World War I started in August 1914. No one anticipated that the horrific combat operations would last for four years and kill 17 million. A “new weapon” in warfare, the propaganda efforts of the participating nations are one cause of the war’s unexpected intensity. Against the background of the research into mass psychology taking place at the same time, they exploited the arsenal of the mass media and tested innovative propaganda strategies in the battle for public attention at home and abroad.
A hundred years after the outbreak of World War I, with an exhibition entitled “War and Propaganda 14/18”, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) from June 20 to November 2 is providing insight into the broad spectrum of mass manipulation in everything from posters to children’s toys carried out during the period in question.
The show features examples of the most important forms, structures and methods of opinion control – the same methods which, hand in hand with the further development of the modern mass media, are encountered in our own time in ever new and ever more subtle forms in the context of conflicts and military disputes. More than four hundred objects from the German Reich, France, England, the U.S., Russia, Italy and Austro-Hungary are on view in the show.
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