At first glance, the two images I have selected may not look like they have much in common. Once you realize what the image on the left says, and from what time period, the similarities are astounding. On the left, a piece of Nazi propaganda says “Greater Germany: Yes on April 10,” which was published in 1938 as Hitler was on the rise to power (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). To the right, a Donald Trump poster stating “TRUMP MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” bears a haunting message about improving the United States by having another fascist ruler take charge (https://medjeskyfindlay.wordpress.com2016). Both images are geared toward the white supremacists in the countries that they are running for office in. The Nazi propaganda has hands astutely faced upwards in the Nazi salute. Trump’s smug smile combined with the ‘patriotic’ colors that Americans proudly dawn makes for an eerie effect. Considering that both Hitler and Trump’s campaigns were based around the defects of people who were not born in the country that they were running in, it’s easy to find similarity in their campaigns. The irony is that Hitler was not born in Germany and Trump had multiple wives from other countries, but somehow ‘foreigners’ were the plight of each country’s ‘downfall.’
Propaganda exists today not only in advertisements related to war and political campaigns, but also in the commercials and ads that we see whenever we use the internet. Images on medication commercials of people who are suffering from whatever condition that they are marketing quickly pass through the screen in a daunting manner. We start to ask ourselves, “do I have chronic depression? Fibromyalgia? Erectile dysfunction?” It’s safe to say that most of the time when we see propaganda, we brush it off as annoying ads in the media that we are consuming, but it’s certainly abundant. Even when you use citation websites to write papers in MLA or APA format, you are required to watch a commercial every 48 hours in order for them to not charge you to use the site. According to re-publica.com, “The internet’s ability to create and share information can be exploited to churn out a sea of misinformation or build large bodies of intelligence through the extraction of private data,” which are just a couple of the negative effects of propaganda being drilled into everything that we consume (Guarnieri 2017). Pesky advertisements may seem like they are just a part of the media experience to some, but propaganda’s expansion has increased largely due to fascist rulers coming to power.
After searching for Holocaust propaganda for the first image, I couldn’t help but feel a bit shaken up at how the language used in it was just like Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The only modern propaganda that seemed applicable to compare this to was the 2016 campaign because people ate it up and made a mockery of the democracy that this country was supposedly founded upon. One of the dramatic digital age propaganda sites that anyone who uses Facebook has probably seen is called “Now This.” Generally, what’s shown are short clips of atrocities happening to marginalized communities at the hands of people in power: police officers, members of Congress, religious leaders, etc. This propaganda is rapidly shared on Twitter and Facebook through shock value. What people decide to do with it is their business, but we’ve been fortunate as Millennials to witness propaganda like this at the click of a button to hopefully educate naysayers on abuse. On the other side of that coin, fake propaganda can be made by someone who is handy with a camera and video production. To quantify what’s real or fake, serious research should be done before sharing and going on tangents about the images that are dumped on us daily. Propaganda can be beneficial if it helps an oppressed community to break free of their captors, so to speak.
Guarnieri, Claudio, et al. “‘Hacking Democracy’: Power and Propaganda in the Digital Age.” Re:Publica, 8 May 2017, re-publica.com/en/session/hacking-democracy-power-and-propaganda-digital-age.
“Megan’s Propaganda Analysis.” Medjeskyfindlay, 18 Nov. 2016, medjeskyfindlay.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/megans-propaganda-analysis/.
“Rallying the Nation.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/rallying-the-nation?series=17968.
Mikalah Lake is a senior in the Women’s Studies department, minoring in Psychology. She is drawn to Women’s Studies because of the critical thinking and awareness the assignments require. Based off the female genealogy in her family, she hopes to break the cycle of oppression through the opportunities her education has afforded her. Areas of intrigue include global studies, intersectionality, public health, body modification and sexuality. She has an Instagram page called @bodyloristsofhr that aims to enlighten through personal stories.