In Propaganda Technique in the World War, Harold Lasswell in 1927 stated: “But when all allowances have been made, and all extravagant estimates pared to the bone, the fact remains that propaganda is one of the most powerful instrumentalities in the modern world. It has arisen to its present eminence in response to a complex of changed circumstances which have altered the nature of society....A newer and subtler instrument must weld thousands and even millions of human beings into one amalgamated mass of hate and will and hope. A new flame must burn out the canker of dissent and temper the steel of bellicose enthusiasm. The name of this new hammer and anvil of social solidarity is propaganda.”
Harold Lasswell was at least succinct in the intent: “So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate.” Well, there certainly wasn’t! But Lasswell was willing to share the laurels of hate when he stated of Woodrow Wilson:
“Such matchless skill as Wilson showed in propaganda has never been equalled in the world’s history.... From a propaganda point of view it was a matchless performance, for Wilson brewed the subtle poison, which industrious men injected into the veins of a staggering people, until the smashing powers of the Allied armies knocked them into submission. While he fomented discord abroad, Wilson fostered unity at home.” Now, there is a commendable accomplishment!
The Propaganda techniques for the “new hammer and advil” of social solidarity Lasswell spoke of were first codified and applied in a scientific manner by journalist Walter Lippman and psychologist Edward Bernays, hired by Wilson’s gang to sway popular opinion to enter the war on the side of Britain, and this they did by engendering fierce hatred, fear and revulsion of Germans, the first successful experiment in mass brain washing using modern media. They masterfully crafted a situation whereby Americans would tolerate one another’s “diversity” and pull together in solidarity for the war effort, while at the same time learning to despise the Germans... as a Race. Today they might be charged with hate crimes.
Many former agents of the CPI remained associated with the government even after the war was over. Bernays took the techniques he learned in the CPI directly to Madison Avenue and became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a “tool for democratic government.”
Edward Bernays* also directed CPI propaganda efforts in Latin America after the war. Then, in his later career, Bernays, representing the tobacco industry interests, set up a stunt to popularize the notion of women smoking cigarettes. He organized the “Torches of Liberty Brigade” in the 1929 Easter Parade in New York City in which suffragettes smoked cigarettes as they marched as a mark of their liberation. The publicity that followed was momentous. Millions of women started smoking. He set up the advertising format along with the AMA that for 50 years showed that cigarettes are beneficial to health. Bernays worked in a lot of spheres and truly enjoyed his position of a mind controller. He even popularized the idea of bacon for breakfast. Bernays says, in his “Propaganda”:
“Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.”
* The name Bernays repeats itself once more in German history in the form of Col. Murray Bernays, who played a major role in the planning of “German re-education” after World War Two and planned the legal framework and procedures for the Nuremberg War Crime Trials. The original surname of Col. Murray Bernays was “Cohen.” He legally changed his name to that of his wife shortly after his marriage to Anna Freud Bernays, none other than sister to Edward Bernays (they were the niece and nephew of Sigmund Freud).
Carl Byoir had brought his public relations skills to the CPI using newspaper advertising campaigns throughout the US aimed at the three million non-English-speaking draft eligibles: six million notices were sent to rural delivery boxes, and newsreel announcements shown to inform 30 million people of their obligation to the war effort. He created the “League of Oppressed Nations,” supposedly representative of the various “ethnic loyalty” groups in the U.S. who had relatives in Europe under Austrian or German rule, in short, people with their own nationalistic agendas.
After a career of such illustrious war-mongering and instigation, it was apparently difficult to throw in the towel. Following the war, President Wilson recognized Byoir’s contributions to CPI and asked him to continue in the post-war fight for the minds of the people in central Europe, and Byoir assisted George Creel in “reestablishing communications between Czechoslovakia and capitals of various allies.”
Then, the Lithuanian National Council in the United States hired Byoir for his first non-CPI campaign. In turn, Byoir hired Bernays to help garner public support for U.S. Senate recognition of Lithuania. This would allow Lithuania to be recognized as a free and independent nation and secure Lithuania’s future as a US ally. Still scratching each others’ backs and mucking around in European politics well after war’s end, the two used techniques from the CPI, and their campaign was successful. The motion to recognize Lithuania was approved by Congress. What were the motive for such involvement in European politics? It would certainly be a stretch to claim it was of any benefit to the United States to foment turmoil and foster more discord and anger in a recovering Europe.
The war propaganda campaign of Walter Lippman and Bernays, a mission to sway popular opinion in favor of entering the war on the side of Britain, had within six months so successfully crafted and produced such an intense anti-German hysteria that it permeated almost every aspect of daily life in a good part of the world, and eventually this psychological manipulation would be used on Germans themselves after the next war through the “re-education” program influenced by the work of Bernays (and carried out by another Bernays). Bernays coined the term “group mind” and was boastful of his abilities: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it,” Bernays argued. He called this scientific technique of opinion molding the “engineering of consent.”
It should be no surprise that George Creel resurfaces as a close friend of Franklin Roosevelt, who often used Creel’s column in Collier’s as a trial balloon for ideas. Thus, Creel, once of dubious character, wrote several early articles on the Supreme Court and was privy to inside information. As an active Democrat, FDR appointed him chairman of the National Advisory Board of the WPI in 1935. George Creel may well have been, albeit very quietly, the most influential person in the twentieth century and most people do not even know his name.
