Lesson for uac focus questions

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Lesson for UAC
Focus questions

What is propaganda?

How do you recognize it?

Why should we learn to recognize it?

What do you do when you recognize it?
Other potential concepts/ questions for discussion and analysis

What are some of the “causes” that propaganda is used for?

What is the difference between propaganda and advertising/marketing?

How has propaganda been used throughout history?

Propaganda is expressed in which forms of media?

If you disagree with it, who do you speak up to? What is it that gives us this right?

What effect has technology had on propaganda?

What should non-military (civilians) do during time of war? (Be a good citizen? Protest? Support the troops?) How should citizens treat the troops who have participated?

Is it OK to spit? (no - battery) OK to shout (yes – 1st amendment), but should you? (Hanoi Jane)

Is it OK to avoid the draft if you do not believe in the cause/purpose? (M. Ali)

Is it “un-patriotic” to complain to the government about a “police action?” Vocabulary: culture

How does the government control the “coverage” of news?

What are examples of propaganda that is “good” or “bad” or “neutral?”

What are some the specific techniques of propaganda (name-calling, bandwagon, etc.)?

Book: Channels of Propaganda by J. Michel Sproule

Although propaganda lacks a negative connotation in Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese), the English language treats the term as a sinister sister to legitimate persuasion. This linguistic anomaly is attributable to the early connection of the term propaganda with the Roman Catholic Church.

Book: Propaganda by Edward Bernays (Copyright 1928)

Prior to the war (WWI), the word’s derogatory use was far less common than its neutral denotation.

NOTE: Propaganda is usually designed to evoke an emotional response in order to influence behavior. Most people are not educated. Most propaganda is created by people who are educated. The idea of the educated creating propaganda to manipulate the uneducated by means of emotional response suggests that propaganda is often not ethical.

Lesson Plan – Propaganda in America
Week One – Definition(s) of propaganda

Explain what propaganda is, show examples and explain them, have students observe samples and determine what the message/purpose is.

CL Assignment: read Definitions list & complete worksheet
Week Two – Vocabulary (and concepts) related to propaganda

Review/explain related vocabulary words, introduce focus questions, analyze more propaganda and describe concepts

CL Assignment: read Vocabulary list & complete crossword puzzle, cryptogram,

Create a Propaganda Poster (due at the end of the Unit)

Week three – History of Propaganda

Put your history hat on and synthesize concepts

CL: Assignment: read Brief History of Propaganda Document & complete worksheet, assign one of the related Movies/Documentaries
Week four – Techniques of Propaganda

Describe techniques using examples – analyze and explain

CL assignment: read List of techniques, analyze examples of propaganda and complete the worksheet

Vocabulary Related to propaganda – for discussion with students

Bill of Rights - - - - 1st Amendment - - - Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press

Nationalism (i.e. Patriotism) – is it good or bad?

Culture – Is it part of American culture to complain to the government?

Democracy – in theory, we run things Q: What can you do? A: Vote

Propaganda – many definitions

Preamble (…insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare …What are the motives of the government?) Is the Preamble propaganda?

Congress/Legislative Branch/ House of Representatives


Covert vs. Overt





Subjective & Objective

Advertising/ Marketing


Connotation vs. Denotation

Primary source vs. Secondary source

Political campaign

Cold War

Hawks and Doves





More Concepts for discussion
WWII vs. Vietnam

WWII – a clear cause, no draft, no moral ambiguity, win or die, affected the home front in obvious ways (ration stamps, female factory workers, etc.)
Vietnam – draft, unclear cause, unpopular war, only one-year tour of duty, body count measure rather than strategic land, TV coverage

It was never a war – the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, Johnson asked for the right “to take all necessary measures” to protect American forces – a “police action.”

Draft – birth date, lottery, etc.

Hanoi Jane

Kent State

Ali – evaded the draft

Iraq – discussion of invasion took place the day after 9/11

Careful to generate public approval first – Saddam the bad guy (yes, although our ally previously)

Journalists “embedded” – a sort of Stockholm Syndrome?

