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A Guide to British Government Information and Propaganda, 1939-2009

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Authored by Professor David Welch
Published on 26th November, 2021 27 min read

A Guide to British Government Information and Propaganda, 1939-2009

Although propaganda is thousands of years old, it really came of age in the 20th century, when the development of mass media (and later multimedia communications) offered a fertile ground for its dissemination, and the century’s global conflicts provided the impetus needed for its growth. In many societies, as electorates and audiences became more sophisticated, they also began to question the nature and uses of propaganda, both in the past and in contemporary society. With rapidly changing technology, definitions of propaganda have also undergone changes. Propaganda has meant different things at different times, although clearly the scale on which it has been practised has increased in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. What follows is a brief history of this period and how British governments attempted to disseminate information and propaganda, both in times of war and of peace.[1]

World War I

One of the most significant lessons to be learned from the experience of World War I is that public opinion could no longer be ignored as a determining factor in the formulation of government policies. Unlike previous wars, the Great War was the first ‘Total War’ in which whole nations, and not just professional armies were locked together in mortal combat. The war served to increase the level of popular interest and participation in the affairs of state. The gap between the soldier at the front and civilian at home was narrowed substantially in that the entire resources of the state—military, economic, and psychological—had to be mobilised to the full in a fight to the finish. ‘Total War’ required that civilians must also ‘fall-in’ and participate in the war effort. The introduction of conscription, the recruitment of women into the munition factories, Zeppelin raids in the south of England, the shelling by German naval units on the Yorkshire coast, and the attempts of German submarines to starve Britain into submission were all traumatic experiences for a nation learning the rules of modern warfare. In such a struggle, morale came to be recognised as a significant military factor and propaganda began to emerge as the principal instrument of control over public opinion and an essential weapon in the national arsenal.

In Britain, two organisations were set up.  At the Foreign Office, a News Department had been established shortly after the outbreak of war to respond to the increased demand for war news from Allied and neutral correspondents in London. The second organisation was the Neutral Press Committee (NPC), formed under the aegis of the Home Office in connection with the Press Bureau, the government’s principal wartime censorship organisation. Also on the outbreak of the war, the British created a secret organisation known because of its London location as 'Wellington House', although later officially titled the War Propaganda Bureau, under Charles Masterman. Masterman’s brief at the Bureau was to put Britain’s case for entering the war and to justify wartime policies to neutral countries and to the Dominions (of Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) that were fighting alongside Britain. With the help of some of the greatest writers of the day—including J.M. Barrie, Arnold Bennett, G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, John Masefield, Gilbert Murray, G.M. Trevelyan, H.G. Wells, and Rudyard Kipling—Masterman set about winning the hearts and minds of neutral opinion, particularly in the United States, the chief neutral target of Allied propaganda.[2] 

By now, media such as daily newspapers, weekly magazines and the novelty of film, had created something new: a mass audience. Accordingly, they were exploited, censored, and coordinated (arguably for the first time) in order to propagate officially approved themes. The themes disseminated were very much dictated by the course of the war. The Government exploited these media: (a) for recruitment (‘Your Country Needs You’); (b) requests for war loans (‘Lend Your Five Shillings to Your Country and Crush the Germans’); (c) to make national policies acceptable (‘Eat Less Bread’); (d) to encourage industrial effort (‘These Women are Doing their Bit. Learn to Make Munitions’); and (e) to channel emotions such as courage and hatred ('Put Strength into the Final Kill’). 

Although the press was probably the most important ‘unofficial’ source of propaganda, the British government also relied heavily on the poster to put across its message. During the industrialisation of the nineteenth century posters had been used for mass persuasion and they had proved extremely effective. With the outbreak of war, the poster came of age. In a world without radio and television, and where newspapers were still the preserve of a literate minority, the poster was an important instrument of mass communication. Posters contained numerous advantages: they were relatively cheap to produce; they had been tried and tested; and they were a medium accepted and understood by the masses. For governments of all the belligerent nations, it was an obvious means of communication to disseminate propaganda.

By 1916, with no easy victory in sight, the government started to prepare for a long war and for the strengthening of morale. Increasingly it began to rely on censorship and the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA), introduced in August 1914 and supplemented several times thereafter. DORA provided the government with wide-ranging powers to prevent information judged harmful to the war effort from being circulated or published. It proved a formidable weapon, later memorably described by historian A.J.P. Taylor as an 'elderly lady, the symbol of restriction.'

