Introduction to Propaganda &SovietPropagandaPosters Mr. Daniel Lazar
Operation Definition of Propaganda "Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels.” -Richard Alan Nelson
Quotations on Propaganda I “Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.” -Hannah Arendt “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.” -Edward Bernays
Quotations on Propaganda II “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” -Joseph Goebbels
Quotations on Propaganda III • "The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.“ • “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” -Noam Chomsky
Types of Propaganda I • Ad Hominem: attacking one’s opponent, as opposed to attacking their arguments. • Appeal to authority: Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action. • Appeal to fear: Appeals to fear seek to build support by instilling anxieties and panic in the general population, for example, Joseph Goebbels exploited Theodore Kaufman's Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people. • Bandwagon: Bandwagon and "inevitable-victory" appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to join in and take the course of action that "everyone else is taking." (akin to the “Beautiful People” approach) • Black-and-White fallacy: Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice. ("You are either with us or against us") • Big Lie: The repeated articulation of a complex of events that justify subsequent action. The descriptions of these events have elements of truth, and the "big lie" generalizations merge and eventually supplant the public's accurate perception of the underlying events. After World War I the German Stab in the back explanation of the cause of their defeat became a justification for Nazi re-militarization and aggression.
Types of Propaganda II • Demonizing the enemy: Making individuals from the opposing nation, from a different ethnic group, or those who support the opposing viewpoint appear to be subhuman • Direct order: This technique hopes to simplify the decision making process by using images and words to tell the audience exactly what actions to take, eliminating any other possible choices. Authority figures can be used to give the order, overlapping it with the Appeal to authority technique, but not necessarily. (The Uncle Sam "I want you" image is an example of this technique.) • Euphoria: The use of an event that generates euphoria or happiness, or using an appealing event to boost morale. Euphoria can be created by declaring a holiday, making luxury items available, or mounting a military parade with marching bands and patriotic messages. • Disinformation: The creation or deletion of information from public records, in the purpose of making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organization, including outright forgery of photographs, motion pictures, broadcasts, and sound recordings as well as printed documents. • Flag-waving: An attempt to justify an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic, or in some way benefit a group, country, or idea.
Types of Propaganda III • Intentional vagueness: Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. (e.g. “Fight for Freedom”) • Obtain disapproval: This technique is used to persuade a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. This is a form of Faulty Logic, where a is said to = x, and b is said to = x, then, therefore, a = b. (Lazar likes sushi, fascists like sushi, thus Lazar is a fascist) • Oversimplification: Favorable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic, or military problems. • Quotes out of Context: Selective editing of quotes which can change meanings. • Red herring: Presenting data or issues that, while compelling, are irrelevant to the argument at hand, and then claiming that it validates the argument.
Types of Propaganda IV • Scapegoating: Assigning blame to an individual or group, thus alleviating feelings of guilt from responsible parties and/or distracting attention from the need to fix the problem for which blame is being assigned. • Slogans: A slogan is a brief, striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. • Transfer/Association: projecting positive or negative qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organization, nation, patriotism, etc.) to another to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. It evokes an emotional response, which stimulates the target to identify with recognized authorities. • Virtue words: These are words in the value system of the target audience which tend to produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue. Peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom,
Workers in supply companies, pictured below, have to speed up production in order to finish the large factories above in time. With shock labor we will ensure prompt delivery of the giants of the Five Year Plan
The message of this poster is directed to members of Komsomol, the communist youth organization. They have to set an example of civilized living and productive working. The composition is flatter, more 'socialist-realist' than Klutsis' earlier work. Klutsis has to comply with ever stricter artistic regulations. Civilized life - productive work
The first Five Year Plan aims to build up heavy industry from virtually nothing. This poster advertises a state loan for the building of large factories. Help build the gigantic factories
The collectivization of agriculture means the forced merging of small private farms into large state enterprises. Here, the private farmer is pictured as a rich saboteur, jealous of the abundant harvest of the collective farm. In reality, rich farmers had already been disposed of. The remaining private farms were small, owned by poor peasants. The forced collectivization caused severe food shortages for years and years. Towards the collective
Poster directed at women farmers, delegated to the meeting of 'the crack brigade of forewomen of Sots-Stroitelstva' where discussions are to be held concerning 'the realization of full collectivization and the liquidation of the kulaks as a class'. Packed in an avant garde design, the political jargon of the poster is stifling. Female delegate, stand to the fore!
A poster issued only one or two months after the Bolshevik takeover. The image is traditional, the typography unsophisticated, but the composition and the deep, contrasting colors lend this poster great charm. Women, adhere to the cooperation
In its first years, the communist regime organizes extensive campaigns to combat illiteracy. This poster uses the classical symbol of the winged horse Pegasus as distributor of knowledge. The text in the book reads 'Proletarians of all countries ...' Literacy is the path to communism
The illiterate farmer, on top, has a poor harvest. His cow dies, he does not know the way in town and dies in poverty, leaving a young child. The literate farmer has read how to improve his harvest and knows where to buy a good cow. When he dies, his son is older and able to take over the farm. Note the bookshelf in the last picture. The life of the illiterate - The life of the literate
One of Klutsis' most famous photomontages. With the heavily emphasized diagonal, the dynamic composition and the strong contrasts, this poster is one of the classics of Constructivism. The first impression of 30.000 copies had a selling price of 80 copecks, which is next to nothing. The estimated market value of a copy in good condition nowadays is over $ 10.000. The USSR is the crack brigade of the world proletariat
A parade, tanks, military airplanes and soldiers: Stalin may be smiling friendly, but war preparations are in full swing. Long Live The Man of Steel!
Beginning in 1928, Latvian artist Gustav Klustis employs militant typography and montage to promote Soviet messages through eye-popping posters. His main mission is to glorify Stalin, which he does by making his image large and always clearly in command. And when Stalin's purges claim the reputations and the lives of the once-loyal, Klustis reworks his material, as he does with this photomontage, beginning by hacking two army marshals from Stalin's side. Marshal Yegorov, who remains in the poster, is tortured to death in 1939. Klustis also suffers under Stalin's regime; he is arrested in 1938 and is eventually killed. Stalin Revised…
Postcard, 1917. Soldiers with sign stating, "Watches of gold and silver." Same photo, but signboard is replaced with slogans. "Watches gold and silver." Now it reads "Struggle for your rights." Likewise the flag being waved says, "Down with the monarchy - long live the Republic!" has no visible words in the original. In the Soviet Union, distorted images were used to further the cause of communism and to boost the reputations of those in power. If photographs are usually considered facts... What happens to the truth when the facts are altered?
A 1947 comic book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society warning of "the dangers of a Communist takeover". Stalin is Not Alone…