How Early US Propaganda Grew Out of a Society of Illustrators

How Early US Propaganda Grew Out of a Society of Illustrators

If contemporary echoes of fascism have brought the 1930s and ‘40s troublingly to mind, it’s worth recalling that modern propaganda became a global enterprise during the First World War.

Until recently, serious thinking about propaganda had seemed like a subject at rest, tidily contained in reflections on the victory over fascism following World War Two. Since 2010, we have witnessed the worldwide resurgence of populism and white nationalism, especially in the United States. Toxic ideologies and rising authoritarianism are now widely understood as serious threats to liberal democracy. If the echoes of fascism have brought the 1930s and ‘40s troublingly to mind, it’s worth recalling that modern propaganda became a global enterprise during the First World War, rather than the second. For the US, that conflict was brief, lasting less than two years. But the ideological output was prodigious.

By Doug Dowd, Hyperallergic

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