In early 1917, Wellington House was absorbed into a new expanded propaganda organisation, the Department of Information (DOI), headed by the writer and later famous novelist John Buchan. The DOI became responsible for both foreign and most domestic propaganda. In early 1918, the DOI expanded again to become the independent Ministry of Information (MOI) under Lord Beaverbrook (proprietor of the Daily Express), and controlled or directed almost all British official propaganda organisations, except for the National War Aims Committee, a parliamentary organisation responsible chiefly for promoting domestic propaganda on a small-scale and regional basis, as well as for MI7. In addition, in early 1918 the British created the Department of Propaganda in Enemy Countries, widely known as ‘Crewe House’ from its London location, and headed by another newspaper proprietor Lord Northcliffe (The Times).

Britain's wartime consensus was generally believed to have held under the exigencies of war—despite major tensions. One explanation for this was the skilful use made by the government of propaganda and censorship. Britain emerged from the Great War with the doubtful distinction of having employed propaganda better and more successfully than any other nation. It is difficult to say why this should be as there appears to have been no clearly thought out or coordinated plan, and a Ministry of Information was not finally established until 1918. Whatever one might think about the content of British propaganda during the First World War, it was undeniably an impressive exercise in co-ordination. Having entered the conflict with nothing that could be described as an official propaganda department, Britain finished the war with a highly respected MOI which proved to be a classic model on which other governments were subsequently to base their own propaganda machinery.

After the war, however, a deep mistrust developed on the part of ordinary citizens who realised that conditions at the front had been deliberately obscured by patriotic slogans and by ‘atrocity propaganda’ that had fabricated stereotypes of the enemy and their dastardly deeds. The population also felt cheated that their sacrifices had not resulted in the promised homes and a land 'fit for heroes'. During the inter-war period a number of commentators would later view the mass of people during the Great War as credulous and highly susceptible to simple and emotionally charged ideas. Propaganda was associated with lies and falsehood. Even politicians were sensitive to these criticisms and in December 1918, six weeks after the end of the war, the MOI was dissolved. The British government regarded propaganda as politically dangerous and even morally unacceptable in peacetime. It was, as one official wrote in the 1920s: 'a good word gone wrong—debauched by the late Lord Northcliffe.' However, it would be revived as an official agency of propaganda in 1939 with the outbreak of the Second World War.

Interwar Period

During the 1920s and 1930s the exploitation of film and radio, in particular for political purposes, became more commonplace. In the 1930s the lofty ideal of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that ‘Nation Shall Speak unto Nation’ had given way, in the larger world, to a more aggressive type of nationalistic broadcasting. Film, which was in its infancy during the First World War, emerged to become the mass medium in the interwar period, and was exploited by the British government for both entertainment and informational purposes. It was during this period that we also witness the growth of government public relations organisations such as the General Post Office (GPO) and the Empire Marketing Board (EMB), set up specifically to promote British achievements, goods and service both at home and abroad. 

World War II

During World War II, governments appropriated and controlled all forms of communication by means of strict censorship, in order to requisition them for propaganda purposes. In the totalitarian states such as Italy, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union this posed few problems, as the media—indeed the arts in general—had become part of the apparatus of the state. In the liberal democracies, on the other hand, the effort proved more problematic. Nevertheless, on the propaganda front Britain appeared to be better prepared than she had been for World War I. 

A new MOI came into being within days of the declaration of war in 1939, but initially it was, to some extent, making up for lost ground. Planning for the conduct of propaganda can be traced back to 1935 when secret guidelines were drawn up for a new Ministry in the event of war. As war became increasingly likely, the nucleus of the MOI was finally permitted to recruit the services of interested experts and outside organisations such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs (also known as Chatham House). In June 1939, Chatham House commissioned an enquiry into broadcasting and propaganda that, it considered, would be of value to the planners of the embryonic MOI. The document contained eighty-six basic ground rules, and considerable attention was devoted to the question of propaganda methods and techniques, albeit rather late in the day.[3]

The biggest difficulty the MOI would have to face would be that of news management: how could a nation which prided itself on freedom of speech and information become an overbearing censor, particularly if it chose to fight in the name of freedom? But they had too readily accepted that the methods employed during World War I could equally be applied to a war against Fascism and Nazism. Moreover, the planners initially failed to recognise that advances in communication technology in areas such as broadcasting and the cinema had widened the possibilities offered by propaganda. Nor, when it was first established, had the MOI any means of investigating or monitoring public opinion.

