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First World War Propaganda Essay

Through prior knowledge, we understood that the British government had used manipulation through propaganda to form and change the attitudes and views of the general public, so that it was according to the government way of thinking. Historians suggest that three categories where designed to create this. Patriotism, moral superiority and hatred of the enemy. We learnt that, at times of difficulty, certain pressure points were used generate recruitment, at the early stages of the war, we find that patriotism was quite strong.

Therefore, we understood that at different stages whether in loss or victory, different propaganda tools were used to influence the way the population, which was the real army, to act. Now that we have established this point, we have a better understanding, thus, bringing a clearer answer. Source A, is an extract from a novel: ‘covenant with death’, by John Harris, published in 1961. The author, a well known respected author has researched 40 years worth of sources and information.

Therefore I feel that, here we have a powerful, useful source for historians studying propaganda, just from this very point. It captures a feeling of what an average person, would witness, it is a novel which opens up to a more real life understanding. The source itself is about a man going to the cinema, finding his movie interrupted by patriotic songs and spirit lifting words, encouraging them to join the army. The purpose of this source is most definitely a passionate writer as through my own knowledge, I understand that John Harris has written many literatures.

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Although, I do see possible cons to this source, the author is British therefore we may have a biased view, as he may want to give better impression of Britain. Also as a novel, by definition we know that, it is fictional works; the facts are interpreted in language which is vivid. We know that the man priority is to sell, facts alone cannot sell, but a more exciting, thought provoking view of the past becomes something attractive. The source may easily be exaggerated; the content also suggests this. ‘I felt six inches taller’.

Portions may be questionable for it reliability. The source can be supported for accuracy and reliability as I know from my own knowledge, that cinema and entertainment were being used for propaganda to gain more support for the war either by encouraging the public to join the war or even by just boosting patriotism. The source being produced after the time has significance, we cannot miss vital information that all forms of public communications were censored according to the DORA ACT, 1914. Therefore sources after this period will be accurate as censorship was abolished.

The source depicts, true events, and fits our understanding, as it’s not totally fictional, these events are most likely to have happened. Despite its fantasizing of language, what the true message here, is the understanding how powerful the devices were to increase the morale of men, willing to sacrifice for their country. I will now study source B, so I can build a comparison, and decide whether one is more useful over the other. This source is a newspaper article during the war on 6th march 1915. The source shows five brothers and their brother in law who are all gone to war.

It shows patriotically photographed portrayed as a family of bravery and respect. ‘Who answered the call’, they are referred to as those who answer the call. Showed to be family who has made their country proud, you should too. The audience is in Bath, the city has population of under a 100, 000 today, so therefore we are dealing with fairly small cities. It’s appealing to encourage a more family recruitment. Judging the source in terms of facts or its ability to capture feeling or context, may be difficult, as this was under censorship. But it is beneficial as it helps understand the censorship and propaganda.

The purpose of the source was to encourage and change attitude. Through our own knowledge, we know that there were heavy casualties by March 1915; therefore this was to increase patriotism and hatred of the enemy This source may be reliable as I know that during the start of the war many men signed up together as a town or family. However as I also have knowledge that during the time this source was produced censorship enforced, so the government would produced it allowing them to gain more support from a particular town, which is Bath in source B. the source only seems to praise and make heroes of the soldiers.

This does not depict the situation and condition of the British army. Although the source was under censorship, we cannot say use its unreliability to say the source is useless. It is what the only information of the outside world an average person would get; this may develop our understanding of the nations thinking at the time. It is evidence from the time, which is true example of propaganda, which he British people were exposed too. It is useful, because we can study the uses of propaganda at different stages in the war, in this particular source we can prove this because, during March 1915, there were many casualties.

Therefore this patriotism and hatred of the enemy would generate more family recruitment. This source adds to our understanding of propaganda. Source A, is a classified as fictional, however it is a source built on other sources and Captures feelings, helping us to understand patriotism on one mans account. It helps us understand how the nation was made to think. Although it may well be a slight exaggeration, but exaggerated language gets the point across. It gives historians the chance to see a more first person view, and the manipulation thorough patriotism.

Source A was also designed at a sage to increase recruitment, so it defends our statement that propaganda was used tactically at different times. Therefore, naturally this becomes useful evidence. To judge over the other, is difficult, because each source, inputs to our understanding regardless of its amount. Source A gives a more general view; the language allows historians to easily understand the manipulation. It is research that has been done for us. However, this is rather difficult with source B, its gives a concrete, real, evidence of propaganda, but requires historians to go further to get a wider conclusion.

To make a conclusion, source B is true information, and really shows us propaganda people were exposed too, we can learn more, because we had proved earlier that the government used different propaganda at different times. There is a limitation, source B alone is not sufficient to achieve a wide impression, but using this with other sources is would give us potentially strong inference. However, as historians secondary sources are more reliable due to the depth of research, source A gives a powerful depiction of propaganda. I do believe that source B is better as fits the question, ‘use of propaganda’. Clearly this is a censored article.

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