How Propaganda “Sold” a Nation on Going to War

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How Propaganda “Sold” a Nation on Going to War

Roberson’s  latest exhibit “Propaganda: Selling A War” explores the media’s role in changing American attitudes towards The Great War.

Exhibit opens March 24 and will close in October.

Propaganda: Selling A War explores the imagery and music that inspired a generation of Americans to take up arms in the first World War. This exhibit leads visitors back to a time when neutrality–staying out of international conflicts—was the cultural mindset.

It came from an ideal engineered by America’s first President, George Washington, as a means of  survival. Newly-founded America could not support the financial burden of wars. But as America’s financial systems became stable, Washington’s ideal of neutrality endured.

So when Europe went to war in 1914, Americans breathed a heavy sigh of relief when President Wilson said the nation would not get involved. This was further underscored by the top song in the spring of 1915: “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier.” However, following the sinking of the Lusitania, explosions in New Jersey munitions factories, and other acts of aggression, President Wilson declared war.

This exhibit explores how American minds were transformed through the distribution of propaganda through many mediums, all with the goal to “sell” Americans on the War.

Visitors will experience a critical moment in American history through its propaganda. These pieces of art spoke to people igniting a duty to country, and helped to move a nation to the European battlefront.

For more information on this exhibit, please click here

Support for this exhibition is provided by the general operations support grants from the United Cultural Fund, a program of the Broome County Arts Council; the Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation; the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; and the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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