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Teddy Larkin
World Literature
Mr. Rooney
Research Project

Propaganda in Literature during Nineteenth-Century Wartimes

Origins of Propaganda
The use of propaganda predates the origin of writing and record keeping.
Primitive tribes used propaganda to persuade other tribes to accept them as the leader of a certain
area, based upon their physique or hunting abilities. It has been used effectively by every great
civilization from the Egyptians and the Romans to the British and the Germans. The etymology
of the word propaganda, however, did not originate until the 17th Century. It was first used by
one of historys great masterminds of propaganda, the Catholic Church. In response to Martin
Luthers 95 Theses, Pope Gregory XV acknowledged that the Catholic Church was losing
popularity and influence. To counteract the decline in public support, he began the desperately
needed reformation of church practices. On June 22, 1622 he established the Sacra Congregation
de Propaganda Fide (Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith). This new office in the
Church would train missionaries (propagandists) to revitalize the faith in Protestant Europe. The
missionaries were not permitted to use the coercive techniques previously used by the Church.
Presented with a difficult challenge, the church remodeled its approach from trying to control
peoples actions to controlling their opinions. The word propaganda was first used to describe
a group that attempted to spread a specific dogma. Later, propaganda referred to the techniques
used to spread a particular ideology, and still retains that meaning. (Adams, Simon)

Many people have a skewed view of what propaganda actually is. In our western
capitalist society the word propaganda frequently evokes thoughts of
Nazi swastikas or the Soviets hammer and sickle. Unquestionably, such
symbols represent world powers that were virtuosos of propaganda, but
the alarming truth that might surprise the average person today is that
propaganda is incorporated into the everyday life of every society.
Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions,
and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
(Jowett and ODonnell). According to this definition, anything susceptible to opinion would
meet the criteria of propaganda, including, but not limited to, the Bush Administrations
terrorists threat, the incessant message of materialism sent through U.S. media, and even the
demands and rules of most parents. One needs the proper background and keys to examine

Types of Propaganda
Propaganda is difficult to classify because the means by which one
can manipulate a certain group are endless. Propaganda cannot be
measured on the basis of good or evil just because it attempts to manipulate someones behavior
or opinion to benefit someone else. Evaluation of propaganda is based on the accuracy of its
statements and the validity of its source. Thus propaganda is classified into three branches:
white, black, and grey.
White propaganda is used when the source is obvious and the information is primarily
accurate. A good example is a government summarizing an air strike on a specific area where its
military successfully hit a number of targets. Proclaiming the mission a success is primarily true

because an air strike actually took place, and the sources identity is accurate, but the results may
be grossly misconstrued. The summary fails to mention crucial facts regarding the air strike,
including that many bombs missed their designated targets and damaged or destroyed innocent
civilian homes and hospitals. These inconvenient truths are looked upon as insignificant, because
they do not support the intended purpose: to improve the popularity of the military. This type of
propaganda supports the mindset that every situation is black or white; if the bad guys were
killed, then everything is A-OK. Such generalizations have been part of news journalism
throughout history, but were particularly evident during the War in Iraq.
Black propaganda, the inverse of white propaganda, is false information that purports to be
from a source on one side of a conflict, but is actually from the opposing side. Typically, it is
used to vilify, embarrass or misrepresent the enemy. A clear example of black propaganda
occurred when the Japanese attempted to turn U.S. troops against the Filipino people during
World War II. The Japanese forged pamphlets, appearing to be from the United States Military, to
promote disgust among American soldiers. The pamphlets read:
Guard Against Venereal Diseases
Lately there has been a great increase in the number of venereal
diseases among our officers and men owing to prolific contacts with
Filipino women of dubious character. Due to hard times and stricken
conditions brought about by the Japanese occupation of the islands,
Filipino women were willing to offer themselves for a small amount of
foodstuffs. It is advisable in such cases to take full protective measures
by use of condoms, protective medicines, etc.; better still to hold
intercourse only with wives, virgins, or women of respective character.
Furthermore, in view of the increase in pro-American leanings, many
Filipino women are more than willing to offer themselves to American
soldiers, and because Filipinos have no knowledge of hygiene, disease
carriers are rampant and due care must be taken.

