At a time when the boundaries between facts and manipulated information are becoming increasingly blurred, the topic of propaganda is becoming increasingly explosive. Dr. Jonas Togel, American scholar and propaganda researcher at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Regensburg, provides insight into the mechanisms and history of propaganda in an interview with Report24 editor-in-chief Florian Machl – a topic that became highly explosive in 2020. The latest with “Pandemic”.
Dr. Togel is an expert in researching the application and promotion of soft power techniques. He emphasizes the relevance of historical events to understanding today’s propaganda techniques. He cites World War I as a turning point in which propaganda was not only used intensively but also documented extensively. These historical examples serve as the basis for explaining the psychological mechanisms that are still used today and have been continuously perfected.
According to Togel, the purpose of World War I propaganda was to manipulate people’s unconscious – a view that has hardly changed over the past few decades. He illustrated this using the example of the United States, which established the so-called Creel Commission in 1917, just days after entering the war, to control public opinion. According to Togel, the techniques that were developed at that time are still effective and dangerous today.
Dr. Togel warns of the danger posed by such technologies and emphasizes the need to recognize and critically question propaganda. He talks about his specialized field of soft power, in which he also wrote his doctoral thesis. This subtle form of influence is based on positive engagement and voluntary consent rather than coercion and violence.
The interview also includes analysis of current events, particularly the conflict in Ukraine. Togel draws parallels between propaganda methods then and now and shows how quickly and effectively public opinion can be shaped through targeted narratives. He speaks of “cruelty propaganda” designed to arouse compassion and disgust, and “narrative frames” designed to guide people’s thinking.
The conversation with Dr. Togel is an urgent appeal to be alert and understand the tools of propaganda so as not to allow oneself to be unwittingly manipulated. It shows that the lessons of the past are essential to mastering the present and shaping a future in which information and truth are respected.
Dr. Togel can be seen as part of the manschheitsfamilie.at lecture program in Gmunden on 17 November – the title of his lecture is “Cognitive warfare”. His book “Cognitive warfare – NATO’s latest manipulation techniques as weapons” was published by Westend-Verlag on 10 July and is part of the lecture programme. Tickets are available here.
On 25 November he will be part of a larger expert talk in Freistad with Professor DDR. Martin Haditsch, Dr. Markus Kroll, Dr. Ferdinand Wegscheider, Dr. Martin Steiner – Moderated by Florian Machl. Tickets are available here.
(tagstotranslate)1. World War (T) The Americanists (T) Incubator Lies (T) Dr. Jonas Togel (T) Nudging (T) Propaganda Researcher (T) Soft Power