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The National Committee of Patriotic Societies and the Aesthetics of Propaganda


This essay analyzes three pedagogical manuals on publicity design published by the National Committee of Patriotic Societies (NCPS) during the First World War. The NCPS represented dozens of nationalistic organizations dedicated to the mission of preparedness. This essay argues that in its publicity guidebooks, the NCPS suggested that propaganda designed with a Republican aesthetic could wed the working class to the war effort. Such advice was predicated on the psychological notion that affective experiences conditioned audiences for further persuasive appeals. Examination of these manuals thus highlights the importance of psychological theories of affect to the aesthetics of propaganda.

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