US Army (
This scam effectively caused American soldiers to be repulsed by Filipino women and widened
the distance between two groups who were supposed to be allies. It made Filipinos appear to be
unclean and added to the undercurrent of racism already present among U.S. troops.
Gray propaganda, the happy medium between black and white, is propaganda wherein the
source may or may not be identified and may not be correctly identified (Simon Adams). It can
be the most effective and dangerous type of propaganda. An example of grey propaganda
occurred at the beginning of World War II. Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels set his
eyes on France. The Germans had just invaded Poland and were also ready to infiltrate the homes
and hearts of the French people. While reporting Communist ideologies, unidentified radio
stations began repeated proclamations that France was in a weakened state. The reports
suggested that the French government had disbanded, that food supplies were dwindling, and
that severe outbreaks of cholera were spreading throughout France. Faced with the German
threat from outside the country and internal opinions about national weakness assuring defeat,
France surrendered to the German threat. Having served their purpose of assuring French
surrender, the radio stations disbanded. The German ownership of these radio stations was not
discovered until the post-war period. (

Propaganda is intended to influence and impact individuals and groups in a noncoercive, subtly designed, and insidious manner. The process is gradual and, therefore, goes
generally unnoticed by those targeted. The better the propaganda is disguised, the more
efficacious and lasting the result. So, how does one recognize propaganda and identify its
attempt to influence? Simon Adams outlined ten important steps to detect propaganda.



As mentioned above, in The Origins of Propaganda, religion can be a producer of

propaganda. This section will demonstrate that a religion can also fall victim to propaganda. The
most infamous example is the Holocaust. The genocide of six million European Jews is one of
the most heinous crimes against humanity. Jewish children were ripped away from their
mothers, who were sent either to crematories or concentration camps. Twins were sentenced to
painful and often lethal experiments. The survivors of Nazi selection were beaten and broken

into submission to a point where the victims would curse the beliefs that had supposedly
provoked this torture. This attempted genocide of an entire race still haunts many people today.
The questions that most frequently arise are Why and How could such an atrocity take
place? Propaganda had a profound effect on both of these sensitive and complex questions.
The most straightforward answer to Why did this atrocity happen? is seen through the
statements of those who imposed these horrors. The anti-Semitic Joseph Goebbels, Reich
Minister of Propaganda, said, We do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked Our objectives are different: We must have a
healthy people in order to prevail in the world. MEANING NOT CLEAR: This extreme,
elitist attitude provokes even more questions of how Jews were assumed to be weak. But
the questions are intertwined. The How is, in fact, the reason for the Why. This crimes
How is the anti-Semitic propaganda that started well before World War II, and from it is
derived the Why. (Alexander L. George)
Historically, Adolph Hitler is the chosen scapegoat for the Holocaust. Many people believe
that Hitlers arduous upbringing kindled his intense animosity for Jews and his desire to
eliminate the race. This perception fails to provide any explanation for European anti-Semitic
attitudes that have waxed and waned since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This simple
explanation of Why the Holocaust occurred is a secondary propaganda propagated by
Europeans who blindly accepted the anti-Semitic dogma until the gravity of the Holocaust
registered and the damage was irreversible. The worlds conscience was appalled by the events
of the Holocaust, and the subordinate perpetrators, some ridden with guilt, found consolation in
blaming Hitler as the sole source of the atrocity. This convenient assumption is far from the truth.
Genocide does not just happen. It is spawned by hatred of a particular group over a period of
time. No other people have been more affected by such hatred than the Jews, persecuted and

