Propaganda and Mass Persuasion

The international campaign against slavery produced such eloquent leaders as William Wilberforce in Britain and Frederick Douglass in the United States, as well as endur-ingly powerful works of art with a political purpose, including Harriet Beecher Stowe’s (1811-1896) novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and J. M. W. Turner’s (1775-1851) painting The Slave Ship (1840). The […]


Abortion remains a major issue in political propaganda in the United States today. “Abortions will not let you forget,” wrote Gwendolyn Brooks (1917— ) in her poem “A Street in Bronzeville” (1945). “You remember the children you got that you did not get.” The New Penguin English Dictionary (2000) defines abortion as “the induced expulsion […]

ADL (Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith)

American-based civil rights organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitic propaganda. The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 by Chicago lawyer Sigmund Livingston (1872—1946) under the auspices the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith. Livingston defined its mission as follows:”To stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the […]

All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen Nichts Neues) (1928/1930)

Both the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (1898—1970), first published in German in 1929, and its Universal Studios film adaptation of 1930 directed by Lewis Milestone (1895—1980) are potent examples of propaganda for peace. Both presented a devastating picture of World War I from the point of view of a small group of German soldiers. […]


The African continent has witnessed the following uses of propaganda: spread religion; support imperialism; rally support for world wars and the Cold War; support white minority regimes; and support decolonization and nation building. Today propaganda is routinely used to bolster the one-party rule that characterizes many states in the region, the most notorious contemporary exponent […]


Modern advertising is a product of the late nineteenth century and reflects the changes that took place in the economy and the revolutionary transformations that occurred in the communications field. In response to the Industrial Revolution, advertising’s early development was linked to that of the mass-circulation newspapers. American and European newspapers prior to the nineteenth […]

Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)

Alternatively known as the Second Boer War and the South African War, the Anglo-Boer War employed new mass styles of wartime propaganda in response to recent developments in media technology and the politics of mass society of the late nineteenth century. The war was fought by the British Empire against the two Dutch-speaking republics of […]


Although architecture may not come to mind immediately when speaking of propaganda, it is an indisputable fact that it has served ancient rulers, religious movements, Renaissance princes and republics, early European rulers, the great monarchs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and modern republican, revolutionary, and totalitarian regimes. Recently modern corporations have built impressive headquarters […]

Arab World

Opposition to imperialism and Israel have been the two central themes of modern propaganda in the Arab world. The region has seen the birth of Arab nationalism along with the development of the cult of the leader, the manipulation of Islamic principles, and ultimately terrorism. As totalitarian or semitotalitarian regimes, most governmental actions in the […]


Hatred of Jews has been a perennial theme of propaganda in the West since 1500. Anti-Semitism has its roots in the Christian world of the Middle Ages, when Jews were a convenient “other” against whom a Christian “self” could be defined. The race politics of the Christian Gospels, crafted to blame Jews rather than Romans […]