Total War

The Total War program means a policy in which every available resource needed for the war effort is prioritized to the front first. Here, this propaganda is aimed at getting people to carpool; more people in a car, more gasoline available for U.S tanks, battleships and bomber planes. For a fascist or communist government like those in Russia or Germany, total war is ‘easier’, in the sense that resources can be allocated at the ‘pull of a lever’. There is no dissent because there is no privately owned large-scale industry. In the United States, where most large-scale industry is private, the government can only do so much. In fact, during World War II the government exercised the tightest control in our nation’s history over private large-scale industry, but even this could never match the control Stalin exercised over industry in Russia, even in peace time. The total war policy in the United States also had to deal with the cultural tradition and constitutionality of liberty; there are certain things people can’t be forced to do in the United States, even in war time. Driving to work alone was one of them. Even though laws may have been passed in certain states forcing carpooling, propaganda was needed to show Americans that riding to work alone was not only slightly illegal, but it was also beneficial to Hitler and the Japanese. Much of the World War 2 propaganda pitted certain unfavorable, selfish civilian activity directly against the boys at Normandy and in the Pacific. Ideologically, as is shown in this nugget of propaganda, certain of these unfavorable activities were directly aligned with facsism; thus, if you drive to work alone you might as well be a fascist. This was all part of the image of the good war; America was fighting on the side of good against the side of evil. This kind of good vs. evil paradigm was used in justifying almost all of the campaigns known as ‘the cold war’ and, lately, by George Bush jr. in the war on terror.

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