abused since the days of the Egyptians. A major source of anti-semitism was religious
intolerance. After the death of Jesus Christ, Jews were, despised for the arrogance of their
monotheism, vilified as Christs murderers, and identified with the devil. (Stephen Eric
Bronner) The other major source of hatred for Jews was known as rishes footnote (Yiddish for
malice) that, connotes a mixture of resentment and jealousy over the seeming ability of Jews to
make good on the scarce opportunities offered them by capitalism. These feelings covered the
extensive time period of approximately two thousand years footnote (400 B.C. to 1950 A.D).
The Merchant of Venice
An example of anti-Semitic propaganda during the Elizabethan Era was William
Shakespeares, The Merchant of Venice (1597). In the play a Jewish banker, Shylock, is
demonized as a greedy wanton murderer. Shylocks foil is another banker in Venice, named
Antonio. Antonio is trying to financially aid his friend Bassanio, who needs money in order to
appropriately court Portia, the heiress from Belmont. Antonio cannot personally make the loan
because he has investments in ships that are still out at sea. Antonio proposes that Bassanio take
a loan from another moneylender, and name Antonio as the guarantor. Bassanio takes a loan from
the infamous Shylock, who despises Antonio for two reasons: Antonio repeatedly demeans
Shylock as a filthy Jew, and Antonio stifles Shylocks business by offering loans without
interest. So, when Antonio and Bassanio ask him for a loan of 3,000 ducats, Shylock agrees to
lend the money with no interest, but if the loan is not repaid at the time specified, Shylock will
take a pound of Antonios flesh. Soon after, it is confirmed that Shylock would rather have
Antonio's flesh than twenty times the value of the sum that he did owe him. (III, ii, 284-88)
This agreement becomes quite intimidating when rumors surface that Antonios invested ships
have crashed. Simultaneously, Bassanio goes to Belmont and wins Portias heart. When Bassanio
hears the rumor about Antonios ships, he immediately returns to try to save his friends life.

Upon confirmation of the rumor, Shylock demands
that the contract be honored, ignoring the pleas to
spare Antonios life. At a trial before the Duke of
Venice, the duke sends for a legal expert. Bassanios
love interest, Portia, disguises herself as that expert.
She/he concludes that Shylock may extract the flesh,
but may not draw one drop of blood, based upon the
technicality that blood was not promised in the
contract. Shylock immediately tries to take
Antonios money instead, but Portia refuses,
accusing him of making an attempt on another
Venetians life. For this crime he would forfeit all of his property, but Antonio and the Duke take
pity on him. They merely fine him, provided that he convert to Christianity and bequeath his
fortune to his daughter Jessica and her lover Lorenzo.

William Shakespeare wrote this play as a comedy to entertain his Elizabethan audiences. Its
anti-Semitic undercurrent was evident from the beginning, but as time progressed, Shylocks
cruelty was exaggerated to fit the beliefs and intentions of those performing the play. Often the
play was performed solely to promote anti-Semitism. In 1619 the title was altered to The
Merchant of Venice, With the Extreme Cruelty of Shylock the Jew. Certainly the play was used
solely to promote anti-Semitism in 1938, when the Nazis produced it as a radio broadcast and a
play. (Lecture by James Shapiro: "Shakespeare and the Jews)
Regardless of the time of production, the play clearly demonizes Shylock as a Jew.
Throughout the play, Shylock is stripped of his name and is referred to as the Jew. Frequently


that title is subject to disparaging adjectives like

"dog Jew" (II,viii,14) and "currish Jew" (IV,i,292).
Shylock even loses his humanity when he is cursed


" be thou damned, inexecrable dog!" (IV,i,128).

