Edward Bernays

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Person.png Edward Bernays   Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-icon.png
Born Edward Louis Bernays
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 1995-03-09 (Age 103)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Nationality American
Religion Jew
Children • Doris Bernays
• Anne Bernays
Parents Ely Bernays Anna Freud
Spouse Doris E. Fleischman
Interests • Propaganda
• Public relations
• Advertising
Nephew of Sigmund Freud and the father of 20th century propaganda techniques.

Edward Louis James Bernays was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations".[1] He combined the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud.

He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the "herd instinct" that Trotter had described.[2] Adam Curtis's award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC, The Century of the Self, pinpoints Bernays as the originator of modern public relations, and Bernays was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.[3]

From his 1928 book Propaganda:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society,"

"Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. . . . In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." [4]


A Document by Edward Bernays

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Public relations
A seminal work on the systematic manipulation of public opinion.


  1. "Edward Bernays, 'Father of Public Relations' And Leader in Opinion Making, Dies at 103". The New York Times. March 10, 1995.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Trotter (1919).
  3. Ewen, Stuart (1996). "Chapter 1: Visiting Edward Bernays". PR! A Social History Of Spin -Chapter 1. Basic Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Propaganda (book) - Wikipadia
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