Incitement to hatred and to war, either in war-time or in peace, may include racist and religious propaganda and may be official or subversive. The information may be false or lacking in content with the aim of guarding secrecy. It may be over-idealistic; occur in all kinds of propaganda media; cause war or prolong it; or mask military atrocities, genocide and the extent of death and destruction. It also tends to obscure the reasons for war and its effects on different sections of international and national society.
Some 1,400 films were created under the supervision of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda. In 1991, the availability of three of Goebbels' wartime films was the subject of public outrage, as they depicted the Jewish race as lice-infested, lazy, avaricious and sadistic.
States may attempt to condition both behaviour and thinking in anticipation of war. In the case of an aggressive state, bent on secretly developing a war-machine capability, it will foresee large-scale mobilization of the citizenry into fighting forces and attempt to prepare for this by ensuring that the civilian population is already accustomed to acts of brutality and violence. Three fields of activity lend themselves to this: repression of political dissent; persecution of minorities; and encouragement of player and spectator violence at sporting events. For all of these, propaganda will be generated as well. The state propaganda apparatus may stage two events: the first in which national territory, rights or civilian or military personnel are said to have been outrageously violated, possibly with some alleged atrocities; the second, a real and brutal reprisal, the 'justice' of which prepares the public for acceptance of additional and more extensive crimes against humanity.
Without using techniques for motivating the general public such as those developed by the film industry a government would be irresponsible to the nation's decision to be at war. Neutral, anti-war or anti-government propaganda would greatly influence people, weakening the will of the country to win and endangering the nation and its people.