Propaganda of the First World War

Propaganda is a means of using the media to get across a political message. In war time this message has several key aims and objectives:

  • to engender support for the cause
  • to reassure people that the war is going well
  • to encourage people to join the armed forces
  • to promote initiatives that will help win the war
  • to make the enemy look bad
  • to justify the need to be fighting

Propaganda takes many forms during the First World War. Below is a list of some of the things that the Government used as Propaganda during World War One:

  • Posters were a cheap and effective way of visualising a message
  • Leaflets and pamphlets promoted key initiatives
  • Poetry was commissioned to glorify the cause
  • Writers were paid to write stories, plays and essays that were positive about the war
  • Official war artists were employed to paint pictures that were heroic and positive
  • War reporters were used who wrote in a ‘certain way’
  • Two army war photographers were employed: nobody else was allowed to take a photograph of british troops on the Western Front, a crime punishable by the Death penalty
  • Speeches were written by esteemed authors to make sure they conveyed messages effectively
  • In London, large replicas of Trench systems were constructed to show the public how well looked after the soldiers were

Links – Propaganda Posters of World War One.

Spartacus – Detailed narrative outlining the role of the War Propaganda Bureau.

Wikipedia – article about British Propaganda during the First World War.

First World War Homepage
Causes of the First World WarAssassination of Franz Ferdinand
Schlieffen PlanPublic Reaction to the Outbreak of War
British Expeditionary ForceInteractive Timeline of the First World War
Simulation: Life in the TrenchesStatistics
Changing role of WomenWar Poetry
British Contribution to Western FrontDevelopment of New Weapons
Creeping BarrageWestern Front in 1918
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