"Propaganda is a weapon" Hitler declared, "as much as submarines, tanks and bombs." It served as the psychological weapon of Hitler's campaign to "divide and conquer" the world. Never before had the world been so overwhelmed with so much "information." Pamphlets, cartoons, booklets, motion pictures, radio shows, and lectures written and produced both in the United States and abroad bombarded the American Public with the alleged problem of the Jews, the glory of the Third Reich, and the moral decay of the world.
The techniques of name-calling, guilt by association, card-stacking, scapegoating and smear campaigning made it difficult to distinguish truth from fallacy. During this period, the documentary became popular because it seemed a reliable source of information. For an unsuspecting public, statistics and film could be and often were distorted in the "telling of the truth." To understand the terms un-American, "subversive," "fifth column," "fascist," "the left," and "the right" proved challenging for the American people in the 1930s and 1940s.
Fascist propagandists favored anti-Semitic disinformation for spreading fear and suspicion. Historian Henry Steele Commager observed, "The intolerance of the 30s and 40s had not even the dignity of intelligence, or accuracy or a moral purpose."