How Can Propaganda be Both Positive and Negative

What is Propaganda

Propaganda is statements or ideas that are often exaggerated or false, and are spread in order to help a leader, cause, a government, etc. They can influence and change the attitudes of people towards a specific cause, person or a political agenda.  Propagandas are often used for social, religious, and political causes. As a concept, propaganda has neither a positive nor negative connotation. However, if it is used to promote positive change in society, propaganda can be termed as positive, whereas if it is used to damage and degrade, it can be termed as negative.

How Can Propaganda be Both Positive and Negative

Positive Propaganda

Propaganda is often used by the government and other organizations to promote positive messages and lifestyles. For example, messages about healthy eating habits, drunk driving, effects of smoking, drug use, vaccine programs, violence against women, etc. are often conveyed through propaganda. Propaganda can also be used to promote unity, solidarity, and harmony among people during conflicts. Thus, propaganda can be positive, if it is used to help people and promote positive change in the society.

How Can Propaganda be Both Positive and Negative - 1

Negative Propaganda

Propaganda can also be used in a negative way to cause damage and degrade people.  It is a powerful weapon during the war and is used to dehumanize and create hatred towards the enemy, by creating a false image of the enemy country or nation in the minds of the people.

This type of propaganda may be used in a variety of insidious ways. Demeaning disinformation about the history of a certain country or a group may be promoted in the education system, using media to create and circulate false information are some of these methods. For example, the German government under Hitler’s rule used propaganda to favor and promote Nazism.

During the World War II, the United States used propaganda to urge people to support the war by joining the word, saving food and material, and buying war bonds. This was mainly done by instigating hatred for the enemy.  The following poster is an example of this propaganda. 

How Can Propaganda be Both Positive and Negative

As seen from these examples, propaganda can be either used in a positive way or negative way. Although the term propaganda itself is neutral, the way in which it is used can make propaganda positive or negative. 

Image Courtesy:

“Anti-smoking ad” By Stellapark025 – Own work via

“”More toolie you crackie more happy jappie. Nations fall when workers stall.” – NARA – 515023.” By  U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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