ii. the fine art of propaganda

Every piece of propaganda, Institute writers argued, could be broken down and these devices could be found within it. Its hope was that "in a democratic society, [it is essential that] young people and adults learn how to think, learn how to make up their minds. They must learn how to think independently, and they must learn how to think together. They must come to conclusions, but at the same time, the must recognize the right of other men to come to opposite conclusions. So far as individuals are concerned, the art of democracy is the art of thinking and discussing independently together."


In 1939, the Institute published a volume, The Fine Art of Propaganda, in which the fiercely anti-Semitic speeches of Reverend Charles Coughlin, heard via radio throughout the United States in the 1930s, were analyzed using these seven identified devices. The same methodology could be applied to texts as varied as the speeches and writings of Nazi leaders to the statements in textbooks published in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

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