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Munitions of the Mind Posts

Annual Lecture: The Weight of the Past and Franco-British Relations in the Twentieth Century

Centre for the History of War Media and Society Annual Lecture. Professor Peter Jackson University of Glasgow Wednesday 10th May 2017, 17.00 Templeman Lecture Theatre, University of Kent, Canterbury campus.

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Considering Intangible Propaganda

Written by Edward Corse. The study of propaganda is usually about the study of tangible objects and the message those objects are trying to convey to the intended audience. Films can be viewed, radio broadcasts can be listened to, and leaflets and newspapers can be read – multiple times if necessary – many years after they were originally deployed. Whilst the messages contained within the propaganda may take time to understand and interpret, there is…

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Close to the Enemy, Close to the Truth?

Written by Charlie Hall.   Close to the Enemy is a seven-part British TV drama series, penned by screenwriter Stephen Poliakoff (Dancing on the Edge, Capturing Mary), which aired on BBC2 throughout November and December 2016 (fear not, this is a spoiler-free article!). Set in Britain directly after the Second World War, Close to the Enemy explores many themes which were relevant to post-war British society, including the mental health struggles of returning servicemen, the…

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Land Reform Propaganda in Soviet Occupied Germany

Written by Sean Brennan   Josef Stalin was ultimately more adept as an Imperial Architect than Adolf Hitler, if for no other reason than he had more of a methodological plan for doing so.  The creation of a Soviet Empire in Central and Eastern Europe was no accident, the Soviet dictator had always planned to do so once Nazi Germany had been crushed.  For decades historians and political scientists in the West debated whether Stalin wanted…

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Education and Detention: Halle (Saale) as an Example of ‘geschlossene Venerologische Stationen’ in East Germany

Written by Florian Steger and Maximilian Schochow   After the Second World War, Russian officials introduced the Soviet healthcare system in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SOZ), which later became the GDR. Orders 25, 30, and 273 of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD), while demanding “to fight people who belong to the German population and suffer from venereal diseases” (VDs), included measures designed to contain the spread of VDs, which were based on the…

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Centre for the Study of War, Propaganda and Society – New Research Event, 20 September 2016

  On 20 September, in the week before the 2016-17 academic year proper began, the Centre for the Study of War, Propaganda and Society held an event to discuss new and ongoing research within the Centre and to welcome new members (primarily new first-year PhD students) to the community. The event began with an introduction from Centre director, Dr Stefan Goebel, which outlined the direction which the Centre will be taking over the next year…

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“A Fool who treats himself” – Health Propaganda and Medical Professionalisation

Since the 19th century, the medical profession underwent an increasing specialisation and professionalisation. Discoveries and the advancement of medicine were the main drives of this development. To carve out and secure their status in society during this period, the medical profession campaigned against the quacks, healers, and other semi-medical professionals. Therefore, this poster from 1931 stands for the claim that only the doctor has the monopoly to diagnose and treat diseases. Furthermore, it targets the…

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Dog Dirt, Disgust and 1970s British Health Propaganda

Written by Neil Pemberton. If anyone reading this blog has heard of the disease toxocariasis, it is most likely through anti-excrement campaigns run by local councils to remind dog owners to pick up after their dogs. Toxocariasis is a rare disease caused by accidentally swallowing the microscopic eggs of the canine-borne worm Toxocara canis shed in the faeces of infected dogs, causing – in some cases – blindness and asthma. An embedded ritual within the choreography…

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“Women are the Problem” – Health Propaganda, Alcohol and Venereal Diseases

In his painting from 1910 titled “Syphilis”, Richard Cooper captured the mentality of his time. The drawing shows a man – depicted as innocent in a desperate gesture – who was seduced by an attractive woman or prostitute and made indiscriminate by alcohol, which resulted in an infection with syphilis (represented by a creature under the dress of the prostitute, which was reaching out to the man). Subsequently, from Cooper’s point of view, the guilt…

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The “old society” and neighbourhood countries/regions — Creating the happy, superior new China through contrast in Chinese propaganda posters in the 1950s.

Written by Jia Zhen. To effectively motivate the people, propaganda posters of the People’s Republic of China published before 1976 paid much attention to providing a visual fantasy for the Chinese people. From the posters, what we can see not only includes the happy and healthy children, energetic workers, and devoted cadres of the Party, but fertile farms, advanced machinery and the grand view of a town. However, the Communist Party of China also considered…

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