To write a satisfactory survey of propaganda in a short work such as this is not easy and I am fully aware of the inadequacy of my effort to do so. The subject is in two ways specially difficult to treat succinctly. In the first place it can neither be handled in the form of a historical narrative, since there is no continuous thread to follow, nor can it be analysed as a systematic scientific discipline since its techniques vary so greatly according to the purposes for which it is used. And, secondly, it touches on, and indeed overlaps with so many other subjects of study that it is almost impossible to present it intelligibly without devoting many apparently unnecessary words to these neighbouring topics.
The first of these two problems I have tried to solve by accepting an uneasy compromise between the analytical and the historical. In the main the book is historical in approach. It looks at early examples of propagandist activities in many different fields, and then proceeds to study propaganda during the First World War, in National Socialist Germany, during the Second World War and in Communist Russia. Yet the history is highly selective and much is left out that is, from the point of view of factual interest, at least as important as what is included. The reason is that my object is not so much to give factual information as such and for its own sake (though I hope that the facts quoted are all accurate and fairly presented) as to use . . .