Atrocity propaganda is a term referring to the spreading of deliberate fabrications or exaggerations about the crimes committed by an enemy, constituting a form of psychological warfare.
The inherently violent nature of war means that exaggeration and invention of atrocities often becomes the main staple of propaganda. Patriotism is often not enough to make people hate, and propaganda is also necessary. "So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations", wrote Harold Lasswell, "that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate." Human testimony is deemed unreliable even in ordinary circumstances, but in wartime, it can be further muddled by bias, sentiment, and misguided patriotism, becoming of no value whatsoever in establishing the truth.
According to Paul Linebarger, atrocity propaganda leads to real atrocities, as it incites the enemy into committing more atrocities, and, by heating up passions, it increases the chances of one's own side committing atrocities, in revenge for the ones reported in propaganda. Atrocity propaganda might also lead the public to mistrust reports of actual atrocities. In January 1944, Arthur Koestler wrote of his frustration at trying to communicate what he had witnessed in Nazi-occupied Europe: the legacy of anti-German stories during World War I, many of which were debunked in the postwar years, meant that these reports were received with considerable amounts of skepticism.
Like propaganda, atrocity rumors detailing exaggerated or invented crimes perpetrated by enemies are also circulated to vilify the opposing side.
By establishing a baseline lie and painting the enemy as a monster, atrocity propaganda serves as an intelligence function, since it wastes the time and resources of the enemy's counterintelligence services to defend itself. Atrocity propaganda can either be white, gray, or black. Atrocity propaganda is often white, as it makes no attempt to hide its source and is overt in nature. The propagandists' goal is to influence perceptions, attitudes, opinions, and policies; often targeting officials at all levels of government. Atrocity propaganda is violent, gloomy, and portrays doom to help rile up and get the public excited. It dehumanizes the enemy, making them easier to kill. Wars have become more serious, and less gentlemanly; the enemy must now be taken into account not merely as a man, but as a fanatic. So, "falsehood is a recognized and extremely useful weapon in warfare, and every country uses it quite deliberately to deceive its own people, attract neutrals, and to mislead the enemy." Harold Lasswell saw it as a handy rule for arousing hate, and that "if at first they do not enrage, use an atrocity. It has been employed with unvarying success in every conflict known to man."
The extent and devastation of World War I required nations to keep morale high. Propaganda was used here to mobilize hatred against the enemy, convince the population of the justness of one's own cause, enlist the active support and cooperation of neutral countries, and strengthen the support of one's allies. The goal was to make the enemy appear savage, barbaric, and inhumane.
In a sermon at Clermont during the Crusades, Urban II justified the war against Islam by claiming that the enemy "had ravaged the churches of God in the Eastern provinces, circumcised Christian men, violated women, and carried out the most unspeakable torture before killing them." Urban II's sermon succeeded in mobilizing popular enthusiasm in support of the People's Crusade.
Lurid tales purporting to unveil Jewish atrocities against Christians were widespread in the Middle Ages. The charge against Jews of kidnapping and murdering Christian children to drink their blood during passover became known as blood libel.
In the 17th century, the English press fabricated graphic descriptions of atrocities allegedly committed by Irish Catholics against English Protestants, including the torture of civilians and the raping of women. The English public reacted to these stories with calls for stern reprisals. During the Irish rebellion of 1641, lurid reports of atrocities, including of pregnant women who had been ripped open and had their babies pulled out, provided Oliver Cromwell with justification for his subsequent slaughter of defeated Irish rebels.
After the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, stories began to circulate in the British and colonial press of atrocities, especially rapes of European women, in places like Cawnpore; a subsequent official inquiry found no evidence for any of the claims.
In the lead up to the Spanish–American War, Pulitzer and Hearst published stories of Spanish atrocities against Cubans. While occasionally true, the majority of these stories were fabrications meant to boost sales.
It was reported that some thirty to thirty-five German soldiers entered the house of David Tordens, a carter, in Sempst; they bound him, and then five or six of them assaulted and ravished in his presence his thirteen-year-old daughter, and afterwards fixed her on bayonets. After this horrible deed, they bayoneted his nine-year-old boy and then shot his wife.
Atrocity propaganda was widespread during World War I, when it was used by all belligerents, playing a major role in creating the wave of patriotism that characterised the early stages of the war. British propaganda is regarded as having made the most extensive use of fictitious atrocities to promote the war effort.
One such story was that German soldiers were deliberately mutilating Belgian babies by cutting off their hands, in some versions even eating them. Eyewitness accounts told of having seen a similarly mutilated baby. As Arthur Ponsonby later pointed out, in reality a baby would be very unlikely to survive similar wounds without immediate medical attention.
Another atrocity story involved a Canadian soldier, who had supposedly been crucified with bayonets by the Germans (see The Crucified Soldier). Many Canadians claimed to have witnessed the event, yet they all provided different version of how it had happened. The Canadian high command investigated the matter, concluding that it was untrue.
Other reports circulated of Belgian women, often nuns, who had their breasts cut off by the Germans. A story about German corpse factories, where bodies of German soldiers were supposedly turned into glycerine for weapons, or food for hogs and poultry, was published in a Times article on April 17, 1917. In the postwar years, investigations in Britain and France revealed that these stories were false.
In 1915, the British government asked Viscount Bryce, one of the best-known contemporary historians, to head the Committee on Alleged German Outrages which was to investigate the allegations of atrocities. The report purported to prove many of the claims, and was widely published in the United States, where it contributed to convince the American public to enter the war. Few at the time criticised the accuracy of the report. After the war, historians who sought to examine the documentation for the report were told that the files had mysteriously disappeared. Surviving correspondence between the members of the committee revealed they actually had severe doubts about the credibility of the tales they investigated.
