Due to recent physical changes in the Still Pictures Research Room, space became available for staff to showcase reproductions of some of our holdings. This inaugural display was created by Aaron Arthur and Michael Bloomfield to present examples of Propaganda held by the Branch.
“Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group.” Edward Bernays, 1928.
Propaganda has existed since the 1600’s, and originally was used when discussing the furtherance of religious activity. Not until the Wars of the 20th century did the term come to denote information being used in a calculated way to elicit a certain outcome or mindset.
While modern propaganda tends to be thought of as posters, it can span various types of media, to include photographs, written papers, or leaflets. It can be used to show the purported benefits and civility of a certain group of people, such as the reading room for German soldiers in World War I (59-GP-A1550), to the danger and evils of another country (242-NK-200643-2).
These eleven examples of propaganda were chosen to showcase the wide variety of media available here in Still Pictures Branch, from the run-of-the-mill to the clichéd.
“Under the banner of Lenin-Stalin, forward to new victories! ‘Everything we have achieved shows that we rely on the most wonderful force in the world – the strength of the workers and peasants.’ Lenin.” From Series RS: Educational and Propaganda Slide Sets Created in the Soviet Union, 1945 – 1950; Record Group 242.
“Brave sons of the land of socialism. [from top left to bottom:] I. D. Papanin – head of the wintering team at the north pole. E. T. Krenkel – radio operator. E. K. Fedorov – magnetologastronom [?].P. P. Shirshov – hydrobiologist. Heroes, polar explorers, brave Stalin’s protégés – comrades Papanin, Krenkel, Fedorov, and Shirshov.” “Heroes” almost certainly refers to the “Hero of the Soviet Union” title, awarded to these four men in 1937-38 after the North Pole-1 expedition. From Series RS: Educational and Propaganda Slide Sets Created in the Soviet Union, 1945 – 1950; Record Group 242. 242-RS-483-53
“The Stalin Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works is the largest [of its kind] in the USSR and in Europe. A powerful crane delivers a bucket of cast iron to fill the open-hearth furnace.” From Series RS: Educational and Propaganda Slide Sets Created in the Soviet Union, 1945 – 1950; 242-RS-483-19