Go to contents

[Opinion] Propaganda Tools

Posted October. 23, 2006 07:01,   


In June 1944 during World War II, the Nazi regime allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to inspect Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in Czechloslovakia, in order to dispel rumors about Jewish genocide. The Red Cross delegates, who had even watched an opera performance by the Jews in the camp where fake shops and cafes were set up, tentatively concluded that the rumors about genocide were groundless. The hoax against the Red Cross was so successful that the Nazis went on to make a propaganda film about peaceful Jewish community at Theresienstadt. Directed by a Jewish prisoner, the film was distributed all across the world. However, when the filming finished, even the filmmaker himself was sent to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp.

Creating a false image is the basis of propaganda. The Nazis spread posters that implied Adolf Hitler was the savior like Jesus Christ. Of course, they create negative images of the enemy. The fascist regime in Italy spread posters in which black American soldiers destroy a crucifix in a church in an attempt to provoke Catholic Christians, who made up a majority of the population.

Kim Jae-chang, former deputy commander of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, pointed out during a recent interview with The Dong-A Ilbo, “The sunshine policy and the engagement policy have created a false image about North Korea.” He argues that the policies created an illusion that we can actually talk to North Korean residents. In fact, Mount Geumgang and the Gaesong Industrial Complex are just for display. Moreover, although Pyongyang, the capital city where only privileged people can live, is almost as beautiful as any European city, it is simply a special city built to impress foreigners.

Such arguments saying, “North Korea will never launch nuclear weapons against South Korea,” and “The U.S. is responsible for the North’s development of nuclear weapons,” are all false images and by-products of the sunshine policy. North Korea has never hesitated to threaten South Korea by saying a war, if occurs, will begin in the Korean peninsula first. However, the government has been treating the communist regime as if they are pacifists. South Korean politicians, who pushed ahead with the visit to the Gaesong complex in the midst of the nuclear crisis, seemed to have enjoyed his time dancing with North Korean women. And South Korean politicians who pushed ahead with a short trip to Mount Geumgang could even have been able to conclude that they have confirmed North Korea’s willingness to give up their nuclear weapons program. I wonder whether they know they have been used as tools of North Korea’s propaganda.

Lee Dong-kwan, Editorial Writer, dklee@donga.com