Jean Baudrillard and Mass Media

Table of Content

Industrialisation brought with it unprecedented levels of growth in population, which consequently led to a sudden injection of people into more urban areas The correlation between a more educated populous and a change in stance from political leaders was unquestionable. This new emphasis on public opinion could not simply be ignored; there was a shift from the ruling classes to addire to their own needs to now those of the public or risk revolution.

New ideas of nationalism, socialism and democracy were now burning in the hearts and minds of the people, who believed in fighting for their country, their freedom, rather than dying due to orders of the king. Politicians and governments alike took brave but much need steps in the new frontier of propaganda, an attempt to level the playing field of shaping public opinion, of which the newspapers where doing so well.

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This shift that was making the masses more and more vocal was beginning to mute the once dominant voices of their leaders, simultaneously making their views heard and demands meet, which was unprecedented in previous decades. These leaders soon became aware of the fact that they had to ensure their public was pleased with their decisions or else face the repercussions of their decisions Education had the most profound effect on a nation, playing a decisive role in shaping a nations perspective on war, it had the potential to approve, disprove, fight, liberate, or conquer as a whole force.

However, national spirit itself was revered; it enabled a country to fight in any war, despite their chance, it gave them a common enemy and common goal, a sense of pride, moreover, it was the crushing of this spirit which could win a country a war The public education system was provided to work on two fronts to combat the issue of mass illiteracy via compulsory primary education, and in addition provide the nation with an adequate number to attend higher learning in order to provide the country with educated citizens who could meet growing national needs for doctors, technicians, engineers and administrators.

This seamless transition was only possible Growing publicised unrest often served to undermine leaders and their regimes. In 1878, Bismarck, the German chancellor, who was engaged in battle with socialist parties took precautions in order to ensure matters didn’t get out of hand, passing a war which would give him power to suppress political, economic socialist association, independent labour organisations but also all the publications.

Railway mobilisation and deployment was first used by the French, who could bolster 120,000 troops within two weeks, a fete that would, on average, take up to a month’s march, in addition they could source 70,000 troops delivered by steam-ship, which had its clear advantages in battle. However, having the availability of railways didn’t determine success on the battlefield, Austria demonstrated this perfectly. They used telegraphs in addition to railways in an attempt to order and execute a strategic attack and gain advantage, only succeeding in getting lost and missing the actual battle.

It’s not enough to merely have a railway capable of mobilising and deploying troops, tactics and strategies must adapt to this new means of transportation. New technological improvements were fully exploited by the Prussians; the new mobility available with the development of the railway system played a vital role in the defeat of Austria. Tactics were modified and adapted to fit in-line with the new system, allowing a 250,000 strong Prussian force, delivered by five railway lines spanning 300 miles, to rapidly pounce on enemy positions swiftly and, as ever, efficiently.

France only serves as another example of Prussian mobilisation merged with superior leadership and firepower, resulting in the French army standing at 400,000 against Prussian forces of 1 million on the eve of battle. The sheer manpower and industrial development in technology, without it is doubtful whether Prussia would have mustered up such a formidable force despite its brilliance in organisational leadership and weapons. With the growth of a national identity brought with it the willingness of participation in war.

Almost everyone wanted to be involved in helping in some way, whether it be actual fighting or providing a service that helped in the war effort i. e. doctors, nurses, scientists. People would willingly support their nation in every aspect, socially, economically, politically, all in order to defeat their opponent, consequently, with growing the populations sense of “national spirit” saw the lean towards total war. As this “national spirit” as a growing formidable force – as nations wouldn’t simply submit due to unfavourable circumstances – a move to total war was the obvious and increasingly legitimate target in the context of war. (provide example where a country has targeted a nation to cripple its moral). The phenomenon of the momentous rapidly growing population of Europe had massive repercussions; from 1750 to 1950 the population had grown from 140 million to 540 million, nearly four times as much people, in the space of two centuries.

This immense increase of humanity saw that ‘no social and political order could have remained unaffected (pg. 92 Europe Since Napoleon), even changing the face of the globe as Europeans migrated to other countries like Canada, Australia and the United States, due to the overflow of Europe. This unprecedented rapid growth paired with the new world of industrialisation directly impacted the change in warfare an ‘intense and fundamental process of transformation’ that had never been seen before.

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Jean Baudrillard and Mass Media. (2017, Jan 16). Retrieved from

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