World View

The State Of The World

A daily Commentary by Wayne Blank

"The State of The World" Number 29
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The Art Of War

Throughout human history, many wars have, of course, been fought on the battlefield. But wars are not won or lost by military victory or defeat alone. Wars are won or lost in the minds of the people of the nation.

A prime example of that was Germany at the end of the First World War (1914-1918) when most of the German population were not defeated in their minds - the reason that they regarded the Second World War (1939-1945) as merely a means to continue the First World War to victory. It was the primary emotion that got Adolf Hitler elected by German voters.

The bizarre propaganda poster from the 1930s below shows Adolf Hitler campaigning like a typical modern-day politician (see also The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator).


As well, while wars are being fought, the morale of the civilian population must be maintained at a high level or victory in battle won't matter.

A prime example of that was the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war of the Vietnamese people that began when imperial France divided Vietnam, that the French called French Indochina, into North and South in the 1940s). The U.S. military superpower, although not defeated by the "primitive" people of Vietnam, nevertheless retreated without victory because most of the people back home would no longer tolerate the war.

Ironically, some of the most historic artwork was created as wartime propaganda, either to maintain high morale, or to persuade the population to do something that the government wanted the people to do, but could not knowingly force them to do - including volunteering for the armed forces. The famous "Uncle Sam Wants You," which was actually based on an earlier British poster (with no credit given), is a prime example of that.

Kitchener Poster

Times of war are also often times of hardship or forced economy. When fuel supplies were needed for the war, rationing was a necessary result. But once again, propaganda posters portrayed a strong message of how "patriotic" car pooling was at that time. The 1943 "When You Ride Alone You Ride With Hitler! Join a car-sharing club TODAY!" poster worked very well.

Another successful poster from the Second World War is shown below - an enemy Japanese soldier encouraging workers to take the day off (i.e. in the war industries; see also Guns Versus Butter). The poster was created by the United States Department of the Treasury.

The "other side" of course has always done the same thing, although a major part of any successful propaganda program is to block any viewing of the enemy's propaganda. The less that the people really know, the better for those who have a "message" (see also Fake News - News, Or Noose?).

As the saying goes, "The first casualty of War is Truth."

Wayne Blank