Propaganda and Mass Persuasion


The use of images and symbols as a tool for the dissemination of social, political, or religious ideas is a traditional facet of the visual arts. All artistic production is necessarily representative of its creator and its time and consequently holds some propaganda value. The most common use of art as a propaganda tool is […]

Atrocity Propaganda

Atrocity stories are a time-honored technique of propagandists, particularly in war propaganda. It is with the Crusades that the study of atrocity propaganda in wartime began. Pope Urban II (c. 1035—1099), in a sermon given at Clermont in 1095, justified the war against Islam by claiming that the enemy had ravaged the churches of God […]

Austrian Empire

The vast Austrian Empire (today’s Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia) sought to maintain itself through propaganda, which played a part in its fragmentation and figured centrally in the histories of the nations that came into being in the old Habsburg provinces. At the start of the early modern period Emperor Maximilian (1495— 1519) used […]


Australia, a continent and the world’s largest island, supports a population of 19 million living in an area just under 3 million square miles. Two thirds of the entire country’s population live in a few urban areas of the southeast, making Australia one of the most urbanized countries on the planet. Why Australia has so […]

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

Britain’s national broadcasting organization has served as the propaganda arm of the British government overseas—and occasionally at home as well. The BBC was chartered in 1926 as a public body to succeed the radio manufacturers’ own creation, the British Broadcasting Company, which was founded in 1922. John Reith (1889-1971), its first director general, believed that […]

Battleship Potemkin (1926)

This film, directed by Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) for the state film studio Goskino, represents the pinnacle of Soviet film propaganda. The film presents a fictionalized account of a key event in the revolution of 1905, namely, the mutiny aboard the battleship Potemkin while at anchor off the Crimean port of Odessa. It set a new […]


Most of the Balkan countries—Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and the nations that made up the former Yugoslavia—were part of the Ottoman Empire. The region has experienced great religious diversity, including: Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christianity; Islam; and the pagan Manichean heresy of the Bogomils in Bosnia. National identity developed through resistance to the Ottomans in […]

Black Propaganda

The source of propaganda is likely to be an institution, organization, group, or individual. Sometimes there is complete openness about the source of the propaganda, while on other occasions it is necessary to conceal the source’s identity in order to achieve certain objectives. “Black” propaganda (sometimes referred to as “covert” propaganda) tries to conceal its […]

BIS (British Information Services)

This British overseas information agency, eventually housed within the Foreign Office, is best known for its campaigns in the United States. BIS was founded in 1941 as part of a consolidation of the various British information offices working in the United States to combat American neutrality. The word “service” was borrowed from the existing British […]

Beaverbrook, Max (1879-1964)

William Maxwell Aitken, the first Baron Beaverbrook, became synonymous with British propaganda when, in 1918, he became Britain’s wartime minister of information. Born in Canada, Beaverbrook made his fortune in business, moved to Britain, and entered politics. His tenure as minister brought a cohesion and direction to British propaganda policy that had been lacking earlier […]