Role of Propaganda in the 20th century

Propaganda plays a significant role in the human history. Propaganda could create negative as well as positive impact in the lives of the people.

There was a massive use of propaganda in the 20th century than ever before. Some of the examples of such usage could be seen in both World Wars. Several mediums are used to inculcate ideas into the minds and hearts of general public. One such medium was art work. More and more artists began to incorporate their personal political beliefs in their art work. The propagandists knew very well that the minds of the masses could be touched especially during the time of war. Powerful political and cultural messages can evoke strong emotions among the people. Thus during the World Wars, art played a key role in propaganda. One of the classical examples of war time art was Picasso’s famous anti-war art, Guernica which was produced in 1937. It portrayed the cruelties of war and created an anti-war hysteria. During the World War II, Hitler used art as a medium to inculcate Nazi ideas into the hearts of German people. The Third Rich organized two exhibitions; Degenerate Art and German Art exhibition.

War time posters also played a great role during the world wars. There were posters reflecting varied themes connected with recruitment and homefront. Another way of propaganda during the war time was by using gender characters. War posters depicted the enemy as beast or demon inorder to create unity in the nation. Posters of working women in the factories were used by the Allies during the time of World Wars. Different types of art forms were introduced as propaganda technique during the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Cold war.

Today, United States is circulating information through media for the cause of the Middle East. It has even created Global Communication to spread its ideas above every nation. Words and images are used to propagate their ideas. Today, propaganda is directed towards everyone; literate or illiterate. Different ways of propaganda are introduced through pamphlets, posters, magazines, books, music, movies and even cartoons. Today, Television is one of the powerful medium of propaganda. Even the everyday news is distorted by using certain words and phrases to meet the end.

There is no doubt that propaganda is an essential element in the lives of the people, but it becomes dangerous when one uses it for sinister purposes. The government in power could use propaganda to force certain impressions in the minds of the people. It is essentially a mind control technique. The only one solution to counter such kind of propaganda is to form independent and creative thinking. The art of propaganda is fruitful only when it is used for nationalism and common good.

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