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Advertising at War
Business, Consumers, and Government in the 1940s
Inger L. Stole
University of Illinois Press, 2012
Advertising at War challenges the notion that advertising disappeared as a political issue in the United States in 1938 with the passage of the Wheeler-Lea Amendment to the Federal Trade Commission Act, the result of more than a decade of campaigning to regulate the advertising industry. Inger L. Stole suggests that the war experience, even more than the legislative battles of the 1930s, defined the role of advertising in U.S. postwar political economy and the nation's cultural firmament. She argues that Washington and Madison Avenue were soon working in tandem with the creation of the Advertising Council in 1942, a joint effort established by the Office of War Information, the Association of National Advertisers, and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Using archival sources, newspapers accounts, and trade publications, Stole demonstrates that the war elevated and magnified the seeming contradictions of advertising and allowed critics of these practices one final opportunity to corral and regulate the institution of advertising. Exploring how New Dealers and consumer advocates such as the Consumers Union battled the advertising industry, Advertising at War traces the debate over two basic policy questions: whether advertising should continue to be a tax-deductible business expense during the war, and whether the government should require effective standards and labeling for consumer products, which would render most advertising irrelevant. Ultimately the postwar climate of political intolerance and reverence for free enterprise quashed critical investigations into the advertising industry. While advertising could be criticized or lampooned, the institution itself became inviolable.


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Behavioral Sciences and the Mass Media
Frederick T. C. Yu
Russell Sage Foundation, 1968
Presents papers which were discussed at the Arden House Conference—a conference held to establish a working relationship between sociologists at the Russell Sage Foundation and journalists of the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University. Both behavioral science and journalism have for a long time been concerned with some of the same major national social problems—juvenile delinquency, urban problems, race and minority group relations, international tensions, and labor relations. These papers touch on some of the barriers to communication and point to possible ways of breaking through those barriers.

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Bending Spines
The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic
Randall L. Bytwerk
Michigan State University Press, 2004

Why do totalitarian propaganda such as those created in Nazi Germany and the former German Democratic Republic initially succeed, and why do they ultimately fail? Outside observers often make two serious mistakes when they interpret the propaganda of this time. First, they assume the propaganda worked largely because they were supported by a police state, that people cheered Hitler and Honecker because they feared the consequences of not doing so. Second, they assume that propaganda really succeeded in persuading most of the citizenry that the Nuremberg rallies were a reflection of how most Germans thought, or that most East Germans were convinced Marxist-Leninists. Subsequently, World War II Allies feared that rooting out Nazism would be a very difficult task. No leading scholar or politician in the West expected East Germany to collapse nearly as rapidly as it did. Effective propaganda depends on a full range of persuasive methods, from the gentlest suggestion to overt violence, which the dictatorships of the twentieth century understood well. 
     In many ways, modern totalitarian movements present worldviews that are religious in nature. Nazism and Marxism-Leninism presented themselves as explanations for all of life—culture, morality, science, history, and recreation. They provided people with reasons for accepting the status quo. Bending Spines examines the full range of persuasive techniques used by Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and concludes that both systems failed in part because they expected more of their propaganda than it was able to deliver. 


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The Body Soviet
Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State
Tricia Starks
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008
In 1918 the People's Commissariat of Public Health began a quest to protect the health of all Soviet citizens, but health became more than a political platform or a tactical decision. The Soviets defined and categorized the world by interpreting political orthodoxy and citizenship in terms of hygiene. The assumed political, social, and cultural benefits of a regulated, healthy lifestyle informed the construction of Soviet institutions and identity. Cleanliness developed into a political statement that extended from domestic maintenance to leisure choices and revealed gender, ethnic, and class prejudices. Dirt denoted the past and poor politics; health and cleanliness signified mental acuity, political orthodoxy, and modernity.

Health, though essential to the revolutionary vision and crucial to Soviet plans for utopia, has been neglected by traditional histories caught up in Cold War debates. The Body Soviet recovers this significant aspect of Soviet thought by providing a cross-disciplinary, comparative history of Soviet health programs that draws upon rich sources of health care propaganda, including posters, plays, museum displays, films, and mock trials. The analysis of propaganda makes The Body Soviet more than an institutional history; it is also an insightful critique of the ideologies of the body fabricated by health organizations.

"A masterpiece that will thoroughly fascinate and delight readers. Starks's understanding of propaganda and hygiene in the early Soviet state is second to none. She tells the stories of Soviet efforts in this field with tremendous insight and ingenuity, providing a rich picture of Soviet life as it was actually lived."— Elizabeth Wood, author of From Baba to Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia

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California Dreaming
Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State
Paul J. P. Sandul
West Virginia University Press, 2014
At the turn of the 20th century, the California dream was a suburban ideal where life on the farm was exceptional. Agrarian virtue existed alongside good roads, social clubs, cultural institutions, and business commerce. The California suburban dream was the ultimate symbol of progress and modernity.
California Dreaming: Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State analyzes the growth, promotion, and agricultural colonization that fed this dream during the early 1900s. Through this analysis, Paul J. P. Sandul introduces a newly identified rural-suburban type: the agriburb, a rural suburb deliberately planned, developed, and promoted for profit. Sandul reconceptualizes California’s growth during this time period, establishing the agriburb as a suburban phenomenon that occurred long before the booms of the 1920s and 1950s.
Sandul’s analysis contributes to a new suburban history that includes diverse constituencies and geographies and focuses on the production and construction of place and memory. Boosters purposefully “harvested” suburbs with an eye toward direct profit and metropolitan growth. State boosters boasted of unsurpassable idyllic communities while local boosters bragged of communities that represented the best of the best, both using narratives of place, class, race, lifestyle, and profit to avow images of the rural and suburban ideal.

This suburban dream attracted people who desired a family home, nature, health, culture, refinement, and rural virtue. In the agriburb, a family could live on a small home grove while enjoying the perks of a progressive city. A home located within the landscape of natural California with access to urban amenities provided a good place to live and a way to gain revenue through farming.
To uncover and dissect the agriburb, Sandul focuses on local histories from California’s Central Valley and the Inland Empire of Southern California, including Ontario near Los Angeles and Orangevale and Fair Oaks outside Sacramento. His analysis closely operates between the intersections of history, anthropology, geography, sociology, and the rural and urban, while examining a metanarrative that exposes much about the nature and lasting influence of cultural memory and public history upon agriburban communities.

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Cold War Games
Propaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign Policy
Toby C Rider
University of Illinois Press, 2016
It is the early Cold War. The Soviet Union appears to be in irresistible ascendance and moves to exploit the Olympic Games as a vehicle for promoting international communism. In response, the United States conceives a subtle, far-reaching psychological warfare campaign to blunt the Soviet advance.

Drawing on newly declassified materials and archives, Toby C. Rider chronicles how the U.S. government used the Olympics to promote democracy and its own policy aims during the tense early phase of the Cold War. Rider shows how the government, though constrained by traditions against interference in the Games, eluded detection by cooperating with private groups, including secretly funded émigré organizations bent on liberating their home countries from Soviet control. At the same time, the United States utilized Olympic host cities as launching pads for hyping the American economic and political system. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, the government attempted clandestine manipulation of the International Olympic Committee. Rider also details the campaigns that sent propaganda materials around the globe as the United States mobilized culture in general, and sports in particular, to fight the communist threat.

Deeply researched and boldly argued, Cold War Games recovers an essential chapter in Olympic and postwar history.


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Creating Rosie the Riveter
Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II
Maureen Honey
University of Massachusetts Press, 1985
Creating Rosie the Riveter examines advertisements and fiction published in the Saturday Evening Post and True Story in order to show how propaganda was used to encourage women to enter the work force.

