An Overview of British Propaganda Efforts in the First World War

This was originally one of my essays written as part of my master's degree at the University of Wolverhampton, and I am posting it here for two reasons: First, the subject of propaganda during the First World War has arisen in previous articles on this site, and I have several future articles in the pipeline that will delve into it more. Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea to provide a general overview of the subject.

Second, as I am sure many students have experienced, there was one paragraph in the original essay that I wanted to rewrite. While there was nothing wrong with the original in terms of argument, facts, structure, and grammar, I will be the first to admit that, due to writing within a word limit, it made for painful reading.

I've 'de-academicized' the original, added narrative and a bit of trivia, and steered it away from the initial essay question.

Figure 1. "Fall In", PRC Poster, August 1914, NAM. 1981-09-25-1, National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


DOI Department of Information
DORA Defence of the Realm Act
GHQ General Headquarters
MOI Ministry of Information
NDFO News Department of the Foreign Office
NPC Neutral Press Committee
NWAC National War Aims Committee
OPB Official Press Bureau
PRC Parliamentary Recruiting Committee


At the time of writing (2024), against the backdrop of the Russo-Ukrainian war, and the Israel-Hamas conflict there is certainly no shortage of examples of propaganda to call on to come up with a definition of the term, which would look something along these lines:

Propaganda is the control of information to influence, persuade, and manipulate not only a state's own population but foreign opinion, to further its cause or agenda. This is achieved through state apparatus, such as censorship, or ownership, of the press; manipulation of foreign news and social media — to spread malinformation, misinformation, and disinformation; bribery, sponsorship, or blackmail of foreign assets —to influence opinion or shape a narrative; and the employment of psyops (psychological warfare) to win 'hearts or minds' or to create distrust and antagonism.

At the start of the First World War, however, the word propaganda did not have the negative connotations we associate with it today, rather it was about making the best case at home and abroad for the government of the day.1 Though, as the war progressed, propaganda would evolve to become more manipulative, and would morph into the foundations of what we would now recognise as propaganda.

But one thing which is just as true now as it was back then is that it is impossible to gauge what, if any, effects any of these efforts had.

The definition of propaganda is not the only issue which needs to be addressed before jumping in. Also important is the secretive nature of the work undertaken, which means the historical document trail is light as most documentation related to it is destroyed; before the First World War, the government had no official propaganda apparatus in place. This was for the simple reason that Britain had seldom needed it, as newspapers, books and the music hall were awash with themes of patriotism and Empire. Furthermore, British society was one that was more locally focused, and in some respects — until then — at home, the government only had to concern itself with a sliver of the population. In the 1910 general elections, out of a population of 44 million, only 7.2 million were entitled to the vote — men who owned or lived in a property worth over 40 shillings for a minimum period of 12 months (about 60% of males over the age of 21).2 But this was a precarious state of affairs, one which was being tested by the rise of industrial unrest (some 40 million working days were lost to strikes in 1913), the suffragette movement, and the question of Home Rule in Ireland —all of which were immediate issues facing the government of the day before the outbreak of war.3 A propaganda arm was also unnecessary abroad, as Britain and its Empire dominated in terms of size, control of the seas, and in arguably the most important aspect: trade. London was the world's financial centre and powerhouse, although it wasn't without issues or a degree of exceptionalism in such thinking.

Thus, when war was declared, there was a haphazard and improvised rush to create an official propaganda machine, for reasons that are discussed below.4 Given this extemporized start, the lines between official and unofficial propaganda efforts were blurred from the get-go, made more complicated by what could be called quasi or semi-official organisations such as the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee (PRC), technically a Parliamentary body. The PRC was set up on 31 August 1914 to improve relations between the state, the military and civil society and to drive voluntary recruitment. The National War Aims Committee (NWAC) was formed three years later in August 1917 to maintain civilian morale, starting as a privately-funded organisation that began to receive government funding from November 1917, giving it quasi-official status, despite its independence.5 In addition, there were no shortages of amateur propagandists, and throughout the war a plethora of dilettante patriotic organisations would pop up, for example the 'Fight for Right' was formed in 1915 to 'oppose a premature truce and induce a spirit of cheerful sacrifice'; arguably its only legacy was that, when asked to come up with an anthem for the organisation, the composer Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918) put the opening preface from William Blake's (1757-1827) Milton: A Poem in Two Books to music — the result was the choral song 'Jerusalem'.6

The official propagandists were quick to realise there was a value in these amateur organisations — most notably they could be used as covert distribution networks of official material.7 They also acted as a proving ground: individuals such as the owner of the News of The World, George Riddell (1865-1934) initially acted as informal go-betweens with the press and government, in doing so, Riddell gained a reputation as a 'trustworthy transmitter of information', and his role was made official.8 Though unofficial propaganda could be useful, it could also be a hindrance, often coming into conflict with the low-key approach preferred by Wellington House, discussed below.9 On the subject of conflict, there was certainly no shortage in how propaganda should be developed and run, which led to one of the most fascinating facets of this affair: the people involved.

Those associated with propaganda: politicians, Foreign Office dignitaries, journalists, newspaper barons, authors, etc., existed in a world within a world. This was a sphere which was dominated by the gentlemen's club. Its population, woven together by old school ties, bound by family connections and social standing, was one in which, as my supervisor once said, 'nepotism was rife to the point of being interbred'.10 And while these bonds existed, they did not exist in harmony. Those on Fleet Street were kept in check by those in Parliament with a threat of social ostracism through expulsion from the club, and Fleet Street kept Parliament in check with the threat of exposure. But, for the press barons, men like Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe (1865-1922) — who makes Rupert Murdoch look quaint in comparison — held immense power over popular opinion; Parliament tried to calm them with dangled knighthoods, lordships and prestigious government positions. As the historian Alice Goldfarb Marquis has commented, 'it was difficult to sort out who influenced (or corrupted) whom'.11 To add further complexity, the Foreign Office — who were originally tasked with representing Britain and the Empire abroad — were reluctant to give ground without a fight to those it saw as conquistadors — as you will see below, there were many. If you were expecting this to be a story about how the best and brightest all came together in a time of need — think again.

To weave through these complexities, and to keep the article's word count in the bounds of an overview, the story of British propaganda will be broken down into three waves. The first of these waves covers the period from the outbreak of war to the publishing of the Bryce Report in May 1915. The second wave takes the story up to the point of America's entry into the war in April 1917, and the third wave continues up to the Armistice. There is considerable overlap in the development of propaganda across these waves, but these parameters have been chosen as they mark key turning points.12

Wave 1: Outbreak of War to the Publication of the Bryce Report

Figure 2. Mobilisation of 1/1st Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, August 1914, NAM. 1991-07-219-1, National Army Museum, Out of Copyright

This wave was marked by the need to implement the propaganda mechanisms necessary to control flows of information and to react to German propaganda. Germany's war planners, unlike Britain's, had already factored in the important role propaganda could play, setting up a semi-official organisation before war was officially declared. Britain needed to control the press, gain support from neutral countries, show its allies that it was capable of pulling its weight, and raise a volunteer army the size and like of which had never been attempted before.

