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Why Was Propaganda Used In The First World War To Promote The War Effort?

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Introduction

Why Was Propaganda Used In The First World War To Promote The War Effort? Propaganda is a method that uses media to manipulate opinions and views of all those that see or hear it. The British government used propaganda during World War One to control the minds of British people. Propaganda was vital during wartime because the country needed to be unified in their aim, confident that the country would succeed and supportive of the war effort. The Ministry of Information was in charge of all propaganda; it was released in the form of posters, pamphlets, newspaper reports, advertisements and film. The government tried to influence many different groups of people using propaganda. Towards the beginning of the war, the government's main use of propaganda was for recruitment. They wanted to persuade more people to volunteer to fight for Britain. ...read more.

Middle

Despite recruitment problems being successfully dealt with, British people had expected the war to be 'over by Christmas', and when the war continued into 1915, the government realised that support for the war on the home front was in danger of weakening. Consequently several propaganda campaigns were launched to whip up hatred for the Germans amongst British citizens. Exaggerated stories were spread about how German soldiers treated people. One particular story told of German soldiers bayoneting a baby and raping peasant girls in Belgium. As hate for the Germans grew, support for the war against Germany increased-the propaganda was successful. Propaganda continued to influence people's lives. It was taken a step further when propaganda to support the new 'DORA' project (Defence of the Realms Act) was introduced. DORA meant that the government had more power; it allowed them to control factory produce (for example, converting factories into munitions factories), restrict pub opening hours and later, in 1918 introducing rationing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Propaganda in World War One was aimed at many different audiences at different stages throughout the war. It was a vital tool for the British government. Another tool similar to propaganda is censorship. It meant that only certain information about the war was released to the public, in order to keep morale levels high. Any information, in any form that the government considered damaging to public support, was not allowed to be released to British people. Propaganda, its uses, and its audience changed with the events of the war, but its success was obvious. Propaganda helped to maintain order on the Home front in support of DORA, encourage high morale, recruit men into the army and persuade women to work and help with the war effort. Propaganda is limiting in that it is one-sided and biased but it was a great success for the government, gaining them control and support throughout the war. ...read more.

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