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Propaganda facts for kids

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Guerre 14-18-Humour-L'ingordo, trop dur-1915
French Postcard – French Military Humour Propaganda : The Ingordo, from 1915.
Is this tomorrow
Anti-communist propaganda in a 1947 comic book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society warning of "the dangers of a Communist takeover".

Propaganda is a form of communication to distribute information. The information is designed to make people feel a certain way or to believe a certain thing. The information is often political.

It is hard to tell whether the information is true or false. Very often, the information is confusing and unfair. It can take the form of posters, TV advertisements, and radio announcements.

The word 'propaganda' comes from Latin. At first, it meant 'ideas to be spread around'. But in the First World War, it came to mean political ideas that are supposed to be misleading.

Propaganda is like advertising in some ways. For example, it uses the mass media to spread its ideas. But advertising is usually trying to sell something, whereas propaganda is about ideas. It is often political, and used by states or political parties, not private companies.

Uses

Propaganda is often used during wars. There it can be very useful. Sometimes it keeps the people of a country happy – telling them that their country is fighting well and telling them how important it is that the enemy is defeated. Sometimes it tries to make people hate the enemy. The information could tell people that the enemy is evil or make them seem not human. Sometimes a government gives propaganda to the enemy – telling them that the war is going badly for them and that they should stop fighting.

When a country is not at war, propaganda can still be used. The government may use propaganda to change what people think about a political situation. A group may try to change the way people act towards an issue.

Propaganda under some countries, like dictatorships, is used along with censorship. While propaganda tries to give people ideas, censorship forces the ones who disagree with propaganda to keep quiet.

Propaganda is also used to win people by tricking them. Some people say that cults use propaganda to get people to join them.

Examples of propaganda:

History

Propaganda has been used in every known civilisation. It was used by Rameses II on his monuments in Ancient Egypt; it was used by Ancient Greek orators; it was used by Julius Caesar, and all Roman Emperors. The word itself is formed from propagate, meaning to multiply.

Propaganda was carried much further by the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide of the Catholic Church. This committee, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, had action branches in most European countries. These were the local branches of the Inquisition, which sought out heretics. With torture and the threat of death by burning at the stake, they forced heretics to recant (to publicly withdraw their previous beliefs). The objective was to remove all challenges to the supremacy of the Church in matters of belief.

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