Propaganda came of age in the Twentieth Century. The development of mass- and multi-media offered a fertile ground for propaganda while global conflict provided the impetus needed for its growth. Propaganda has however become a portmanteau word, which can be interpreted in a number of different ways. What are the characteristic features of propaganda, and how can it be defined? This book traces the development of techniques of 'opinion management' from World War I to the war in Afghanistan. It reveals how state leaders and spin-doctors operating at the behest of the state, sought to shape popular attitudes - at home and overseas - endeavouring to harness new media with the objective of winning hearts and minds. In doing so, it provides compelling evidence of how the study and practice of propaganda today is shaped by its history.
David Welch is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for the Study of Propaganda, War & Society at the University of Kent.