Propaganda and the Spiral of Silence Theory


 What is the Spiral of Silence theory? What is the propaganda and is it connected to this theory? Is the Spiral of Silence theory influential in present society? To answer these questions the theory must be examined and what propaganda is understood in order to determine their range of influence on society.

The Spiral of Silence theory was a model invented by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. The theory explained the Jews’ status during World War II. At a time when Hitler dominated German society the Jews fell silent in fear of being isolated or separated from the rest of the German populace. The theory was that when a majority agreed with a decision the minority who disagreed would keep silent so they would not be ostracized from the rest of the community. When properly examined it can be shown that this theory, while not named as such, has played a hand in societies throughout Earth’s history.

Propaganda is used to sway the opinion of a group in favor of supporting a plan of action. If a leader wishes to go to war with another country he must persuade his people that this is a good decision. To gain the peoples’ support, propaganda is used to persuade the nation to go to war. Most propaganda is falsified with only a few true facts, but constant repetition will subconsciously convince people that whatever is being said is the truth.

The media largely controls propaganda and the technological advances make it easy to twist events in favor or against. The Spiral of Silence theory is very influential in today’s present time, but it has been turned on its axis. Instead of the majority being in favor it is the minority, and the larger group is convinced that staying silent is better than seeking confrontation.

Therefore, the Spiral of Silence theorizes that there will always be those who will keep silent in fear of being separated from the rest of society. Propaganda has played a large hand in influencing this theory in the world, convincing people that they would stand alone if they resisted the more popular trend. Whether the majority or the minority are the ones who disagree they are encouraged, through subtle propaganda messages, to stay silent. However, the Jews kept silent, rather than confront, and their silence did nothing to protect them from the Nazi persecution.

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