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A Cultural Arsenal for Democracy
The World War II Work of US Museums
Clarissa J. Ceglio
University of Massachusetts Press, 2022
"Does it seem strange to think of a museum as a weapon in national defense?" asked John Hay Whitney, president of the Museum of Modern Art, in June 1941. As the United States entered the Second World War in the months to follow, this idea seemed far from strange to museums. Working to strike the right balance between education and patriotism, and hoping to attain greater relevance, many American museums saw engagement with wartime concerns as consistent with their vision of the museum as a social instrument.

Unsurprisingly, exhibitions served as the primary vehicle through which museums, large and small, engaged their publics with wartime topics with fare ranging from displays on the cultures of Allied nations to "living maps" that charted troop movements and exhibits on war preparedness. Clarissa J. Ceglio chronicles debates, experiments, and collaborations from the 1930s to the immediate postwar years, investigating how museums re-envisioned the exhibition as a narrative medium and attempted to reconcile their mission with new modes of storytelling.

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Democracy's Destruction? The 2020 Election, Trump's Insurrection, and the Strength of America's Political Institutions
The 2020 Election, Trump's Insurrection, and the Strength of America's Political Institutions
James L. Gibson
Russell Sage Foundation, 2024
On January 6, 2021, an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. This assault on America’s democratic system was orchestrated by then President Donald Trump, abetted by his political party, and supported by a vocal minority of the American people. Did denial of the election results and the subsequent insurrection inflict damage on American political institutions? While most pundits and many scholars say yes, they have offered little rigorous evidence for this assertion. In Democracy’s Destruction? political scientist James L. Gibson uses surveys from representative samples of the American population to provide a more informed answer to the question.
Focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court, the presidency, and the U.S. Senate, Gibson reveals that how people assessed the election, the insurrection, and even the second Trump impeachment has little connection to their willingness to view American political institutions as legitimate. Instead, legitimacy is grounded in more general commitments to democratic values and support for the rule of law. On most issues of institutional legitimacy, those who denied the election results and supported the insurrection were not more likely to be alienated from political institutions and to consider them illegitimate.
Gibson also investigates whether Black people might have responded differently to the events of the 2020 election and its aftermath. He finds that in comparison to the White majority, Black Americans were less supportive of America’s democratic institutions and of democratic values, such as reverence for the rule of law, because they often have directly experienced unfair treatment by legal authorities. But he emphasizes that the actions of Trump and his followers are not the cause of those weaker commitments.
Democracy’s Destruction? offers rigorous analysis of the effect of the Trump insurrection on the state of U.S. democracy today. While cautioning that Trump and many Republicans may be devising schemes to subvert the next presidential election more effectively, the book attests to the remarkable endurance of American political institutions.


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Don't Mention the War
Northern Ireland, Propaganda and the Media
David Miller
Pluto Press, 1994

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The Face of Peace
Government Pedagogy amid Disinformation in Colombia
Gwen Burnyeat
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A multi-scale ethnography of government pedagogy in Colombia and its impact on peace. 

Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas sought to end fifty years of war and won President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet Colombian society rejected it in a polarizing referendum, amid an emotive disinformation campaign. Gwen Burnyeat joined the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, the government institution responsible for peace negotiations, to observe and participate in an innovative “peace pedagogy” strategy to explain the agreement to Colombian society. Burnyeat’s multi-scale ethnography reveals the challenges government officials experienced communicating with skeptical audiences and translating the peace process for public opinion. She argues that the fatal flaw in the peace process lay in government-society relations, enmeshed in culturally liberal logics and shaped by the politics of international donors. The Face of Peace offers the Colombian case as a mirror to the global crisis of liberalism, shattering the fantasy of rationality that haunts liberal responses to “post-truth” politics.

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Factional-Ideological Conflicts in Chinese Politics
To the Left or to the Right?
Olivia Cheung
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
This book reconstructs the factional-ideological conflicts surrounding socialist transformation and political reform in China that were played out through ‘factional model-making’, a norm-bound mechanism for elites of the Chinese Communist Party to contest the party line publicly. Dazhai, Anhui, Nanjie, Shekou, Shenzhen, Guangdong and Chongqing were cultivated into factional models by party elites before Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. Although factional model-making undermined party discipline, it often did not threaten regime security and even contributed to regime resilience through strengthening collective leadership and other means. This follows that the suppression of factional model-making under Xi might undermine longer-term regime resilience. However, Xi believes that regime security rests on his strongman rule, not any benefits that factional model-making may contribute. It is in this spirit that he grooms Zhejiang into a party model for his policy programme of common prosperity, which is designed to legitimize his vision of socialism.

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The First World War and Popular Cinema
1914 to the Present
Paris, Michael
Rutgers University Press, 2000

The Great War played an instrumental role in the development of cinema, so necessary was it to the mobilization efforts of the combatant nations. In turn, after the war, as memory began to fade, cinema continued to shape the war's legacy and eventually to determine the ways in which all warfare is imagined.

The First World War and Popular Cinema provides fresh insight into the role of film as an historical and cultural tool. Through a comparative approach, essays by contributors from Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States enrich our understanding of cinematic depictions of the Great War in particular and combat in general. New historical research on both the uses of propaganda and the development of national cinemas make this collection one of the first to show the ways in which film history can contribute to our study of national histories. The contributors to the volume monitor popular perceptions of the war, the reshaping of the war's legacy, and the evolution of cinematic clichés that are perpetuated in filmmaking through the century. Some of the films they discuss are All Quiet on the Western Front, Gallipoli, The Grand Illusion, The Big Parade, Battle of the Somme, J'Accuse, Regeneration, and many more. The First World War and Popular Cinema is a vital addition to film studies and history, two fields only recently united in a productive way.


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Framing Power in Visigothic Society
Discourses, Devices, and Artifacts
Eleonora Dell' Elicine
Amsterdam University Press, 2020
This volume examines how power was framed in Visigothic society and how a diverse population with a complex and often conflicting cultural inheritance was thereby held together as a single kingdom. Indeed, through this dynamic process a new, early medieval society emerged. Understanding this transformation is no simple matter, as it involved the deployment of an array of political and cultural resources: the production of knowledge, the appropriation of Patristic literature, controlling and administering rural populations, reconceptualizing the sacred, capital punishment and exile, controlling the manufacture of currency, and defining Visigothic society in relation to other polities such as the neighbouring Byzantine state. In order to achieve an analysis of these different phenomena, this volume brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach therefore expands the available sources and reformulates topics of traditional scholarship in order to engage with a renewal of Visigothic Studies and reformulate the paradigm of study itself. As a result, this volume rethinks frameworks of power in the Peninsula along not only historical and archaeological but also anthropological terms, presenting the reader with a new understanding of Iberian society as a whole.

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From Quills to Tweets
How America Communicates about War and Revolution
Adrea J. Dew, Marc A. Genest, and S. C. M. Paine, Editors
Georgetown University Press, 2020

While today's presidential tweets may seem a light-year apart from the scratch of quill pens during the era of the American Revolution, the importance of political communication is eternal. This book explores the roles that political narratives, media coverage, and evolving communication technologies have played in precipitating, shaping, and concluding or prolonging wars and revolutions over the course of US history. The case studies begin with the Sons of Liberty in the era of the American Revolution, cover American wars in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and conclude with a look at the conflict against ISIS in the Trump era. Special chapters also examine how propagandists shaped American perceptions of two revolutions of international significance: the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution. Each chapter analyzes its subject through the lens of the messengers, messages, and communications-technology-media to reveal the effects on public opinion and the trajectory and conduct of the conflict. The chapters collectively provide an overview of the history of American strategic communications on wars and revolutions that will interest scholars, students, and communications strategists.