Journalists – controlled disclosure at specific meetings, kept them from the action

Volunteer military this time – “never feel sorry for a volunteer”…” “Objections to war don’t carry, because all volunteers now”

Months developing public opinion –learned this from Vietnam “Axis of Evil” despite fact that he was previously an ally and arms purchaser

“smart bombs “– not too smart after all – only one in five hit their target
Primary sources analyze examples of Propaganda, the poem in American Adventures textbook, Survival Under Atomic Attack pamphlet, Life Magazines , campaign pins, quotes list

Eisenhower’s Farewell Speech – the military industrial complex aka military/congressional….

Ask “What are we fighting for” and get many different answers: “Axis of Evil” – “freedom” – “defeat enemies of democracy” OR

Maintain dominance in the world? Police the world? Keep the economy going?

Government does NOT want us to ask…“Why do they hate us?”“What were their motives?”

Cheny – Gov’t contractor

Every President after Eisenhower finds someone to fight – war, or “police action”

Shock Doctirne: “Economic Colonialism” – selling to them, or mining their sources – we want to get rich from their country –OK or not?

1.2 billion spent on recruitment advertising in 2002-2003

WMD – out of context, manipulating public opinion, Rumsfeld promised - a lie

Research programs that facilitate donations/contributions to troops overseas

Analogy of shock treatment: emotional reaction – selective truth vs. ‘truth, the whole truth, nothing…” - the effect on my watching these movies for several months…

Regarding War – what to teach the students

  1. Respect the troops – it is their duty

  2. War is not glamorous

  3. War results in the death of civilians

  4. Money is made (prime contracts & sub-contracts), presidential ratings go up, jobs are created in congressmen’s districts (campaign contributions?)– beware the military industrial (congressional) complex

Suggested Movies and documentaries

  1. Born on the Fourth of July Movie - Rated R

  2. Flags of our Fathers Movie - Rated R

  3. Tropical Rainforest - documentary

  4. History of World War II – The American Propaganda Machine

  5. Leni Riedenstahl’s Triumph of the Will documentary

  6. The Shock Doctrine (for teachers’ eyes only)

  7. An Inconvenient Truth - documentary

  8. Why we Fight – documentary

  9. Weapons of Mass Deception documentary - teacher resource

Lesson #1 - Propaganda Definitions

Directions: Read the definitions of the word propaganda below (from several different sources), then answer the questions on the following page.

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (copyright 1970)

Propaganda is the systematic propagation of a given doctrine or of allegations reflecting its views and interests.

Intermediate Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary (copyright 1997)

Propaganda is organized effort to spread information that is often biased or inaccurate, in order to influence public opinion.

Merriam-Webster (copyright 2004)

Congregation for propagating the faith, organization established by Pop Gregory XV; the spreading of ideas or information to further or damage a cause

Collins COBUILD learner’s Dictionary (copyright 2008)

Propaganda is information, often inaccurate or biased information, which a political organization publishes or broadcasts in order to influence people; used showing disapproval.

Roget’s Super Thesaurus (copyright 2003)

Disinformation, brainwashing, indoctrination, lies, distortion, deception, dissemination, psychological disinformation, psychological manipulation, subversive PR - “A polite euphemism for deception”

The Winston Dictionary (copyright 1943 – Great Britain)

1. A Committee of Cardinals having control of foreign missions. 2. Any organized movement for the spreading of a given opinion or doctrine

Book: Channels of Propaganda by J. Michel Sproule

Propaganda is an attempt to persuade people without seeming to do so.

Book: Mass Media, Mass Propaganda by Anthony R. DiMaggio

Propaganda entails the systematic dissemination of any given doctrine or dogma, by any party…. In other words, it does not, at its core, require deliberate deception. Propaganda, then, is not inherently “good” or “bad.”

Propaganda worksheet
In your own words, what is propaganda?

Is propaganda good, bad, or neutral? Why?

What is the difference between propaganda and advertising?

In what media forms do you find propaganda?
What can you do when you disagree with propaganda? What is it that gives us the right to speak up?

