- "Your weapons in this war are ships, and blasters, and armor. My weapon in this war is words. And even more important than words are images. Pictures depicting an artistic representation of reality. Facts are flexible, and these graphics point to the truth of which you speak even if they do not precisely portray them."
- ―Chief Informational Officer Ferric Obdur, of the Office of Imperial Promotion, Galactic Truth, and Fact Correction
Propaganda was the dissemination of information, especially of a biased nature, for the purpose of promoting or injuring a political institution, cause or point of view. Propaganda could take many forms, from adverts, posters, films, and audio recordings to name a few.
Through several techniques, propaganda tended to imply connections between two separate things, whether they be true or not. Examples of such techniques are readily found within the Office of Imperial Promotion, Galactic Truth, and Fact Correction, who during the last days of the Galactic Empire, sought to countermand the influence of the New Republic. One poster of a New Republic soldier in the foreground, with the shadow of a Hutt in the background suggested several things. Such as implying that behind the occupying forces of the New Republic, crime and anarchy followed. Or that the New Republic was somehow connected with, or perhaps even working with or no better than the Hutt Clan. Likewise, a poster of dirty, ill-kept New Republic troops with flamethrowers burning down an Imperial Academy with screaming children in the windows, implied that the New Republic had no morality, and were no better than drunken thugs.
While propaganda could smear or base libel on a group, planet or species, it could also promote or improve the image of those that created it, or whom the creator sought to exemplify. For example, one poster during the Galactic Civil War depicted two stormtroopers handing out fruit to a human family in need, implying that the Empire was generous, merciful and well-behaved. Likewise, the propaganda poster Nothing Beats an Academy Education depicted several members of the Imperial armed forces standing triumphantly in the foreground, with text written in High Galactic encouraging potential recruits to join the Empire, with the warm colors, tone, and imagery suggesting that the Empire was strong, just, and brimming with opportunity.
The creation of national holidays, such as Republic Day for the Galactic Republic, or Empire Day for the Galactic Empire, further sought to meld the boundaries of citizenship and patriotism. Likewise, statues, memorials, and medals such as the Distinguished Medal of Imperial Honor, Nova Star Medal of the Empire, or battle medals earned in service of a particular organization such as the Kalidor Crescent, further acted as propaganda to a particular state body or organization. National anthems, such as "Glory of the Empire," flags, banners, newsreels, and other methods also existed to act as propaganda. By reporting on pro-Imperial news and events, the Empire was able to maintain an illusion of stability and security.
There also existed more subtle and less noticeable forms of propaganda, such as the creation stormtrooper dolls for young children, or a biased and distorted educational system, exemplified in the pro-Imperial class Current Events. The class, like many others throughout history, held the ulterior motive of strengthening the connection between the state and childhood to mold the minds of younger generations, with the end result of forming loyal adherents to the body politic.
The Republic roundel and Imperial crest served as the symbols of both the Old Republic and Galactic Empire. Likewise, the starbird symbol of the Rebel Alliance served both as a symbol of the organization, but also held special symbolic—and propaganda—value. Based off the legendary starbird, the symbol implied that like the creature of myth, the Alliance could never die, and that each death was merely another rebirth.
However, propaganda was not guaranteed to succeed in its purpose just because it existed. Since sentient beings had the ability to dissect information and form independent conclusions, along with drawing upon prior knowledge, just as propaganda was easily created, it was also easily vandalized, destroyed, or simply ignored. As such, numerous organizations existed to curb, redact, or remove libelous or vandalized propaganda throughout the galaxy and force compliance. The rebel Sabine Wren was one such individual in the habit of vandalizing any Imperial propaganda posters she found by painting rebellious graffiti over them.
- "An artist need not be a soldier to be a warrior (although I've been both, I hesitate to say). In turbulent times, an artist uses expression and symbolism as weapons, transforming art into propaganda. There are scholars of art who reserve only the most scornful tones to utter that word. I am not one of them. Art is a reflection of civilization. So is war. Art in the service of war is doubly so. To dismiss propaganda as a lesser form of art is to deny a fundamental part of who we are."
- ―Janyor of Bith, renowned painter, poet, and sculptor from Garel
For thousands of years, propaganda was created and destroyed to promote various interests and identities. Eleven Star Marketing created the poster Settle the Outer Rim launched on the behalf of the Republic Ministry of Economic Development to spur interest in the Outer Rim Territories by appealing to the viewer's sense of adventurism and mystery.
During the Clone Wars, both the Galactic Republic and Separatist Alliance embarked on large propaganda campaigns to rally support for the war. Early adverts for Count Dooku's Independent Movement for Self-Determination during the Separatist Crisis featured pamphlets drawn by Reena University's Ansibella Delu entitled Count Dooku: Words of Truth. Later posters, such as 2,000 Senators sought to convince the public that the Galactic Senate was distant, dispassionate, and unworthy of their attention. Likewise, the Separatist shadowfeed operation hijacked the Republic HoloNet to spread disinformation on Republic defeats and Separatists triumphs. As a result, COMPOR would be formed to counteract such efforts.
As the Empire rose, COMPOR was reorganized into COMPNOR, which took note when artistic media undermined Emperor Sheev Palpatine's government, and issued propaganda posters. During the Galactic Civil War, the Galactic Empire made frequent use of propaganda to recruit new soldiers and snuff out any rebellious activities. One such poster entitled Strength & Obedience sought to portray the Empire as a force for social order and stability. The Ministry of Information, headed by Pollux Hax, was tasked with muzzling the press. During Empire Day, as part of propaganda purposes for the Emperor and the state-run media of the Galactic Empire, Palpatine was altered to look as he did during the Clone Wars in a holo file depicting the Emperor's inauguration speech. Leadership, Order, Power was a propaganda poster featured heavily on Vardos and Naboo, depicting Palpatine from prior to the Clone Wars. Meanwhile, the Rebel Alliance, in its efforts against the Empire, issued propaganda showing Imperial stormtroopers to be poor shots.
The New Republic crafted messages of hope, self-determination and inspiration following their victory at Endor, along with the distribution of holo-recordings that featured the destruction of the Death Star II, coupled with pre-recorded messages of hope delivered by none other than Leia Organa—survivor of the Disaster—to rally hearts and minds around the Republic.
The First Order trained its stormtroopers by, among other things, teaching them propaganda that resulted in a skewed, pro-Imperial view of history. FN-2187 was one stormtrooper who doubted such claims, and while lacking knowledge of galactic politics, his tendency to value friendship led him to help those in the Resistance above the hatred of the past.
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- Rebel Journal by Ezra Bridger
- Sabine My Rebel Sketchbook
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: Rogue One: Rebel Dossier
- Star Wars: The Rebel Files
- Dawn of Rebellion
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aftermath: Life Debt
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Aftermath
- ↑ Lost Stars
- ↑ 'Rogue One': 22 New Photos from the 'Star Wars' Film. Entertainment Weekly (June 23, 2016). Retrieved on June 29, 2016.
- ↑ Servants of the Empire: Edge of the Galaxy
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Sabine My Rebel Sketchbook
- ↑ Tarkin
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- ↑ Star Wars Rebels – "Empire Day"
- ↑ Star Wars Battlefront II
- ↑ "The Sith of Datawork"—From a Certain Point of View
- ↑ Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Propaganda on Wikipedia