Lesson from History-Selling Stalin and the use of Image Propaganda

On June 22nd 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Communist Soviet Union. Prior to that date the two dictatorships were in alliance. In 1939 they had divided Poland between them and most of the western democracies would have viewed both dictatorships as evil aggressors.

That changed on June 22nd 1941 on the premise of the enemy of my enemy is my friend (even though my friend is an evil dictator as well).

Winston Churchill, no fan of Stalin or communism said:

“If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

The western powers began to describe the Russian-German War simply as the Eastern Front. What’s interesting is that in the Soviet Union the war was known as “The Great Patriotic War.”

Prior to the Second World War Stalin purged the Soviet officer corps. Consider this statistic from Russiapedia:

–In 1937, the Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army and 7 leading generals were shot. In 1938–39, all the admirals and half the Army’s officers were executed or imprisoned.–

What this cost the Soviet Union when the Germans invaded is hard to calculate. Suffice it to say the Red Army surrendered to the Germans in numbers that would have wiped out any western army. The fact the Red Army rebounded is also astounding given the fact most it’s best officers had been killed in the purge.

The fact is Stalin was not all that popular. His paranoia was responsible for murdering millions, especially in the Ukraine an area in the Soviet Union that actually welcomed the German invaders as liberators. Stalin ruled through terror, not because he was beloved.

Stalin had a significant image problem with his own people and after the war broke out his image needed a serious makeover. The communists needed to appeal to the ordinary soldier in a way that emphasized loyalty to the motherland ( Родина-Мать, Rodina-Mat) rather than loyalty to the communist party and Stalin. Hence, The Great Patriotic War.

Translation: (We fight) For the Motherland, fo...

The letters are Cyrillic and they mean Rodina in Russian or motherland.

Russian T-34
The letters are Cyrillic and they mean Rodina in Russian or motherland. The Russians often painted patriotic sayings on their tanks.

The Soviet machine worked overtime to cultivate Stalin as the man of the people even while they marketed the war with Russian patriotic sayings that had little to do with communism or Stalin.

For example, Alexander Nevsky’s victory over the Teutonic Knights in the 13th Century was popular.

Stalin’s propaganda ministry appealed to the people’s patriotism and loyalty to the motherland more than they appealed to Stalin’s popularity to win the war against Nazi Germany.

At the same time the communists sought to repackage the war against Germany in patriotic terms they also sought to repackage Stalin’s image and elevate it to cult-like status. Posters and pictures of Stalin with children abounded during the war and well after.


The use of marketing and imaging is nothing new in war and peace. American consumer marketing is expert as redefining “wants” as “needs” in order to get us to buy something we probably could do well without.

No where is image more important than it is in politics and frankly, no one does it better than American Progressives in selling the product of socialism.

The progressives are remarkably effective in misdirection, redefining terms to conform to the their agenda and projecting Obama as the man of the people who is only interested in fairness and justice  (meaning redistribution of wealth, otherwise known as socialism, collectivism, Marxism, etc.)

Obama’s use of children when he proclaimed his 23 Executive Actions is a case in point. It’s as brilliant as it is cynical since he is the most pro-abortion of any President ever.

The left are masters at repackaging an image, appealing to emotion rather than facts and out-and-out lying to achieve their unconstitutional goals. The old Soviet propaganda machine has nothing on Obama’s image crafters.

And the sad part is so many Americans lack even the basic skills of critical thinking to see through the sham.

Link to a translation of Obama’s Inaugural Speech

2 comments on “Lesson from History-Selling Stalin and the use of Image Propaganda

  1. Well put. I think people are so busy that they just take in the soundbites and recite them back as fact. I have been stunned by some of the things family members and friends have accepted as truth that are just out and out lies by the progressive machine and the press – oops, sorry to be redundant.

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