When the Second World War started, the British government decided not to take over the media or suppress editorial freedom, but rather to allow debate and interpretation. However, it would control the flow of information to the media. When Sir John Reith, the former Director General of the BBC, was appointed Minister of Information in 1940, he laid down two of the Ministry’s fundamental axioms for the balance of the war: that news equated to the ‘shock troops of propaganda’ and the view that propaganda was more effective when it told ‘the truth, nothing but the truth and, as near as possible, the whole truth’.[4] [5] The MOI handled propaganda intended for home, Allied and neutral territory, and the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) dealt with enemy territory. 

Reith would last only four months as Minister and in April 1940 he fell victim to the fall of the Chamberlain government, but at least he had some interest in and knowledge of propaganda after fifteen years’ service at the BBC, and it was he who put the MOI on a more efficient footing, including the incorporation of the censorship machinery of the Press and Censorship Bureau into the MOI (in contrast to the mistakes of World War I when they remained separated). Censorship had frankly been a farce. The censors were over-preoccupied with details and mechanical questions while the press had become so contemptuous of them that editors frequently ignored their rulings, thus threatening the collapse of the ‘voluntary’ system and its replacement with straightforward compulsory censorship. This was an important organisational reform that reflected recognition of the need to integrate the control of news with the dissemination of positive propaganda. These principles were implemented so successfully that the press, the BBC, and other organs of ‘news’ managed to maintain the trust of the British public at home and gained the reputation for Britain abroad of having even in wartime an 'honest, free, and truthful media, which nevertheless gave practically nothing of significance away to an ever-vigilant enemy.’[6] George Orwell later observed: ‘The BBC as far as its news goes has gained enormous prestige since about 1940…"I heard it on the radio" is now almost equivalent to ‘I know it must be true’.[7] Good relations continued with the BBC, which maintained the spirit of ‘voluntary cooperation’ established in wartime. The programmes of the BBC earned Britain a powerful reputation for credibility that proved an asset long after the war ended. After Brendan Bracken took over as Minister in 1941, organisational squabbling continued, but crucially, its censorship functions began to settle down to a coherent pattern. By 1941 the system was operating so effectively that most observers were unaware that a sophisticated form of pre-censorship was in force, even within the BBC. This explains why Britain’s wartime propaganda gained its reputation for telling the truth when, in fact, the whole truth could not be told.

Among the MOI’s varied duties during World War II was the responsibility for issuing ‘national propaganda’ to maintain morale at home and influence opinion abroad. Such propaganda was disseminated through a variety of media: films were produced, radio broadcasts were organised, exhibitions were curated, a vast number of posters was issued. The MOI was also a major publisher and books, illustrated magazines, pamphlets, and postcards played an increasingly important role in the dissemination of official propaganda and information. The nature and diversity of the propaganda messages produced by the MOI during the war was staggering. One of the most striking features of Britain during World War II was the extent to which the public was bombarded with appeals, exhortations, and instructions. They range from the crudeness of some of the specifically anti-Nazi and anti-Japanese publications, and the defiant and even cheeky humour in some of the material depicting events that turned the war in Britain’s favour, to the more light-hearted campaigns that discouraged citizens from gossiping (‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’), to take care of their health and the health of others (‘Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases’), while at the same time encouraging them to savour the culinary delights and health-inducing qualities to be found by experimenting with versatile Potato Pete and Doctor Carrot. The public were instructed to ‘Dig for Victory’ as well as ‘Make Do and Mend’. Well-known figures such as members of the Royal Family continued to demonstrate solidarity with their subjects and inspirational figures such as Churchill, Monty, and ‘Bomber’ Harris were also widely used. Different types of visual propaganda showed women assisting in the war effort and how the colonies made their own substantial contribution in the fight against the Axis powers. 

