British Propaganda to France, 1940-1944

British Propaganda to France, 1940-1944: Machinery, Method and Message

Tim Brooks
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    British Propaganda to France, 1940-1944
    Book Description:

    This book examines the important issue of British propaganda to France during the Second World War and aims to show the value of the propaganda campaign to the British war effort.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3083-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Figures and Table
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. Translations and Terminology
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  7. Key Players
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  8. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  9. Introduction: British Propaganda in the Second World War
    (pp. 1-6)

    On 1 September 1939, when Germany invaded Poland and a European war became virtually certain, the British government activated its propaganda agencies. A Ministry of Information (MOI) would organise propaganda for domestic, imperial and neutral consumption, while Department EH, originating in the Foreign Office, was responsible for propaganda to enemy countries. On the night of 3/4 September, with Great Britain officially at war, the RAF distributed 5.4 million leaflets over Hamburg, Bremen and the Ruhr, appealing to the German people to demand peace. The RAF had good reason not to drop bombs at this stage – to avoid provoking reprisal...

  10. 1 Machinery: Background, Planning and Departmental Organisation
    (pp. 7-35)

    British propaganda work during the Second World War was carried out neither smoothly nor easily. The MOI, responsible for all domestic and some overseas propaganda, had its fair share of troubles and its very existence was occasionally questioned, especially before Brendan Bracken became its Minister in July 1941. Even more difficult was the gestation of the organisation for propaganda to enemy and enemy-occupied countries, which finally became the Political Warfare Executive. Its relationship with the MOI and other departments was restructured six times before the end of European war, and again afterwards. These changes were not easily achieved: the first...

  11. 2 Method: The Distribution of White Propaganda
    (pp. 36-57)

    The Air Ministry was the political master of the RAF. As such, it claimed final authority over all leaflets to be dropped, approval taking place after the leaflet had been finalised but before printing. It demanded this authority for several reasons. During the First World War the Germans had threatened reprisals against Allied airmen responsible for leaflet dissemination. It was feared that the same might happen again, especially if the leaflets incited violence or murder, and the Air Ministry therefore wished to be confident that its pilots were not put in this position. It also wanted to ensure that information...

  12. 3 Message: The Content of White Propaganda
    (pp. 58-106)

    On 10 May 1940 the Germans attacked Western Europe. They reached the English Channel ten days later, trapping thousands of Allied troops and precipitating the Dunkirk evacuation. The French government left Paris for Bordeaux where, late on 16 June, Pétain became Prime Minister, opening negotiations to end hostilities. France was out of the war, swiftly and unexpectedly.

    For French civilians, life became chaotic. A fifth of the French population fled the German advance. This was not because they feared defeat but because everyone expected the Germans to be halted as they had been in 1914, so they wanted to avoid...

  13. 4 Reaction: The Impact of White Propaganda
    (pp. 107-128)

    Both domestic and overseas audiences had long communicated with the BBC, and the letters it received from France formed one of its most important sources of information about its audience there. SO1 was slower to realise the value of such evidence and did so, in the end, at least partly because of the BBC’s experience. In May 1941,

    Beck stated that the BBC had received many letters about their broadcasts in French to France and said that in view of this, in a forthcoming issue of the Courrier we should invite them to write to us about the material contained...

  14. 5 Black Propaganda: Machinery, Method, Message and Reaction
    (pp. 129-155)

    In addition to the millions of white propaganda leaflets and thousands of hours of BBC broadcasting which carried propaganda messages to France that were grounded in truth and produced on behalf of the British government, SO1 and PWE were also responsible for an entirely different form of propaganda, known as black propaganda. Like white propaganda, it existed in both broadcast and printed form, but in addition it made use of rumour-mongering. Bruce Lockhart’s comment that the main tasks of propaganda were ‘to undermine and to destroy the morale of the enemy and [. . . ] to sustain and foster...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 156-162)

    Prior to the formation of the Political Warfare Executive in September 1941, the system for the production of propaganda was disorganised. The British experience of propaganda during the First World War had been an important influence, both in providing an organisational model and in defining inter-war attitudes towards propaganda. When the Committee for Imperial Defence initiated propaganda planning in 1935, it was hampered by the generally negative perception of propaganda, as well as by the fact that those who had fought to maintain the vestiges of British propaganda machinery since 1918 made their own, conflicting, arrangements. Thus, when war broke...

  16. Appendix: Maps
    (pp. 163-179)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 180-205)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 206-219)
  19. Index
    (pp. 220-234)