A notable example of an atrocity rumor concerns a family who receives a letter from their son, who is imprisoned a German POW camp; the letter says that he is being treated well and fed sufficiently, and that the stamp on the letter might be of interest to "Alfie", the youngest son. Because the family has no son by that name, they become suspicious, and underneath the stamp they find a message saying "they've torn out my tongue!" Prisoners' letters, however, bore no stamps.
During World War II, atrocity propaganda was not used on the same scale as in World War I, as by then it had long been discredited by its use during the previous conflict. There were exceptions in some propaganda films, such as Hitler's Children, Women in Bondage, and Enemy of Women, which portrayed the Germans (as opposed to just Nazis) as enemies of civilization, abusing women and the innocent. Hitler's Children is now spoken of as "lurid", while Women in Bondage is described as a low-budget exploitation film; the latter carries a disclaimer that "everything in the film is true", but facts are often distorted or sensationalized.
According to a 1985 UN report backed by Western countries, the KGB had deliberately designed mines to look like toys, and deployed them against Afghan children during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The story likely originated from the PFM-1 mine, which was made from brightly colored plastic and had been directly copied from the American BLU-43 Dragontooth design. The Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan reported that the allegations "gained a life for obvious journalist reasons", but otherwise had no basis in reality.
In November 1991, a Serbian photographer claimed to have seen the corpses of 41 children, which had allegedly been killed by Croatian soldiers. The story was published by media outlets worldwide, but the photographer later admitted to fabricating his account. The story of this atrocity was blamed for inciting a desire for vengeance in Serbian rebels, who summarily executed Croatian fighters who were captured near the alleged crime scene the day after the forged report was published.
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. On October 10, 1990, a young Kuwaiti girl known only as "Nayirah" appeared in front of a congressional committee and testified that she witnessed the mass murdering of infants, when Iraqi soldiers had snatched them out of hospital incubators and threw them on the floor to die. Her testimony became a lead item in newspapers, radio and TV all over the US. The story was eventually exposed as a fabrication in December 1992, in a CBC-TV program called To Sell a War. Nayirah was revealed to be the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, and actually hadn't seen the "atrocities" she described take place; the PR firm Hill & Knowlton, which had been hired by the Kuwaiti government to encourage American intervention in the war, had heavily promoted her testimony.
In the runup to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, press stories appeared in the United Kingdom and United States of a plastic shredder or wood chipper  into which Saddam and Qusay Hussein fed opponents of their Baathist rule. These stories attracted worldwide attention and boosted support for military action, in stories with titles such as "See men shredded, then say you don't back war". A year later, it was determined there was no evidence to support the existence of such a machine.
In 2004, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey claimed that he and other Marines intentionally killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians, including a 4-year-old girl. His allegations were published by news organizations worldwide, but none of the five journalists who covered his battalion said they saw reckless or indiscriminate shooting of civilians. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed his claim as "either demonstrably false or exaggerated".
In July 2003 an Iraqi woman, Jumana Hanna, testified that she had been subjected to inhumane treatment by Baathist policemen during two years of imprisonment, including being subjected to electric shocks and raped repeatedly. The story appeared on the front page of The Washington Post, and was presented to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz. In January 2005, articles in Esquire and The Washington Post concluded that none of her allegations could be verified, and that her accounts contained grave inconsistencies. Her husband, who she claimed had been executed in the same prison where she was tortured, was in fact still alive.
During the Battle of Jenin, Palestinian officials claimed there was a massacre of civilians in the refugee camp, which was proven false by subsequent international investigations.
During the 2010 South Kyrgyzstan ethnic clashes, a rumor spread among ethnic Kyrgyz that Uzbek men had broken into a local women's dormitory and raped several Kyrgyz women. Local police never provided any confirmation that such an assault occurred.
During the Arab Spring, Libyan media was reporting atrocities by Muammar Gaddafi loyalists, who were ordered to perform mass "Viagra-fueled rapes" (see 2011 Libyan rape allegations). A later investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these allegations, and in many cases has discredited them, as the rebels were found to have deliberately lied about the claims.
In July 2014, the Russian public broadcaster Channel 1 aired a report claiming that Ukrainian soldiers in Sloviansk had crucified a three-year-old boy to a board, and later dragged his mother with a tank, causing her death. The account of the only witness interviewed for the report was not corroborated by anyone else, and other media have been unable to confirm the story, despite claims in the testimony that many of the city's inhabitants had been forced to watch the killings. A reporter for Novaya Gazeta similarly failed to find any other witnesses in the city.
