Saturday, April 15, 2017

WWI Committee on Public Information on PBS

I recommend that you watch the PBS series on WWI.  Of course, it contains the usual amount of US patriotic propaganda but the footage is incredible.  It also has an useful section on the notorious Committee on Public Information.  CPI proceeded the propaganda of Goebbels and it is really the first major government propaganda apparatus in modern (or pre-modern) times. It basically taught world governments how to sell a war and how to stifle dissent to war.  The series does the typical American historical schtick: that Woodrow Wilson was motivated by "ideas" and that the thrust of US role in the war was in the realm of if ideas are divorced from material interests.  By the way, the best treatment of the experiences of Arab-Americans who fought in the WWI is still Mikha'il Nu`yaymah in his Sab`un.  His experience (although he advanced fast as a polyglot with a law degree) embittered him toward the US and he wrote his most scathing condemnation of US war celebration.