While an official propaganda organisation might not have existed in Britain, neither was it starting from an entirely blank state. Pre-war thinking had foreseen the need to control information in a modern war, evidenced by one of Britain's very first official acts of war, which was to order the Post Office ship, HMTS Alert, to cut the Germans' transatlantic telegraph cables that passed through the English Channel, severing Germany's ability to communicate across the globe.13 In addition, The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed, which, among other things, gave the government a statutory right to limit the freedom of the press, though it was rarely used in this manner.14 Control of the press until this point had been a voluntary matter, which had its roots in 1899 where it was agreed there needed to be a mutual agreement between press and government, and it was precedented in 1912 when the press was asked not to report on work being undertaken by the Ordinance Board — this was an agreement which seemed to have worked well for both parties.15 Thus, responsibility for censorship was to fall under the War Office. Convention dictated that senior officers were permitted informal contact with the press, however, reflecting the thinking of the day, Lord Kitchener instituted tighter controls.16 As well as controlling the flow of information, the War Office would become responsible for the censorship of mail, cables and wireless under the moniker of MO5 (military operations).17 While pre-war planning had predicted this need — and much is intrinsically tied into the origins of the Security and Secret Services (MI5 and MI6) — it was unprepared to meet the demand for information.18 The War Office hastily formed the Official Press Bureau (OPB) as a point-of-contact, but given no specific aims or duties, its first weeks were marred by poor administration.19 Despite Churchill's declaration that the OPB would provide a 'steady stream of information', it censored more than it released, earning the nickname 'the Suppress Bureau'.20 While their strategy was to be one of control, a sub-section of MO5 — MO5(h) — was set up for 'frontline propaganda', in response to German efforts, which had seen leaflets dropped over the French town of Nancy in August. Leaflet drops aimed to lower enemy morale, but how much work of this nature was undertaken in this wave is hard to establish, given its links to intelligence and this being an under-studied field, but it was low in comparison to later activity discussed below.21

From the outbreak, it was Allied policy that war would be waged economically, as well as on the battlefields, and that the Royal Navy would play the principal role, by using its might to enact a blockade of Germany. For this blockade to be effective, it was vital the government shored up support of neutral countries like the Netherlands and Sweden, who would be economically impacted by the blockade.22 Britain also needed to respond to the growing surge of anti-British propaganda produced by Germany in both neutral and allied countries, as well as show its allies that it was capable of pulling its weight, and in the hope of attracting further allies.23 This led to the Foreign Office creating the News Department of the Foreign Office (NDFO), which acted as the source for all statements issued by the government relating to foreign policy, as well as maintaining relationships with foreign journalists and H.M representatives in embassies across the world.24 Without input from the Foreign Office, but in connection with the OPB, around the same time the Home Office set up the Neutral Press Committee (NPC), which would monitor press in neutral countries, promote English newspaper sales overseas, oppose enemy propaganda overseas, and distribute information via cable and wireless.25 Both new organisations, like the OPB, were set up with little in the way of practical aims, and the fact that there were now three overlapping organisations was the start of many tensions within Whitehall and beyond.

In terms of neutral countries, the most important target was the US, not only to compensate for economic losses (Britain and Germany had been each other's 'best' customers), but to secure the resources it could bring as an ally.26 This matter had been raised by cabinet, and it was rumoured that the following exchange did not take place in the confines of Parliament, or Downing Street, but at a Sunday luncheon at a golf club, where Lloyd George asked his cabinet college Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman (1873-1927) to 'look into it'.27 The result was the formation of a fourth organisation, Wellington House, named after the building it was based in, but officially known as the War Propaganda Bureau, with Masterman at its head.

Criminally, as he is a character worthy of further analysis, only one biography exists of Masterman, written by his wife in 1939.28 His career before becoming an MP involved being the literary editor of the Daily Chronicle but his political career got off to a promising start, being associated with the Young Radical Liberals, which centred around Bertrand Russell. He was elected to the seat of Dulwich West in 1906 and undertook a number of junior ministerial posts — possibly the most interesting in relation to propaganda was his involvement with the 1912 introduction of Lloyd George's National Insurance scheme when he was undersecretary for the Home Office. This was a role that saw him oversee an until-then unprecedented and innovative public relations drive, where he was hands on in organising material, leading some commentators to say that he was the most experienced propagandist at the start of the war.29

Masterman could be described as 'The Thinker's Propagandist' — especially compared to other individuals discussed here. His approach and vision was influenced by psychological works on crowd behaviour of the time, a topic he took much interest in, and he believed persons without much education or worldly experience were more likely 'not to be in charge of their own fates and open to manipulation'. As such, Wellington House propaganda was to target the elites, not the masses.30 With the aid of Sir Gilbert Parker (1862-1932), a Canadian novelist and anglophile, who was to be made Director of American Propaganda at Wellington House, a targeted list of some 260,000 influential individuals within the US was created.31 Masterman also believed that for the propaganda to be successful its origin would need to be secret: works should appear as if the authors had produced them under their own steam — what would now be called 'black propaganda'.32 In September 1914, Masterman held two conferences, the first with some 35 influential writers and academics — including many professional and social friends, including H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, Rudyard Kipling, and Arthur Conan-Doyle.33 Attendees were invited to produce work based on accurate information and measured argument through private publishing houses that hid their governmental source.34 By May 1915, Wellington House had produced 'over seven million copies of books and pamphlets, translated into sixteen languages'.35 Notably, given the popularity of some of the authors, it is worth highlighting that any of the work they produced during the war is most likely to be propaganda, but how much encouragement they needed is debatable, certainly in the case of Arthur Conan-Doyle, who pre-war had written much on the topic, concerning the rise in German militarism and the threat it presented.36

The second conference involved key figures from publishing and the press, including editors of popular newspapers such as the Daily Mail — the 'wordsmiths' were invited to participate, not the proprietors — a deliberate ploy by Masterman to get them on side. At the meeting it was agreed that, among other things, between the government and press, censorship would be minimal, and there would be a dedicated government co-ordinator to supply government news — which gained the backing of the Foreign Office, and was enacted in December of that year, putting responsibility for complying with DORA in the hands of the newspapers. However, the OPB were not pleased, seeing censorship as their imperative.37

