How did the use of propaganda change from World War I and World War II?

Propaganda changed from WWI to WWII in that it became more racialized in order to dehumanize the enemy. WWII also made more use of movies and animations and led to the development of some new cinematic styles.

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Propaganda was heavily utilized in both world wars. While it was used to galvanize patriotism, inspire people to enlist and buy war bonds, and vilify the enemy in both instances, there were differences that developed from one conflict to the next.

For one thing, the propaganda of WWII was much more racialized than it was during WWI. Nazi propaganda painted Jews and Slavs as sub-human beings who were bent on the destruction of Aryan civilization. Japanese propaganda portrayed Americans as savage, uncivilized beasts. In turn, American propaganda depicted the Japanese as mindless and destructive animals. By dehumanizing the enemy, WWII propaganda allowed many to rationalize atrocities on a level that the world had never previously experienced.

Another change that set WWII propaganda apart from that of WWI had to do with technological advancements in the media. During WWI, cinema was still in its infancy. There were some silent films used for propaganda purposes at that time. However, by WWII, cinema had developed into a fully-realized art form and propagandists were eager to utilize it. In America, regular programs such as "Why We Fight" aired in theaters to justify the country's involvement in the war. Other movies promoting patriotism were produced at a fast pace. The Nazis were also keen on developing their own distinct cinematic style for the purpose of promoting their agenda. Leni Riefenstahl, a German movie director, created dozens of propaganda films promoting the Nazi cause. In doing so, she revolutionized cinematic techniques, many of which are still used today. Animation also developed by the time of WWII. Cartoons for children and adults readily promoted the war effort.

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Propaganda was a key part of both wars. In World War I, propaganda still centered around posters and newspaper articles, though it was starting to creep into the silent movies of the time. The Allies portrayed Germany as "the Hun," as Huns had a negative connotation of being threats to Western civilization. Posters portrayed Germans killing women and children in Belgium and committing various other atrocities when in reality such a thing never happened. In order to stimulate demand for the war, the government assigned George Creel the job of creating pro-war material for the government. Respected community leaders all over the country gave four-minute speeches telling people to ration, buy war bonds, and register for the draft. There is also a famous poster from the period called "Uncle Sam Wants You" that is supposed to drive enlistment efforts.

World War II displayed government power once again to mobilize mass opinion through propaganda. Hitler used propaganda to make Jews look like the downfall of everything good in German culture. He also tied Semitism with Communism, thus making the fight against the Soviet Union a race war as much as one for territory. During the war, Japan used propaganda to portray the Americans as evil; this is why many Japanese fought to the death or even committed suicide rather than face capture. Artists in the United States created more cartoons portraying...

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the Axis powers as evil or stupid, and in some cases, these cartoons played upon racist stereotypes. The American way of life was portrayed as the ultimate goal worth preserving through warfare. Norman Rockwell painted a famous poster of a family at Thanksgiving promoting Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms; these were taken from his State of the Union Address in 1941. More famous stars such as Joe Dimaggio and Clark Gable enlisted in the war's efforts. Not only did they fly combat missions, but they were also used to sell war bonds.

Governments always used propaganda, but they were able to exploit mass media to get it to more people in novel ways between the World Wars.

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Essentially, propaganda became more driven during both World Wars.  The need for propaganda drove a machine that became an industry in of itself.  For both sides in each war, propaganda became a critical element in molding public opinion about each nation's approach to war.  Propaganda had always been in existenc,e but both what was at stake in both World Wars made propaganda such an intense focal point that all nations understood its importance.  It was meant to conceal the truth about the wars, the massive death counts and horrific conditions.  Rather, propaganda was used by all nations to continue support and enlistment in the wars, itself.  In America, the use of Hollywood directors and actor to "push" the war effort, especially so in the Second World War, as well as the development of boards of people whose job was to ensure that public opinion stayed in favor of the war became essential.  In Europe, propaganda became the defining element of ensuring that national power structures would stay intact.  For example, Germany in World War II had an impressive propaganda machine that was able to argue that Nazism was not only "the answer," but the one for which the fight was worthy.  Italy's propaganda machine in World War II also was able to advance Mussolini as a driving force behind Italian strength.  In contrast, the lack of an effective propaganda machine in World War I for Russia spelled the doom of the Czar and the Russian monarchy.

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