full of lies that we can not even begin to believe some of the things that may be true. Propaganda in our pop culture is no big surprise because it has been around for so long that we have become ok with it. Our music tells us that drugs and suicide are good, our magazines tell us that we don’t have the right bodies, books and movies try to teach us some good things but there is typically some kind of underlying thing that turns it bad. None of these things should be considered the norm, yet we live every day and ignore the fact that propaganda is everywhere. Some people say that its good to have someone to turn to or people for the children to look up to, but they forget to have their own opinions that are not based on someone else’s opinion. We need to have our own opinions, because only then will our personalities be able to shine through like they should. To summarize, we have come to terms with the fact that propaganda is something that will not be leaving us anytime soon even though something so dreadful should not have entered our world in the first place.
We see that propaganda will not just magically disappear from our lives anytime soon, but we can limit the amount of it we believe by doing a bit of research. You may learn more than you ever thought imaginable. So, in conclusion, propaganda uses people, media, and tons of other outlets to trick our minds in ways that should not be possible. Maybe next time you will not be so quick to believe the lies that propaganda will provide you.
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