“The enemy is atrociously cruel and degenerate in his conduct of the war. A handy rule for arousing hate is, if at first they do not enrage, use an atrocity. It has been employed with unvarying success in every conflict known to man.”
“In the early days of the War in 1914 a very pathetic story was told of a seven-year old youngster, who had pointed his wooden gun at a patrol of invading Uhlans, who dispatched of him on the spot. This story had done excellent duty in the Franco-Prussian War, over forty years before.”
“When the public believes that the enemy began the War and blocks a permanent, profitable and godly peace, the propagandist has achieved his purpose.”
The above quotes are from Harold Lasswell’s groundbreaking study on propaganda, “Propaganda Techniques in World War.” Lasswell was a pioneer in the field of propaganda analysis. Working with the best and brightest government propagandists on his research, Lasswell delved into the minds of the social engineers who covertly shaped our reality.
What his works reveal is nothing short of shocking.
Atrocity propaganda has been used throughout history to manipulate the masses into fighting wars. This fact alone makes you wonder about the truth behind some of the atrocities we frequently hear about on the news.
The American public didn’t want to enter World War I. Six months prior to Woodrow Wilson leading the country into war, the public elected him on the promise of peace and neutrality. In swaying the public, Wilson continued speaking the language of peace. It was how that peace would be achieved that changed. Neutrality was no longer the way, war was. War for the sake of peace, a propagandistic appeal that’s as old as time.
Using a mix of subtle and indirect propaganda techniques combined with atrocity propaganda, British and American propagandists made the American public want war. They made the them believe war was the only option. And they did it without the public being aware that it was being propagandized.
Stories of German atrocities committed against women and children were spread across the country. Americans were lead to believe that the Germans were barbaric, inhumane, monsters who had to be killed for the sake of humanity. It was up to America to stop the evil German Hun, and to “Make The World Safe for Democracy.”
Years after the war ended, the war archives of the defeated Central Powers were opened. This revealed secret diplomatic documents and agreements that contradicted the war aims used to win public support for the war. Most of the atrocity stories that were used to fill the public with hate turned out not to be true. They were a propaganda tool used by British and American propagandists to mobilize the masses for war under false pretenses.
What the public learned after the war was that the Germans were attempting to propagandize them just like everyone else. The Germans were just terrible at propaganda during the first World War. The British and the Americans on the other hand, were very good at it. This enabled Allied propagandists to focus the publics attention, and hate, completely on the Germans. With no critical eyes watching them, Allied propagandists subtly manipulated the public at will. And because they successfully made a demon out of the Germans, they were able to nullify inconvenient truths that leaked out by calling them lies, misinformation spread by evil German propaganda.
This pattern of propaganda has repeated itself throughout history and is repeating itself again right now with the “Fake News Russian Propaganda” agenda. The Alt Right, Nationalists, members of the alternative media, conspiracy theorists, and anyone else who doesn’t buy into the mainstream narrative are being rolled up into one giant Russian demon. Once the demon is firmly established, the atrocity propaganda follows.
In such tense, emotionally charged times, we all need our inner Spock to guide us now more than ever.
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