You wouldn’t think that cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck would serve as the ultimate rallying cry to united a nation. But back in 1940, the US government were relying on both to shore up support for the war effort.
The vast majority of us are patriotic about our country to varying degrees, but few more so than those living in the United States. Their national anthem is known throughout the world whilst the over-used “The American Dream” tagline inspires hope to millions. But in order to become patriotic and care for your country, the government of the day either has to galvanize you or somehow make you feel empowered enough that you have a stake in the country itself. And that’s when governments turn to propaganda to convert their ideals into messages, slogans and catchphrases you’ll share with your friends. Or in the case of North Korea, simply terrify them.
Back in 1941-1945 during World War II the US government released a series of pro-war propaganda in order to increase support and shift public opinion in favour of the war. At the time, it would have been seen as “Un-American” in the eyes of Mickey Mouse not to lend your support to the Allied victory. It seems ridiculous to think that pop culture icons could have such an influence over a nation – but perhaps they truly did?
You have to ask yourself, if such a campaign was run like this today – would we all buy into it? Or are we smarter and wise enough to know when the wool is being pulled over our eyes?
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