Atrocity propaganda is a term referring to the spreading of deliberate fabrications or exaggerations about the crimes committed by an enemy, constituting a form of psychological warfare . The inherently violent nature of war means that exaggeration and invention of atrocities often becomes the main staple of propaganda. Patriotism is often not enough to make people hate, and propaganda is also necessary. "So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations", wrote Harold Lasswell , "that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate." Human testimony is deemed unreliable even in ordinary circumstances, but in wartime, it can be further muddled by bias, sentiment, and misguided patriotism, becoming of no value whatsoever in establishing the truth. According to Paul Linebarger , atrocity propaganda leads to real atrocities, as it incites the enemy into committing more atrocities, and, by heating
In World War I, British propaganda took various forms, including pictures, literature and film. Britain also placed significant emphasis on atrocity propaganda as a way of mobilizing public opinion against Germany during World War I . History Britain had no propaganda agencies at the war's outbreak, but an organization was soon established at Wellington House under Charles Masterman in response to propaganda activities in Germany. During most of the war, responsibility for propaganda was divided between various agencies, resulting in a lack of coordination. It was not until 1918 that activities were centralized under the Ministry of Information . When the war finished, almost all of the propaganda machinery was dismantled. There were various interwar debates regarding British use of propaganda, particularly atrocity propaganda. Commentators such as Arthur Ponsonby exposed many of the alleged atrocities as either lies or exaggeration, leading to a suspicion surrounding atrocity stories which meant a reluctance
The term atrocity story (also referred to as atrocity tale) as defined by the American sociologists David G. Bromley and Anson D. Shupe refers to the symbolic presentation of action or events (real or imaginary) in such a context that they are made flagrantly to violate the (presumably) shared premises upon which a given set of social relationships should be conducted. The recounting of such tales is intended as a means of reaffirming normative boundaries. By sharing the reporter's disapproval or horror, an audience reasserts normative prescription and clearly locates the violator beyond the limits of public morality . The term was coined in 1979 by Bromley, Shupe, and Joseph Ventimiglia . Bromley and others define an atrocity as an event that is perceived as a flagrant violation of a fundamental value. It contains the following three elements: moral outrage or indignation; authorization of punitive measures; mobilization of control efforts against the apparent perpetrators. The veracity of the story is consi
World War I was the first war in which mass media and propaganda played a significant role in keeping the people at home informed about what was occurring on the battlefields. This was also the first war in which the government systematically produced propaganda as a way to target the public and alter their opinion. World War I propaganda stamp Propaganda in the United States The United States entered World War I in 1917 as an associated power on the allied side of Britain and France. By the time that World War I came around, the United States was a leader in the recently discovered art of movie making and the new profession of commercial advertising . Such newly discovered technologies played an instrumental role in the shaping of the American mind and the altering of public opinion into a pro-war position. Perhaps the most influential man behind propaganda in the United States during World War I was President Woodrow Wilson . In one of Wilson's most famous declarations, he outlined the " Fourteen Points
Propaganda is "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view". Propaganda is often associated with the psychological mechanisms of influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward a specific cause, position or political agenda in an effort to form a consensus to a standard set of belief patterns. Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (perhaps lying by omission ) to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded messages or " loaded language " to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented. Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but activist groups and companies can also produce propaganda. In the 2010s, the term propaganda is associated with a manipulative approach, but propaganda historically was a neutral descriptive term.
Randal Marlin (born 1938 in Washington, D.C. ) is a Canadian philosophy professor at Carleton University in Ottawa who specializes in the study of propaganda . He was educated at Princeton University , McGill University , the University of Oxford , Aix-Marseille University , and the University of Toronto . After receiving a Department of National Defence fellowship to study under propaganda scholar Jacques Ellul at Bordeaux in 1979–1980, he started a philosophy and mass communications class at Carleton called Truth and Propaganda, which has run annually ever since. One of the texts for this class is his 2002 book Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion, which examines historical, ethical, and legal issues relating to propaganda. The revised second edition, released in 2013, examines the Bush administration's use of propaganda based on fear to persuade Americans to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq . Marlin acknowledges that there are many definitions of propaganda, including favourable ones. However, his bo
The Spanish–American War (April–August 1898) is considered to be both a turning point in the history of propaganda and the beginning of the practice of yellow journalism . It was the first conflict in which military action was precipitated by media involvement. The war grew out of U.S. interest in a fight for revolution between the Spanish military and citizens of their Cuban colony. American newspapers fanned the flames of interest in the war by fabricating atrocities which justified intervention in a number of Spanish colonies worldwide. Several forces within the United States were pushing for a war with Spain . Their tactics were wide-ranging and their goal was to engage the opinion of the American people in any way possible. Men such as William Hearst, the owner of The New York Journal was involved in a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and saw the conflict as a way to sell papers. Many newspapers ran articles of a sensationalist nature and sent correspondents to Cuba to cover the
The standard view of propaganda in North Korea sees it as based on the Juche ideology and on the promotion of the Workers' Party of Korea . Many pictures of the national leaders are posted throughout the country. Themes Cult of personality Kim Il-sung with Kim Jong-il on Mount Paektu In previous decades, North Korean propaganda was crucial to the formation and promotion of the cult of personality centered around the founder of the totalitarian state, Kim Il-sung . The Soviet Union began to develop him, particularly as a resistance fighter, as soon as they put him in power. This quickly surpassed its Eastern European models. Instead of depicting his actual residence in a Soviet village during the war with the Japanese, he was claimed to have fought a guerilla war from a secret base. Once relations with the Soviet Union were broken off, their role was expurgated, as were all other nationalists, until the claim was made that he founded the Communist Party in North Korea. He is seldom shown in action during t