Figure 3. Leeds "Pals" Battalion, Recruitment Tram, September 1914,Public domain

Moving on to recruitment, while there had been an initial swell of volunteers (see here) not long after war being declared, it was becoming clear by September, as casualty reports began to return from the front, that without action to fulfil Kitchener's call to arms, it would be inevitable that conscription would be needed — a step that no one in Parliament was keen to take. The Prime Minister, impressed by the voluntary action taken by some MPs to drive recruitment in their constituencies, set up a cross-party group — the result was the aforementioned Parliamentary Recruitment Committee. While Parliament would co-ordinate efforts nationally, in a rather shrewd move, on the ground responsibility was placed in the hands of those who had previously worked on local election campaigning; their experience in fighting elections in their areas would be pivotal as they already had the key connections and the lay of the land.38

Straight from the election campaign handbook was the use of rallies and meetings. In the 16 months of the PRC's existence, some 3,000 meetings with 6,000 speakers took place across Britain.39 They would have looked something like this.

A week earlier, posters had appeared all over the village, announcing a meeting of the PRC would be taking place at the Parish Hall. On the Sunday beforehand, the parish vicar bought the meeting up in his weekly sermon, asking all parishioners to make the time to attend. In the approaching days, canvassers could be seen handing out leaflets and badges, and the local tram put on a nighttime service, with the tram being illuminated in patriotic décor.

Come the day of the event, the local band led the procession to the venue, with the local scout troop in tow, where proceedings were opened by a welcome from the local gentry, followed by everyone being asked to sing the national anthem — and in a show of solidarity, an attempt was made at La Marseillaise. The MP for the area then took to the stage to introduce the guests for the evening, making sure to thank everyone for their attendance. To show unity, he was joined on stage by those who in peace would have been his political rivals. Then onto the stage followed the Colonel of the nearby Territorials, who gave a passionate speech on how the Kaiser must be stopped, and praise for the gallant Belgians who had done their duty. One of the many speakers doing the PRC meeting circuit came on next, an official representative, there to give the people the 'truth' about how the war started. An intermission followed, and a chance for the crowd to regenerate as local acts performed patriotic songs such as 'Britons Arise!' mixed in with music hall favourites — an opportunity for everyone to tap their feet.

A more sombre second half followed. On stage came an officer, recently wounded, who spoke about the situation at the front, He ended his speech by saying that, while he appreciated the audience's reception, he would prefer it more if they signed the recruitment sheet at the end of the night. Another speaker told of the terrors happening to the Belgians, followed by the Mayor, who told the audience, 'if they believe the cause is just and righteous, they should do their bit', followed by the recruitment officer who appealed to young men to sign and up and give the Huns a good clap around the chops. The night then closed with more singing of patriotic and music hall songs, ending with the National Anthem and the sign-up sheet being handed out.40

In terms of recruiting, they were not always successful. In one instance, at a meeting held in Pwllheli, no one signed up. A meeting held in De Montford hall resulted in only nine signatures, of which only four bothered to turn up.41

Figure 4. Daddy What Did YOU do in the Great War, Australian War Memorial, Public Domain

As well as meetings and rallies, the PRC issued some 54 million posters and six million leaflets and pamphlets.42 Posters were a particularly tried-and-tested method, easily understood by the masses, as well as being cost effective and fast to produce.43 In this wave of propaganda, the posters appealed to a sense of duty, moral values such as 'Freedom', along with the promise of travel and adventure; as the war evolved so did the themes. Unlike the secretive approach taken by Wellington House, the PRC made its origins and purpose clear — white propaganda.44 White propaganda only works when there is a sense of trust between the creator and the recipient and when the message is perceived to be open and truthful — the key word here is perceived.45 When initial enthusiasm began to wane in the spring of 1915, the PRC bought in outside advertising agencies. Since the turn of the century, the advertising industry had experienced a period of modernisation, signposted by the publication of The Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice by Walter Dill Scott in 1908 — a book still held in high regard today. What these agencies bought to the table was a more 'scientific' approach, one that utilised persuasive techniques, such as the 'power of the question' as demonstrated in the infamous poster, 'Daddy what did you do in the war?'46 While appeals to masculinity were present from the beginning, it would become increasingly hegemonic with later designs pushing the idea of 'noble sacrifice', a theme that would later form a core part of the NWAC campaign (see below).47

This wave came to a close in the spring of 1915. The establishment of multiple bodies to handle propaganda was proving to be a cause of friction between all those involved. To return to a point in the introduction, about propaganda been seen as 'making the best case', there were many in official circles who from the start saw propaganda as an 'un-English activity, but necessary evil'. Regardless of viewpoint, there were no shortages, especially from within the War Office and Home Office, of voices suggesting who should have control and in which direction it should be heading.48 As the scale of propaganda increased, so did the number of these voices, and the friction began to fester.

Wave 2: Spring 1915 — Spring 1917

Figure 5. Kultur Has Pass Here, Louis Raemaeker,1915, Public Domain

This wave is separated from the first not just by a number of organisational changes that took place as tensions between the departments reached boiling point, but also by a move towards a more populist and visual form of propaganda — The Bryce Report, released in spring 1915, was the catalyst.

Since the outbreak of the war, some 250,000 Belgians had fled to take refuge in Britain, and with them came many tales of acts of German barbarianism. In December 1914, the Committee of Alleged German Atrocities was set up in an 'honest attempt' to document the atrocities committed by Germany. Heading this committee was Lord James Bryce (1838-1922), former Ambassador to America, historian, lawyer and academic — that is to say he was a very trusted and well-respected voice. The committee also included several other eminent lawyers and historians and their report was published, by Wellington House, in the spring of 1915. It was made available to the public at the price of 6d, or for 1s 9d a version with appendices containing all the gruesome evidence.49 While there were a few shortcomings — some perhaps understandably given the short time frame and the pressure to produce the report — there was also a major oversight. None of the evidence for the report was collected under oath; instead it relied on accounts told to investigators via translators, and on accounts taken from other second-hand sources, such as captured German diaries.50 There were concerns, both from within the committee and from outside, that the report fell short of the standards of the day, but five days before the report was published, the passenger steamer RMS Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland. With the loss of 1,198 out of 2,000 passengers and crew, including a number of American citizens, the act sparked an international outcry and further inflamed anti-German sentiment. If the release of the report had not coincided with this tragedy, it is likely it would not have been taken at face value, nor would it had been embraced by both the press and the public.

