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Why We Fight: Prelude to War

The Frank Capra film Why We Fight û Prelude to War divides the world in two sides, one good and one evil. The good side is the U.S. and its allies, what are called ôfreeö peoples versus the evil side represented by dictatorships in Germany, Italy, and Japan know as the ôslaveö peoples (Capra, 1943). In CapraÆs film, generally considered to be the best piece of cinema propaganda aside from Leni RiefenstahlÆs Triumph of the Will, the director uses propaganda to persuade Americans to move away from isolationism, send troops into war, and form an alliance with the Russians. While CapraÆs film might be called government public relations by some, this essay will use Edward BernaysÆ theories on public relations and propaganda in Propaganda to show that all public relations attempt to persuade and are a form of propaganda.

Throughout history the elite classes in society who control a majority of the resources and the media have institutionalized the customs, ideas, values, products and services that are considered the ômainstream norm.ö As Edward Bernays (2004) maintains in Propaganda, ôThe conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.ö Bernays could have been referring to the government, powerful businessmen, filmmakers and the film industry, or any other number of powerful groups that manufacture public consent.

In Frank CapraÆs Why We Fight û Prelude to War, the director is charged with making a documentary that will persuade Americans to move away from years of isolationism, to send troops into military combat and to form an alliance with Russia. We see in the film that BernaysÆ (2004) belief that public relations is the process of ômanipulating public opinionö lends itself readily t...

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Why We Fight: Prelude to War. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:06, June 19, 2019, from