Principles of Destruction

Morelli's 10 Principles of War Propaganda

In 2001 French Historian Anne Morelli published her booklet Principes élémentaires de propagande de guerre containing 10 principles extracted from Arthur Ponsonby's Falsehood in Wartime. Ponsonby's book is a collection and analysis of lies invented and propagated during World War I, designed to create an atmosphere of anger, fear and hatred in the populations of each of the war-leading countries involved, especially in Great Britain. Morelli summarizes Ponsonby's analysis by creating 10 catch phrases for which she gives various examples, not only from the world wars, but also from recent times.

French original:

1 Nous ne voulons pas la guerre
2 Le camp adverse est le seul responsable de la guerre
3 Le chef du camp adverse a le visage du diable (ou « l'affreux de service »)
4 C'est une cause noble que nous défendons et non des intérêts particuliers
5 L'ennemi provoque sciemment des atrocités, et si nous commettons des bavures c'est involontairement
6 L'ennemi utilise des armes non autorisées
7 Nous subissons très peu de pertes, les pertes de l'ennemi sont énormes
8 Les artistes et intellectuels soutiennent notre cause
9 Notre cause a un caractère sacré
10 Ceux (et celles) qui mettent en doute notre propagande sont des traîtres

1) We don't want war!
Numerous examples of asserting peaceful intentions of leading politicians are known from both world wars, on each side of the conflicting parties. According to Morelli, the only question remaining to be asked is why then so many wars are started, when noboday wants them? This is answered easily and repeatidly by phrases like the following: we are forced to do so, to attack, to perform a preemptive strike ...; we are forced to do so for our own protection or to meet our international obligations. This is expressed by the 2nd principle.

2) The adverse camp is the only responsible for the war!

3) The leader of the adverse camp has the face of the devil (or "the devil on duty")

4) We are fighting for a noble cause and not out of self-interest!

5) The enemy deliberatley provokes but if we malpractice, then only accidentally!

6) The enemy uses forbidden (illegal) weapons!

7) We suffer only little damage, but the demage of our enemy is enormous!

8) Our case is supported by artists and intellectuals!

9) Our mission is sacred!

10) Everyone doubting our coverage is a traitor!

These catch phrases stand for single tricks and lies to suggest to the public that war is necessary and/or justified. Such a list can never be completed - the creative ways to lie to the public have no limit. As a destructive principle - in the genuine meaning of 'principle' - one can subsume all the these shady moves under the following formulation:

Principle 1:  In order to prepare and to maintain war, take any measures to convince the public that the war is necessary and/or inevitable.


Naomi Wolf's 10 Principles of how to destroy a democracy

(ISBN 978-1933392790) entails some basic principles concerning the restriction of civil liberties worth to be discussed and - in the first place - to be critically amended. Based on the book there is a documentary movie having the same title. The creative German translation turns out to be "Wie zerstört man eine Demokratie - Das 10-Punkte-Programm", which is, retranslated into English: "How to Destroy a Democracy  - the 10-Point-Plan" putting the meaning of the book near management enlightenment courses or something like "The Dictator's 10-Point Pocket Guide on How to Ruin a Democracy".

1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat.

2. Establish Secret Prisons.

3. Develop a Paramilitary Force.

5. Infiltrate Citizens' Groups.

7. Target Key Individuals.

8. Restrict the Press.

9. Cast Criticism as "Espionage" and Dissent as "Treason".

10. Subvert the Rule of Law.