Propagandainformation specially designed to make people feel a particular way or believe a particular thing. The information is usually political, and it can be either true or false. Even if it is true, it is often misleading or one-sided.
The word 'propaganda' comes from Latin. Originally it just meant 'information to be spread around' (related to the word 'propagate'). But in World War I, it came to mean 'political information that is deliberately misleading'.
Propaganda is like advertising in some ways. (In fact, you could look at advertising as just a special kind of propaganda, designed to sell a product.) But while advertising is usually trying to sell something, propaganda is normally political. It can also be nationalist.
Propaganda is often used during wars, where it can be very effective. It can take the form of leaflets, posters, TV advertisements and radio broadcasts. Sometimes it keeps the people of a country happy - reminding them that their country is fighting well and telling them how important it is that the enemy is defeated. Sometimes it tries to stir up hatred of the enemy - telling people that the enemy is evil or making them seem inhuman. Sometimes a government broadcasts propaganda to the enemy - telling them that the war is going badly for them and that they should give up.
When a country is not at war, propaganda can still be used. The government may use propaganda to change what people think about a political situation. Or another interest group may try to change the way people act towards an issue.
Propaganda is related to censorship. While propaganda tries to fill people's heads with misleading ideas, censorship tries to stop people from finding out the truth.
Propaganda is also used in psychological warfare. Some people say that cults use propaganda to get people to join them.Examples for propaganda:
- English propaganda against Germany in the First World War, see RMS Lusitania
- German propaganda against Poland to start the Second World War, see Attack on Sender Gleiwitz