Also, his "currish spirit govern'd a wolf" (IV,i,13334) and his "desires are wolvish, bloody, starved,
and ravenous" (IV,i,137-38). If these were not enough, Shylock is compared to the Devil
himself and called "the very devil incarnation." His daughter, also Jewish, refers to his house as
hell. Probably the most famous example of Shylock being equated to the devil is his statement
that The Devil can cite scripture for his purpose" (I,iii, 97-100). These quotations accurately
parallel the way a Jew was portrayed in society at the time. ( textualanalyssi.htm)
One of the great works of silent cinema is Nosferatu footnote (meaning vampire). Directed by
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, this masterpiece was a brilliant adaptation of the 1897 British novel,
Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Because the filmmakers were unable to obtain the rights to the book,
they made as many minor alterations as possible while maintaining the essentials of the original.
Some argue that the anti-Semitic undertone is actually a product of overly-analytical critics
judging the small adaptations that were made to avoid infringement. This opinion seems to be
another example of denial of responsibility for the widespread anti-Semitism in Germany during
the mid-Nineteenth Century.
The films plot revolves around a German real estate agent, Thomas Hutter, who is sent to try
to sell property to Orlock (Dracula), who lives in Eastern Europe. Hutter discovers that Orlock is
the Nosferatu, and flees back to his town to warn its citizens. Fear of a plague begins when rats

appear in the town at an alarming rate. Hutters wife, Ellen, reads the book of vampires and
learns how to kill the vampire. She sacrifices herself to Orlock, but forces him to stay until dawn,
when he is destroyed by the sunlight.
Despite Nosferatus cinematic brilliance, the film has been criticised for its anti-Semitism,
revealed through Murnaus changes to the text. One of the primary complaints was that Orlock
took on the stereotypical Jewish persona. In the film, Orlock is presented as bald, rat-faced,
repellant, with an oversized, hooked nose. When the movie was released, Jews were migrating at
a high rate into Western Europe, to avoid persecution. Accompanying them was the appalling
rumor that they were filthy hosts of various diseases. Because rats were also feared as a source of
disease, the two were seen as synonymous. Therefore, without explanation, an invasion of rats
followed Orlocks migration towards Huttlers village. Ellens sacrifice is also symbolic of the
corruption of racial purity. Orlock spends the night with her and overpowers this virtuous Aryan
woman. (
Nosferatu and The Merchant of Venice share ideologies that demonize Jews. Ironically or
intentionally, their two Jewish characters have similar names: Shylock and Orlock. These two
literary works are examples of white propaganda, because the intentions are clear. Each of these
works has the primary goal of entertaining the audience. Their anti-Semitic undertone is not
fully exploited until the Nazis use them as direct propaganda until the late 1930s.
Poetry for German Children
The wise John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, Children are the world's most valuable resource
and its best hope for the future. Adolph Hitler also recognized the power of children and used
the opportunity to corrupt them with propaganda. He knew that a person is not born with
prejudice, but must be carefully taught. One of the infamous ways he taught the German youth
was through picture books. Over 100,000 copies of the book, Trust No Fox on his Green


Heath and No Jew on his Oath, by Elwira Bauer, were published in 1935. The book
touched the youth effectively, because its vibrant images attracted even uneducated and illiterate
children. The pictures were so derogatory that even the simplest mind could comprehend their
message. Filled with graphic depictions of demonic aspects of Jews, this book has two poems
that stand out among the rest.
The Father of the Jews is the Devil
At the creation of the world
The Lord God conceived the races:
Red Indians, Negroes, and Chinese,
And Jew-boys, too, the rotten crew.
And we were also on the scene:
We Germans midst this motley medleyHe gave them all a piece of earth
To work with the sweat of their brow.
But the Jew-boy went on strike at once!
For the devil rode him from the first.
Cheating, not working, was his aim;
For lying, he got first prize
In less than no time from the Father of Lies.
Then he wrote it in the Talmud.
By the banks of Pharaohs Nile
Pharaoh saw this folk, and said:
"Ill torment the lazy blighters,
These people shall make bricks for me."


The Jew did this all wailing and whining,
Never was there such cursing and swearing,
With bent backs and over-big slippers.
Even today we see them shambling
With lip hanging down and great red noses
And looking daggers, flashing hate.
They owe Pharaoh thanks,
Who trounced them soundly for their pranks.
The Jews soon had enough of that!
The Devil brought them to our midst,
Like thieves they stole into our land
Hoping to get the upper hand.