At the end of the war, George Creel and his CPI, whose propaganda offensive was the vehicle for spreading outrageously deceitful atrocity stories distributed by the British government, were initially and widely discredited, giving birth to the slang term “Creeling”... the dissemination of patently false government propaganda. Creel had called his Committee “a vast enterprise in salesmanship, the world’s greatest adventures in advertising” with “no part of the Great War machinery that we did not touch, no medium of appeal that we did not employ.” Creel spent his last months in Washington fending off a series of rumors that his Committee was guilty of gross financial mismanagement, if not outright fraud, but investigations could go no further since so many documents pertaining to their activities had mysteriously disappeared. In any case, harsh judgement of the Creel gang never stuck. Today, Creel, the CPI and his shady cabal receive little in the form of scorn or derision. It is likewise as difficult to find much criticism of Wilson whose bad judgement sent millions of young men to their doom in a conflict which skill, diplomacy and hard work might have averted.
And what happened to the highly esteemed Lord Bryce and his infamously false Report into alleged German atrocities which almost propelled the world to the brink of extinction?
Famous American lawyer Clarence Darrow was a skeptic of Bryce’s report and travelled to France in 1915 to find even a single eyewitness who could confirm just one of Bryce’s stories. He even offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who could produce a Belgian or French citizen whose hands had been amputated by a German soldier. Nobody came forward. Nor could anybody locate even one Belgian women supposedly made pregnant by German rape. In fact, in 1922, a Belgian commission of enquiry failed to corroborate a single major allegation contained in the report. Lord Ponsonby’s opinion following a post-war investigation into the accuracy of wartime atrocity stories could find little or no evidence that any of them had been true. Bryce had knowingly lied.
After the war, Bryce’s “documentation” for the stories mysteriously disappeared. Although in 1936 Great Britain apologized to Germany over the lies contained in the Bryce Report, Bryce maintained his untarnished reputation as a respectable man. In a cursory search of his glowing biographies, it is difficult to find even a glimmer of criticism of Bryce. A recent Wikipedia biography of Bryce ends erroneously with “in July 1915, and later – with the assistance of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee – he produced a documentary record of the massacres, published by the British government in 1916 as the Blue Book. Despite this publication having had propagandistic intents regarding the US, nevertheless its contents proved to be bitterly correct.” No, it did not!
Lord Bryce’s accounts were taken at face value since they were confirmed by credible men such as Vernon Lyman Kellogg. Kansas born zoologist Vernon Kellogg was active in civilian relief efforts in Europe during and after World War One. Kellogg served as director of American Committee for Relief in Belgium from 1915 to 1916. Herbert Hoover appointed him assistant to the U.S. Food Administrator from 1917to 1919. He was also chief of the mission to Poland and special investigator in Russia and other European countries later with the American Relief Administrator. For a supposed pacifist, Kellogg certainly played a big part in generating hostility toward Germans when he told the New York Times that the German military enslaved hundreds of thousands of Belgian workers and abused and maimed many of them during the period of American neutrality.
In his popular anti-German book “Headquarters Nights” (which contains a foreword written by Theodore Roosevelt and was widely distributed by the CPI), the Stanford professor and leading teacher of evolution claims that when he was posted to the headquarters of the German general staff in Belgium in 1914, he was shocked to find that German military leaders, sometimes with the Kaiser present, supported the war with an “evolutionary rationale.”
They did so with “a particularly crude form of natural selection, defined as inexorable, bloody battle.” He wrote: “The creed of the Allmacht (“all might” or omnipotence) of a natural selection based on violent and competitive struggle is the gospel of the German intellectuals; all else is illusion and anathema. This struggle not only must go on, for that is the natural law, but it should go on so that this natural law may work out in its cruel, inevitable way the salvation of the human species. That human group which is in the most advanced evolutionary stage should win in the struggle for existence.”
Further, he pointed out that these Germans, like many professors of that time, were drawing from Darwin’s “natural selection” and the “moral obligation” of “superior” races such as themselves to overpower the weak races (e.g. the Belgians) for the future welfare of the human race. He quoted German intellectuals as having allegedly boasted to him: “You like Darwin? Then We’ll give you Darwin.” The book therefore describes how even the intellectual elites of Germany were a bunch of genocidal racists. But nobody ever disputed his claims and allegations and nobody questioned his veracity. If it was anti-German it was instant gospel.
Later, following the decision of the American Senate not to ratify the Versailles Treaty with Germany in 1919, a series of investigations began as to the reasons America entered into the war, and during the course of these enquiries, many details concerning the devious nature and scope of Britain’s propaganda campaign in America between 1914 and 1917 were uncovered. Many in the United States concluded that they had been duped into involvement on the Allied side, especially by the secret British propaganda emanating from Wellington House.
Once the Americans had entered the war, Wellington House’s task was done. There was little need for the British to concentrate so much of their propaganda in that direction and in 1918, a Ministry of Information was created under Lord Beaverbrook at the behest of Prime Minister Lloyd George to deal with all propaganda used to stir up trouble in allied and neutral countries, while the Department of Enemy Propaganda was formed at Crewe House under bellicose media mogul Lord Northcliffe to stir up trouble in the enemy countries. All to make the world safe for democracy.
As noted elsewhere, when the First World War ended, a war which he helped manufacture, Lord Northcliffe’s concerns and criticism turned toward the Middle East and what he believed was the threat of Zionism. In 1920, he published significant parts of the infamous book “The Protocols of Zion” in The Times and suggested that investigations take place as to its veracity. He traveled to Palestine in 1922 and published scathing accounts of activities there. He very quickly and very mysteriously met his Waterloo, and went from being one of the world’s most powerful men to being incarcerated as insane under bizarre conditions. A few days later, after a complete news blackout on the activities surrounding him, Lord Northcliffe died suddenly and mysteriously on August 14, 1922.