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A Violent PeaceMedia, Truth, and Power at the League of Nations$
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Carolyn N. Biltoft

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226766393

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226766560.001.0001

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Rebranding the World (Picture)

Rebranding the World (Picture)

(p.17) 2 Rebranding the World (Picture)
A Violent Peace

Carolyn N. Biltoft

University of Chicago Press

Drawing on the theoretical insights of Martin Heidegger’s text “The Age of the World Picture,” this chapter argues that the League of Nations operated as a veritable multinational advertising firm. In that frame, it focuses on the League’s use of information technology in its efforts to influence “world public opinion.” As the chapter shows, the League made tremendous efforts to gather, process, and disseminate its message of peace and international cooperation on a global scale. While the chapter looks at a number of publicity efforts, it pivots on the League’s creation of a series of lanternslides created to depict a particular “world picture,” that in fact corresponded to a precise global distribution of power and resources. As the chapter shows, pushback against the League’s “world picture” tended to take the form of nationalist sentiment and, in particular, passionate cries for the more tangibles “truths” of blood, of race, and of homeland. Yet, states and private interest groups did not want to rip up the cables, stop the presses, and retreat to caves and the use of smoke signals. Rather, they fought for the right to shape and control the messages reaching the public and the means of delivering them.

Keywords:   world picture, laternslides, primordialism

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