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Fruits of Propaganda in the Tyler Administration
Frederick Merk
Harvard University Press, 1971
Frederick Merk explores a little-known aspect of the Tyler administration—the use of the President’s secret fund, intended for foreign intercourse, to gain domestic support for his policy—and finds in this a key to the administration’s success. Of the frustrating Maine boundary dispute he has relied on evidence hitherto unexplored or inaccessible. On the subject of the annexation of Texas he has examined the role of government-directed propaganda in the conversion of public opinion, especially in the North, to the extension of slave territory. In regard to Tyler he has steered a middle course between the opinion on the one hand that the president was a mediocrity carried to his successes by abler men, and on the other that he was the real director of his foreign policy. The book is a significant contribution to the history of government-directed propaganda in the United States and to a better understanding of the Tyler administration.

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Germany, Propaganda and Total War, 1914-1918
David Welch
Rutgers University Press, 2000

Adolf Hitler, writing in Mein Kampf, was scathing in his condemnation of German propaganda in the First World War, declaring that Germany had failed to recognize propaganda as a weapon of the first order. This despite the fact that propaganda had been regarded, arguably for the first time, as an intrinsic part of the war effort.

            David Welch has written the first book to fully examine German society — politics, propaganda, public opinion, and total war — in the Great War. Drawing on a wide range of sources — from posters, newspapers, journals, film, parliamentary debates, police and military reports, and private papers — Welch argues that the moral collapse of Germany was due less to the failure to disseminate propaganda than to the inability of the military authorities and the Kaiser to reinforce this propaganda, and to acknowledge the importance of public opinion in forging an effective link between leadership and the people.


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The Greater Good
Media, Family Removal, and TVA Dam Construction in North Alabama
Laura Beth Daws and Susan L. Brinson
University of Alabama Press, 2019
Examines the role of press coverage in promoting the mission of the TVA, facilitating family relocation, and formulating the historical legacy of the New Deal
For poverty-stricken families in the Tennessee River Valley during the Great Depression, news of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal plans to create the Tennessee Valley Authority—bringing the promise of jobs, soil conservation, and electricity—offered hope for a better life. The TVA dams would flood a considerable amount of land on the riverbanks, however, forcing many families to relocate. In exchange for this sacrifice for the “greater good,” these families were promised “fair market value” for their land. As the first geographic location to benefit from the electricity provided by TVA, the people of North Alabama had much to gain, but also much to lose.
In The Greater Good: Media, Family Removal, and TVA Dam Construction in North Alabama Laura Beth Daws and Susan L. Brinson describe the region’s preexisting conditions, analyze the effects of relocation, and argue that local newspapers had a significant impact in promoting the TVA’s agenda. The authors contend that it was principally through newspapers that local residents learned about the TVA and the process and reasons for relocation. Newspapers of the day encouraged regional cooperation by creating an overwhelmingly positive image of the TVA, emphasizing its economic benefits and disregarding many of the details of removal.
Using mostly primary research, the volume addresses two key questions: What happened to relocated families after they sacrificed their homes, lifestyles, and communities in the name of progress? And what role did mediated communication play in both the TVA’s family relocation process and the greater movement for the public to accept the TVA’s presence in their lives? The Greater Good offers a unique window into the larger impact of the New Deal in the South. Until now, most research on the TVA was focused on organizational development rather than on families, with little attention paid to the role of the media in garnering acceptance of a government-enforced relocation.

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Guardians of Power
The Myth of the Liberal Media
David Edwards and David Cromwell, Foreword by John Pilger
Pluto Press, 2005

"Guardians of Power ought to be required reading in every media college. It is the most important book about journalism I can remember."
- John Pilger

"Regular critical analysis of the media, filling crucial gaps and correcting the distortions of ideological prisms, has never been more important. Media Lens has performed a major public service by carrying out this task with energy, insight, and care."
- Noam Chomsky

"Media Lens is doing an outstanding job of pressing the mainstream media to at least follow their own stated principles and meet their public service obligations. [This is] fun as well as enlightening."
- Edward S. Herman

Can a corporate media system be expected to tell the truth about a world dominated by corporations?

Can newspapers, including the 'liberal' Guardian and the Independent, tell the truth about catastrophic climate change -- about its roots in mass consumerism and corporate obstructionism -- when they are themselves profit-oriented businesses dependent on advertisers for 75% of their revenues?

Can the BBC tell the truth about UK government crimes in Iraq when its senior managers are appointed by the government? Has anything fundamentally changed since BBC founder Lord Reith wrote of the establishment: "They know they can trust us not to be really impartial"?

Why did the British and American mass media fail to challenge even the most obvious government lies on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the invasion in March 2003? Why did the media ignore the claims of UN weapons inspectors that Iraq had been 90-95% "fundamentally disarmed" as early as 1998?

This book answers these questions, and more.

Since July 2001, Media Lens has encouraged thousands of readers to email senior editors and journalists, challenging them to account for their distorted reporting on Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Haiti, East Timor, climate change, Western crimes in Central America, and much more. The responses -- often surprising, sometimes outrageous -- reveal the arrogance, unaccountability and servility to power of even our most respected media.


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Guerrilla Marketing
Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia
Alexander L. Fattal
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Brand warfare is real. Guerrilla Marketing details the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. Alexander L. Fattal shows how the market has become one of the principal grounds on which counterinsurgency warfare is waged and postconflict futures are imagined in Colombia. This layered case study illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. Taking a global view of information warfare, Guerrilla Marketing combines archival research and extensive fieldwork not just with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and former rebel communities, but also with political exiles in Sweden and peace negotiators in Havana. Throughout, Fattal deftly intertwines insights into the modern surveillance state, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian interventions, on one hand, with critical engagements with marketing, consumer culture, and late capitalism on the other. The result is a powerful analysis of the intersection of conflict and consumerism in a world where governance is increasingly structured by brand ideology and wars sold as humanitarian interventions.
Full of rich, unforgettable ethnographic stories, Guerrilla Marketing is a stunning and troubling analysis of the mediation of global conflict.

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Habsburg Communication in the Dutch Revolt
Monica Stensland
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
This study takes a unique approach to the Dutch Revolt (1567-1609) by focusing on the largely untold story of the Habsburg regime and its local supporters in the Low Countries. The author takes a holistic approach and examines a variety of print and non-print—written, oral, and theatrical—media in order to discover how the regime made use of the different communication channels available. In addition, available sources have been used to document ordinary people’s responses to the conflict and the various messages they encountered in the public sphere. The result sheds new light on the Habsburg regime’s approach to communication and opinion-forming, while also providing a useful corrective to our understanding of rebel propaganda.

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The Jewish Enemy
Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust
Jeffrey Herf
Harvard University Press, 2008

The sheer magnitude of the Holocaust has commanded our attention for the past sixty years. The extent of atrocities, however, has overshadowed the calculus Nazis used to justify their deeds.

According to German wartime media, it was German citizens who were targeted for extinction by a vast international conspiracy. Leading the assault was an insidious, belligerent Jewish clique, so crafty and powerful that it managed to manipulate the actions of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Hitler portrayed the Holocaust as a defensive act, a necessary move to destroy the Jews before they destroyed Germany.

Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, and Otto Dietrich’s Press Office translated this fanatical vision into a coherent cautionary narrative, which the Nazi propaganda machine disseminated into the recesses of everyday life. Calling on impressive archival research, Jeffrey Herf recreates the wall posters that Germans saw while waiting for the streetcar, the radio speeches they heard at home or on the street, the headlines that blared from newsstands. The Jewish Enemy is the first extensive study of how anti-Semitism pervaded and shaped Nazi propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, and how it pulled together the diverse elements of a delusionary Nazi worldview. Here we find an original and haunting exposition of the ways in which Hitler legitimized war and genocide to his own people, as necessary to destroy an allegedly omnipotent Jewish foe. In an era when both anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories continue to influence world politics, Herf offers a timely reminder of their dangers along with a fresh interpretation of the paranoia underlying the ideology of the Third Reich.


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Jihad and Islam in World War I
Studies on the Ottoman Jihad on the Centenary of Snouck Hurgronje's "Holy War Made in Germany"
Edited by Erik-Jan Zürcher
Leiden University Press, 2015
Today’s headlines are full of references to jihad and jihadists, but they’re nothing new: a century ago, the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I was accompanied by a loud proclamation of jihad as well. This book resurrects that largely forgotten aspect of the war, investigating the background and nature of the proclamation, as well as its effects in the wider Middle East, the fears it stoked among German and British military leaders, and the accompanying academic debates about holy war and Islam.

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John Steinbeck Goes to War
The Moon is Down as Propaganda
Donald V. Coers
University of Alabama Press, 2005

In March 1942, a desperate period for the allies in World War II, John Steinbeck published his propaganda novel The Moon is Down­—the story of ruthless invaders who overrun a militarily helpless country.  Throughout the novel, Steinbeck underscored both the fatal weakness of the “invincible” unnamed aggressors and the inherent power of the human values shard by the “conquered” people.

The Moon is Down created an immediate sensation among American literary critics; fierce debate erupted over Steinbeck’s uncommonly sympathetic portrayal of the enemy and the novel’s power as a vehicle for propaganda.  Fifty years later, Coers continues the debate, relying heavily on unpublished letters and personal interviews with the lawyers, book dealers, actors, publishers, and housewives associated with the resistance movements in Western Europe.  Clandestine translations of The Moon Is Down quickly appeared and were widely circulated under the noses of the Gestapo.   Coers documents the fate of Steinbeck’s novel in the hands of World War II resistance fighters and deepens our appreciation of Steinbeck’s unique ability to express the feelings of oppressed peoples.


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The Law of Blood
Thinking and Acting as a Nazi
Johann Chapoutot
Harvard University Press, 2018

Winner of the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research

The scale and the depth of Nazi brutality seem to defy understanding. What could drive people to fight, kill, and destroy with such ruthless ambition? Observers and historians have offered countless explanations since the 1930s. According to Johann Chapoutot, we need to understand better how the Nazis explained it themselves. We need a clearer view, in particular, of how they were steeped in and spread the idea that history gave them no choice: it was either kill or die.

Chapoutot, one of France’s leading historians, spent years immersing himself in the texts and images that reflected and shaped the mental world of Nazi ideologues, and that the Nazis disseminated to the German public. The party had no official ur-text of ideology, values, and history. But a clear narrative emerges from the myriad works of intellectuals, apparatchiks, journalists, and movie-makers that Chapoutot explores.

The story went like this: In the ancient world, the Nordic-German race lived in harmony with the laws of nature. But since Late Antiquity, corrupt foreign norms and values—Jewish values in particular—had alienated Germany from itself and from all that was natural. The time had come, under the Nazis, to return to the fundamental law of blood. Germany must fight, conquer, and procreate, or perish. History did not concern itself with right and wrong, only brute necessity. A remarkable work of scholarship and insight, The Law of Blood recreates the chilling ideas and outlook that would cost millions their lives.


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Letters From Lexington
Reflections on Propaganda
Noam Chomsky
Pluto Press, 2004

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The Manufacture of Consent
J. Edgar Hoover and the Rhetorical Rise of the FBI
Stephen M. Underhill
Michigan State University Press, 2020
The second Red Scare was a charade orchestrated by a tyrant with the express goal of undermining the New Deal—so argues Stephen M. Underhill in this hard-hitting analysis of J. Edgar Hoover’s rhetorical agency. Drawing on Classification 94, a vast trove of recently declassified records that documents the longtime FBI director’s domestic propaganda campaigns in the mid-twentieth century, Underhill shows that Hoover used the growing power of his office to subvert the presidencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman and redirect the trajectory of U.S. culture away from social democracy toward a toxic brand of neoliberalism. He did so with help from Republicans who opposed organized labor and Southern Democrats who supported Jim Crow in what is arguably the most culturally significant documented political conspiracy in U.S. history, a wholesale domestic propaganda program that brainwashed Americans and remade their politics. Hoover also forged ties with the powerful fascist leaders of the period to promote his own political ambitions. All the while, as a love letter to Clyde Tolson still preserved in Hoover’s papers attests, he strove to pass for straight while promoting a culture that demonized same-sex love. The erosion of democratic traditions Hoover fostered continues to haunt Americans today.

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Manufacturing the Enemy
The Media War Against Cuba
Keith Bolender
Pluto Press, 2019
Mainstream media in the United States for the past 60 years has converged with the neo-colonial foreign policy objectives of the state to create a misinformed, biased narrative against the Cuban revolution. Using extensive examples, including pre-revolutionary historic coverage, journalist Keith Bolender reveals how the national press has established an anti-Cuba chronicle in adherence to Washington's unrelenting regime change policies. From coverage of the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cuban Five and the current issues of Obama's 'Cuban Thaw' in 2014 to the renewed hostility under the Trump Administration, the edition examines with specific clarity how damaging corporate media treatment of Cuba is to the understanding of the revolution and those who continue to support it. This original treatment scrutinises the foundation for the media’s hostility against Cuba's socialist political/economic system, providing new insight into the propaganda workings of the so called 'free' press in the US and across Western liberal democracies. The work is a unique resource for activists, journalists and students interested in the ever-complicated relationship between the United States and its island neighbour to the south.

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The Media and the Rwanda Genocide
Edited by Allan Thompson
Pluto Press, 2007
The news media played a crucial role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Local media fueled the killings, while international media either ignored or seriously misunderstood what was happening.

This is the first book to explore both sides of the media equation. Examining how local radio was used as a tool of hate, encouraging neighbors to turn against each other, the book also presents a critique of international media coverage. Bringing together local reporters, high-profile Western journalists, and leading media theorists, this is the only book to identify the extent of the media's accountability. It also examines deliberations by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on the role of the media in the genocide. This book is a startling record of the negative influence that the media can have. The authors put forward suggestions for the future, outlining how we can avoid censorship and propaganda and they argue for a new responsibility in media reporting.


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The Medicean Succession
Monarchy and Sacral Politics in Duke Cosimo dei Medici’s Florence
Gregory Murry
Harvard University Press, 2014

In 1537, Florentine Duke Alessandro dei Medici was murdered by his cousin and would-be successor, Lorenzino dei Medici. Lorenzino's treachery forced him into exile, however, and the Florentine senate accepted a compromise candidate, seventeen-year-old Cosimo dei Medici. The senate hoped Cosimo would act as figurehead, leaving the senate to manage political affairs. But Cosimo never acted as a puppet. Instead, by the time of his death in 1574, he had stabilized ducal finances, secured his borders while doubling his territory, attracted an array of scholars and artists to his court, academy, and universities, and, most importantly, dissipated the perennially fractious politics of Florentine life.

