Adventures in Digital History


We’re starting off this week with a topic I’m really interested in! Propaganda! Not only have we started working on our very own propaganda campaigns (which sport a Candyland theme), but now we’re going to delve into the history behind it. I have always loved studying propaganda, because it helps you understand a certain viewpoint of different cultures on various social, political, and cultural issues. Some of the most famous examples of propaganda that we are familiar with come from World War II. Anyone who has ever seen an Uncle Sam poster is familiar with effort to get Americans to sign up at the nearest draft office. Rosie the Riveter is another icon, compelling American women to do their part while the men are off at war. There are even much simpler messages, such as the posters encouraging people to save their goods. Propaganda songs were also popular. Between FDR’s Fireside Chats during the Great Depression encouraging Americans that everything would be alright and popular singers belting out melodies proclaiming their support, wouldn’t you want to contribute as well? Moreover, Armed Forces Radio broadcast to troops overseas in the hopes of keeping morale at an all time high. Hollywood even got in on the deal, producing several movies that provided both reassuring and compelling messages to viewers. A prime example would be Walt Disney’s animated short film Der Fuehrer’s Face, which features Donald Duck in a nightmare setting as he works at a factory in Nazi Germany. This film was made in an effort to sell war bonds and soon after generated a song of the same name by Spike Jones.

Poster for Der Furhrer’s Face, an animated short propaganda film made for the purpose of selling war bonds during World War II. Image from Movieberry.

So far I am having fun working on the propaganda assignment. I’ve found myself using Pixlr once more to help generate the image I will be using for my “poster.” As a result, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole involving digital artwork and photoshop-esque image editing. As someone who hated photoshop before, I find it ironic that I’m now doing things with a similar program to create something. I now have a healthy respect for digital artists, because the process is time consuming and often irritating. Moreover, I believe I’ve developed an interest in using the program for further projects. It’s a good thing I’m a Digital Studies Major, because I can think of ways to include this in my work later on!

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