Figure 6. Lusitania Medal, British Replica, 1915, Public Domain

This marked the beginning of a darker form of propaganda, which would now be termed 'atrocity propaganda'; one such infamous example from this period is the Lusitania Medal. A year on from the sinking, it was reported in the press that the Germans had struck a commemorative medal with the words Keine Bannware (no contraband) stamped on one side and Geschàft ùber alles (Business before everything) on the other, with a carving of a line of skeletons queuing up to buy tickets(Figure 6). However, the medal did not really exist. What did exist was a medallion, produced in a small run, that was carved by the German artist Karl Xaver Goetz (1875-1950) who produced work in metal that was very much in the same vein as political cartoonists do in ink. His 'medal' was meant to be a piece of satirical commentary.

The story, or more correctly the myth, of the Germans striking the medal created a great deal of excitement in Britain and beyond. Papers carried sketches or photos of the 'medal' alongside commentary like, 'Look how terrible this is' and 'The Germans are rejoicing over the tragedy'.51 Any attempt by German authorities to deny the claim was met with responses such as 'their denial is futile, Germans are barbarians'.52

Wellington House, well aware of the myth, decided to exploit the opportunity by arranging for 50,000 replicas of the 'medal' to be reproduced, presented in a box as in figure 6, with the text:

This medal has been struck in Germany with the object of keeping alive in German hearts the recollection of the glorious achievement of the German Navy in deliberately destroying an unarmed passenger ship, together with 1,198 non-combatants, men, women and children . . . . This picture seeks apparently to propound the theory that if a murderer warns his victim of his intention, the guilt of the crime will rest with the victim, not with the murderer.

The medals were sold to the public in an expensive undertaking that proved to be effective in provoking anti-German sentiment. Due to the costs involved, Wellington House were hesitant to continue production, but the Foreign Office recognised the medals' value and — wanting to keep the momentum going — arranged for the retailer Selfridges to take over productions. Selfridges ramped production up to 10,000 medals a week and distributed them all over the world, selling them at 1 shilling, with 3½d going to the retailer and 1½d to Selfridges. The remaining profits went to a Red Cross fund and demand for the medals remained high throughout the war.53 The myth would continue, and mutate, for many years after; in a letter in a local Somerset newspaper from 1940, the contributor (who drank at the Druids Inn) claimed to have one of the medals in his possession which he obtained directly from the wife of one of the crew of the U-boat that sank the Lusitania.54

There was no shortage of opportunities for Wellington House to apply this form of propaganda, and it is fair to say that the Germans themselves did much to boost it, with the shooting of nurse Edith Cavell, the use of gas, Zeppelin raids and the introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare during this period.55

This wave also saw Wellington House begin to drift away from the elitist literature approach it had taken in the first wave, appealing to the masses by moving into visual media such as cigarettes, postcards, and most notably in illustrated magazines, using the popular Illustrated London News as a template.56 One of the first magazines was The America Latina, originally produced by Mexican propagandists in Central America on behalf of the British; having established a popular reader base, Wellington House took over production in secret in February 1916.57 By 1917, Wellington House was behind numerous titles across the globe, including Hesperia in Greece — with a circulation of 15,000 copies fortnightly; Cheng Pao in China — with a circulation of 50,000; and the War Pictorial — which was produced in four languages, distributed globally, with a monthly reach of 750,000.58 Wellington House kept its involvement with these publications secret by the use of third parties both in production and distribution — including companies such as the former shipping titan P&O.59 A post-war report described these magazines as one of the most successful forms of propaganda employed.60

Returning to The Bryce Report, one individual inspired by its contents was the Dutch political cartoonist Louis Raemaekers (1869-1950). Many of the cartoons that were published both in the Amsterdam Telegraff and in later publications were based on material from the report(Figure 5.).61 In the summer of 1915, foreign correspondents returning from Amsterdam brought his cartoons back with them and they were republished in both British and American newspapers — their popularity attracted the attention of Wellington House.62 Seeing another opportunity, Wellington House went on to arrange exhibitions for Raemaekers' work and distribute editions of his work around the world, including translations into Arabic.63 During this wave, Wellington House also introduced the first official war photographers, followed by the first official war artists.64

There was also the first 'official' attempt to use cinema as a propaganda tool. The possibility of film was discussed early in the war, but there was a distrust of the camera's 'indiscriminating eye', and those in charge saw cinema as 'vulgar'.65 In response to the growing use of film by the enemy, as well as the pressing need to offset the military failures of 1915, as a test, in December 1915 Wellington House released Britain Prepared. In line with Wellington House's mantra, it was a factual, three-hour documentary depicting navy manoeuvres and munition production and a move away from Wellington House's elitist position to a more 'populist' approach — though it was intended for audiences abroad.66 The next major propaganda film was The Battle of the Somme released in August of 1916 while the four-and-a-half-month-long battle was still underway.

The film, a battle-field documentary (recognised by UNESCO as being the first of its type in 2005) showed the preparation, the preparatory bombardment, the attack on the first day, followed by the aftermath, and ended with the troops getting ready for the next phase of attack. It was a mixture of footage filmed at the front, as well as re-enactment of some scenes which took place behind the lines, most notably the 'over the top' sequence that featured the 2nd Royal Warwickshire regiment.

Figure 7. Still from 'Battle of the Somme'. British Troops Go Forward, IWM Q70167

This was an accepted practice in films of the time, partly due to practicalities, and while the fakery was called out by a small minority — mainly soldiers who had been there — the film was a great success with the general public, with over 20 million receipts in its first six weeks.67 In terms of propaganda, in a rather shrewd move, the film deliberately made use of regimental titles on intertitles, such as in the scene around the 8 minute mark, where there is a card with the words 'A Divisional General addressing the Lancashire Fusiliers and Royal Fusiliers', giving the audience hope of seeing someone they might know — especially powerful considering the recent introduction of conscription.68 Despite its popularity with the public, considering Wellington House's principal target was the US, as propaganda the film failed to address the issues of 1916 and was deemed a failure as it arrived too late for its stated aims.69 Cinema helped to deepen the professional jealously between the Foreign Office and War Office, causing one contemporary to observe that it 'created a little war within a war'.70

By this time, the friction between organisations began to metastasize; at the end of this period it was inevitable that something needed to be done.71 The result was reform in the shape of the creation of the Department of Information (DOI) with Wellington House as a wing beneath it. There were four drivers, discussed in turn below, that led to this decision:

  1. Attempts to fix the problems simply failed.
  2. There was a change of structure within the War Office.
  3. Relationships between the press and the War Office improved.
  4. Lloyd George became PM.