Gregory Murry argues that these triumphs were far from a foregone conclusion. Drawing on a wide variety of archival and published sources, he examines how Cosimo and his propagandists successfully crafted an image of Cosimo as a legitimate sacral monarch. Murry posits that both the propaganda and practice of sacral monarchy in Cosimo's Florence channeled preexisting local religious assumptions as a way to establish continuities with the city's republican and renaissance past. In The Medicean Succession, Murry elucidates the models of sacral monarchy that Cosimo chose to utilize as he deftly balanced his ambition with the political sensitivities arising from existing religious and secular traditions.


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Motherland in Danger
Soviet Propaganda during World War II
Karel C. Berkhoff
Harvard University Press, 2012

Much of the story about the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany has yet to be told. In Motherland in Danger, Karel Berkhoff addresses one of the most neglected questions facing historians of the Second World War: how did the Soviet leadership sell the campaign against the Germans to the people on the home front?

For Stalin, the obstacles were manifold. Repelling the German invasion would require a mobilization so large that it would test the limits of the Soviet state. Could the USSR marshal the manpower necessary to face the threat? How could the authorities overcome inadequate infrastructure and supplies? Might Stalin’s regime fail to survive a sustained conflict with the Germans?

Motherland in Danger takes us inside the Stalinist state to witness, from up close, its propaganda machine. Using sources in many languages, including memoirs and documents of the Soviet censor, Berkhoff explores how the Soviet media reflected—and distorted—every aspect of the war, from the successes and blunders on the front lines to the institution of forced labor on farm fields and factory floors. He also details the media’s handling of Nazi atrocities and the Holocaust, as well as its stinting treatment of the Allies, particularly the United States, the UK, and Poland. Berkhoff demonstrates not only that propaganda was critical to the Soviet war effort but also that it has colored perceptions of the war to the present day, both inside and outside of Russia.


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Nazi Soundscapes
Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945
Carolyn Birdsall
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
Many images of Nazi propaganda are universally recognizable, and symbolize the ways that the National Socialist party manipulated German citizens. What might an examination of the party’s various uses of sound reveal? In Nazi Soundscapes, Carolyn Birdsall offers an in-depth analysis of the cultural significance of sound and new technologies like radio and loudspeaker systems during the rise of the National Socialist party in the 1920s to the end of World War II. Focusing specifically on the urban soundscape of Düsseldorf, this study examines both the production and reception of sound-based propaganda in the public and private spheres. Birdsall provides a vivid account of sound as a key instrument of social control, exclusion, and violence during Nazi Germany, and she makes a persuasive case for the power of sound within modern urban history.

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The Opinions of Mankind
Racial Issues, Press, and Propaganda in the Cold War
Richard Lentz and Karla K. Gower
University of Missouri Press, 2011
During the Cold War, the Soviets were quick to publicize any incident of racial hostility in the United States. Since violence by white Americans against minorities was the perfect foil to America’s claim to be defenders of freedom, news of these occurrences was exploited to full advantage by the Russians. But how did the Soviets gain primary knowledge of race riots in small American towns? Certainly, the Soviets had reporters stationed stateside, in big cities like New York, but research reveals that the majority of their information came directly from U.S. media sources.

Throughout this period, the American press provided the foreign media with information about racially charged events in the United States. Such news coverage sometimes put Washington at a disadvantage, making it difficult for government officials to assuage foreign reactions to the injustices occurring on U.S. soil. Yet in other instances, the domestic press helped to promote favorable opinions abroad by articulating themes of racial progress. While still acknowledging racial abuses, these press spokesmen asserted that the situation in America was improving. Such paradoxical messages, both aiding and thwarting the efforts of the U.S. government, are the subject of The Opinions of Mankind: Racial Issues, Press, and Propaganda in the Cold War.

The study, by scholars Richard Lentz and Karla K. Gower, describes and analyzes the news discourse regarding U.S. racial issues from 1946 to 1965. The Opinions of Mankindnot only delves into the dissemination of race-related news to foreign outlets but also explores the impact foreign perceptions of domestic racism had on the U.S. government and its handling of foreign relations during the period. What emerges is an original, insightful contribution to Cold War studies. While other books examine race and foreign affairs during this period of American history, The Opinions of Mankind is the first to approach the subject from the standpoint of press coverage and its impact on world public opinion.

This exhaustively researched and compellingly written volume will appeal to media scholars, political historians, and general readers alike. By taking a unique approach to the study of this period, The Opinions of Mankind presents the workings behind the battles for public opinion that took place between 1946 and 1965.

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Pasta, Pizza and Propaganda
A Political History of Italian Food TV
Francesco Buscemi
Intellect Books, 2021
The history of Italy since the mid-1950s retold through the lens of food television.

In this dynamic interdisciplinary study at the intersection of food studies, media studies, and politics, Francesco Buscemi explores the central role of food in Italian culture through a political history of Italian food on national television. A highly original work of political history, the book tells the story of Italian food television from a political point of view: from the pioneering shows developed under strict Catholic control in the 1950s and 1960s to the left-wing political twists of the 1970s, the conservative riflusso or resurgence of the 1980s, through the disputed Berlusconian era, and into the contemporary rise of the celebrity chef. Through this lively and engaging work, we learn that cooking spaghetti in a TV studio is a political act, and by watching it, we become citizens.

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Pressing the Fight
Print, Propaganda, and the Cold War
Greg Barnhisel
University of Massachusetts Press, 2012
Although often framed as an economic, military, and diplomatic confrontation, the Cold War was above all a conflict of ideas. In official pronouncements and publications as well as via radio broadcasts, television, and film, the United States and the Soviet Union both sought to extend their global reach as much through the power of persuasion as by the use of force. Yet of all the means each side employed to press its ideological case, none proved more reliable or successful than print.

In this volume, scholars from a variety of disciplines explore the myriad ways print was used in the Cold War. Looking at materials ranging from textbooks and cookbooks to art catalogs, newspaper comics, and travel guides, they analyze not only the content of printed matter but also the material circumstances of its production, the people and institutions that disseminated it, and the audiences that consumed it. Among the topics discussed are the infiltration of book publishing by propagandists East and West; the distribution of pro-American printed matter in postwar Japan through libraries, schools, and consulates; and the collaboration of foundations, academia, and the government in the promotion of high culture as evidence of the superiority of Western values.

At the same time, many of the qualities that made print the preferred medium of official propaganda also made it an effective instrument for challenging Cold War orthodoxies at home and abroad. Because printed materials were relatively easy to transport, to copy, and to share, they could just as well be used to bridge differences among people and cultures as to exploit them. They also provided a vehicle for disseminating satire and other expressions of dissent.

In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Ed Brunner, Russell Cobb, Laura Jane Gifford, Patricia Hills, Christian Kanig, Scott Laderman, Amanda Laugesen, Martin Manning, Kristin Matthews, Hiromi Ochi, Amy Reddinger, and James Smith. Together their essays move beyond traditional Cold War narratives to gauge the role of a crucial cultural medium in the ideological battle between the superpowers and their surrogates.

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Propaganda and Persecution
Renée Poznanski
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
Renée Poznanski’s magisterial history of the French Resistance during World War II offers a comprehensive exploration of the most significant issue in that period’s social imaginary: the “Jewish question.” With extraordinary nuance, she analyzes the discourse around Jews and Judaism that pervaded the Resistance’s propaganda and debates, while closely examining the fate of Jews under Vichy and after. 

Poznanski argues that Jews in France suffered a double persecution: one led by the Vichy government, the other imposed by the Nazis. Marginalization and exclusion soon led to internment and deportation to terrifying places. Meanwhile, a propaganda war developed between the Resistance and the official voice of Vichy. Poznanski draws on a breathtaking array of sources, especially clandestine publications and French-language BBC transmissions, to show how the Resistance both fought and accommodated the deeply entrenched antisemitism within French society. Her close readings of propaganda texts against public opinions probe ambiguities and silences in Resistance writing about the persecution of the Jews and, in parallel, the numerous and detailed denunciations that could be read in the Jewish clandestine press. This extensive synthesis extends to the post-Liberation period, during which the ongoing persecution of Jews in Europe and North Africa would be portrayed as secondary to the suffering of the nation.

