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Propaganda was first used on a large scale as a military weapon during World War I, and it was a powerful weapon indeed for all of the countries involved in this conflict. In Bolo Pacha, author Shelby F. Westbrook tells the story of one man, Paul Marie Bolo, who played a central role in a plot to assume control of French newspapers in order to influence the course of events in Germany’s favor— a plot perpetrated by several prominent international bankers and politicians of the day.

By the time World War I began in 1914, Germany was well prepared for its conflict with France. Using the same tactics they employed to defeat France in the Franco-Prussian War, the Germans had established a bureau for espionage and another for propaganda. It was difficult to separate the spy from the propagandist. Both had the same purpose—to defeat the enemy.

Paul Marie Bolo was neither. He was a profiteer. A Frenchmen of limited means and morality, but with great ambition, Bolo sought to enrich himself by playing a major behind-the-scenes role in Germany’s insatiable quest for power through propaganda.

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