The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, RMVP or Propagandaministerium) was a Nazi government agency to enforce Nazi ideology. Origin Founded on 14 March 1933, a few months after the Nazi seizure of power by Adolf Hitler 's government, it was headed by Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels . The role of the new ministry, which set up its offices in the 18th-century Ordenspalais across from the Reich Chancellery , was to centralise Nazi control of all aspects of German cultural and intellectual life. An unstated goal was to present to other nations the impression that the Nazi Party had the full and enthusiastic backing of the entire population. It was responsible for controlling the German news media , literature , visual arts , filmmaking , theatre , music , and broadcasting . Propaganda As the central office of Nazi propaganda , it comprehensively supervised and regulated the culture and mass media of Nazi Germany. A major focus of the pro
Black propaganda is false information and material that purports to be from a source on one side of a conflict, but is actually from the opposing side. It is typically used to vilify, embarrass, or misrepresent the enemy. Black propaganda contrasts with grey propaganda , the source of which is not identified, and white propaganda , in which the real source is declared and usually more accurate information is given, albeit slanted, distorted and omissive. Black propaganda is covert in nature in that its aims, identity, significance, and sources are hidden. The major characteristic of black propaganda is that the people are not aware that someone is influencing them, and do not feel that they are being pushed in a certain direction. Black propaganda purports to emanate from a source other than the true source. This type of propaganda is associated with covert psychological operations . Sometimes the source is concealed or credited to a false authority and spreads lies, fabrications, and deceptions. Black pro
This article documents the history of propaganda around the world. British poster from World War I attacking German ("Hun") atrocities in Belgium Background Propaganda is information that is not impartial and used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (perhaps lying by omission ) to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information presented. The term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples. Pre-modern precedents English Civil War cartoon entitled "The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert " (1643) Blatant election propaganda from the UK c.1890 Primitive forms of propaganda have been a human activity as far back as reliable recorded evidence exists. The Behistun Inscription (c. 515 BC) detailing the rise of Darius I to the Persian throne is viewed by most historians as an early example of propa
Taliban propaganda has, since the 2001 fall of their national government in Afghanistan, developed into a sophisticated public relations machine that is shaping perceptions in Afghanistan and abroad. Although polls show the movement remains unpopular, the insurgents have readily exploited a sense of growing alienation fostered by years of broken government promises, official corruption , and the rising death toll among civilians from airstrikes and other military actions. "The result is weakening public support for nation-building , even though few actively support the Taliban," says a report from the International Crisis Group , a think tank that monitors conflicts. An American official in Afghanistan agrees: "We cannot afford to be passive [communicators] any longer if we're going to turn this around." Background A primary focus in the Taliban's media message is the history of wars between Christians and Muslims. The Taliban emphasize religious and cultural differences between the West and the East, the ide
Communist propaganda in the Soviet Union was extensively based on the Marxism-Leninism ideology to promote the Communist Party line. In societies with pervasive censorship , propaganda was omnipresent and vigorously enforced. It penetrated even social and natural sciences giving rise to various pseudo-scientific theories like Lysenkoism , whereas fields of real knowledge, as genetics , cybernetics , and comparative linguistics were condemned and forbidden as " bourgeois pseudoscience ". With "truths repressed, falsehoods in every field were incessantly rubbed in print, at endless meetings, in school, in mass demonstrations, on the radio". The main Soviet censorship body, Glavlit , was employed not only to eliminate any undesirable printed materials, but also "to ensure that the correct ideological spin was put on every published item". In the Stalin Era , deviation from the dictates of official propaganda was punished by execution and labor camps. In the post-Stalin era, these punitive measures were replaced
Britain re-created the World War I Ministry of Information for the duration of World War II to generate propaganda to influence the population towards support for the war effort. A wide range of media was employed aimed at local and overseas audiences. Traditional forms such as newspapers and posters were joined by new media including cinema (film) , newsreels and radio . A wide range of themes were addressed, fostering hostility to the enemy, support for allies, and specific pro war projects such as conserving metal and growing vegetables. Media Cinema The story of the British cinema in the Second World War is inextricably linked with that of the Ministry of Information. Formed on 4 September 1939, the day after Britain's declaration of war, the Ministry of Information (MOI) was the central government department responsible for publicity and propaganda in the Second World War. It was the Ministry's function to "present the national case to the public at home and abroad". The MOI was keenly aware of the val
In the face of obstacles - COURAGE BE SURE YOU HAVE CORRECT TIME! This poster intended for navigation students combines instruction with caricatures of enemy leaders, L-R: Hitler , Mussolini , and Hirohito . During active American involvement in World War II (1941–45), propaganda was used to increase support for the war and commitment to an Allied victory. Using a vast array of media, propagandists instigated hatred for the enemy and support for America's allies, urged greater public effort for war production and victory gardens , persuaded people to save some of their material so that more material could be used for the war effort, and sold war bonds . Patriotism became the central theme of advertising throughout the war, as large scale campaigns were launched to sell war bonds, promote efficiency in factories, reduce ugly rumors, and maintain civilian morale. The war consolidated the advertising industry's role in American society, deflecting earlier criticism. Campaign At first, the government was reluctan
The German Corpse Factory or Kadaververwertungsanstalt (literally "Corpse-Utilization Factory"), also sometimes called the "German Corpse-Rendering Works" or "Tallow Factory" was one of the most notorious anti-German atrocity propaganda stories circulated in World War I . According to the story, the Kadaververwertungsanstalten was a special installation supposedly operated by the Germans in which, because fats were so scarce in Germany due to the British naval blockade, German battlefield corpses were rendered down for fat, which was then used to manufacture nitroglycerine, candles, lubricants, and even boot dubbing. It was supposedly operated behind the front lines by the DAVG-Deutsche Abfall-Verwertungs Gesellschaft ("German Offal Utilization Company"). Piers Brendon has called it "the most appalling atrocity story" of World War I, while Phillip Knightley has called it "the most popular atrocity story of the war." After the war John Charteris , the British former Chief of Army Intelligence, allegedly sta