Throughout 1915 and 1916 there were many attempts to improve relations between the Foreign Office, Wellington House, and the War Office. One of the more noteworthy, following a conference in January 1916 in an attempt to quell matters once and for all, overall control of propaganda was entrusted to the Foreign Office, with liaison officers from other organisations reporting information to the Foreign Office to which the Foreign Office would reciprocate.72 While this change brought some improvements and efficiencies, in the words of the War Office, it was 'merely a continuation of the old, but on a grander scale' — and throughout 1916 the War Office called for a new centralised organisation — one they wanted control over.73

In December 1915, two changes were made at the very top of miliary command. Sir William Robertson (1860-1933) was made Chief of the Imperials General Staff (CIGS) and Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928) was made Commander-in-chief (C-In-C) of the British Expeditionary Force, taking over from Sir John French (1852-1925). This marked a shift of focus away from other theatres such as Gallipoli and Mesopotamia to focus fully on the Western Front.74 In terms of its effect on propaganda, this change bought with it major structural reforms. Most notably, Military Operations was separated from intelligence; as a result, censorship was now in the hands of MI7(a) and frontline propaganda with MI7(b). With the War Office growing desire to take control of propaganda, a call now supported by the Admiralty, MI7(b) was expanded with the justification that propaganda should be offensive — deeming previous work by the Foreign Office to be entirely defensive.75

Haig, under pressure from the War Office to deal with accusations of over-censorship, took a more invested approach in the press than his predecessor.76 In June 1916, The first official press liaisons were sent to the front, including the novelist and later Governor General of Canada John Buchan (1875-1935). By 1916, Buchan had already published several adventure novels, including his most famous work The Thirty-Nine Steps. As well as a foray into politics he had aligned himself with various causes such as Women's Suffrage, National Insurance and welfare reforms. Since the outbreak of the war, he had regularly written for The Times and had been employed by the Foreign Office, where he made use of his strong social connections to introduce a number of individuals to the intelligence services.77 His deployment as a press liaison was highly likely based in part on his popularity. While at the Front, he wasted no time in forging new relations with upper members of GHQ as well as key figures within the press, such as Northcliffe, to whom Haig had given complete press access to GHQ — in return Northcliffe had offered his newspaper empire to the War Office.78

Lastly, when Lloyd George replaced Asquith as Prime Minister in December 1916, he put his weight behind the War Office's call for centralisation of propaganda at the first new war cabinet meeting in January of 1917.79 This would result, eight days later, in the publication of the Donald Report, named after the editor of the Daily Chronicle, Sir Robert Donald (1860-1933), who had been bought in to lead the review of propaganda work to date. The report was highly critical, while appreciating the casual way in which propaganda had started, and even praised Wellington Houses's American efforts and a number of Foreign Office officials. In its conclusion, the report stated that the less the Foreign Office had to do with propaganda the better. By the time the report was read by the war cabinet, the cabinet had already made their decision to implement a centralised department, and so, without further scrutiny, the DOI was created to reform propaganda and Buchan was placed at its head with Masterman demoted and Wellington House absorbed into DOI in February 1917.80

While Lloyd George made the case for a new organisation, based on the need 'for more systematic propaganda on the home front to maintain morale', it has been convincingly argued that he created the DOI to reward the press with their help in overthrowing Asquith — evidence for this is found in the list of those on the department's advisory committee, which 'read as a roster of British Press Lords', including Northcliffe, Lord Harry Levy Burnham (1862-1933), owner of the Daily Telegraph, and Lord William Atkin Beaverbrook (1879-1964), owner of the Daily Express.81 It should also be noted, in regards to the report's impartiality, that Donald and Masterman had known each other professionally from their days on the Daily Chronicle and their early political career.82 Masterman and Donald also formed regular golf foursomes with Lloyd George, and Masterman and Buchan had known each other socially for years as Masterman was married to Buchan's wife's cousin, Lucy Blanche Masterman (1884-1977).83

While a change in the tone of propaganda marked the start of this wave, its end would be marked by the politicisation of propaganda, as well as the US entry into the war in the spring of 1917. With war-weariness marking the start of the next stage, the focus of propaganda efforts would turn inwards towards the matter of civilian morale.

Wave 3: Spring 1917 — Autumn 1918

Figure 8. Rationing Queue, Blackburn\'s Victoria Street, © IWM-Q56276, used under IWM Non-Commercial Licencet

With shipping losses reaching their peak, leading to food shortages, along with growing industrial unrest across the country, war-weariness had firmly taken hold by 1917.84 While previously DORA had rarely been used, it would now be wielded in the suppression of dissent and this period would see increasing restrictions on civil liberties.85 In terms of propaganda, while 'populism' began with Wellington House, the DOI focus would push this further by concentrating on film and exploiting the press rather than literature. The volume of output during 1917 would 'exist on the same industrial scale as the rest of the war effort'.86

The DOI consisted of four departments (administration, intelligence, art and literature, press and cinema) but none was aimed specifically at the home front — this oversight, in part due to a belief in the utilisation of the press, would lead to failure.87 With the Russian Revolution and a mutiny in the French Army, by summer there was a real concern that morale on the home front would crumble.88 Though Buchan had tried to correct the DOI omission, plans were already underway for an additional new body: the NWAC.89 An organisation aimed solely at tackling domestic propaganda with much in common, in terms of methods, with the PRC, the NWAC had Buchan as its secretary.90 The NWAC appealed more heavily to patriotic ideals than previously and it is no coincidence that this period saw the Royal Family changing its surname from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor and the OBE scheme being created and the first medals awarded.91 A main theme the NWAC would push was 'victory leading to a New World'.92 This would be fused with references to the crusades, playing to the millenarian belief in 'New England'.93

In a generally well-co-ordinated propaganda campaign, to hide failures on the Western Front, Allenby's forces marching into Jerusalem in December 1917 was heavily exploited abroad, including through leaflet drops by aircraft in Syria and Turkey, plus the War Office Cinematograph committee had filmed Allenby's entry into Jerusalem.94 Exploitation of this event on the home front occurred some weeks after it had been employed abroad.95 It should have been something of a 'hit-for-six', playing well to the NWAC narrative, and Lloyd George had, since June of the same year, had wanted Jerusalem as a Christmas present for the British People, but this delay was indicative of how the propaganda organisations were performing.96 While the DOI had learnt some lessons from earlier efforts, it was plagued by a lack of co-ordination internally — they operated out of five different locations — and externally — with no joined up planning between home and foreign propaganda efforts. In addition, there was a lack of ministerial head, meaning Buchan did not have the necessary authority to act — as the DOI was 'housed' within the Foreign Office, the Foreign Office's influence was still rife.97

In September 1917, the denunciation of propaganda efforts reached its peak with a growing chorus of disapproval appearing in the press.98 It should be noted, however, that Buchan was not placid and was one of those calling for change, being especially critical of the press representatives within the DOI, who also happened to be the ones driving the aforementioned criticism in the press. Echoing Masterman's fall, there was a second and equally scolding Donald Report along with a savage report from the Treasury. Donald's actions between the first and second reports deserve more scrutiny than space allows here, but he had been critical about how the reforms in his first report had been implemented, complaining to both Buchan and Lloyd George — complaints that fell on deaf ears in Buchan's case. In the second report, he chose to side with the press barons, emphasising how the exploitation of the British press had been woeful inadequate.99 Donald's actions need to be weighed alongside the comment above, in regards to Lloyd George rewarding of the press, and what Lloyd George did next.

