Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Eberhard Demm - Censorship and Propaganda in World War I and Their Impact on Mass Indoctrination until Today
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Research Centre for Study of Contemporary German and Austrian Civilisation (CERAAC) University Stendhal (Grenoble III), France
Censorship and Propaganda in World War I and Their Impact on Mass Indoctrination until Today
Abstract: In the introduction the author defines censorship and propaganda as the principal elements of indoctrination. Censorship suppresses all unwanted information, propaganda manipulates public opinion by inducing people to accept and to support the aims of the elites. After a short summary about the development of censorship and propaganda before World War I with special consideration of the, at times, very successful role of the Catholic Church, the following topics of World War I indoctrination are analysed: the principal aims, the organization and the handling of censorship and propaganda, the arguments, instruments and the distribution of propaganda according to the principal targets: home front and military front, neutral and enemy countries. Then the thorny question of whether and to what extent propaganda was successful is discussed. The heated controversy in the 1920s about the value and shortcomings of war propaganda is then summarized. Last but not least, the author shows how similar indoctrination techniques continued after 1918 until to-day, not only in the authoritarian and totalitarian states, but also to quite a considerable extent in some parliamentary democracies.
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