The winner of the 2009 Henri Hertz Prize by the Chancellerie des Universités de Paris, Sorbonne, Propaganda and Persecution makes major contributions to the study of the Resistance and of antisemitism. Lenn J. Schramm’s English translation brings Poznanski’s dynamic prose to life.

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Propaganda and Persuasion
The Cold War and the Canadian-Soviet Friendship Society
Jennifer Anderson
University of Manitoba Press, 2017

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Propaganda and Promotional Activities
An Annotated Bibliography
Harold Lasswell
University of Minnesota Press, 1935
Propaganda and Promotional Activities: An Annotated Bibliography was first published in 1935. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.Every aspect of the subject of propaganda, or the “manipulation of collective responses,” is covered in the forty-five hundred titles listed in this exceptionally useful reference book. Included in the bibliography are books, pamphlets, and articles, many in foreign languages, dealing with the following topics:1. The aims and methods of propaganda in the fields of politics and government, international relations, business and the professions, public and private finance, labor and agriculture, religion and morals, education, and social reform.2. The media used in the dissemination of propaganda: the newspaper, the periodical, and the graphic arts; the radio; the press agent, the public relations counselor, and the advertising agency; the stage and screen; the lecture platform, the salon, and the tavern; the public fair, exposition, and museum.3. The effectiveness of the various propagandist methods.4. The function and regulation of propaganda in modern society.The volume opens with an essay by Professor Laswell on “The Study and Practice of Propaganda.” Complete subject and author indexes are also included.

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Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy
History, Theory, Analysis
Edited by Gae Lyn Henderson and M. J. Braun Foreword by Charles Bazerman
Southern Illinois University Press, 2016
The study of propaganda’s uses in modern democracy highlights important theoretical questions about normative rhetorical practices. Is rhetoric ethically neutral? Is propaganda? How can facticity, accuracy, and truth be determined? Do any circumstances justify misrepresentation? Edited by Gae Lyn Henderson and M. J. Braun, Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy: History, Theory, Analysis advances our understanding of propaganda and rhetoric. Essays focus on historical figures—Edward Bernays, Jane Addams, Kenneth Burke, and Elizabeth Bowen—examining the development of the theory of propaganda during the rise of industrialism and the later changes of a mass-mediated society. Modeling a variety of approaches, case studies in the book consider contemporary propaganda and analyze the means and methods of propaganda production and distribution, including broadcast news, rumor production and globalized multimedia, political party manifestos, and university public relations.

Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy offers new perspectives on the history of propaganda, explores how it has evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and advances a much more nuanced understanding of what it means to call discourse propaganda.

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The Propaganda of Freedom
JFK, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and the Cultural Cold War
Joseph Horowitz
University of Illinois Press, 2023
The perils of equating notions of freedom with artistic vitality

Eloquently extolled by President John F. Kennedy, the idea that only artists in free societies can produce great art became a bedrock assumption of the Cold War. That this conviction defied centuries of historical evidence--to say nothing of achievements within the Soviet Union--failed to impact impregnable cultural Cold War doctrine.

Joseph Horowitz writes: “That so many fine minds could have cheapened freedom by over-praising it, turning it into a reductionist propaganda mantra, is one measure of the intellectual cost of the Cold War.” He shows how the efforts of the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom were distorted by an anti-totalitarian “psychology of exile” traceable to its secretary general, the displaced Russian aristocrat/composer Nicolas Nabokov, and to Nabokov’s hero Igor Stravinsky.

In counterpoint, Horowitz investigates personal, social, and political factors that actually shape the creative act. He here focuses on Stravinsky, who in Los Angeles experienced a “freedom not to matter,” and Dmitri Shostakovich, who was both victim and beneficiary of Soviet cultural policies. He also takes a fresh look at cultural exchange and explores paradoxical similarities and differences framing the popularization of classical music in the Soviet Union and the United States. In closing, he assesses the Kennedy administration’s arts advocacy initiatives and their pertinence to today’s fraught American national identity.

Challenging long-entrenched myths, The Propaganda of Freedom newly explores the tangled relationship between the ideology of freedom and ideals of cultural achievement.


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Protest and Propaganda
W. E. B. Du Bois, the CRISIS, and American History
Edited by Amy Helene Kirschke and Phillip Luke Sinitiere
University of Missouri Press, 2013

In looking back on his editorship of Crisis magazine, W. E. B. Du Bois said, “We condensed more news about Negroes and their problems in a month than most colored papers before this had published in a year.” Since its founding by Du Bois in 1910, Crisis has been the primary published voice of the NAACP. Born in an age of Jim Crow racism, often strapped for funds, the magazine struggled and endured, all the while providing a forum for people of color to document their inherent dignity and proclaim their definitive worth as human beings.

As the magazine’s editor from 1910 until 1934, Du Bois guided the content and the aim of Crisis with a decisive hand. He ensured that each issue argued for civil rights, economic justice, and social equality, always framing America’s intractable color line in an international perspective. Du Bois benefited from a deep pool of black literary and artistic genius, whether by commissioning the visual creativity of Harlem Renaissance artists for Crisis covers or by publishing poems and short stories from New Negro writers. From North to South, from East to West, and even reaching across the globe, Crisis circulated its ideas and marshaled its impact far and wide.

Building on the solid foundation Du Bois laid, subsequent editors and contributors covered issues vital to communities of color, such as access to resources during the New Deal era, educational opportunities related to the historic Brown decision, the realization of basic civil rights at midcentury, American aid to Africa and Caribbean nations, and the persistent economic inequalities of today’s global era.

Despite its importance, little has been written about the historical and cultural significance of this seminal magazine. By exploring how Crisis responded to critical issues, the essays in Protest and Propaganda provide the first well-rounded, in-depth look at the magazine's role and influence. The authors show how the essays, columns, and visuals published in Crisis changed conversations, perceptions, and even laws in the United States, thereby calling a fractured nation to more fully live up to its democratic creed. They explain how the magazine survived tremendous odds, document how the voices of justice rose above the clamor of injustice, and demonstrate how relevant such literary, journalistic, and artistic postures remain in a twenty-first-century world still in crisis.


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Public Opinion, Propaganda, and Politics in 18th-Century England
A Study of the Jew Bill of 1753
Thomas W. Perry
Harvard University Press

In 1753, at the request of the London Jewish community, the Peiham administration passed an act repealing the religious test that prevented Jewish aliens from being naturalized. This act, formally known as the Jewish Naturalization Act, was of negligible practical importance, but political opponents exploited the issue for an upcoming election campaign. The "Jew Bill" became a battle cry that swept across England. The Peiham administration, sensing the political damage that could be caused by the bill, bowed to the clamor and then took the initiative in defeating its own act.

This book is the first thorough account of that notorious but little-understood episode in English history. Using a largely narrative form the author first discusses the position of the Jews in the mid-eighteenth century and explains why they sought and obtained passage of the bill. He then recounts the beginnings of opposition to it and discusses the religious, economic, political, and psychological reasons for the opposition. He describes in detail the propaganda campaign against the bill and the resultant effect on the election.

The author concludes that this was not an isolated explosion of anti-Semitism, but rather a renewal of a long-standing debate over general naturalization policy. He further concludes that Parliament was more sensitive to public opinion than is generally supposed and that the terms "Whig supremacy" or "trusteeship" are not entirely accurate.

