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Propaganda is the systematic use of communication to advocate a position or gain compliance. Persuasive in intent, propaganda encompasses a wide variety of both mediated and nonmediated strategies and techniques. This entry defines propaganda and then discusses propaganda and messaging campaigns from World War I to the present.

Derived from the New Latin phrase propaganda fide, meaning “propagate the faith,” the word propaganda was initially used in reference to religious conversion. While the word came to be used in many other contexts, it has developed a negative connotation because of its association with totalitarian states and fears of manipulative media effects. Today, propaganda campaigns are rarely referred to as “propaganda,” and more favorable or ambiguous terms, such as strategic communication and psychological operations, are often ...

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