For the Record: Propaganda
From reading the comments on FTR and WoT forums, it seems that some people define propaganda as anything that they disagree with. Maybe they have never seen any propaganda. To familiarize them with some, here’s a propaganda poster. Seems pretty straightforward. “All for the front, all for victory!”, a crude approximation of a T-34, and a farmer shaking the hand of a soldier. Quick, easy, makes you feel good about yourself, and then you go on with your life. Here’s another one: The Motherland calls! Quick and easy, simple slogan, patriotic picture. Another famous example: There’s barely even a picture in that one. Again, patriotic image, short slogan, move on with your life, defeat the fascist menace. According to some, ahem, “experts” on the forums, here’s more propaganda. There, don’t you feel inspired and patriotic? Wait, no, this one is different. There’s a bunch of numbers and stuff. Lots of numbers! And no pictures at all. Even if a passer-by knew how to use this table, all they’d get is something to the tune of “75% of the shell fragments fired from a T-34′s gun end up on the other side of a 61 mm armour plate at 1000 meters”. Wow, so patriotic. I don’t know about you guys, but that definitely inspires me to work 12 hour shifts on 1300 calories of rations. Or, you can have something like this: “When an anti-tank rifleman stands in the way, the fascist tanks shall not pass!” To the average worker and peasant, looking at this poster has the same effect as deciphering the diagram above, without knowing anything about penetration standards, mechanical engineering, etc. If you want your people to feel safe against enemy tanks, you put up the poster, not the table. What’s the point? The point is that propaganda is aimed at common people. In times of war, they need to feel safe. They need to feel like what they do matters at the front, and, eventually (probably soon), the abstract war way over there is going to end victoriously. In order for the war to end victoriously, engineers have to produce things like that table up there. Things like that table up there are not very inspiring. That is probably why they don’t get copied hundreds of times and glued to walls and lamp posts. They get sent to the necessary people, the necessary people copy over some numbers, and then they sit in a box for decades until someone digs them up. Sure, the engineers can start lying to the customer about the capability of their products. It happens. Then you get things like final drives that last 150 km, ridiculous paper projects, and magical paste that does nothing at all. And then, when the red banner flies on the Reichstag, all you can do is shrug and try to off-load the blame on someone else in your memoirs. Wartime propaganda makes the general public feel safe. You cannot compress leaflets into armour. You cannot fire posters at the enemy. You cannot build a fortress out of lies. Nazi Germany tried that, and the result is well-known. 70 years of excuses has changed nothing. Lie to your people all you want, but once you start lying in the classified documents, you are lying to yourself, and defeat is only a matter of time.