Propaganda Analysis

Compare government propaganda with real life.

In the 1930s and 1940s the U.S. government helped produce films to encourage participation in the New Deal and World War II. They presented a view of the United States that might be a little different from what people actually experienced. We will examine primary sources and interviews of people alive at the time.

Assignment directions

Select ONE of the propaganda films AND TWO of the other sources.  One of the films deals with the New Deal. The other focuses on World War II but also discusses society before the war. If you choose “Why We Fight”, focus on the first half. Select sources which would make a good comparison. As in earlier assignments, the links go to several interviews or articles. Pick only one interview or article per link. For example, only one Latino veteran (and make sure he is a veteran of World War II, not another war). Do not discuss anything after World War II.

1. Watch the film. Identify an assertion (something said) or assumption made in the film. For example, does the film show the U.S. as a nation of equality? Of prosperity? Of unity?

2. Read the other two sources and see if that assertion or assumption is correct for that time period: the 1930s or the 1940s.

3. Write an essay comparing and contrasting the what the film said about America with the sources of the time period.

Use only the information from the three sources you chose (and the Lecture Notes if needed). I want your analysis, not something you found on the Internet on the subject. Work alone.

2-4 pages, 12 point font, 1 inch margin all around, double-space. You don’t need a title page or Works Cited since you are only discussing the three sources which you will identify in the first paragraph or as soon as you start discussing them. Use proper American English spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and paragraphs.


Propaganda films

1.Capra film; “Why We Fight: War Comes to America” The film is also available through CSN Libraries: search films for the title, your id and password are the same as for Canvas. It is through Alexander Street.
 (Links to an external site.)2.New Deal film (Links to an external site.)

Other Sources

1. Interviews of internees

2. Interviews of World War II veterans (Links to an external site.)

3. Harry Gumby interview (Links to an external site.)

4. Interviews of African American veterans  (Links to an external site.)

5. Interviews of Latino veterans (Links to an external site.)

6. Zoot Suit Riots articles (Links to an external site.)

7. Rosie the Riveter interviews (Links to an external site.)

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