Wake Up, America!

Wake Up America! is a book that talks about the use of propaganda by the US during World War I.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word propaganda stands for: 1. Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view; 2. Dissemination of propaganda as a political strategy. Of course, its connotation is negative, implying the manipulation of information, but during a war the sense of nationalism gets stronger and it becomes an issue controlled by the State. For example, according to an article published in the Smithsonian magazine, “To merge this popular form of advertising with key messages about the war, the U.S. government’s public information committee formed a Division of Pictorial Publicity in 1917. The chairman, George Creel, asked Charles Dana Gibson, one of most famous American illustrators of the period, to be his partner in the effort. Gibson, who was president of the Society of Illustrators, reached out to the country’s best illustrators and encouraged them to volunteer their creativity to the war effort.”

During World War I propaganda was used, mainly, to convince citizens to support the war and to try to recruit soldiers to fight for their countries. The United States, Germany, France, and Great Britain built a whole industry around the production of this kind of advertising. Actually, the famous portrayal of “Uncle Sam” first appeared during World War I. In some sense, propaganda was used as a weapon. In response, some people such as Aldous Huxley declared that “a really efficient propaganda could reduce most human beings to the condition of abject slavery.” Some of his ideas about this issue were included in the revised edition of “Brave new world”.

More information about the use of propaganda during World War I can be found at the following site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq8c7ty#orb-banner


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