[FOUNTAIN]Bring on the slogansOn April 20, 1945, the day Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin, most of his chief secretaries were already gone. One of the people who remained with Hitler until his final minutes was Joseph Goebbels, the minister of propaganda, who was called "Hitler's shadow" and "Director of the Third Reich."
Mr. Goebbels made Hitler a great hero by employing all forms of mass communication, including newspapers, television, posters and various cultural activities. Spotlights were suddenly turned on and grand music was played in the halls whenever Hitler appeared on a stage. These scenes were all directed by Mr. Goebbels. The musical performances by symphonies created an atmosphere that made Hitler look like a mythical figure. The propaganda as a political means was the perfect way to manipulate the minds of the masses. With the end of World War II, Hitler's political image was shattered. That image, which was deceitful and was created by depression, disappeared in the winds of freedom.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln, a Republican presidential candidate, utilized the slogan "Freedom to All" and started winning people's trust with his down-to-earth nature and frank rhetoric. As time went by, Mr. Lincoln added another motto, "The constitution and union forever," and established a political image of being in opposition to slavery and secession by the South.
Theodore Roosevelt unveiled his slogan "The Big Stick" in the 1904 presidential election and tried to appeal to voters by saying, "Speaking softly and carry a big stick."
In the 1970s, issues that united American voters were chiefly economic ones. For instance, Ronald Reagan's election campaign promises, including a reduction of the national budget and tax cuts, moved American voters. One year before Bill Clinton was voted into the presidency, he was merely a little-known politician. But because of economic problems that the United States was going through at that time, voters chose Mr. Clinton.
Ambitious politicians in any countries create appealing election slogans and promises to establish favorable images. In France, Jacques Chirac, the president, will compete with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of National Front, who defeated Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, for the presidential vote. I am curious what kinds of election slogans and images our presidential candidates will hold up in Korea after the primaries of the ruling party and the opposition party conclude.
The writer is a senior reporter for the political desk of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Choi Chul-joo