By the close of 1917, with the failure of the battle of Passchendaele, disappointment in the slow progress of America's entry into the war, and growing discontent at home, reform was no longer an option.100 The Foreign Office control of propaganda after three years was 'officially extinguished' — though they retained the 'trump card' of intelligence and policy, and an entirely new centralised body was formed in February 1918 — the Ministry of Information (MOI) — with Buchan and Masterman kept on in a diminished capacity.101 Lloyd George, concerned with a potential military coup and to ensure he had the ongoing support of the press, put the MOI under the control of press baron Beaverbrook. To give him agency, Beaverbrook was made a cabinet minister, with Northcliffe becoming the head of a new internal department known as Crewe House to target both enemy civilians and soldiers to 'reveal the hopelessness of their cause'.102 Both appointments caused uproar in Parliament, with Lloyd George being accused of 'buying the support of the press' and for allowing 'populist politics' — a storm he was ultimately able to ride out.103

The MOI began just like its predecessors by coming into conflict with the Foreign Office, as Beaverbrook, not understanding its function, wanted to incorporate intelligence into his organisation. This was settled by Beaverbrook accepting that 'intelligence in the Foreign Office was better than none at all'. While Buchan had at least shared some of the same beliefs as Masterman, Beaverbrook was solely focused on the mob and saw propaganda as 'the popular arm of diplomacy'.104 There was a move away from the previous fact-based approach and into pushing 'views not news'.105 Sponsorship of artists increased, with new modernist painters, such as Paul Nash (1889-1946), and more photography at the Front — with photographs made available to the public directly — and most notably in the cinema.106

Figure 9. The Mule Track, Paul Nash, 1918, (c) IWM ART 1152, used under IWM Non-Commercial Licence

Newsreels from the Front, concentrating on the soldiers' faces, were particularly popular and while they started in 1917, under Beaverbrook their distribution was expanded along with the 'film tag' — a two-minute dramatized government soundbite tacked on the end, providing guidance such as 'save coal' or 'buy a war loan'.107 Popular prejudices about the Germans now became prominent in both films, such as Once a Hun, Always a Hun, and in animated shorts, where they were portrayed as 'bumbling incompetents'.108 New methods of distribution, such as the use of 'cinemotors', meant these films had a far larger reach than usual; attendance records from February 1918 showed they were reaching a weekly audience of 163,000 in Wales alone.109 Beaverbrook's strategy can be broadly summarised as 'get as much information as you can out to as many people as possible'. Conversely, the strategy was to silence anything not on point. While since 1916 the Home Office had been tackling pacifist groups through seizure of material and raids, which increased in frequency in 1917, the NWAC carried out both open and covert attacks on such groups110 The police had learnt from earlier experience that one of the most effective methods in stopping pacifist literature was threatening to destroy the printers' equipment — this was not a hollow gesture as in April 1918 the printer of the Tribunal had over £500 worth of machinery destroyed in a police raid, all under the guise of DORA.111 1918 would also see the introduction of a regulation that all pacifist material was subject to approval by the OPB, thus dampening its tone, though some publications used 'Passed by Censor' as a badge of honour.112

Northcliffe's appointment and the formation of Crewe House were entirely political manoeuvres by Lloyd George to reign the press baron in.113 In both Donald Reports, no criticism had been made relating to this line of work, which had been previously carried out by Wellington House and MI7(b).114 Northcliffe, like all before him, overstepped with the Foreign Office when he tried to use his position to dictate policy, creating a difficult relationship from the offset.115 While the post-war history of Crewe House (in Secrets Of Crewe House by Sir Campbell Stuart, 1920) made some bold claims about both its activities and its success, most of the work it claimed credit for had been in the pipeline for some time, and was delivered by MI7(b) in collaboration with GHQ.116 It was not until September 1918 that Crewe House would officially take over, and not until October, days before the war ended, that Crewe House material was requested. What marks out this period, however, is the sheer scale of propaganda distributed against the enemy, with five million leaflets dropped in October alone.117 What effect these leaflets had, if any, is not clear, but one report suggests that some leaflets made it into the German interior.118

Once the armistice was signed, the dismantling of the propaganda machinery put in place for war began immediately — a task given to Buchan — and while this wave started with the politicisation of propaganda it would end with 'Lloyd George telling Northcliffe to go to hell over his suggestion to be part of the peace conference'.119


At the start, the agents involved in propaganda began 'in good faith to try and make the best case' for Britain, but the path the development of propaganda took was reactionary — to events on the world stage, people, and opportunities — with an outcome that led to the connotations associated with propaganda today.

Regarding institutions, while the War Office was pursuing a strategy of control, they were taken aback by the demand for information and the response, the creation of the OPB, was rushed — improvised at best. The disparate thinking which led to the creation of two additional news agencies was the start of unnecessary friction and the work undertaken by Wellington House, especially cinema, would spread professional jealously. The power of the press was wielded by Lloyd George to take control, and he both exploited that power with Beaverbrook, and tamed it within Northcliffe — in the process, undermining the separation that should exist between press and state.

Regarding methods, the fact-based reasonable argument, and the sense of 'doing your duty' soon began to take on a darker tone with the use of atrocity propaganda. There was clearly a demand for such material and the agencies involved generally simply responded to this need — reaching as many people as possible is part of the remit of a propagandist. Starting with the DOI, however, there can be no doubt that with the increasing use of populistic rhetoric — especially the 'views, not news', industrialised output, and greater use of state controls — by the end of the war propaganda was being used for state-sanctioned didactic exploitation and not exposition.

From its extemporized start, propaganda increased in both scale to match the rest of the war effort and in importance, growing from something seen as 'un-English' to become a major part of the overall British strategy. The cost of this approach, including restrictions on freedoms and limitation of free thought, is a legacy that is still practiced and felt in Britain, and further afield, today.

