290 | MP conclusion
in India, Egypt, Ireland and Morocco. The collapse of
the French army in April 1917 was due to German guns, and
to incompetent leadership on the part of the French command.
It owed practically nothing to German propaganda. The morale
of troops must first of all be shaken by events. Only then
are the propagandist manifestations of the enemy greeted
with the feeling that 'they are quite right'.
In some ways the mentality of the victim of propaganda
resembles that of an hysterical patient. In both cases a
more or less unfounded conviction serves a certain purpose,
and as long as it does, the person clings to it. Hysteria
can be cured by persuasion, hypnotism, or by counter-suggestion
but only on condition that the disease has ceased to be a
source of emotional satisfaction. Once interest in the
symptom has disappeared, many patients shake it off easily.
Of 2,500 shell-shock cases awaiting transportation to the
U.S.A. in 1918, 2,100 recovered within a day or two of the
armistice. The remainder had to be helped by suggestion.
If nothing is in the way of a person's cure but a conviction
that he cannot be cured, suggestion can help him over that
final difficulty. Shell-shock cases could be cured by
suggestion if the person need not go back to the trenches.
If he had to, he either resisted suggestion powerfully, or,
if it succeeded for the time being, he had a relapse before
he reached the trenches. It is practically impossible to
cure a hysterical patient as long as he resists the cure
because he does not want to part with his illness.
Russian propagandists seem to have drawn the lesson. An