Propaganda: comes from the word ‘propagate.’ It means to spread information. The Catholic church saw propaganda as one of its duties and created foreign missions.

It didn’t take long for ‘propaganda’ to turn bad…to become a pejorative.  It came to mean, ‘misleading’ information that manipulates its intended audience. Nowadays, we call it ‘fake news.’

I’ve been reading Joseph Goebbels’ war time diaries. Goebbels was a propaganda master during the 30s and 40s. Goebbels monitored what films would be produced, what got cut in those films, what documentary newsreels would be seen at the beginning of those movies, —and when they could be seen. Timing was important.  He controlled what newspapers and magazine were allowed to print, and banned foreign newspapers. He’d even decide on the timing for Hitler’s emotional speeches.

Kate Greenaway Public Domain  
Goebbels was like a conductor and the Third Reich was his orchestra. Of course, the composer behind it all was Hitler, but Goebbels made the Third Reich’s message blare loud and hypnotically for twelve frightening years. Kind of like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

In this age of the internet and social media, Goebbels—the ultimate control freak—would no doubt be sleeping even less than he did while writing his war diaries. The father of six children had little time for parenting or for sleep while he managed propaganda during the Second World War.

Propaganda is still rampant and we must always scrutinize what we read, watch or hear.

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