There is, as always, much more to be said on this topic. I can highly recommend the following books, for anyone wanting to find out more:

S. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory: A Study in First World War Propaganda (Warwick: Helion & Company, 2019)

G. S. Messinger, British propaganda and the state in the First World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992)

D. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2014 [2012])

M. Sanders & P.M. Taylor, British Propaganda during the First World War 1914-1918 (London: Macmillan Press Ltd, 1982)

  1. S. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory: A Study in First World War Propaganda (Warwick: Helion & Company, 2019), p.16. ↩︎

  2. S. RosenBaum, 'The General Election of January 1910, and the Bearing of the Results on Some Problems of Representation', Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, May (1940), p.474 ↩︎

  3. D. Sibley, The British Working Class, and Enthusiasm for War, 1914-1916. (Frank Cass, 2005), p.17. ↩︎

  4. S. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory: A Study in First World War Propaganda (Warwick: Helion & Company, 2019), p.60. ↩︎

  5. M. Sanders & P.M. Taylor, British Propaganda during the First World War 1914-1918 (London: Macmillan Press Ltd, 1982), p.17; D. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2014 [2012]), p.65. ↩︎

  6. See Jason Whittaker, Jerusalem: Blake, Parry, and the Fight for Englishness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022) for not only a fascinating account of the poem and the song, but an eye-opening look at how English culture develops. ↩︎

  7. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.54; P. Taylor, 'The Foreign Office and British Propaganda during the First World War', The Historical Journal, 23(4) (1980), pp.896-898. ↩︎

  8. Marquis, 'Words as Weapons', pp.472-473. ↩︎

  9. G. S. Messinger, British propaganda and the state in the First World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992), p.46,64. ↩︎

  10. Stephen Badsey circa 2022. ↩︎

  11. A. Goldfarb Marquis, 'Words as Weapons: Propaganda in Britain and Germany During the First World War', Journal of Contemporary History, 13(3) (1978), p.478. ↩︎

  12. I would also say that I am very much on the fence on whether the period between Americas entry and the Armistice should be broken down further — in short, there was a noticeable change in the approach taken during this period, however, how much that was down to war weariness — which affected everything is debatable. Additionally, the story does not end in 1918, but that, as they say, is a topic for another day. ↩︎

  13. E. Bruton, 'The Cable Wars: Military and State Surveillance of the British Telegraph Cable Network During World War One', in A. Marklund and M. Rüdiger (eds.) Historicizing Infrastructure (Aalborg: Aalborg University Press,2017). p.9 ↩︎

  14. J.M. McEwen, '"Brass-Hats" and the British Press During the First World War', Canadian Journal of History, 18(1) (1983), p.45 ↩︎

  15. D. Hopkin, 'Censorship in the First World War', Journal of Contemporary History, 5(4) (1970), pp.151-153. ↩︎

  16. S. Badsey, 'Haig and the Press' in B. Bond & N. Cave (eds.), Haig: A Re-Appraisal 80 Years On (Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2009), p.180. ↩︎

  17. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.9; S. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, pp.72-73. ↩︎

  18. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.68; Marquis, 'Words as Weapons', p.472. ↩︎

  19. Hopkin, 'Censorship in the First World War', p.156; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.20. ↩︎

  20. Anurag, Jain, 'The Relationship between, Ford, Kipling, Conan Doyle, Wells and British Propaganda of the First World war (PhD, Queeny Mary University of London, 2009), p.9. ↩︎

  21. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.69. ↩︎

  22. G. Kennedy, 'Intelligence and the Blockade, 1914-1917: A Study in Administration, Friction and Command', Intelligence and National Security, 22 (5) (2007), p.701 ↩︎

  23. Taylor, 'The Foreign Office', p.876. ↩︎

  24. M.L. Sanders, 'Wellington House and a British Propaganda during the First World War', The Historical Journal, 18(1) (1975), p.121. ↩︎

  25. P.Taylor, 'The Foreign Office and British Propaganda during the First World War', The Historical Journal, 23 (4) (1980), p.877. ↩︎

  26. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.167. ↩︎

  27. P. Buitenhuis*, The Great War of Words: Literature as Propaganda 1914-1918 and After* (London: B.T. Batsford, 1989), p.12. ↩︎

  28. Lucy Masterman, C.F.G. Masterman: A Biography (London: Nicholson and Watson, 1939) ↩︎

  29. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.68; Marquis, 'Words as Weapons', p.42. ↩︎

  30. Messinger, British propaganda, pp.32-33. ↩︎

  31. TNA/11992/17627, 22 July 1915, Report of the Work of The Bureau established for the purpse of laying before Neutral Nations and the Dominions the case of Great Britain and her Allises; Messinger, British propaganda, p.5. ↩︎

  32. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.111. ↩︎

  33. P. Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words: Literature as Propaganda 1914-1918 and After (London: B.T. Batsford, 1989), p.1; Messinger, British propaganda, p.34. ↩︎

  34. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.41; Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words, p. xvi. ↩︎

  35. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.125. ↩︎

  36. Anurag, Jain, 'The Relationship between, Ford, Kipling, Conan Doyle, Wells and British Propaganda of the First World war (PhD, Queeny Mary University of London, 2009), p.16. ↩︎

  37. Messinger, British propaganda, p.36; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.29,40. ↩︎

  38. R. Douglas, 'Voluntary Enlistment in the First World War and the Work of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee', The Journal of Modern History, 42(4) (1970), p.566; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.102. ↩︎

  39. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.103. ↩︎

  40. This composite account is based on accounts of many an event, for actuals example see: Dundee Courier, 12 October 1914, p.6; Stalybridge Reporter, 6 February 1915, p.7; Aberdeen Peres and Journal, 7 December 1914, p.8. ↩︎

  41. A. Gregory, The Last Great War: British Society in the Last Great War (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp.82-88. ↩︎

  42. Evan M. Caris, 'British Masculinity and Propaganda during the First World War' (Ph D, Louisiana State University, 2015), p.6. ↩︎

  43. Caris, 'British Masculinity and Propaganda', p.7; D. Welch, 'Images of the Hun: The Portrayal of the German Enemy in British Propaganda in World War I', in D. Welch(ed.), Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015 [2014]), pp-50-51. ↩︎

  44. R. Douglas, 'Voluntary Enlistment in the First World War and the Work of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee', The Journal of Modern History, 42(4) (1970), p.566; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.102. ↩︎

  45. Eric Williams, 'Deconstructing British Visual Media Propaganda in World War I (PhD, University of Akron, 2021), p.144. ↩︎

  46. P.P. Pedrini, Propaganda, Persuasion, and the Great War: Heredity in the Modern Sale of Products and Political Ideas (New York: Routledge, 2018), p.20,47. ↩︎

