The Writers’ Role in the British Propaganda Campaign During the First World War

Mihaela David


  • Mihaela David


First World War, propaganda, British writers, mass-audience, censorship


During the First World War, Britain initiated and used the greatest propaganda campaign the world had ever seen. The British strategy was so effective that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels reportedly modeled the Nazi propaganda machine on the influential British prototype. The British propaganda during the Great War was a unique phenomenon in secretly using well known imaginative writers and intellectuals who wrote under their own names but published through commercial and university presses that were subsidized by the government. The writers’ involvement in the war effort poses a number of questions concerning their previous and later writing or the extent to which they were influenced by what they wrote during the War. Even if modernism, that was emerging at the beginning of the 20th century, could not be envisaged dealing with propaganda, the new information matrix made that possible as they were seen as two facets of the same coin represented by modernity. Also, focusing and analyzing further the writers ‘propaganda activity could bring additional insight not only into the literature of the First World War, but also into the broader cultural and intellectual environment of the war.