Radio propaganda is propaganda aimed at influencing attitudes towards a certain cause or position, delivered through radio broadcast. The power of radio propaganda came from its revolutionary nature. The radio, like later technological advances in the media, allowed information to be transmitted quickly and unifomly to vast populations. Internationally, the radio was an early and powerful recruiting tool for propaganda campaigns. Before television , radio was by far the most effective way to prevent or promote social change. In many areas, it still is. Radio propaganda can be broadcast over great distances to a large audience at a relatively low cost. Through radio, a propagandist can bring his voice and all the persuasive power of his emotions to millions of people. A similar approach is used in every war employing radio propaganda: aside from convincing those on the home front of the necessity of war, a different kind of propaganda must be directed towards the enemy. Radio became a powerful propaganda tool
During the Yugoslav Wars , propaganda was widely used in the media of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia , and in Bosnian media. Serbian media In the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), one of the indictments against Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević was his use of the Serbian state-run mass media to create an atmosphere of fear and hatred among Yugoslavia's Orthodox Serbs by spreading "exaggerated and false messages of ethnically based attacks by Bosnian Muslims and Catholic Croats against the Serb people..." A falsified image (left) with a caption stating a " Serbian boy whose whole family was killed by Bosnian Muslims ", published by Večernje novosti during the Bosnian War . The image was originally a painting (right) made in 1888 by Serbian artist Uroš Predić . The original title is "Siroče na majčinom grobu" (Orphan at mother's grave). Milošević's reign and control of media in Serbia Slobodan Milošević began his efforts to gain control over the media in 1986- 87
Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War , written by Arthur Ponsonby in 1928 lists and refutes pieces of propaganda used by the Allied Forces (Russia, France, Britain and the United States) against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria). After the Second World War, a new edition of the book was given the updated title Falsehood in War-Time: Propaganda Lies of the First World War . Lord Ponsonby is standing to the far right of the photo. Click on the image for further details of people in the photograph. Arthur Ponsonby Arthur Ponsonby, 1st Baron Ponsonby of Shulbrede , was born Arthur Augustus William Henry Ponsonby in 1871. Lord Ponsonby attended Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he joined the Diplomatic Service. In 1906, Ponsonby ran as a Liberal candidate, unsuccessfully, at the general election but was elected a Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom (MP) at a by-election in 1908. Lord P
The Crucified Soldier refers to the widespread atrocity propaganda story of an Allied soldier serving in the Canadian Corps who may have been crucified with bayonets on a barn door or a tree, while fighting on the Western Front during World War I . Three witnesses said they saw an unidentified crucified Canadian soldier near the battlefield of Ypres , Belgium on or around 24 April 1915, but there was no conclusive proof such a crucifixion actually occurred. The eyewitness accounts were somewhat contradictory, no crucified body was found, and no knowledge was uncovered at the time about the identity of the supposedly crucified soldier. During World War II the story was used by the Nazis as an example of British propaganda. Story On 10 May 1915, The Times printed a short item titled "Torture of a Canadian Officer" as coming from its Paris correspondent. According to the piece, Canadian soldiers wounded at Ypres had told how one of their officers had been crucified to a wall "by bayonets thrust through his hands
To Sell A War is a documentary film , first aired in December 1992 as part of CBC programme the fifth estate . The programme was directed and produced by Neil Docherty . It chronicles the Citizens for a Free Kuwait campaign efforts to spin public relations sentiment in the United States in favor of the Gulf War , focusing on the story of Nurse Nayirah , who was, in fact, Nayirah al-Sabah, the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States Saud Nasir Al-Sabah . Her infamous testimony about Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators, which was widely disseminated, was a result of coaching by PR firm Hill & Knowlton . Awards 1993 – American Film and Video Festival - Blue Ribbon 1993 – Canadian Association of Journalists Awards for Investigative Reporting - CAJ Award - Network Television Category 1993 – The New York Festivals - Bronze Medal 1992 – Columbus International Film and Video Festival - Chris Award 1992 – Columbus International Film and Video Festival - Bronze Plaque 1992 – International E
A fabricator is an intelligence agent or officer that generates disinformation , falsehoods or bogus information, often without access to authentic resources. Fabricators often provide forged documents in order to substantiate their falsehoods. It is normal intelligence practice to place identified fabricators on a black list or to issue a burn notice on them and to recall intelligence sourced from them. A fabricator is often cited as a reliable source behind black propaganda or atrocity propaganda involving disinformation or information that has not been properly vetted but suits the agenda of the disseminating organization. Multiple fabricators are usually used to justify a Big Lie . The process of vetting to weed out fabricators and double agents is also referred to as source validation. Recent examples of this include the case of the Niger uranium forgeries and the mobile weapons laboratory in Iraq. There are numerous cases in which it is alleged that the Soviet Union and its satellite states employed
The Committee on Alleged German Outrages , often called the Bryce Committee after its chair, Viscount James Bryce (1838-1922), is best known for producing the "Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages," published on 12 May 1915. The report is seen as a major propaganda form that Britain used in order to educate the world on the behaviour of Germany, which had invaded Belgium the year before. The Report was translated by the end of 1915 into every major European language and had a profound impact on public opinion in Allied and neutral countries, particularly in the United States. Though the findings of the Report have been substantiated by several scholars in the 21st century, the eyewitness testimony published in its 320-page Appendix A included some sensationalist accounts of mutilations and rapes for which there is no other evidence. These invented atrocities stigmatized the Report and have made it a target for revisionist historians and writers on propaganda. History By the middle of September 1
The Nayirah testimony was a false testimony given before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990 by a 15-year-old girl who provided only her first name, Nayirah. The testimony was widely publicized, and was cited numerous times by United States senators and President George H.W. Bush in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War . In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah's last name was al-Ṣabaḥ ( Arabic : نيره الصباح ) and that she was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah , the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by American Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government . Following this, al-Sabah's testimony has come to be regarded as a classic example of modern atrocity propaganda . In her emotional testimony, Nayirah stated that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospit
Since the end of the 20th century, propaganda has evolved significantly. Today's propaganda is characterised by psych-ops and disinformation , whereas a few decades ago it was dominated by posters and simple films. This article delineates propaganda usage in the 21st century. Middle East Afghan War In the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan , psychological operations tactics were employed to demoralise the Taliban and to win the sympathies of the Afghan population. At least six EC-130E Commando Solo aircraft were used to jam local radio transmissions and transmit replacement propaganda messages. Leaflets were also dropped throughout Afghanistan, offering rewards for Osama bin Laden and other individuals, portraying Americans as friends of Afghanistan and emphasising various negative aspects of the Taliban. Another shows a picture of Mohammed Omar in a set of crosshairs with the words: "We are watching." Iraq War Both the United States and Iraq employed propaganda during the Iraq War . The United States established c
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to public relations: Public relations practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. Nature of public relations Public relations can be described as all of the following: Academic discipline – branch of knowledge that is taught and researched at the college or university level. Disciplines are defined (in part), and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong. Communication – activity of conveying information Marketing – process which creates, communicates, and delivers value to the customer, and maintains the relationship with customers. Essence of public relations To create and sustain "shared meaning" or "common understanding" - NB this may be and usually is different from "shared beliefs" Pr
Jumana Michael/Mikhail Hanna (born c. 1962) is an Iraqi woman of Assyrian Christian background who was imprisoned at the facility known as loose dog's during the rule of Saddam Hussein. In July 2003, she attested to the Coalition Provisional Authority that she had been tortured during her time in the prison, due to her religious beliefs. The evidence she provided eventually led to nine Iraqi officers being arrested. Additionally, the Washington Post published her story, giving it precedence on the front page. Paul Wolfowitz also cited the situation while testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The nine Iraqi officers arrested on her testimony were released later when it became apparent that little of Ms. Hanna's tale could be verified. Research by Esquire Magazine 's Sara Solovitch, who had been hired to write Hanna's memoirs, revealed that almost every detail of the story was fabricated. See also Nayirah (testimony) Atrocity propaganda Notes ^ Her full name is Jumana Michael Hanna, also
Wellington House is the more common name for Britain's War Propaganda Bureau , which operated during World War I from Wellington House, a building located in Buckingham Gate, London, which was the headquarters of the National Insurance Commission before the War. The Bureau, which operated under the supervision of the Foreign Office , was mainly directed at foreign targets, including Allied nations and neutral countries, especially (until 1917) the United States. The building itself has since been demolished, and its former site is now occupied by a block of flats. History In August 1914, after discovering that Germany had a Propaganda Agency, David Lloyd George , the Chancellor of the Exchequer , was given the task of setting up a British War Propaganda Bureau. Lloyd George appointed the writer and fellow Liberal MP , Charles Masterman to head the organization, whose headquarters were set up at Wellington House, the London headquarters of the National Insurance Commission, of which Masterman was the chairman
The ruins of the library of the Catholic University of Leuven after it was burned in 1914. The destroyed city of Leuven in 1915 The Rape of Belgium was the German mistreatment of civilians during the invasion and subsequent occupation of Belgium during World War I . The term initially had a propaganda use but recent historiography confirms its reality. One modern author uses it more narrowly to describe a series of German war crimes in the opening months of the War (August–September 1914). The neutrality of Belgium had been guaranteed by the Treaty of London (1839) , which had been signed by Prussia . However, the German Schlieffen Plan required that German armed forces violate Belgium’s neutrality in order to outflank the French Army, concentrated in eastern France. The German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg dismissed the treaty of 1839 as a "scrap of paper". Throughout the beginning of the war the German army engaged in numerous atrocities against the civilian population of Belgium, and destructi
The position of Nazi propaganda towards the United Kingdom and its inhabitants changed over time. Prior to 1938, while Hitler tried to court Britain into an alliance, his propaganda praised the British as proficient Aryan imperialists. Later, as the Nazis realized that they would have to fight the United Kingdom, their propaganda vilified the British as oppressive, German-hating plutocrats . During the war, it accused " perfidious Albion " of war crimes, and sought especially to drive a wedge between Britain and France. History Pre-war Initially, the aim of Nazi foreign policy was to create an Anglo-German alliance, so before 1938, Nazi propaganda tended to glorify British institutions, and above all the British Empire . Even regarding it, along with France, as "decadent democracies", Goebbels set out to court them. Typical of the Nazi admiration for the British Empire were a lengthy series of articles in various German newspapers throughout the mid-1930s praising various aspects of British imperial history,
Siegfried Kurt Baschwitz (February 2, 1886, Offenburg – January 6, 1968 Amsterdam ), was a journalist , a professor of press, propaganda and public opinion,and scholar on newspapers . Baschwitz, who, as was customary in German middle class, was known by his second name Kurt, was a German Jew and a friend of Otto Frank , the father of Anne Frank . Baschwitz was called upon as an expert to authenticate the Diary of Anne Frank . Education Baschwitz studied at several universities in Germany and graduated in economics and held pronounced liberal views. He was awarded a doctorate with a thesis supervised by social reformer, Lujo Brentano . Career in Germany After conclusion of his academic studies Kurt Baschwitz started his career as a journalist writing for several German national newspapers. During World War I he was correspondent for a Hamburg newspaper in neutral Rotterdam and learned to speak Dutch. Influenced deeply by allied atrocity propaganda and what he considered to be humiliating terms forced on German
The Pinochet File is a National Security Archive book written by Peter Kornbluh covering over approximately two decades of declassified documents, from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), White House , and United States Department of State , regarding American covert activities in Chile. It is based on more than 24,000 previously classified documents that were released as part of the Chilean Declassification Project during the Clinton administration, between June 1999 and June 2000. Significance The Pinochet File was selected as one of "The Best Books of 2003" in the nonfiction category by the Los Angeles Times . The New Yorker said, "The evidence that Kornbluh has gathered is overwhelming." in its review. The Newsweek review of The Pinochet File describes it as "...actually two distinct but intersecting books. The first is a narrative account of the Nixon administration's involvement in Chile. Its mission was to make sure that Allende's election in 1970 didn't serve as
