5 Unusual Forms of Propaganda by Governments


5. Comic Books and Cartoons

The comic book industry were and is full of propaganda. Before World War II, comic books were starting to get famous with the people that the United States Information Office saw a way to influence the American minds. Through superheroes!

So right before the war started, there were a lot of pro-war comics being sold. Things like sabotage and subversion were common motifs in action comics.

Then during the war, comics would dehumanize the Axis powers and many superheroes were shown combating the Axis spies or activities. Superman was depicted to attack the German Westwall in an issue of Das Schwarze Korps, the newspaper, giving the most attention that the creator of the issue was Jewish.

Even now, this is still going on. With series like World at War from DC or Civil War from Marvel you know, just to mention a few war themed comics, they would still be able to shape and condition people psychologically in one way or the other. Also, this method is not going anywhere because comic books are literally read by almost any age groups.

4. WWII Postage Stamp Forgeries

These were done during the first and second World War when the postal system was one of the main way of relaying messages.

Both the Allies and Axis tampered with the opposing stamps to cause separation and mistrust between the leaders of the opposing groups. They portrayed the heads on the stamp to either looking scared or plain evil.

Some changed the pictures altogether to other leader’s head replacing the original for example the image of the British Queen was replaced by Stalin’s on the British stamps. This was a strategy to get people to mistrust Stalin as trying to take over Britain and such.

Not the best propaganda they did, but it must have made people confused as to why the stamps were changed especially the first few ones to have ever been issued.

3. Racist Colouring Book

Coloring books seems to be a harmless thing that can educate children. This is exactly the feature that made the government want to use and abuse.

There was a colouring book published in the 1968s that showed black people hitting and shooting white people and depicting white people as pigs. The book was issued by the FBI to shock both black and white Americans into believing the Black Panther Party was evil through and through.

The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization where the members consisted of armed citizens which challenged police brutality in California. They fought for a cause to stop the government oppression but they did it through violence so it was easy to make people afraid of them rather than want to join them.

This is what the FBI enhanced, their violence. Thus the intention of the colouring book was to reinforce the idea that the Black Panthers were a violent terrorist group that wanted to kill white people. Copies were distributed throughout America and the propaganda became somewhat successful because several black leaders stopped supporting the Panthers after its publication.

But do try googling for racist colouring books. You’ll be surprised that its not just a thing from the past.

2. Clothing and Appearance

Some people wear clothes to express themselves, some chose their appearance to feel comfortable but some people have no choice on what they wear and thus their sense of individuality is suppressed.

This method of influence is mostly used in communist countries with their dull and generic clothings. Its to show there is no real distinction between people and to culture the sense of no individual expression. Meaning everyone is the same, basically communism is an idea where no one is rich nor poor and everything is controlled by the government to achieve equality.

This was apparent in China when Mao was in power. Like most Asian countries, China had unique clothing styles with vibrant colours but during Mao’s leadership, the people were dressed in dull and monochrome clothings that even the leaders wore dreary, gray suits. Anyone who refused were seen as unpatriotic. But that was in the past, now North Korea continued where the Chinese stopped.

They have banned all clothings other than their state-sponsored clothings and there are fashion police around to make sure people followed the rules. Though, over the years, people are starting to not follow the rules with the black market selling clothes from China and Japan.

1. The Leaflet Airdrops

When in war, the ones fighting them are mostly men especially during the world war. They would have to leave their homes and sometimes even their own country leaving their lover or wife behind.

Stressed, alone and very close to death, the only thing keeping them alive and sane was the thought of their loved ones that they can go back to.

Now imagine you are in the situation of stress and cold, some leaflets started falling from the sky with pictures and words saying the girls back home were having a free for all sexual experience or just plain cheating while you are out of the country in a war.

The turmoil, the rage, the heart drop.

This was a method called leaflet bombings where they give mostly false information and demoralises the troops from having the will to fight. Such a psychological warfare.

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