Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain

BookPatriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain

Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain

The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale

2012

August 21st, 2012

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The story of propaganda and patriotism in First World War Britain too often focuses on the clichés 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.

Monger has been able to shed important light on a crucial propaganda organisation, existing during the last months of the war when the maintenance of morale had become so important, and successfully presents this in a fashion that would interest anyone concerned with the employment of propaganda in the early part of the 20th century.
William Butler, Reviews in History

…the NWAC mattered, and was seen to matter. The same can, and should, be said of this monograph. Monger has written an interesting and original book on an important subject; this work deserves to become required reading not only for students of wartime propaganda, but for anyone interested in the nature of the wartime British state, or in the very idea of “patriotism” in modern Britain.
Matthew Johnson, English Historical Review

English Historical Review

Monger has written an interesting and original book on an important subject; this work deserves to become required reading not only for students of wartime propaganda, but for anyone interested in the nature of the wartime British state, or in the very idea of ‘patriotism’ in modern Britain.
Matthew Johnson, English Historical Review

English Historical Review

About The Author

Dr David Monger is Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Half-title2
Title Page4
Copyright page5
Contents6
List of Figures and Tables8
Acknowledgements11
List of Abbreviations14
Introduction16
Part 130
Chapter 132
Chapter 252
Chapter 377
Part 298
Chapter 4100
Chapter 5128
Chapter 6155
Chapter 7184
Chapter 8213
Part 3230
Chapter 9232
Chapter 10257
Conclusion283
Appendix 1290
Appendix 2294
Bibliography300
Index319