The reader will find that this study reveals much of the English political system of that era: the style and structure of parliamentary politics and electioneering; religious attitudes and economic notions; and the methods and ethical and intellectual standards of journalism and political propaganda.


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The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen
From Sokol’niki Park to Chicago’s South Side
Kate A. Baldwin
Dartmouth College Press, 2016
This book demonstrates the ways in which the kitchen—the centerpiece of domesticity and consumerism—was deployed as a recurring motif in the ideological and propaganda battles of the Cold War. Beginning with the famous Nixon–Khrushchev kitchen debate, Baldwin shows how Nixon turned the kitchen into a space of exception, while contemporary writers, artists, and activists depicted it as a site of cultural resistance. Focusing on a wide variety of literature and media from the United States and the Soviet Union, Baldwin reveals how the binary logic at work in Nixon’s discourse—setting U.S. freedom against Soviet totalitarianism—erased the histories of slavery, gender subordination, colonialism, and racial genocide. The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen treats the kitchen as symptomatic of these erasures, connecting issues of race, gender, and social difference across national boundaries. This rich and rewarding study—embracing the literature, film, and photography of the era—will appeal to a broad spectrum of scholars.

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Reporting of Social Science in the National Media
Carol Weiss
Russell Sage Foundation, 1988
Policy makers, as well as the general public, are often unaware of social science research until a story about it appears in the national media. Even in official Washington, a staffer's report on social research may go unnoticed while a report in the Washington Post receives immediate attention. This study takes a systematic and revealing look at social science reporting. How do journalists hear about social science, and why do they select certain stories to cover and not others? How do journalistic standards for selection compare with social scientists' own judgments of merit? How do reporters attempt to ensure accuracy, and how freely do they introduce their own interpretations of social science findings? How satisfied are social scientists with the selection and accuracy of social science news? In Part I, Carol H. Weiss addresses these questions on the basis of personal interviews with social scientists and the journalists who wrote about their work. Part II, by Eleanor Singer, is based on an analysis of media content itself, and compares social science reporting over time (between 1970 and 1982) and across media (newspapers, newsmagazines, television). These two complementary perspectives combine to produce a thorough, realistic assessment of the way social science moves out of the academy and into the world of news.

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Reporting on Risk
How the Mass Media Portray Accidents, Diseases, Other Hazards
Eleanor Singer
Russell Sage Foundation, 1993
After acts of airline terrorism, air travel tends to drop dramatically—yet Americans routinely pursue the far riskier business of driving cards, where accidents resulting in death or injury are much more likely to occur. Reporting on Risk argues that this selective concern with danger is powerfully shaped by the media, whose coverage of potentially hazardous events is governed more by a need to excite the public than to inform it. Singer and Endreny survey a wide range of print and electronic media to provide an unprecedented look at how hundreds of different hazards are presented to the public—from toxic waste and food poisoning to cigarette smoking, from transportation accidents to famine, and from experimental surgery to communicable diseases. Their investigations raise thought-provoking questions about what the media tell us about modern risks, which hazards are covered and which ignored, and how the media determine when hazards should be considered risky. Are natural hazards reported differently than man-made hazards? Is greater emphasis placed on the potential benefits or the potential drawbacks of complex new technologies? Are journalists more concerned with reporting on unproven cures or informing the public about preventative measures? Do newspapers differ from magazines and television in their risk reporting practices? Reporting on Risk investigates how the media place blame for disasters, and looks at how the reporting of risks has changed in the past twenty-five years as such hazards as nuclear power, birth control methods, and industrial by-products have grown in national prominence. The authors demonstrate that the media often fail to report on risks until energized by the occurrence of some disastrous or dramatic event—the Union Carbide pesticide leak in Bhopal, the Challenger explosion, the outbreak of famine in Somalia, or the failed transplant of a baboon heart to "Baby Fae." Sustained attention to these hazards depends less on whether the underlying issues have been resolved than on whether they continue to unfold in newsworthy events. Reporting on Risk examines the accuracy and the amount of information we receive about our environment. It offers a critical perspective on how our perceptions of risk, as shaped by the media, may contribute to misguided individual and public choices for action and prevention in an increasingly complex world. The authors' probing assessment of how the media report a vast array of risks offers insights useful to journalists, policy analysts, risk specialists, legislators, and concerned citizens.

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Russia and the Media
The Makings of a New Cold War
Greg McLaughlin
Pluto Press, 2020
President Vladimir Putin is a figure of both fear and fascination in the Western imagination. In the minds of media pundits and commentators, he personifies Russia itself - a country riven with contradictions, enthralling and yet always a threat to world peace.

But recent propaganda images that define public debate around growing tensions with Russia are not new or arbitrary. Russia and the Media asks, what is the role of Western journalism in constructing a new kind of Cold War with Russia? Focusing on British and US media coverage of moments of crisis and of co-operation between the West and Russia, McLaughlin exposes how such a Cold War framework shapes public perceptions of a major, hostile power reasserting itself on the world stage.

Scrutinizing events such as the Ukraine/Crimea crisis, the Skripal Poisoning and Russia's military intervention in Syria - as well as analyzing media coverage of the 2018 Russian presidential election and build up to the 2018 World Cup - Russia and the Media makes a landmark intervention at the intersection of media studies and international relations.

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Soldiers of the Pen
The Writers' War Board in World War II
Thomas Howell
University of Massachusetts Press, 2019
From 1942 to 1945, a small, influential group of media figures willingly volunteered their services to form the Writers' War Board (WWB), accepting requests from government agencies to create propaganda. Members included mystery writer Rex Stout, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck, novelist and sports writer Paul Gallico, Book-of-the-Month Club editor and popular radio host Clifton Fadiman, and Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The WWB mobilized thousands of other writers across the country to spread its campaigns through articles, public appearances, radio broadcasts, and more.

The WWB received federal money while retaining its status as a private organization that could mount campaigns without government oversight. Historian Thomas Howell argues that this unique position has caused its history to fall between the cracks, since it was not recognized as an official part of the government's war effort. Yet the WWB's work had a huge impact on the nation's wartime culture, and this fascinating history will inform contemporary thinking on propaganda, the media, and American society.

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Spider Web
The Birth of American Anticommunism
Nick Fischer
University of Illinois Press, 2016
The McCarthy-era witch hunts marked the culmination of an anticommunist crusade launched after the First World War. With Bolshevism triumphant in Russia and public discontent shaking the United States, conservatives at every level of government and business created a network dedicated to sweeping away the "spider web" of radicalism they saw threatening the nation. In this groundbreaking study, Nick Fischer shines a light on right-wing activities during the interwar period. Conservatives, eager to dispel communism's appeal to the working class, railed against a supposed Soviet-directed conspiracy composed of socialists, trade unions, peace and civil liberties groups, feminists, liberals, aliens, and Jews. Their rhetoric and power made for devastating weapons in their systematic war for control of the country against progressive causes. But, as Fischer shows, the term spider web far more accurately described the anticommunist movement than it did the makeup and operations of international communism. Fischer details how anticommunist myths and propaganda influenced mainstream politics in America, and how its ongoing efforts paved the way for the McCarthyite Fifties--and augured the conservative backlash that would one day transform American politics.

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Staging China
The Politics of Mass Spectacle
Florian Schneider
Leiden University Press, 2019
The People’s Republic of China began the 21st century with a new-and-improved public relations approach that was meant to counter anxieties about China’s role in the world while simultaneously showcasing its leadership’s policies to a domestic audience. Crucial to this communication strategy have been networked spectacles: elaborate mass events, designed to reconfigure organizations, ideas, and relations between people. In Staging China, Florian Schneider analyzes large-scale projects like the Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai Expo to show how such spectacles became part of the ruling party’s governance toolkit under Hu Jintao’s leadershi, and how their legacy informs politics and political communication in China to this day.

