Authors' Introduction

Propaganda is a subject of great concern in our society today, more so than in any other society in history. With the advent of television as a complement to the other communications media now available to us, the opportunities to use propaganda in disseminating information, expounding ideas, and offering opinions have increased considerably. And it is far too often the case that propaganda is used to make us accept questionable points-of-view, to make us vote for men who may be unfit for public office, and to make us buy products which are useless and sometimes even dangerous. Therefore, propaganda, or the method of influencing people to believe certain ideas and to follow certain courses of action, is of special importance to each of us.

The word "Propaganda" comes from the Latin phrase "Congregatio de Propganda Fide," or Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith," a committee formed early in the Roman Catholic Church, whose function it is to aid the propagation or spread of the church doctrine throughout the world. Propaganda plays a dynamic, positive role in the daily lives of many men. Actors, preachers, teachers, politicians, editors, advertisers, salesmen, reformers, authors, artists, parents - our friends and even ourselves - practice the art of persuasion. And each of us, as we attempt to put our ideas across to others, to persuade them to agree with our way of thinking, is, in a sense, acting in the ancient Romand tradition of the word; we are all missionaries for our causes.

Propaganda, as we know it today, can be a nefarious as well as a noble art. For at one moment its techniques can be used to whip up racial hatred among groups of people; at another moment, it's methods can be employed to move persons to acts of warmth and kindness. It is important, therefore, that we consider a person's motive for using a propaganda technique, as well as understanding that a technique has been used.

Often, the ideas or facts we wish to convey are linked with words about which everyone has some emotional feeling - words such as 'mother,' 'home', 'beauty,' 'love' or 'cruelity', 'murder', or 'death' - since both hostile and loving emotions are part of us all. But just as there is a place for emotional feeling in men, so also there is a place for more dispassionate thinking. In a democratic society it is the role of every citizen to make decisions after evaluating many ideas. It is especially important then that a citizen be able to think clearly about the ideas that are daily presented to him. It is imperative that he be able to analyze and distinguish between the emotional aura surreounding the ideas, and the actual content of the idea. To this goal of clear thinking the game of PROPAGANDA address itself.

By: Robert W. Allen and Lorne Green