But the Germans they stand foursquare.
Look, children, and the two compare,
The German and the Jew.
Take a good look at the two
In the picture drawn for you.
A joke you think it is only that?
Easy to guess which is which, I say:
The German stands up, the Jew gives way.
The German is a proud young man,
Able to work and able to fight.
Because he is a fine big chap,
For danger does not care a rap,
The Jew has always hated him!
Here is the Jew, as all can see,
Biggest ruffian in our country;
He thinks himself the greatest beau
And yet is the ugliest you know!
Once a Jew, always a Jew
Ikey Itzig had a brainwave:
I know what, Ill be baptized.
These stupid folk will surely say:
Look, there goes a Christian man.
Itzig Iphraim one fine day


Called on the local village priest,
Asked to be sprinkled from the font.
The priest was all agog to please him.
Hear my words, Jew Iphraim, he said,
Thee I baptize: Gotthilf Joachim
Fridericus Christian Itzig.
Now hear what I say:
Once a Jew, now a Christian you are,
And obedience is required of you.
Promise never to forget
To eat no meat on Friday,
For that would be a sin
Hardly to be pardoned!
When next Friday he came to see
Our Ikey, Itzig in great glee
Was making short work of a goose.
Itzig, my man, what does that mean?
Cries reverend father in furious spleen.
You ought to know that on your plate
There should be no meat this date!
Strict penance you must pay for this!
The sinner said: ei waich ei waich!
Why make such trouble all at once?


What you upon my plate do see,
It is no goose: Its just a fish!
I bought myself a goosie-gander,
Bethought myself to christen it!
On this fried morsel I pronounced:
You were a goose, now you are a fish!
Now children, on the other page
The Jew youll see. Can you believe
Since baptism hes really changed7
Five pails of water oer his head
Makes no changes in his heart.
One thing always keep in view,
Once a Jew, always a Jew!!

These two poems attack the humanity of Jews and elevate the German people the Germans
objective. The Germans did not wish the complete abolition of Jews. Their true goal was to
avenge the ending of World War I and to rise up as an impregnable world power. The Jewish
people were an obstacle preventing the Germans from (see Goebbels quote from pg 7) being a
purely Aryan race. The Germans decided to crush this obstacle by installing racial theory or the
Jewish question into the curriculum. One German educator stresses the importance of the racial
theory, saying, we as German educators wish to impart to our young people, from childhood
on, knowledge about the Jew. None of our people should grow up ignorant of the dreadful danger
posed by the Jew


The poem, The Father of Jews Is the Devil, directly refers to the Jews as Spawn of the
Devil, suggesting that Jews deserved the misery of their slavery in Egypt and still ought to be
treated badly. The poem attacks their supposed physical and moral deformities, treating laziness
and red noses as their racial characteristics. It contrasts the Jew with the strong, hard working
German race that it sees as pure. It finally petitions the German people to eliminate the plague
within Germany. This specific lesson was crucial to the German curriculum because it portrays
anti-Semitism as righteous and virtuous.
The poem, Once a Jew Always a Jew, identifies a Jew solely by his heritage, and not by his
actual religious affiliation. This poem depicts a Jew who gets baptized, yet shows no remorse for
his sins and does not adhere to Christian teaching. It is significant because it provides no hope
for Jews to assimilate into the Christian German society. Jews are permanently branded at birth
and will never change. It also negates the Christian missionary role of converting sinners, for
Jews cannot change, even through the sacraments. This is directly expressed when the poem
says, Five pails of water oer his head / Makes no changes in his heart. This subtle teaching
discouraged even the most devout Christians from converting this race, so that no one would
protest when the Jewish genocide began.
The primarily German examples should not persuade the reader to believe that antiSemitism was restricted to Germany. Anti-Semitism was prevalent at the international level.
Even the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave was susceptible to this ideology. In the
United States, anti-Semitism was entwined with its everyday culture during the early Twentieth
Century. One prominent example is the work of the renowned poet, T.S. Eliot. Although much
controversy surrounds Eliots personal view of Jews, his poems definitely display anti-Semitic
sentiments. One example appears in his Gerontion.



