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World War I: Propaganda

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World War I Ema McKenzie At the beginning of World War One the British army was very small and relied on volunteers to keep them involved in the War, and because more men were dying than there were new recruits signing up to fill their places, and men didn't want to enlist because no one wanted to die, the government introduced conscription in 1918. This meant that it was made compulsory for any man between the ages of 18 and 41 who was unmarried to enlist into the army. By May men were still dieing fast on the front and conscription was changed so that any men between the ages of 18 and 41 had to enlist regardless of whether they were married or not. Two years after conscription was introduced, so many men were being slaughtered the conscription started taking boys and old men. To try to make up for the number of men being lost, the age boundary was getting farther apart. Once again in January 1918 the ages changed again so that any man, married or otherwise, had to enlist if they fell into the new age boundary of 17 to 55. One may question at this time that even though it was recognized that so many men were dying, why then were the British sending more? It seemed idiotic to keep sending in more and more men when it was obvious so many were dying for no clear reason. It wasn't just one generation that the war was wiping out it was several. Grandparents, young boys and parents were included in this. That alone was three generations being erased just on the fronts? Excluding the generations being wiped out as a result of the fighting: children, babies etc. at the Home Front. Propaganda was being used in a desperate attempt to encourage volunteers to enlist in the army; the government, various poets and journalists went and produced some powerful sources. ...read more.


She also uses another comparison in the poem: men with courage to men without. "Who'll grip and tackle the job unafraid? And who thinks he'd rather sit tight" The way she has done it makes the part she wants to be taken in enthusiastic (underlined), and the part she would rather men didn't think about sound as though it drones on. She also asks "Who wants to turn to himself in the show? And who wants a seat in the stand?" this means she is saying the men can either "play the game" and be part of something spectacular, and have a reason to "turn to himself", or they can sit and watch, and be part of nothing. People in a football game who play are remembered for something, where as the people who watch are forgotten and replaced by the next game. Rupert Brooke was a patriot and he was not afraid of death. He believed that it was better to die and not be fighting than to die having done nothing. "And the worst friend and enemy is but death" the worst enemy is because although he can't fight he is at peace and the worst friend is that he is dead so he cannot fight for his country anymore. He thought it was better to be killed in action rather that dieing an old man having done nothing to help his country and being remembered as a coward. He also talks about "Swimmers into cleanness leaping". Here he is saying that you can swim, go far, and be clean, or you could be a "sleeper" and be dirty and not move on in your life just stay in a little fantasy world and do nothing. The title of his poem is ironic because war is far from peaceful. It could possibly have been called this because the main objective of going to war is to create peace. ...read more.


"And no fears, of fear came yet" The message in to men considering joining the army in these two poems written by Owen is that war is a bad thing with terrifying consequences. He doesn't try to hide the facts. He uses them as a shock tactic. Particularly in disabled he makes the point that it is stupid to pretend you are old enough to join the army if you are not, and he writes how a young man threw his life away because he didn't understand what was involved in war. The message intended for the people back in England was that men were being seriously injured and too many men were dying. He was trying to shock the people so that they may prevent the war continuing or at least treat the war victims better and the crippled with a bit more respect. In conclusion, I think that people were misled by propaganda because most of the time, only half of a story was shown. The way in which the recruitment posters were produced was very clever because it made people think they were doing something wrong if they didn't join the army. Also I think the 'white feather' thing was unfair because it made men go against what they believed was right if they didn't want to fight. I have come to this conclusion because if the truth hadn't been hidden from the public, I don't think men would have cared about being branded a 'coward' or looking bad to their children, I think they would be happy to be alive and that the war wouldn't have been able to continue for as long as it had because no one would have signed up and I think a lot of people would find a way out of the conscription. I think it was unfair how the men were forced to fight. I think they should have had a choice, and I don't think propaganda should have been allowed. Men should have been able to make a choice after seeing facts and hearing things from others. ...read more.

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