Harold D. Lasswell

  • Propaganda Technique In World War I

    Propaganda Technique In World War I

    Harold D. Lasswell

    A classic book on propaganda technique proposes a general theory of the strategy and tactics of propaganda.

    This classic book on propaganda technique focuses on American, British, French, and German experience in World War I. The book sets forth a simple classification of various psychological materials used to produce certain specific results and proposes a general theory of strategy and tactics for the manipulation of these materials. In an introduction (coauthored by Jackson A. Giddens) written for this edition, Harold Lasswell notes that this study was partially an exercise in the discovery of appropriate theory. It raised the crucial questions of how to classify the content of propaganda—for instance, a distinction is made between "value demands" (war aims, war guilt, and casting the enemy as evil personified) and "expectations" (the illusion of victory)—and how to summarize the procedures employed in organizing and carrying out propaganda operations. Propaganda Technique in World War I deals primarily with problems of internal administration and lateral coordination rather than with the relationship between policymakers and propagandists. However, Jackson Giddens enumerates procedures in the book that illustrate an underlying assumption that decision makers were deeply involved in propaganda and influenced by considerations of public opinion. He takes the study of propaganda further by elaborating on the nature and meaning of the category of "war aims" and its relation to the propagandist, for this, more than any other category of content, "is the catalyst of transnational political action." Giddens's exploration of the development of a comprehensive theory of propaganda adds another dimension to Lasswell's study while confirming its value as outstanding groundwork for continuing research.

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  • Language of Politics

    Studies in Quantitative Semantics

    Harold D. Lasswell and Nathan Leites

    The republishing of this work was prompted by a renewed demand for the important technical papers it contains. Some of the essays were originally written for the Experimental Division for the Study of Wartime Communication at the Library of Congress during World War II. Together these papers offer a deeper understanding of political power through an analysis of the language of politics and demonstrate the quantitative methods by which this language may be studied. In addition to the discussion of the technical problems and the applications, there are three introductory chapters by Dr. Lasswell.

    The volume includes material on the methods developed for and applied to the detection of propaganda; a reproduction of exhibits prepared for use in the trials of Nazis, Communists, and Fascists; and special researchers on the language of communism, such as the May Day slogans, since 1918.

    Contributors IncludeIrving L. Janis, Abraham Kaplan, Joseph M. Goldsen, Alan Grey, David Kaplan, Alexander Mintz, Raymond Fadner, Sergius Yakobson and Ithiel de Sola Pool

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  • World Revolutionary Elites

    Studies in Coercive Ideological Movements

    Harold D. Lasswell and Daniel Lerner

    This volume from The M.I.T. Studies in Comparative Politics Series is especially recommended to those interested in comparative politics, government, or law. World Revolutionary Elites presents studies in depth of four classic political uprisings of our time and of the elites who led them: the Politburo in Russia; the Fascists in Italy; the Nazis in Germany; the Kuomintang and Communists in China. In each study, the authors examine the background and character of the revolutionary elites; the conditions in each country that spawned the rebellion; and the ideological means by which these elites achieved and held power.

    In recent years the study of revolutionary elites has come to occupy a prominent position on the research agenda of political scientists, historians, and other scholars in the social and behavioral fields. “... our type of Anglo-Saxon parliamentary democracy has not been able to provide the model for successful political organization” in many parts of the world. It is a matter of scientific interest to learn why this is so; it is a matter of policy concern to find ways of altering this situation..For these reasons, World Revolutionary Elites is a valuable work.

    This study begins with a definition of political elites in terms of social and decision processes. The next chapter contains a discussion that also offers the framework for the specific investigations of the elites in Russia, Italy, Germany, and China that follow. The work concludes with an analysis of these coercive ideologists.

    Long out of print and difficult to obtain in libraries, three of the four studies were originally done for the Hoover Institute at Stanford.

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  • The Prestige Press

    A Comparative Study of Political Symbols

    Ithiel de Sola Pool

    This book compiles one of the major world attention surveys from the early period of content analysis. Originally produced by the RADIR Project at the Hoover Institution, The Prestige Press seeks to provide ways of measuring the ideological and social trends that constitute “the world revolution of our time.” As an exploratory work in the statistical tabulation and analysis of communication symbols, the significance of this study lies as much in its research methodology as in its substantive results.

    To measure the fluctuations of political concepts, Professor Pool and his colleagues traced the flow of symbols in newspaper editorials of the “prestige papers” in Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States from 1890-1950. Counting editorials containing each of several hundred key symbols, the study documents some interesting trends in contemporary belief systems and related social phenomena—particularly those pertaining to democracy and authoritarianism, nationalism and internationalism, violence and peace, “self” and “other.”

    Some of these trends have become more evident today. For instance, Professor Pool in his introduction to this new edition notes an increased emphasis on symbols relating to mass participation in democracy; a growing focus on violence in American society; and a continuing trend toward nationalism in the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Pool's investigation found that the other countries studied are paying increased attention to the outside world.

    This early study exemplifies the research techniques developed in pre-computer days, but Pool indicates that they can be readily adapted to new procedures of quantitative analysis. Since the advent of computers has revived interest in content analysis, the book will prove useful in related applications in the fields of sociology, political science, and international relations.

    This is the eleventh volume in the M.I.T. Comparative Politics Series.

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