Propaganda has been used on both sides of the war from the beginning, but how did this affect countries in the war and how did it influence contemporary history. World War Two was a brutal conflict that cost millions of lives. What were these nations fighting for what was achieved by this destruction? The main powers in WWII left Europe in a state of fear, worry, and depression due to propaganda and forced the people into a war that would devastate people for many years into the future.
Although Hitler was a charismatic leader there were some people who carried out Hitler’s desires only out of fear as well as there were others who never found Hitler charismatic at all. He also used threats, murder, and terror to get his way. To convince these few people Hitler employed tactics such as propaganda to falsify and create evidence to further persuade these people. After Hitler’s gain of dictatorship in 1933, Hitler established a ministry of Propaganda who was led by Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry’s aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theatre, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press. (encyclopedia Nazi-propaganda, 2020). Not only did Hitler employ these tactics but so did all the other countries in this war such as America and Britain.
Although Hitler is considered by some as one of the greatest leaders in history due to his rise in power, he wasn’t all that great. Hitler’s only power was his drive as he was not a great politician and could only use his ambition to speak out and seeing as he was the only one speaking out with such confidence, he gained followers. He also turned the people against a common enemy, mainly the Jews, by using propaganda such as posters, text, and news to persuade the people of Germany that the only way to get out of this slump in the economy was to get rid of Jews and the rich profiting of Germany fall in WWI. There were defiantly other countries using this tactic, but Germany is seen as the main center of propaganda in the war due to the power needed to win as it was mainly Germany and Japan vs the world.
Both sides viewed themselves as the ‘good guys and everyone else as the ‘bad guys’ this played a big part in the propaganda as it started bias hatred in which no one sore themselves as in the wrong even in today’s society. This outlook on the war would have negative effects on the world as Hitler’s approach to solve Germanies problems was one of violence and bitterness. This approach towards the war made it hard to justify Hitler’s methods as there was minimal evidence to support Hitler’s claims and the fact that no one knew why Hitler hated Jews. However, the allies’ approach to propaganda wasn’t about falsifying information, as in 1942 President Roosevelt created the Office of War Information, but about patriotism to convince people to support the war effort. Also by showing the people that because they did not start this war they were only in it as defense through vivid posters comparing the Axis leaders to monsters. This approach boosted the bravery and spirit of cooperation amongst the Allies people and their determination to keep their country running “no matter what” all contributed to the eventual defeat of Germany in 1945. (National Geographic, 2016)
Hitler’s justifications and methods were grim and severe leaving people all around the world in fear. With Germany trying to recover from the repercussions of WWI Hitler’s rise in power was mainly due to his timing. Due to Hitler’s approach, it was extremely difficult to justify this through the use of propaganda in WWII which is why the Allies were able to stop Hitler’s reign. Propaganda was been used on both sides of the war to justify and persuade the people to support a cause and has shaped contemporary history by being able to learn from past mistakes.