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Tactical Inclusion
Difference and Vulnerability in U.S. Military Advertising
Jeremiah Favara
University of Illinois Press, 2024
The revolution in military recruitment advertising to people of color and women played an essential role in making the US military one of the most diverse institutions in the United States. Starting at the dawn of the all-volunteer era, Jeremiah Favara illuminates the challenges at the heart of military inclusion by analyzing recruitment ads published in three commercial magazines: Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan, and Ebony. Favara draws on Black feminism, critical race theory, and queer of color critique to reveal how the military and advertisers affected change by deploying a set of strategies and practices called tactical inclusion. As Favara shows, tactical inclusion used representations of servicemembers in the new military to connect with people susceptible to recruiting efforts and rendered these new audiences vulnerable to, valuable to, and subject to state violence.

Compelling and eye-opening, Tactical Inclusion combines original analysis with personal experience to chart advertising’s role in building the all-volunteer military.


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Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
Alex Carey
University of Illinois Press, 1995
Alex Carey documents the twentieth-century history of corporate propaganda as practiced by U.S. businesses, and its export to and adoption by Western democracies like the United Kingdom and Australia. The collection, drawn from Carey's voluminous unpublished writings, examines how and why the business elite successfully sold its values and perspectives to the rest of society.

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Theater & Propaganda
By George H. Szanto
University of Texas Press, 1978

This original and insightful study explores the points at which theater and propaganda meet. Defining propaganda as a form of "activated ideology," George H. Szanto discusses the distortion of information that occurs in dramatic literature in its stage, film, and television forms.

Szanto analyzes the nature of "integration propaganda," which is designed to render the audience passive and to encourage the acceptance of the status quo, as opposed to "agitation propaganda," which aims to inspire the audience to action. In Szanto's view, most popular western theater is saturated, though usually not intentionally, with integration propaganda. The overall purpose of Theater and Propaganda is twofold: to analyze the nature of integration propaganda so that it becomes visible to western readers as a tool of the dominant class in society, and to examine the manner by which unself-conscious propagandistic methods have saturated dramatic presentation.

In discussing the importance of propaganda within and between technological states, the author examines the seminal work of Jacques Ellul. In this chapter he analyzes the function of integration propaganda in a relatively stable society. The following chapter defines and analyzes three theaters (in the sense of performance) of propaganda: the theater of agitation propaganda, of integration propaganda, and of dialectical propaganda. In this section he uses examples from a variety of plays, movies, and television commercials. In succeeding chapters Szanto discusses the role of integration propaganda in the medieval Wakefield mystery plays and the plays of Samuel Beckett. The appendix, "Contradiction and Demystification," provides a general model that suggests ways of breaking down and overcoming the propagandistic intentions of an artwork and discusses theater's possible role in this breakdown.


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A Voice in Their Own Destiny
Reagan, Thatcher, and Public Diplomacy in the Nuclear 1980s
Anthony M. Eames
University of Massachusetts Press, 2023

On June 8, 1982, Ronald Reagan delivered a historic address to the British Parliament, promising that the United States would give people around the world “a voice in their own destiny” in the struggle against Soviet totalitarianism. While British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher celebrated Reagan’s visit and thanked him for putting “freedom on the offensive,” over 100,000 Britons marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square to protest his arrival and call for nuclear disarmament. Reagan’s homecoming was equally eventful, with 1,000,000 protesters marking his return with a rally for nuclear disarmament in Central Park—the largest protest in American history up to that point.

Employing a wide range of previously unexamined primary sources, Anthony M. Eames demonstrates how the Reagan and Thatcher administrations used innovations in public diplomacy to build back support for their foreign policy agendas at a moment of widespread popular dissent. A Voice in Their Own Destiny traces how competition between the governments of Reagan and Thatcher, the Anglo-American antinuclear movement, and the Soviet peace offensive sparked a revolution in public diplomacy.


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War of Words
Dutch Pro-Boer Propaganda and the South African War (1899-1902)
Vincent Kuitenbrouwer
Amsterdam University Press, 2012
The Boer War gripped the Dutch public during the turn of the nineteenth century, when the Boer Republics, made up of descendants of seventeenth-century settlers from the Netherlands, were fighting the British Empire in South Africa. War of Words examines the ample Dutch propaganda during this time period, which attempted to counterweigh the British coverage of the war. Vincent Kuitenbrouwer offers a highly readable study of the pro-Boer movement in the Netherlands both during the Boer War and far into the twentieth century, while exploring the representation of South Africans in Dutch-language publications and the several persistent stereotypes that colored the Dutch attitude toward the Boers.

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Warping Time
How Contending Political Forces Manipulate the Past, Present, and Future
Benjamin Ginsberg and Jennifer Bachner
University of Michigan Press, 2023

Warping Time shows how narratives of the past influence what people believe about the present and future state of the world. In Benjamin Ginsberg and Jennifer Bachner’s simple experiments, in which the authors measured the impact of different stories their subjects heard about the past, these “history lessons” moved contemporary policy preferences by an average of 16 percentage points; forecasts of the future moved contemporary policy preferences by an average of 12 percentage points; the two together moved preferences an average of 21 percentage points. And, in an Orwellian twist, the authors estimate that the “history lessons” had an average “erasure effect” of 8.5 percentage points—the difference between those with long-held preferences and those who did not recall that they previously held other opinions before participating in the experiment. The fact that the past, present, and future are subject to human manipulation suggests that history is not simply the product of impersonal forces, material conditions, or past choices. Humans are the architects of history, not its captives. Political reality is tenuous. Changes in our understanding of the past or future can substantially alter perceptions of and action in the present. Finally, the manipulation of time, especially the relationship between past and future, is a powerful political tool.


front cover of World War II and the Cold War
World War II and the Cold War
The Rhetoric of Hearts and Minds, Volume VIII
Martin J. Medhurst
Michigan State University Press, 2018
This volume examines crucial moments in the rhetoric of the Cold War, beginning with an exploration of American neutrality and the debate over entering World War II. Other topics include the long-distance debate carried on over international radio between Hitler and Franklin D. Roosevelt; understanding and interpreting World War II propaganda; domestic radio following the war and the use of Abraham Lincoln narratives as vehicles for American propaganda; the influence of foreign policy agents Dean Acheson, Paul Nitze, and George Kennan; and the rhetoric of former presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Ultimately, this volume offers a broad-based look at the rhetoric framing the Cold War and in doing so offers insight into the political climate of today.

front cover of World's Fairs on the Eve of War
World's Fairs on the Eve of War
Science, Technology, and Modernity, 1937–1942
Robert H. Kargon
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015
Since the first world’s fair in London in 1851, at the dawn of the era of industrialization, international expositions served as ideal platforms for rival nations to showcase their advancements in design, architecture, science and technology, industry, and politics. Before the outbreak of World War II, countries competing for leadership on the world stage waged a different kind of war—with cultural achievements and propaganda—appealing to their own national strengths and versions of modernity in the struggle for power. World’s Fairs on the Eve of War examines five fairs and expositions from across the globe—including three that were staged (Paris, 1937; Dusseldorf, 1937; and New York, 1939–40), and two that were in development before the war began but never executed (Tokyo, 1940; and Rome, 1942). This coauthored work considers representations of science and technology at world’s fairs as influential cultural forces and at a critical moment in history, when tensions and ideological divisions between political regimes would soon lead to war.

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