U.S. Marine Propaganda

The original 1917 "Teufel Hunden" or "Devil Dog" ad was the first to use the popular Marine nickname in context with recruitment. The term is actually an intertextual coinage, originating from stories told about Marines taking a hill in World War I. The Germans supposedly yelled that they were being attacked by dogs from hell when they saw a pack of Marines trudging up a hill in gas masks. The nickname "Teufel Hunden" stuck and was soon published in many newspapers of the time. The poster itself depicts a bulldog (symbolic of the Marines) tenaciously chasing a "weenie dog" with a German helmet. While being simple in the design and content, the point is very clear that a power structure is being made salient by giving the Marine's said nickname and having the Germans run from them. This power structure helps set up the myth that Marines are imposing, tough and an important part of the military effort during World War I.

The second Marines advertisement is more current and centers on the image of a black male in a typical Marine uniform. To the right of the soldier, a set of claims sets this ad apart from the others I found. The truth claims in this ad set up a regime of truth about the Marine corps and the role that they play. It states that they are the most elite warriors on the earth and that by joining the Marines, one will gain wisdom, leadership and honor. Finally, the last part of the regime is both a claim and a challenge to the viewer. "... If you have what it takes to make it..." This statement clearly is used to interpellate the target audience, which is likely set at young males. By challenging the viewer, the ad is indirectly asking him or her to prove themselves against the regime of truth in order to gain the powers that the ad promises. This is different than many military advertisements, especially older ones, because it doesn't specifically ask the viewer to enlist today. It instead doubts them, which I see as an equally powerful, yet possibly not as ethically sound propaganda strategy in the enlistment process.

The third Marines image I found uses the intertextual signs of the Marine corps. (i.e. the uniforms, swords and symbols) in the production of a race specific recruitment campaign. While the ad doesn't specifically ask the viewer to enlist, it explicitly compares what it claims to be specific Hispanic family values to the values that the Marine corps. alleges to instill. In claim, this comparison is in the name of Hispanic heritage. This becomes problematic, however. Even though the ad states that Hispanic families instill important values that the Marines use every day, the values it provides (honor, courage and commitment) are anything but race specific, and have little to do with Hispanic heritage on a realistic level because the same could be said about any race. Furthermore, the fact that the ad states that the marines abide by these virtues every day seems to override and overpower the first statement, in fact taking away from the focus on Hispanic heritage in the first place.

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