During World War I, the Allies—including Britain, France, Russia, and the United States—fought the Central Powers, led by Germany. The warring nations conducted widespread propaganda operations. The major U.S. propaganda effort was handled by an agency called the Committee on Public Information. The committee distributed more than 100 million posters and publications designed to increase support for the war.
Propaganda is one-sided communication designed to influence people's thinking and actions. A television commercial or a poster urging people to vote for a political candidate might be propaganda, depending on its method of persuasion.
The purpose of the CPI was to influence American public opinion toward supporting U.S. intervention in World War I via a prolonged propaganda campaign. Among those who participated in it were Wilson advisers Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, the latter of whom had remarked that "the essence of democratic society" was the "engineering of consent", by which propaganda was the necessary method for democracies to promote and garner support for policy. Many have commented that the CPI laid the groundwork for the public relations (PR) industry. The CPI at first used material that was based on fact, but spun it to present an upbeat picture of the American war effort. Very quickly, however, the CPI began churning out raw propaganda picturing Germans as evil monsters. Hollywood movie makers joined in on the propaganda by making movies such as The Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur, To Hell With The Kaiser, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. These titles illustrated the message the CPI tried to convey.
This raw propaganda included complete fabrications, such as images and stories of German soldiers killing babies and hoisting them on bayonets. CPI pamphlets were created and warned citizens to be on the lookout for German spies. Dozens of "patriotic organizations," with names like the American Protective League and the American Defense Society, sprang up. These groups spied, tapped telephones, and opened mail in an effort to ferret out "spies and traitors." The targets of these groups was anyone who called for peace, questioned the Allies' progress, or criticized the government's policies. They were particularly hard on German Americans, some of whom lost their jobs, and were publicly humiliated by being forced to kiss the American flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or buy war bonds.
The committee used newsprint, posters, radio, telegraph, cable and movies to broadcast its message. There was a volunteer services corps, called the Four-minute men whose 75,000 members spoke around the country. The Four-minute men worked in 5,200 communities and gave 755,190 speeches. During its lifetime, the organization had over twenty bureaus and divisions, with commissioner's offices in nine foreign countries. In addition to the Four-minute men both a Films Division and a News Division were established to help get out the war message. What was missing, Creel saw, was a way to reach those Americans who might not read newspapers, attend meetings or watch movies. For this task, Creel created the Division of Pictorial Publicity.
Answered By: YoSafBridg - 12/2/2008