The intended audiences for these campaigns and messages were equally diverse, and to this end the Ministry championed social surveys such as Mass Observation and the Wartime Social Surveys, and it utilised secret wartime intelligence (Home Intelligence Reports), in order to monitor and respond to the success or failure of its propaganda and the state of morale in the twelve regions into which the MOI divided the UK. The Ministry also had access to the information provided by the BBC’s Listener Research Department which recorded the reaction of the public to news and other programmes broadcast by the Corporation. While I remain critical of the Ministry’s bureaucracy and some of the censorship it imposed, and while it was often undermined by low self-esteem and a lack of political clout—especially prior to 1941—one cannot fail to be impressed by the improvisation eventually shown by the MOI in handling social and political questions associated with national morale. The MOI experiment represented government propaganda on an unprecedented scale.

The Post–War Years and the Central Office of Information, 1946-2011

During the Second World War the Ministry of Information had a significant influence on many British citizens: on how they conducted themselves, on how they saw themselves, and on how they projected themselves. The MOI, sandwiched in time between the growth of government public relations organisations (e.g. GPO, EMB etc) and the coming of the Cold War, introduced something new to British society: the idea of a formal state mechanism to issue and control information (although it would never openly acknowledge it was engaged in disseminating propaganda). 

In consequence it was an inherently ambivalent institution: its negative side (the threat of an un-British level of state control) could be offset by the MOI’s perceived ability to generate a sense of national purpose at a time of crisis. Nevertheless, as with the ending of World War I, it would have no place in the post-war world and was replaced in April 1946 by the Central Office of Information (COI) that would in future be responsible for conducting government public relations campaigns.

The COI’s role was restricted to that of a central national publicity agency serving the needs of Whitehall and unlike the MOI, the COI was never the responsibility of a specific Minister, and as a consequence it continued throughout its existence to have to defend its activities. Not having its own Minister was a double-edged sword. While it brought COI a high degree of independence, it had no political clout to fight its corner when the chips were down—and from its inception it had few political friends. Critics were either suspicious that it was (or could become) a propaganda mouthpiece for the government of the day, or else resentful of its independence and lack of accountability. Others felt that it undermined departmental responsibility and failed to deliver optimum value for money.

It was unique among government departments in being staffed largely by journalists, artists, television and film directors, designers, and publicity technicians. An extraordinary group of artists worked at some stage for the COI. Much of the day-to-day work undertaken by the COI consisted of mounting campaigns aimed directly at the public. For example, the ‘Protect and Survive’ campaign for the Home Office, the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ campaign for the Department of Transport and the ‘AIDS’ campaign launched by the Department of Health. In 1988, following the Criminal Justice Act, the Conservative government launched a Crime Prevention Campaign that involved all the media, and that would run for six months and included a knives amnesty (‘Crime. Together We’ll Crack It’). It is often too easy to see a COI poster, pamphlet or television commercial in isolation while underestimating the strategy and planning that went into the coordination of its campaigns. The range of work included producing articles, books, speeches, briefing materials, films, television commercials, exhibitions, and arranging tours for overseas. All of this involved input from journalists, artists and designers, translators, and researchers. At its height, the COI was producing 3,000 publications annually.

Revealingly throughout its history, few people were, or have been, aware of the existence of the COI—or if they were, its activity has been associated with domestic safety campaigns or with health advice. It was regarded as harmless from a propaganda point of view; its officials were ‘information officers’ whose work involved ‘publicity’ designed primarily to benefit not the source but the recipient. If it was regarded at all, the COI was seen as a conduit for the responsible functioning of a state in the democratic context of informing citizens for their own good. Such a benign view (of its activities) was encouraged by all governments and was a consciously constructed self-delusion. In reality, such propaganda was used to justify greater government intervention in the lives of ordinary people and as a tool to engineer consent.[8]

The COI survived the new millennium, but its time was limited. The COI had originally been constructed as a benign force disseminating objective communication—whether it be government policies and their implementation or informing citizens about their rights and entitlements. Its work could also involve changing social behaviour. But in carrying out these objectives, it was always serving its political masters and this could involve contradictory and opposing political objectives from one government to the next. In the 21st century, government has to work harder than ever to get its message across and convince its target audiences. Mistrust of authority, social diversity, fragmented audiences and a plethora of communication channels make the task increasingly difficult. 