One must remember that Eliot is ostensibly in a satirical mood However, he
uses ugly clichs that grew out of the racist form of anti-Semitism, creating stereotypes of Jews
as subhuman and leprous as rats and vampires. In the above excerpt alone, he clearly implies
sufficient anti-Semitism, vilifying the Jewish landlord as spawned like an insect.
Possibly the most offensive of Eliots poems is Dirge. The poems publisher even
eliminated this excerpt, recognizing that the section was unnecessary for the effectiveness of the
Full fathom five your Bleistein lies
Under the flatfish and the squids.
Graves Disease is a dead jews eyes!
When the crabs have eat the lids
Lowe than the wharf rats dive
Though he suffer a sea-change
Still expensive rich and strange
That is lace that was his nose, etc.
These lines seem to clearly display anti-Semitism, although Eliot claims the poem to be parody.
Parody can only excuse a certain level of apparent disgust. Eliot crossed the line, and his


publisher did not publish Dirge, fearing a justifiably angry response to Eliots depiction of a
Jew as lower than docks rats, etc. Even if such statements were not Eliots actual opinions, they
reflect a mindset in American society of the 1920s. (The Merchant of Venom? T. S. Eliot and
Anti-Semitism) # Walter A. Strauss
Having presented the above sources, I will analyze them as propaganda by asking the key
Ten Questions.
1. What is the ideology or purpose of the campaign? The Germans did not wish only
for the complete abolition of Jews; their true goal was to avenge the end of World War I and to
rise again as an impregnable world power. The Jewish race was one obstacle that prevented
Germany from being a pure Aryan race.
2. What is the context in which the campaign occurs? The German people were
disgraced and demoralized after World War I. The Treaty of Versailles had crippled their hopes of
being recognized as a world power.
3. Who is the propagandist? The propagandist was the Nazi Regime, directly controlled
by Adolph Hitler.
4. What is the structure of the propaganda organization? Germany was a totalitarian
dictatorship from 1933 until1945.
5. Who is the target audience? The target audience initially was the German people, and
eventually the world.
6. What media techniques are being used? The media techniques employed every
existing medium of communication, including radio, film, newspapers, pamphlets, and books.


7. Are any special techniques used to increase the effect of the campaign? The Nazis
poisoned the minds of the youth through the youth camps, the school curricula, and anti-Semitic
8. What is the target audiences response to the propaganda? The German people
accepted the propaganda because anti-Semitism had been a societal undercurrent in Europe for
9. Is there any counter propaganda? No. The Jews were so helpless in German society
that they were unable to produce media to counter the malicious rumors about them.
10. How effective has the campaign been? The campaign effectively promoted the antiSemitic prejudices that resulted in the genocide of 6,000,000 Jews, but Germany lost WWII
because the Allied forces recognized the Nazi threat to Europe and the world.
Propaganda can utilize any and all media in its attempts to persuade a group or the
general public. Its three different types must be analyzed with as little bias as possible. The Ten
Questions are helpful in sorting information and identifying the accuracy of the claims. When
people do not challenge information and opinion that is presented to them, they can become
vulnerable to their sources. Another danger in unchallenged propaganda is that generalities are
presented about those whom the propaganda is designed to attack. From such a biased situation,
terrible atrocities can result. The most atrocious example is the Holocaust. Nazi propaganda in a
nation with a history of mild anti-Semitism generated in its citizens the hateful attitudes that
supported or tolerated the elimination of millions, simply because of their Jewish heritage. AntiSemitism was not simply a Germanic movement; it has existed internationally for thousands of
years. It must be remembered that prejudice is taught, not inborn; it usually starts at home. By
evaluating an attempt at persuasion, recognizing the complexity and nuances of the situation, one
will draw closer to the truth.