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  The British Propaganda Campaign in World War I

The British set up a unique system for propaganda, involving GB, the USA and all the colonies. Most different agencies and civilians worked together, the civilians not always knowing about the machinery behind.
During the first years of the war the main goal was to achieve a U.S.-entry to the war on Britain's side of the battle. All propaganda was working on this, which meant to destroy Germany's reputation and create dark stereotypes about them, which was an easy task as the Germans were not only fatally unlucky but also very weak in propaganda. At the same time the U.S.-citizens' opinion about the war had to be influenced. The most promising way to do so was by starting with the men in power.

One of the most beloved tools at that time was the use of atrocity stories; and most popular among the masses were cartoons, furthermore posters, an element perfectioned by the USSR in World War I and II, and movies.

The particular thing was that British propaganda finally had an effect on the German population. Soldiers at the front and people at home received the disinformation messages, mostly pamphlets that had been dropped by aeroplanes or balloons.
Together with the development of the fightings turning against the Germans this kind of propaganda was able to discourage the people and make the German government lose its power of propaganda.
"Allied propaganda had caused a collapse of morale at home." (Taylor, Munitions of the Mind, p. 188)

After all this success it is hardly understandable that the British committed a huge error right after the war, an error that had bad consequences for the next war: being regarded as a tool of war and therefore regarded as inappropriate for times of peace, the propaganda institutions were closed. At about the same time similar ones were built up in Germany - first of all on paper, in Hitler's book Mein Kampf, whose author was an admirer of the British propaganda machine in World War I and decided to perfect it in his own country.

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Disinformation and Democracy
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-2   New Forms of Propaganda (in the 19th Century)
-1   World War I ...
0   The British Propaganda Campaign in World War I
+1   The "Corpse-Conversion Factory"-rumor
+2   U.S.-Propaganda in World War I
+3   World War II ...
Philip M. Taylor
Munitions of the Mind. A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present era. Manchester 1995 (2nd ed.)
This book gives a quite detailed insight on the tools and tasks of propaganda in European and /or Western history. Starting with ancient times the author goes up till the Gulf War and the meaning of propaganda today. In all those different eras propaganda was transporting similar messages, even when technical possibilities had not been fairly as widespread as today. Taylor's book is leading the reader through those different periods, trying to show the typical elements of each one.