The role of the media during WW1 - influence on British attitudes

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  • Created on: 21-03-19 09:41
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  • The role of media during WW1
    • Methods of propaganda
      • Censorship & control of the Press
        • Journalists who went to the front on their own without permission risked being shot or arrested
        • In 1915, four correspondents were allowed to come to France
        • It was clear that it was more effective to work with the press
        • By late 1915, some news correspondents were allowed close to the front lines
        • A colonel at GHQ in France wrote dispatches to Kitchener who reviewed them; then published as "eyewitness" reports
      • Rumours & Myths
        • The Angel of Mons
        • Accounts from the front line - exaggeration
      • Lies
        • 'Fake News' story published in The Times which revealed the existence of a 'Corpse Conversion Factory' which was used to process the bodies of dead soldiers
      • Cinema
        • The 'Battle of the Somme' was one of the most successful films made with £30,000 profit
        • Distressing material was sometimes edited out, but it doesn't seem that fictitious footage was added
      • Cartoons
        • They were basic, crude, and unsophisticated but had clear, unmissable messages
    • Messages within propaganda
      • The 'Enemy within' Britain
        • 'Spy-Spotting' became a popular activity
        • Around 36 spies were arrested and imprisoned by the government at the outbreak of war
      • Those which inspired optimism
        • The appearance of Angels who saved British troops
        • Russian soldiers seen in Britain
      • Demonisation of the Germans
        • Rumours of atrocities involving children, women, nuns, ****, cruel torture
          • Verified by Belgian refugees who fled to Britain
        • Accounts of the killings of 'non-combatants'
          • The execution of Edith Cavell
          • The sinking of the Lusitania
        • Criticism of the German shelling of Scarborough and Hartlepool which was done to heighten British fears of invasion
    • Successes of propaganda
      • Moulded Britsh attitudes towards the Germans
      • Boosted morale
    • Failures of propaganda
      • Very chaotic
      • There was a lack of direction
      • reliant on voluntary bodies
      • Often very contradictory
    • The government's role
      • 1914 - The Propaganda Bureau at Wellington House was set up under Masterman
        • Kept secret even from MPs
        • Was very chaotic because there was no clear person in charge
      • 1917 - Department of information set up under Montgomery and Buchan
        • Wellington House continued to provide material for home consumption
        • There was a CInema division
        • Political Intelligence division discovered public opinions
        • The News Division filtered the war news received by the public
      • 1918 - The Ministry of Information set up under Beaverbrook
        • By then, there was considerable experience in the propaganda field
      • The government's approach at the beginning of the war was to let the 'propaganda machine roll of its own accord'


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