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Chapter 14 - Propaganda

Martialing Media

from Part II - Settings and Subjects

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2021

Tim Dayton
Affiliation:
Kansas State University
Mark W. Van Wienen
Affiliation:
Northern Illinois University
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Summary

The period of American neutrality during the first three years of World War I (1914-1917) was marked by widespread disagreement. Widespread propaganda advocated neutrality as well as intervention on either side. Propaganda advocating different positions nevertheless tended to use some of the same—often gendered and sexualized—imagery to solicit and channel American emotions. Once the US declared war, the creation of a state-sanctioned propaganda agency, The Committee on Public Information (CPI), produced a flow of information that was both intense and univocal in its support for the war. Meanwhile, legislative acts legalized censorship, enabling the Post Office, government at all levels, and even non-state actors to police speech, jail and attack pacifists, and limit dissenting publications. The widespread use of media to secure public consent for and participation in the war effort is an element of modern, total war. The media landscape was permanently changed. Propaganda moved through social channels and frequently targeted and depended upon women to both relay and follow its messages; after the war, largely as a result, women gained the vote. Other legacies were more negative. Some modernist writers and artists would denounce martial (ab)uses of language and to adopt new strategies (including irony) to undermine notions of linguistic and political certainties.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Propaganda
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.015
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  • Propaganda
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.015
Available formats
×

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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Propaganda
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.015
Available formats
×