Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain : The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale Paperback / softback
The story of propaganda and patriotism in First World War Britain too often focuses on the cliches of Kitchener, 'over by Christmas' and the deaths of patriotic young volunteers at the Somme and elsewhere.
A common assumption is that familiar forms of patriotism did not survive the war.
However, the activities of the National War Aims Committee in 1917-18 suggest that propaganda and patriotism remained vigorous in Britain in the last years of the war.
The NWAC, a semi-official Parliamentary organisation responsible for propaganda to counteract civilian war-weariness, produced masses of propaganda material aimed at re-stimulating civilian patriotism and yet remains largely unknown and rarely discussed.
This book provides the first detailed study of the NWAC's activities, propaganda and reception.
It demonstrates the significant role played by the NWAC in British society after July 1917, illuminating the local network of agents and committees which conducted its operations and the party political motivations behind these.
At the core of the book is a comprehensive analysis of the Committee's propaganda.
NWAC propaganda contained an underlying patriotic narrative which re-presented many familiar pre-war patriotic themes in ways that sought to encompass the experiences of civilians worn down by years of total war.
By interpreting propaganda through the purposes it served, rather than the quantity of discussion of particular aspects, the book rejects common and reductive interpretations which depict propaganda as being mainly about the vilification of enemies.
Through this analysis, the book makes a wider plea for deeper attention to the purposes behind patriotic language.
- Format: Paperback / softback
- Pages: 310 pages
- Publisher: Liverpool University Press
- Publication Date: 03/04/2014
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9781781380130