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Propaganda in World War I. Peru Social 8. What is propaganda?

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Propaganda in

World War I

Peru Social 8


What is propaganda?

    • Propaganda is the deliberate attempt to spread ideas that help a certain cause or hurt an opposing cause. It is used to shape public opinion. Propaganda has been used throughout history. It is important to recognize propaganda in order to understand historical events.

How was propaganda used during wwI?

    • During World War I, both the Allies and the Central Powers used propaganda to try to win support for their side. However, it was the United States that created some of the most powerful propaganda of the war. President Wilson created an entire government agency called the Committee on Public Information (CPI) to manage the propaganda effort for the United States. Under the direction of a former newspaper editor named George Creel, the CPI created posters, songs, and speeches that encouraged young men to join the military and urged other Americans to donate money through the “Liberty Loans” program.

What is the point of this activity?

      • In this activity, we will look at some of the most famous American propaganda of World War I to identify the message and technique used to shape opinion or create a desired reaction. It will help you to understand how propaganda was used during World War I. It will also help you to recognize propaganda in current events because it is used by governments today.

Four Techniques of Propaganda

    • Half-Truths: A picture, newspaper article, or chart can show facts that are correct, but show only some of the facts
    • Name-Calling: One side might call the other side “barbarians” for example
    • Identifying a cause with a famous person or a noble idea
    • Using symbols or words that show the other side in the worst possible light
over there george m cohan 1918
Over ThereGeorge M. Cohan, 1918

First Verse:

Johnnie, get your gun,

Get your gun, get your gun,

Take it on the run,

On the run, on the run.

Hear them calling, you and me,

Every son of liberty.

Hurry right away,

No delay, go today,

Make your daddy glad

To have had such a lad.

Tell your sweetheart not to pine,

To be proud her boy's in line.

(chorus sung twice)


Over there, over there,

Send the word,

send the word over there -

That the Yanks are coming,

The Yanks are coming,

The drums rum-tumming


So prepare, say a pray'r,

Send the word,

send the word to beware.

We'll be over,

we're coming over,

And we won't come back

till it's over

Over there.

Second Verse:

Johnnie, get your gun,

Get your gun, get your gun,

Johnnie show the Hun

You’re a son of a gun.

Hoist the flag and let her fly,

Yankee Doodle do or die.

Pack your little kit,

Show your grit, do your bit.

Yankee to the ranks,

From the towns and the tanks.

Make your mother proud of you,

And the old Red, White and Blue.

(chorus sung twice)


Poem Read by Four Minute Men

“It’s Duty Boy”

My boy must never bring disgrace to his immortal sires—

At Valley Forge and Lexington they kindled freedom’s fires,

John’s father died at Gettysburg, mine fell at Chancellorsville;

While John himself was with the boys who charged up San Juan Hill.

And John, if he was living now, would surely say with me,

"No son of ours shall e’er disgrace our grand old family tree

By turning out a slacker when his country needs his aid."

It is not of such timber that America was made.

I’d rather you had died at birth or not been born at all,

Than know that I had raised a son who cannot hear the call

That freedom has sent round the world, its previous rights to save—

This call is meant for you, my boy, and I would have you brave;

And though my heart is breaking, boy, I bid you do your part,

And show the world no son of mine is cursed with craven heart;

And if, perchance, you ne’er return, my later days to cheer,

And I have only memories of my brave boy, so dear,

I’d rather have it so, my boy, and know you bravely died

Than have a living coward sit supinely by my side.

To save the world from sin, my boy, God gave his only son—


Speech by a Four Minute Man

  • I have just received the information that there is a German spy among us—a German spy watching us. He is around, here somewhere, reporting upon you and me—sending reports about us to Berlin and telling the Germans just what we are doing with the Liberty Loan…
  • If the American people lend their billions now…it means that America is united and strong. While, if we lend our money half-heartedly, America seems weak and autocracy remains strong.
  • Money means everything now; it means quicker victory and therefore less bloodshed. We are in the war, and now Americans can have but one opinion, only one wish in the Liberty Loan. Well, I hope these spies are getting their messages straight… that America is hurling back to the autocrats these answers:
  • For treachery here, attempted treachery in Mexico, treachery everywhere—one billion.
  • For murder of American women and children—one billion more.
  • For broken faith and promise to murder more Americans—billions and billions more.
  • In the world fight for Liberty, our share—billions and billions and endless billions.
  • Do not let the German spy hear and report that you are a slacker.