Propaganda related Quotes (for cryptograms) www.puzzlemaker.com
“If we have lost Cronkite, I have lost middle America” – LBJ

(Cronkite’s nickname was “the most trusted man in America”)

“The first casualty of war is the truth.” - Unknown
“See, in my line of work, you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

George W. Bush
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can Shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Joseph Goebbels – NAZI Minister of Propaganda
“Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.” Adolf Hitler
“All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.” Character in Animal Farm
“You must not kill your neighbor, whom perhaps you genuinely hate, but by a little propaganda this hate can be transferred to some foreign nation, against whom all you murderous impulses become patriotic heroism.” Bertrand Russell

“Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it stirs us a friendly feeling?” Bertrand Russel

From American Adventures – Volume IV – Chapter 24 The Tragedy of Vietnam

I am cursed

I was…Trained to kill

asked to lie

I could not vote

I can’t ask why


I am cursed

spit on

and shunned

by long-haired doves
Sergeant Thomas Oathout wrote the lines above while serving in the Vietnam war. Like thousands of American soldiers he eventually came home to “furled (rolled up) flags and silent drums.”

Lesson #2 - Propaganda related vocabulary words/terms (to accompany crossword puzzle)

Definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Nationalism: Devotion to national interests, unity, and independence
Democracy: Government by the people; rule of the majority
Culture: 4. The customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group
Freedom of Speech: the civil right to express oneself, guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the Untied States of America
Congressmen: A member of Congress (2. The body of senators and representatives constituting a nation’s legislature)
Dogmatism: Positiveness in stating matters of opinion, especially when unwarranted or arrogant
Covert: hidden; secret
Overt: not secret
Influence: the act or power of producing an effect without apparent force or direct authority
Manipulate: to influence with intent to deceive
Conjecture: guess; surmise
Doctrine: something that is taught
Bias: prejudice
Stereotyping: something agreeing with a pattern, especially an idea that many people have about a thing or a group and that may often be untrue or only partially true

Lesson #3 - A Brief History of Propaganda in America

The word propaganda dates back to the 1600’s in Europe when the Roman Catholic Church decided that religion should be propagated; promoted and spread throughout Europe. That is why in some countries in Europe, the ones we call the "Romance Language" nations where Catholicism is common (Spain, Italy, France, Portugal), the word propaganda is not good or bad but neutral. In America, most of the time propaganda is thought of as a word that means there is some manipulation of the truth, something dishonest going on, in order to influence the general public for some self-serving reason.

Propaganda was used in the American Revolution to stir up arguments within the colonies against King George of England. Benjamin Franklin’s “Unite, or Die” political cartoon in the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper in 1754 promoted the importance of patriotism among the colonies. Most notably, the pamphlet “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine in 1776 suggested independence from Great Britain. During the war, the actions of British Officer Banistre Tarleton helped to create colonial propaganda that converted many colonists who were not sure which side to join. Should they remain loyalists (loyal to the King of England), or support the cause of the rebels in their struggle to create the new Nation of the United States of America. According to the colonists, “Bloody Ban” as he was nicknamed, ignored the white flag of surrender. Tarleton would take no prisoners if they surrendered – he would murder them if they tried. Who would want to live under a government that allows such things? An “occupying force” (the British soldiers) on the home land of an insurgency (the rebel colonists in their homeland of America) is going to be at a disadvantage when it comes to the “propaganda war.”
Before the Civil War, Americans who were for or against slavery spread their beliefs through newspapers. The phrase ‘king Cotton” or “cotton is King” became popular in the south, to support the idea that slavery must be maintained to support the cotton plantations, the driving force of the economy in the south.
Before the USA was involved in World War I, a British merchant ship carrying U.S. citizens named Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat (submarine), which spread fear among Americans, and the newspapers assigned blame and demanded that Americans take action and fight back by joining the war against the Germany. There was much debate (argument) about the role of the newspapers in supporting our involvement in the war. President Woodrow Wilson created the “Committee on Public Information” which made poster, movies, and films that portrayed Germans as the brutal “Hun” that must be stopped.
In WWII, the government produced many propaganda posters and movies that are still part of the American culture today. Most people are familiar with the image of “Rosie the Riveter” that encouraged Women to participate in the work force. The NAZI party used much propaganda to convince the German people to trust Hitler, and condemn the Jews.
During the 'cold war,' propaganda was used to persuade people about the threat of communism, that democracy must be defended at all costs, including the cost of human lives in the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict.
When people hear the word propaganda today, they often automatically think about government produced propaganda. This makes perfect sense, considering the amount of propaganda created during war-time to promote nationalism, encourage you to buy war-bonds, and encourage you to enlist in the armed forces, etc. We learned from the controversy of the Vietnam conflict that government had better convince the American people that the war is worthwhile, or the unrest would result in protests that would produce much pressure on government politicians. President George W. Bush made many speeches about the ‘Axis of Evil” and the “War on Terror” before sending our troops into Afganistan and Iraq, to be sure the public would support our troops being sent overseas. Propaganda is also associated with government because there is much "campaign propaganda" created at election time - to influence you to vote for a particular candidate. In some cases, it is intended to discourage you from voting for a particular candidate.
Today you will find propaganda all around you - in many forms of media. Often it is created by government agencies, but not always. Some argue that there is much bias by news reporters on television, and studies show that most people trust the news. Some news channels promote republican viewpoints (FOX), and others promote democratic viewpoints (CNN). There are many examples of propaganda all around Mr. Galloway's office - can you recognize them? What are they trying to get you to do?
More on Propaganda

