Propaganda exists in every society. By exploring the evolution, range, and techniques of Nazi propaganda, we develop a more nuanced understanding of what propaganda is and become better equipped to think critically about the messages we receive. Today we are exposed to greater amounts of information and from more sources than ever before. Citizens have a responsibility as consumers of that information to thoughtfully evaluate the messages they encounter, particularly when those messages urge action.
A wide range of educational institutions and other organizations offer Web resources about propaganda and media literacy. Here are some places to begin exploring these issues, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.
Teachers want students to think critically about the messages they receive. Who is promoting this idea? Who is the intended audience? Am I being asked to take or not take a specific action? These hands-on classroom activities offer secondary and college educators a variety of approaches to introduce students to the study of visual propaganda and political speech from the World War II era until today.
Analyzing Propaganda through Historical Sources
Lesson for 7-12 graders, covering Nazi era and beyond.http://mandelproject.us/McAbee.htm
Triumph of the Will
High school level exercise about the Nazi propaganda film directed by Leni Riefenstahl.http://mandelproject.us/Vasquez.htm
PBS NOW with David Brancacciohttp://www.pbs.org/now/politics/propaganda.html
The Art of War
Online exhibit from the British National Archiveshttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/theartofwar/
Argument, Persuasion, or Propaganda? Analyzing World War II Posters
Students analyze World War II posters, chosen from online collections, to explore how argument, persuasion, and propaganda differ. Source: International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=829
Teaching with Documents: Powers of Persuasion - Poster Art of World War II
Source: U.S. National Archives. Group activity analyzing numerous posters.http://archives.gov/education/lessons/wwii-posters/
Analyzing Propaganda using Contemporary Topics and Materials
Propaganda Techniques in Literature and Online Political Ads
Several varieties of activities provided. Online examples from 2004, but educator can easily fill in with contemporary sites.http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=405
Pitching Patriotism: Exploring Marketing Strategies During Wartime
Lesson presented by Bank Street College and New York Times on World War II propaganda and analysis of marketing at the time of the start of the Iraq war. Extensive questions provided for instructors.http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/20030327thursday.html