A crowd gathered to see Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev in Des Moines, Iowa, Thomas O’Halloran, 1959, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-U9-3113-13

One of the most powerful propaganda techniques focuses on fear. By playing on the audience’s deepest, and at times irrational, fears, propagandists can sway opinion and promote action. A successful fear appeal typically has four elements:

1) a perceived threat,

2) a recommended action,

3) the assertion that the audience is capable of taking the action, and

4) that the action will diminish the threat.