Propaganda During World War Two

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Propaganda, the art of persuasion and deception, has long been notorious for its ability to manipulate the opinion of the population - the holocaust was a gory testament to the atrocities that this machination is capable of. As early as in the 1930s, information had become a potent weapon in the context of total war, to which US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson had famously addressed: “In war, truth is the first casualty”. In spite of the smear and disdain that modern society has against propaganda, it is not to be neglected that during the great crucible of World War Two, the Canadian Government’s use of propaganda, backed by the War Measures Act, had made profound contributions to the Allied war effort. Even more so, it benefited the Canadian society by rallying the home front, strengthening national unity and patriotism, and testifying the importance of women.

The Federal government’s use of propaganda braced Canada in preparation for total war, and contributed to the war effort during World War Two. To illustrate, conscription had always been a dilemma for Mackenzie King, because total war necessitates conscription, which was undoubtedly an undesired outcome. Aside from the indignant French Canadians, skepticism was prevalent throughout Canada. To testify, in 1942, Arthur Meighen, the ninth prime minster of Canada, had advocated for over-sea conscription, and consequently lost his own seat in the English-occupied Toronto. To solve the conundrum, Mackenzie utilized the famous propaganda slogan “Not necessarily conscription but conscription if necessary”. It created “intentional vagueness” which proved to have dampened cynicism in Quebec, and led Canada through its most perilous crisis. In other words, propaganda alleviated much of the anti-war sentiments, and helped to prevent the polarization of political and ethnic entities, as World War I had resulted in. Furthermore, propaganda had played a vital role in mobilizing the country and assisting with the...
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