Understanding Propaganda

posted Feb 5, 2017, 2:21 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Feb 5, 2017, 2:22 AM ]
Propaganda plays an important role in Barefoot Gen. Like most countries during WWII, Japan was inundated with pro-government and anti-Allies propaganda. What was especially nefarious was that the Japanese government hid the truth that Japan was utterly losing the war from its own people to compel them to keep fighting despite widespread death and destruction. The fact that young people were still flocking to enlist and fight against the Americans when Japan air force and navy were already completely destroyed is a testament to the power of effective propaganda.

We don't need to look to history for examples of the effectiveness of propaganda. It is all around us in the form of commercials, government messages, suggestions from friends and family, and more. Literally everywhere we look we are bombarded with propaganda of some sort which is why it is so important for students to learn about, so they can learn how to recognize it, analyze it, and respond to it appropriately. In a democratic country, it is our responsibility to do this so we can make informed choices both with our money and our votes.

To help students practice these skills, they will be working on a propaganda analysis assignment and a role playing activity in small groups these next couple of weeks. The assignment sheet is posed below along with a presentation I gave to the kids about the nature of propaganda and the various propaganda techniques employed. I am eagerly looking forward to the results of the students' role play.