Making the public love and believe in war

Making the public love and believe in war

An exhibition has been opened at Istanbul’s Koç University which exhibits what was done to justify a war, to prove that war is inevitable. It is an exhibition that we all should learn lessons from.

The exhibition also shows us how far away from genuine documents, numbers and aims written history is structured.

The name of the exhibition brings to mind a wide list of connotations: “Propaganda and War: The Allied Front during the First World War.”

The exhibition is opened at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) and displays historical objects and documents of Ottoman artifacts and memorabilia from World War I from Ömer M. Koç Collection. It is open until March 22, 2015.

You can see in this exhibition what was done for public relations conducted by states that were among the Central Powers during the war.

What have they used as propaganda material? Posters, photographs, postcards, medals, ceramics and glass are concrete examples of the strategy of the powers, which was based on deceiving the public.

In this convergence, the sanctity in terms of religion of the unification of a Muslim state with a non-Muslim state was printed in publications.

Political visits, albums and art activities were all factors of deception used to cover up the tragic face of war.

There were also displays in the exhibition from a rare album of plates titled “Paintings and Drawings from Turkey;” all of the images in the volume were painted in Turkey by Wilhelm Viktor Krausz between 1915 and 1916 during the war. The first known portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is contained within this volume.

This was all done to hide the truth that hundreds of thousands of people were dying on the fronts.
You must have seen documents and photographs covering World War I for its 100th anniversary, but I don’t think you have seen an exhibition containing propaganda. 

Yeşim Demir designed the exhibition; the curator was Bahattin Öztuncay.

Within the context of the exhibition, there will also be a conference themed, “First World War: Ideology and Propaganda” on Jan. 10, 2015 at ANAMED that will be open to everybody.

The speakers at the conference will be Edhem Eldem, Ayhan Aktar, Sinan Kuneralp, Nazan Maksudyan, Yiğit Akan, Sinan Niyazioğlu and Erol Köroğlu, and from London, Benjamin Fortna and Eugene Rogan.

In the foreword by Ömer M. Koç, the content of the exhibition is summarized as so: “In all printed material of the time, in newspapers and magazines, in books, in flags and pennants, in wall posters, there were pictures and photographs symbolizing the ‘alliance.’”

Öztuncay, Kuneralp and Eldem wrote for the catalogue. In their articles, schools that were opened to teach the German language and the engagement of wives of German diplomats in charity work can be read from the perspective of propaganda.

Symbols of honor, awards and medals, memorabilia, books, periodicals, posters, postcards and photographs can also be seen.

 “War and Propaganda” is an important exhibition showing the back side of World War I in terms of propaganda and public relations.