The propaganda of the National Socialist German Workers' Party regime that governed Germany from 1933 to 1945 promoted Nazi ideology by demonizing the enemies of the Nazi Party , notably Jews and communists , but also capitalists and intellectuals . It promoted the values asserted by the Nazis, including heroic death, Führerprinzip (leader principle), Volksgemeinschaft (people's community), Blut und Boden (blood and soil) and pride in the Germanic Herrenvolk ( master race ). Propaganda was also used to maintain the cult of personality around Nazi leader Adolf Hitler , and to promote campaigns for eugenics and the annexation of German-speaking areas . After the outbreak of World War II , Nazi propaganda vilified Germany's enemies, notably the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States, and in 1943 exhorted the population to total war . Enemies Jews Poster for occupied Poland: "JEWS-SUCKING LOUSE-TYPHUS" German citizens, public reading of Der Stürmer "Die Juden sind unser Unglück". The diagram shows
Propaganda of Fascist Italy was the material put forth by Italian Fascism to justify its authority and programs and encourage popular support. Use The Fascist regime made heavy use of propaganda, including pageantry and rhetoric, to inspire the nation into the unity that would obey. At first, all propaganda efforts were grouped together under the press office; propaganda efforts were slowly organized until a Ministry of Popular Culture was created in 1937. A special propaganda ministry was created in 1935, with the avowed purpose of telling the truth about fascism, refuting the lies of its enemies, and clearing up ambiguities, which were only to be expected in so large and dynamic a movement. Doctrine A fascist doctrine was first set forth in The Manifesto of the Fasci of Combat , and further enumerated in The Doctrine of Fascism purportedly written entirely by Benito Mussolini , but he only wrote the second part, the first part was actually also written by Giovanni Gentile . Fascism's internal contradiction
The Congo Free State propaganda war was a worldwide media propaganda campaign waged by both King Leopold II of Belgium and the critics of the Congo Free State . Leopold was very astute in using the media to support his virtual private control of the nation. Edmund Dene Morel , successfully campaigned against Leopold and focused public attention on the violence of Leopold's rule. Morel used the mass media of that time, from newspapers and pamphlets to books including evidence from reports, eye-witness testimony, and pictures obtained from missionaries and others involved directly in the Congo. As Morel gained high-profile supporters, the publicity generated by his campaign eventually forced Leopold to relinquish control of the Congo to the Belgian government. Background The Congo Free State propaganda war (1884–1912) occurred at the height of European Imperialism . Demand for goods drove European imperialism, and (with the important exception of British East India Company rule in India), the European stake in
Edward S. Herman (born April 7, 1925) is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania and a media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy. He also teaches at Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania . He is perhaps best known for developing the propaganda model of media criticism with Noam Chomsky . In 1967, Herman was among more than 500 writers and editors who signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse to pay the 10% Vietnam War Tax surcharge proposed by president Johnson. Herman received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1945 and PhD in 1953 from the University of California, Berkeley . Herman and Chomsky Vietnam Herman and Noam Chomsky challenged the veracity of media accounts of war crimes and repression by the Vietnamese communists, stating that "the basic sources for the larger estimates of killings in the North Vietna
Colonel Emil Jaeger was the German territorial commander for the Greek island of Corfu during the spring of 1944. He is best known for heroically attempting to prevent the deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz . In the spring of 1944, the German Commanders began to deport the Jews of occupied Greece to concentration camps throughout the German Reich. One of the communities which was to be deported was the Jewish community on the island of Corfu. On April 25, 1944, Wehrmacht intelligence “reported no military or political objections to the planned deportation of the island’s Jews”. Upon hearing this, Jaeger protested, arguing that the deportation of the Jews would “cause unrest among the Greek population”. This argument did not sway his superiors, who ordered the operation to continue. Despite being told of this decision, Jaeger continued to protest it. He presented multiple arguments. First, there was no possible way to transport the Jews off of the island. Second, Jaeger argued that the Italians on Corfu pre
Soviet pro-Arab propaganda . During the Cold War era the Soviet Union used propaganda as one of their many overt tools to gain support on a global scale in the war waged against the United States . In the battle to gain support from Middle Eastern countries the Soviet Union began a campaign of Soviet Pro-Arab Propaganda . They used pro-Arab propaganda as a means of developing support in the Arab nations, while expressing contempt for the actions of Israel and the United States. Background As early as the 1920s and 1930s the Communist Party Congress discussed solutions to dealing with the "pan-movements"—including pan-Islamism , pan-Turkism , and pan-Arabism . The Soviet Union saw all of the "pan-movements" as a problem. Islam was seen as the Soviet's see all other religions—in a negative light. But a tactical approach had to be taken with Islam due to the relationship that was to develop between the Middle East and the Soviet Union. While there was a string of Soviet anti-Islamic propaganda, there was also a
A PFM-1 training mine, distinguishable from the live version by the presence of the Cyrillic character "У". PFM-1 schematic PFM-1 (Russian: ПФМ-1, short for противопехотная фугасная мина - anti-infantry high-explosive mine; NATO name: Green parrot , also known as butterfly mine ) is a land mine of Soviet production, very similar to the BLU-43 US Army landmine. Both devices are very similar in shape and principles, although they use different explosives. Action The mine is, in essence, a plastic bag containing explosive liquid. The mine is stored with a pin restraining a detonating plunger. Once the arming pin is removed, the plunger is slowly forced forward by a spring until it contacts the detonator, at which point it is armed. This takes between one and forty minutes, allowing the mine to be deployed manually, or air dropped. Deformation of the soft plastic skin of the mine forces the arming plunger to strike the detonator, detonating the mine. Because the body of the mine is a single cumulative pressure pr
The Nuremberg Trials is a 1947 Soviet -made documentary film about the trials of the Nazi leadership . It was produced by Roman Karmen , and was an English-language version of the Russian language film Суд народов (Judgment of the Peoples). Most of the film describes the Nazis' crimes in detail, particularly those committed in the Soviet Union. It claims that if not stopped, the Nazis would have "turned the whole world into a Majdanek ". It also includes some elements of anti-capitalist propaganda, claiming that the real rulers of Germany were "armament kings" such as Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach . Of the Holocaust and the recovery of gold from its victims, the film states that the Nazis "even made death into a commercial enterprise", and this truly happened. It is noted in the film that the Soviet Union objected to the acquittal of Hans Fritzsche , Franz von Papen and Hjalmar Schacht , and to the fact that Rudolf Hess was given a sentence of life imprisonment , rather than a death sentence . The film
