The Psychological Effects of Propaganda and the Nazis Use of It During WW II

Essay by d1684College, UndergraduateA+, June 2009

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"A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth"- - Joseph Goebels.

Definition of PropagandaPropaganda is defined by Webster's Dictionary as "ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect". (1) Some people define propaganda as things such as commercial advertising for consumer goods, however this is not accurate. Propaganda is information disseminated by a government, and this is the definition of propaganda that will be used in this paper for the sake of clarity.

Propaganda is nothing new. The ancient Roman Empire engaged in propaganda, and almost every empire or government has since. Chances are propaganda existed even before Rome, but if so there is no doubt Rome had taken it to entirely new levels. The Romans developed an elaborate world-view which they promoted successfully through writings, inscriptions, art, elaborate public ceremonies, and even architecture.

The one constant idea of Roman propaganda was that Rome was the bringer of peace, good government, and the rule of law. The societies with which Rome had disputes were described as being archaic, barbaric, lawless and dangerous. Julius Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars of circa 50 B.C. certainly presented Romans with a less than flattering description of the Germanic tribes he encountered in battle:'The various tribes regard it as their greatest glory to lay waste as much as possible of the land around them and to keep it uninhabited. They hold it a proof of a people's valor to drive their neighbors from their homes, so that no-one dare settle near them. No discredit attaches to plundering raids outside tribal frontiers. The Germans say that they serve to keep young men in training and prevent them from getting lazy.' (2)The Celts were also described as being...