In 2010 the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government announced a major freeze on marketing and advertising. The Coalition Government’s policy was to support a few campaigns deemed essential, such as those relating to important health issues or recruitment to the armed forces. Not surprisingly the COI’s operations were incrementally scaled down and it finally closed on 30 Dec., 2011.

When the MOI’s residual functions passed to the new Central Office of Information it was not without controversy, but few politicians referred to the work of the COI in the pejorative terms reserved for state propaganda. And yet for over six decades the COI continued to intervene in the lives of ordinary people in a manner that would have been unimaginable for the inter-war generation. The term ‘nanny state’, like other popular political slurs, has contestable historical origins. Over half a century later, the censorious ‘nanny state’ remains a frequent and forceful presence in debates about health and social and safety policy. Much of the COI’s output was attacked (largely by Conservatives) for being politically tinged and ‘nannying’. 

The COI, like the MOI, never admitted that it was disseminating propaganda—partly because the term ‘propaganda’ continued to be erroneously associated with lies and falsehood. It preferred the term ‘public information’—even when it was patently intent on persuading people to change attitudes and behaviour. As such, the output of the COI represents a fascinating insight into the shifting agendas of central government. These agendas include concerns about the state of the British economy, the introduction of the National Health Service and the National Insurance schemes, and the constant desire to adopt lifestyles that would make for a healthier and therefore a more prosperous society. In the prolonged period of peace since 1945, the COI worked tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of contagion, from ‘coughs and sneezes’ to the importance of immunisation against diphtheria, polio, and measles. There was also the constant promotion of good hygienic practices in daily life (‘wash your hands before eating’) which was seen as a key factor in the management of public health. It also broke down taboos by educating people about venereal disease and the nature and threat posed by HIV/AIDS (‘AIDS. Don’t Die of Ignorance’). If this constitutes ‘nannying’, then let us remember that for a certain generation and class, the nanny represented a much loved and benign influence. The ‘nanny state’ does not have to be a pejorative accusation of undue encroachment on individual liberty, but rather an acknowledgement that in a modern civilised state we recognise the need to be cared for collectively.[9] Or it might be the case that at times people need a ‘nudge’ to help themselves!

In terms of content and effectiveness, it is quite clear that some of the most powerful campaigns such as ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’, the anti-smoking campaigns, and the health and nutritional drives, the HIV/AIDS campaigns etc., have helped to change attitudes and behaviour. It is easy to forget how deeply embedded smoking and drinking were in everyday lives. Driving after drinking alcohol was hardly questioned and was taken as the norm, just as using a seat belt was at first viewed as an irritant and resisted. Remember also that COI propaganda was not viewed in isolation. Such propaganda did not exist in a political and media vacuum. It would often be part of a much wider debate whereby politicians from departments sponsoring a campaign would appear on radio and television to defend a specific cause. The debate might then widen out to include medical, scientific, and educational experts who would add support or criticism, such as on the benefits of giving up smoking or regularly visiting a dentist. The cigarette companies, on the other hand, would try (initially at least) to undermine the medical arguments by focusing on the ‘pleasure’ and ‘sexiness’ historically associated with tobacco advertising. It is, however, fair to say that campaigns to persuade citizens to become more socially aware, such as the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign, were largely preaching to the converted. They may have persuaded the ‘casual recalcitrant’ to pick up a piece of litter in the countryside, but were hardly going to have much impact on serial rubbish dumpers.

Did the COI achieve these objectives and if so, what sort of legacy has it left? From the outset, the COI promoted an idealised notion of Britain and its people; from encouraging immigration to redefining the diversity of the nation. British citizens were invariably portrayed as members of an ordered and civil society. The propaganda it disseminated was by turn affectionate, humorous, informative, stirring and at times, disturbing. It could also be hectoring, and occasionally it was irritatingly patronising. But much of the COI’s work was peppered with a mix of humour and gentle persuasion. Above all it sought to stimulate a sense of civic responsibility underpinned by the belief that this could be achieved by involving the nation in a fuller discussion of public affairs. 

Straddling many decades and taken as a whole, the work of the COI constitutes a revealing social history—a fascinating portrait of a people struggling to come to terms with ravages and deprivations in the aftermath of the Second World War while at the same time searching for a new post-colonial identity. By and large it excelled at getting its message across and its work provides compelling testimony that the Central Office of Information was an overwhelming force for good. 