  47. Leanne Green, 'Advertising War: Pictorial Publicity, 1914-1918 (Ph D, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2015), p.406; Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, p.171. ↩︎

  48. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.71; Messinger, British propaganda, p.48; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.248. ↩︎

  49. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.144. ↩︎

  50. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.85. ↩︎

  51. Western Daily Press, 19 December 1916, p.4.; Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 21 September 1916, p.6. ↩︎

  52. , Globe 23 September 1916, p.2. ↩︎

  53. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.130-131; Sanders, 'Wellington House, p.140. ↩︎

  54. Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer, 19 December 1940, p.3. ↩︎

  55. Messinger, British propaganda, p.18. ↩︎

  56. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.120. ↩︎

  57. I.M. Ispizua, Raemaekers' Cartoons: British Propaganda in Spain and the Basque Country during the First World War (Bilbao: Universidad del País Vasco, 2012), p.314. ↩︎

  58. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.120-121; TNA, CAB/24/3/G-102, British Propaganda in Allied and Neutral Countries, 20 December 1916. ↩︎

  59. TNA T/1/11992, Third Report on the Government on the Work Conducted at Wellington House, 14 October 1916. ↩︎

  60. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.120-121. ↩︎

  61. Buitenhuis*, The Great War of Words, pp-27-28* ↩︎

  62. Ispizua, Raemaekers' Cartoons p.314, footnote. 22. ↩︎

  63. TNA, CAB/24/3/G-102, British Propaganda, 20 December 1916; Ispizua, Raemaekers' Cartoons p.121,129. ↩︎

  64. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, pp.148-149. ↩︎

  65. Caris, 'British Masculinity and Propaganda', p.46. ↩︎

  66. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.105. ↩︎

  67. C. Grosvenor, 'He Sees Now What He Looked like": Soldier Spectators, Topical Films and he Problem of the Onscreen Representation during World war 1', Film History, 2018 30(4), pp-94-94,p.103; S. Feldman, 'Battle of the Somme', Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 27(2) (2018), p.3 ↩︎

  68. S. Feldman, 'Battle of the Somme', Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 27(2) (2018), p.9,16. ↩︎

  69. N. Reeves, 'Film Propaganda and its Audience: The Example of Britain's Official Films during the First World War', Journal of Contemporary History, 18(3) (1983), p.463. ↩︎

  70. Messinger, British propaganda, p.56. ↩︎

  71. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.51,217. ↩︎

  72. Sanders, 'Wellington House, p.122. ↩︎

  73. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.55. ↩︎

  74. Gary Sheffield, Douglas Haig: From Somme to Victory (London: Arum Press, 2016[2001]), p.167. ↩︎

  75. Badsey, 'Haig and the Press', pp.144-145. ↩︎

  76. Badsey, 'Haig and the Press', p.183. ↩︎

  77. Fiona Houston, 'Seducers of the People: Re-evaluating the propaganda of John Buchan and Ford Maddox Ford During the First World War' (PhD, University of Aberdeen, 2020), p.5. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, pp.55-66. ↩︎

  78. Badsey, 'Haig and the Press', p.185. ↩︎

  79. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.57. ↩︎

  80. Sanders, 'Wellington House, p.123. ↩︎

  81. Marquis, 'Words as Weapons', p.473. ↩︎

  82. Westminster Gazette, 19 March 1904, p.9. ↩︎

  83. A. H Taylor, Robert Donald: Being the authorised biography of Sir Robert Donald, G.B.E, LL. D, Journalist, editor and Friend of Statesman (London: Stanley Paul and Co, 1934), p.14.; John Buchan, Memory Hold the Door (London: J&M Dent, 1984[1940]), p.155. ↩︎

  84. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, p.26. ↩︎

  85. Jain, 'British Propaganda', p.207. ↩︎

  86. Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words, p. xvii; Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.162. ↩︎

  87. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, p.26. ↩︎

  88. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, p.18. ↩︎

  89. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, pp.26-27. ↩︎

  90. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, p.30,65. ↩︎

  91. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, pp.162. ↩︎

  92. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, pp.203-205. ↩︎

  93. E. Bar-Yosef, 'The Last Crusade? British Propaganda and the Palestine Campaign, 1917-18', Journal of Contemporary History, 36(1) (2001), pp.103-104. ↩︎

  94. J. Kitchen, 'Khaki Crusaders: Crusading rhetoric and the British Imperial Soldier During the Egypt and Palestine Campaigns, 1916-18', First World War Studies, 1(2) (2010), p.146. ↩︎

  95. E. Bar-Yosef, 'The Last Crusade?', p. 106. ↩︎

  96. E. Bar-Yosef, 'The Last Crusade?', p. 106; J. Winter(ed.), The Cambridge History of the First World War Volume 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), p.516. ↩︎

  97. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.70-71. ↩︎

  98. Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, pp.26-27. ↩︎

  99. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.72-75. ↩︎

  100. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.76. ↩︎

  101. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.193; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.84. ↩︎

  102. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.191; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.82-83. ↩︎

  103. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.91; Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.180 ↩︎

  104. Taylor, 'The Foreign Office', p.897. ↩︎

  105. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.198. ↩︎

  106. Messinger, British propaganda, pp.128-129. ↩︎

  107. Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, p.180; D. Huxley, 'Kidding the Kaiser: British Propaganda Animation, 1914-1919, Early Popular Visual Culture, 4(3) (2006), p.315. ↩︎

  108. D. Huxley, 'Kidding the Kaiser: British Propaganda Animation, 1914-1919, Early Popular Visual Culture, 4(3) (2006), p.318; Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.130. ↩︎

  109. N. Reeves, 'Film Propaganda and its Audience: The Example of Britain's Official Films during the First World War', Journal of Contemporary History, 18(3) (1983), p.474. ↩︎

  110. Hopkin, 'Censorship in the First World War', pp.151-153; Monger, Patriotism and Propaganda, p.265. ↩︎

  111. Hopkin, 'Censorship in the First World War', p.154. ↩︎

  112. Hopkin, 'Censorship in the First World War', p.153. ↩︎

  113. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.89-90. ↩︎

  114. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.89. ↩︎

  115. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, p.93. ↩︎

  116. C. Stuart, Secrets of Crewe House: The Story of a Famous Campaign (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1920); Badsey, The German Corpse Factory, pp. 211 ↩︎

  117. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.236-238. ↩︎

  118. TNA/CAB/24/149/78, Western and General Report No.87, 25 September 1918 ↩︎

  119. Sanders & Taylor, British Propaganda, pp.240-244. ↩︎

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