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Use of propaganda in civil war: The Biafra experience.

Davies, Patrick Ediomi (1997) Use of propaganda in civil war: The Biafra experience. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This study examines the effect of propaganda in the Biafran war. Nigeria, the show case of British colonial rule and Empire, and transfer to independence, was at the point of disintegration in 1967. A section of the country, the Eastern region had dared to do the unthinkable at that time, to secede. The British and Nigerian governments were determined that it would not happen. The break away region, which called itself Biafra was blockaded by land, air and sea, and starved of weapons and the means of livelihood. The only means available to it was propaganda. In the opinion of many commentators, Biafra employed propaganda admirably and effectively, sustaining the war for three years, against all odds. An investigation into the background of Biafra's successful propaganda thrust became a very compelling urge for me. But to arrive at that point, an examination is made of propaganda cultures that bear a family resemblance to that of Biafra. Because of the complete dearth of materials by media practioners, or the protagonists, or actors on the Biafran media/propaganda scene, it has been necessary to travel to and from Nigeria several times to interview the key participants. The issuance of questionnaires was unsuccessful as no one had or found time to fill them in. Data and Statistics were non existent in any cohesive form. There is still even now a reticence by the principal actors to discuss the issues involving the war. To discuss a familial pattern, or any other form of family migration which might support the argument of the success of Biafra's propaganda, three models have been examined, ie; Hitler's/Goebbels' German propaganda, (as a watershed in modern war propaganda, Mao Tse Tung's Chinese propaganda, and Ojukwu's Biafran propaganda. However, other examples like the English, American, Russian, and French civil wars and revolutions, etc; are employed in the arguments and discussions. The thesis examines psychological warfare, the origins of propaganda, modern methods and concepts, the Biafran domestic and external factors; and suggests that the exploitative propaganda tools in most civil conflicts are religion, and/or tribal/ethnic/nationalistic tendencies. The difference is that in Biafra there was a first - hunger and starvation became a massively useful propaganda weapon.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Military, History, African
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460

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