Prior to World War I politicians and businesses used facts and information to win votes or to persuade people to buy their products. When Woodrow Wilson hired him to run his Committee for Public Information to produce pro-World War I propaganda, Bernays incorporated Sigmund Freud’s theory that human behavior was based on unconscious instinctual drives. By appealing to these unconscious and irrational feelings, he succeeded in selling World War I to a profoundly isolationist American public.Americans from strong opposition to the war into supporters of US participation. American bankers had a huge investment riding on the success of the Allies in WWI, and they started worrying about outcome of the war and having their loans repaid. So, what to do? Well, what they did was to launch a vigorous pro-war campaign.
The campaign went into high gear building on the sensationalism of the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania, a British luxury passenger ship, by German U-Boats because it was known by the Germans to be carrying munitions to Europe, but for some strange reason it was unknown to US passengers. Obviously, it was known to the British and should have been known to US agents.