The Context Of Us Korean War Propaganda Essay

The Context Of Us Korean War Propaganda Essay

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The context of US Korean War propaganda occurred in the post-WWII where 1949 Geneva Conventions emphasized that POW will be treated fairly regardless of their "race, nationality, religious beliefs, political opinions or other criteria" (American Red Cross, 2011, p. 3). Perhaps structuring a propaganda campaign around racial prejudice could have been acceptable prior to World War Two. The legacy of Nazi Germany legacy, however, most likely contributed to the development of "more tolerant and peaceful post war world" (Dower, 1986, p. 119). As a consequence, anthropologist Ruth Benedict argues, the US public realized that American nation was not particularly tolerant to other races (Benedict, 1945, p. Preface).
As a result, the US propaganda during the Korean War abstained from racial hatred in its messages. Therefore, such race humiliating slogans as, for instance, "nor Yellow Japs to Fear" were abandoned while referring to Chinese or North Korean enemies (Rhodes, 1976, p. 164). Rather, the focus shifted toward the Cold War "red scare". Moreover, since the US and the Soviet fought Nazi Germany as allies, Americans could not use racial discrimination as a relevant argument in their propaganda messages anymore. However, since the USSR and the United States emerged as two main superpowers in search of the world domination after the World War II, their contest was rather an ideological warfare (Tirman, 2006, p. 3).
Furthermore, American public which has just started to recover from financial losses caused by the previous war were concerned with domestic issues such as unemployment rate, housing and inflation (Brewer, 2009, p. 143). Therefore, mobilization was complex for the American state "in the abse...


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... press often acted as source of propaganda. Namely, in order to present the events of the Korean War in a favourable light Washington advised the journalist who worked in the field to refer to the enemy as "International Communist Invaders". This approach helped the US to portray the conflict as a spin-off of the Cold War rather than just a civil conflict between two Koreas (Casey, 2008, p. 41). Therefore, very much in line with "exclusive representation" being common for propaganda efforts, the US disseminated fact-based messages teamed with censorship in order to win over the American public. As war correspondent during the WWII John Steinbeck noted, American press censorship could be generally described as follows: "...we wrote only a part of the war...but at the time we believed, fervently believed, that it was the best thing to do" (Steinbeck, 1958, p. xviii).

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