A 1598 engraving by Theodor de Bry depicting a Spaniard supposedly feeding Indian children to his dogs. De Bry's works are characteristic of the anti-Spanish propaganda that originated as a result of the Eighty Years' War . The Black Legend ( Spanish : La Leyenda Negra ) is a style of tendentious, nonobjective historical writing or propaganda that demonizes Spain , its people and its culture in an intentional attempt to damage its reputation. The Black Legend propaganda originated in the 16th century, a time of strong rivalry between European colonial powers. Among the first to describe and denounce this phenomenon was Julián Juderías in his book The Black Legend and the Historical Truth (Spanish: La Leyenda Negra y la Verdad Histórica ), a critique published in 1914 that explains how this type of biased historiography has presented Spanish history in a deeply negative light, purposely ignoring positive achievements or advances. Though the term black legend for describing this anti-Spanish mythology was coine
The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies ( MIGS ) is a research institute based at Concordia University in Montreal , Canada . It was founded in 1986 and promotes human rights awareness, in the field of genocide and mass atrocities by hosting frequent events, publishing policy briefs, engaging in counter activism on the web, and many other programs. Its keystone project is the Will to Intervene ( W2I ) Project which, under the advisement of Lt. General Roméo Dallaire and MIGS' Director Frank Chalk, builds domestic political will in Canada and the United States to prevent future mass atrocities. About The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) is recognized internationally as Canada’s leading research and advocacy Institute for genocide and mass atrocity crimes prevention, MIGS conducts in-depth scholarly research and proposes concrete policy recommendations to resolve conflicts before they degenerate into mass atrocity crimes. MIGS has achieved national and interna
The Demonizing the enemy , Demonization of the enemy or Dehumanization of the enemy is a state propaganda technique which promotes an idea about the enemy being threatening evil aggressor with only destructive objectives. Demonization is the oldest propaganda technique aimed to inspire hatred toward the enemy necessary to hurt them more easily, to preserve and mobilize allies and demoralize the enemy. Basic criteria Because of the frequent misuse of the term demonization, it is deprived of its potential to be analyzed. That is why Jules Boykoff defined four criteria of enemy demonization: Both media and state employ frames to portray inherent nature of so-called enemy mostly in moral terms. The character of the opponent is depicted in a Manichean way, as good against evil. The state is the origin of such demonological portraying. There is no significant counterclaim from the state. History The demonization of the enemy has been routinely conducted throughout the history. Thucydides recorded examples of enemy
Media coverage of North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) is hampered by a lack of reliable information. There are a number of reasons for this. Media access to the country is severely restricted. A key for information about North Korea is the testimony of defectors , but defectors are not necessarily reliable. Much information about North Korea is filtered through South Korea , but the longstanding conflict between the two countries distorts the information that is received. In the absence of solid facts, many reports are based on unsubstantiated claims and rumors. Critics have said that the world's media has a hunger for sensationalist stories about North Korea, and this demand creates a supply. For all these reasons, there have been many examples of unreliable reports about North Korea. Difficulties in reporting Lack of reliable information Media coverage is hampered by a lack of reliable information. The verification of facts is notoriously difficult. For example, researcher
Psychological warfare ( PSYWAR ), or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations ( PSYOP ), have been known by many other names or terms, including MISO , Psy Ops, Political Warfare, "Hearts and Minds", and propaganda . The term is used "to denote any action which is practiced mainly by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people". Various techniques are used, and are aimed at influencing a target audience's value system, belief system, emotions , motives , reasoning , or behavior . It is used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives, and are sometimes combined with black operations or false flag tactics. It is also used to destroy the morale of enemies through tactics that aim to depress troops' psychological states. Target audiences can be governments , organizations , groups , and individuals , and is not just limited to soldiers. Civilians of foreign territories can also be targeted b
Demoralization is, in a context of warfare , national security , and law enforcement , a process in psychological warfare with the objective to erode morale among enemy combatants and/or noncombatants . That can encourage them to retreat , surrender , or defect rather than defeating them in combat . Demoralization methods are military tactics such as hit-and-run attacks such as snipers , disturbing the enemy with less-lethal weapons and incapacitating agents , and intimidation such as display of force concentration . Some methods on the strategic scale are commerce raiding , strategic bombing , static operations such as sieges and naval blockades , and propaganda . Front of leaflet Back of leaflet A Nazi propaganda leaflet used during World War II to demoralize American troops. Importance of morale Morale is often perceived as a necessary precursor to success in international relations because success most often goes to those who believe in their cause, as they more easily maintain a positive outlook that con
Since the start of the Syrian Civil War , all sides have used social media to try to discredit their opponents by using negative terms such as 'Syrian regime', 'armed gangs/terrorists’, ‘Syrian government/US State Department propaganda’, ‘biased’, ‘US/Western/foreign involvement’. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute , given the complexity of the Syrian conflict, media bias in reporting remains a key challenge, plaguing the collection of useful data and misinforming researchers and policymakers regarding the actual events taking place. Internet activists Social media As in the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the Internet played a major role in the organization and coverage of the protests/armed-uprising. As of 2011 the largest Facebook page in support of the Syrian uprising was "The Syrian Revolution 2011" , which claimed more than 383,000 followers. The page, co-founded by Fida al-Sayed , reports on news related to the uprising and provides general guidelines for protests. As o
Harold Lasswell Harold Dwight Lasswell (February 13, 1902 – December 18, 1978) was a leading American political scientist and communications theorist . He was a PhD student at the University of Chicago , and he was a professor of law at Yale University . He served as president both of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS). According to a biographical memorial written by Gabriel Almond at the time of Lasswell's death and published by the National Academies of Sciences in 1987, Lasswell "ranked among the half dozen creative innovators in the social sciences in the twentieth century." At the time, Almond asserted that "few would question that he was the most original and productive political scientist of his time." Areas of research in which Lasswell worked included the importance of personality , social structure , and culture in the explanation of political phenomena. He was noted to be ahead of his time in employing a variety of methodological app