Propaganda is usually designed to influence you on a emotional level, rather than an intellectual one. Some is overt (obvious) and some is covert (not obvious). You could argue that advertising is a form of propaganda, but most people make the distinction that advertising and marketing are designed to get you to buy something, and propaganda is trying to get you to do something. There are many different techniques that are used in propaganda – you will learn about them next week. In the end, even if you are aware of propaganda and its purpose, studies show that if a message is repeated over and over, it is likely to have some influence on you.

History of Propaganda Worksheet

  1. Where did the word ‘propaganda” originally come from?

  1. Name one way that propaganda was used in the American Revolution.

  1. What was the phrase that was used in the South before the Civil War to stir up Nationalism?

  1. What was the name of the ship that was sunk at the beginning of World War One?

  1. Name one way that propaganda was used in World War Two.

  1. How was propaganda used during the Vietnam conflict?

Lesson #4 - Techniques of Propaganda

Propaganda is the effort to spread a belief or an opinion about a certain issue. There are many different organizations that use propaganda, including advertisers, governments, public officials (politicians), and the Journalists (news reporters). It is not necessarily bad - it is just trying to get people it think about something or do something in a certain way for some cause. It works best when people are not educated. Most people would rather just trust what they hear or see and not take the time and effort to analyze it. There are many techniques, or strategies, that are used in propaganda – some of them are listed below.

Directions: Read the following descriptions, then analyze the propaganda posters, then write the name of the technique used under each poster. A few of the posters may use more than one technique.

Cult of personality Creating a image of a person as a savior or a great leader – building them up to be the answer to everyone’s problems
Appeal to Fear An illusion that you had better do something (or not do something) or you will regret it – you will suffer the consequences!
Appeal to Prejudice (Scapegoating) Often closely related to racism, this is when you put the blame for problems on another group of people, often an ethnic group, or promote a stereotype
Flag-waving this is an attempt to stir up emotions of nationalism by illustrating the country’s flag in a heroic, patriotic, or romantic way
Name-calling/labeling attaching a negative adjective to someone or something such as “liar” or “tyrant” or a “loser”
Bandwagon – An appeal to the idea that everyone is doing it, so you should too!
Beautiful people – A association of the cause with an attractive person, so that you want to join them and be beautiful too
Testimonials Often also an “appeal to authority,” these are statements or quotes that serve to show the opinion of someone that you respect or trust. If the famous and credible person supports the cause, then you should too.
Common Mansimilar to testimonials, this promotes the idea that if the common, typical (and trustworthy) person is doing it, then it must be OK – they are just like me!
Directory: history -> ucihp -> tah -> UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Grade Level: 11 Time frame: 3 days abstract
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Understanding American Citizenship: Chinese Immigration in the United States
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Why Women Should Not Seek the Vote
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Uac lesson Plan Template title: Women’s Suffrage Topic: Women’s Suffrage – Progressive Era Grade Level: 11
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Uac student assessment document analysis rubric
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Dred Scott v. Sanford
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Uac lesson Plan Template title: Eisenhower’s Message to the Troops Topic: World War Two Grade Level: 11
UnderstandingAmericanCitizenship -> Written by Neil Diamond (1980)

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