Analysing British state propaganda and information since 1914 not only reveals changing political agendas but also illustrates the rapid technological changes that have led to a shift away from the written word to the visual image on screen, and the speed of delivery associated with the internet. By the 1990s, the leaflet, pamphlet, and poster were largely replaced by moving images either on television, the internet or social media. In the past, governments could largely control the flow of information and shape the narrative. But the 21st century’s new media have brought a host of new questions, not least what is the role of state propaganda and where does it go next? In an age of Facebook and Twitter, is everyone a propagandist now?



[1] I have not discussed the theory and definitions of propaganda. However, in 2013 I co-curated a major exhibition, ‘Propaganda, Power and Persuasion’, held at the British Library. In the accompanying book, I provided changing definitions of propaganda from the late nineteenth century to the present time (including my own working definition). These can be found in D. Welch, Propaganda, Power and Persuasion (British Library, 2013), p.32–40, 201–5. 

[2] An excellent, brief, analysis of Masterman’s career can be found in G. Messinger, British Propaganda and the State in the First World War (Manchester University Press, 1992).

[3] These ground rules are discussed in D. Welch, Persuading the People: British Propaganda in World War II (British Library, 2016), p.12-13.  

[4] Reith had replaced Macmillan on Jan. 5, 1940; he was replaced by Duff Cooper on May 12, 1940. Brendan Bracken replaced Cooper on July 12, 1941 and remained in office until May 12, 1945. 

[5] J. Reith, Into the Wind, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1949), p.354. 

[6] N. Pronay, 'The News and the Media', in N. Pronay and D.W. Spring (eds.), Propaganda, Politics and Film, 1918-45 (Macmillan, 1982), p.174.

[7] Quoted in P. Lashmar and J. Oliver, Britain’s Secret Propaganda War (Sutton, 1998), p.19.

[8] For a detailed discussion of the history of the COI and the role it played as a conduit for government propaganda see, D. Welch, Protecting the People: The Central Office of Information and the Reshaping of Post-War Britain, 1946-2011 (British Library, 2019). 

[9] Cf. P. Johnstone, ‘Britain’s Gone from Nanny State to the Naggy State’, Telegraph, 15 July 2015.      

Further Reading:

World War I

P. Buitenhuis, The Great War of Words (Batsford, 1989)

G.S. Messinger, British Propaganda and the State in the First World War (Manchester, 1992)

J.M. Read, Atrocity Propaganda, 1914-1918 (Arno Press, 1972)

N. Reeves, Official British Film Propaganda During the First World War (Croom Helm, 1986)

M. Sanders and P. Taylor, British Propaganda During the First World War (Macmillan, 1982)

P.M. Taylor, British Propaganda in the Twentieth Century: Selling Democracy (Edinburgh University Press, 1999)

D. Welch, Germany and Propaganda in World War I: Pacifism, Mobilization and Total War (I.B.Tauris, 2014)

D. Welch, ‘Images of the Hun: The Portrayal of the German Enemy in British Propaganda in World War I’, in D. Welch, (ed.), Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: from World War I to Wikileaks (I.B. Tauris, 2015)

World War II

J. Chapman, The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939-1945 (London: I.B. Tauris, 1998)

S. Eliot & M. Wiggam (eds), Allied Communication to the Public during the Second World War (Bloomsbury, 2020)

R. MacKay, Half the Battle: Civilian Morale in Britain During the Second World War (Manchester University Press, 2002)

I. McLaine, Ministry of Morale: Home Front Morale and the Ministry of Information in World War II (George Allen & Unwin, 1979)

S. Nicholas, The Echo of War: Home Front Propaganda and the Wartime BBC, 1939-1945 (Manchester University Press, 1996)

D. Welch, Persuading the People: British Propaganda in World War II (British Library, 2016). 


W. Crofts, Coercion or Persuasion? Propaganda in Britain after 1945 (Routledge, 1989)

H. Vaizey, Keep Britain Tidy and Other Poster from the Nanny State (Thames & Hudson, 2014)

D. Welch, Protecting the People: the Central Office of Information and the Reshaping of Post-War Britain, 1946-2011 (British Library, 2019)

Authored by Professor David Welch

Professor David Welch

David Welch is Emeritus Professor of Modern History and Honorary Director of the Centre for the Study of War, Propaganda and Society, at the University of Kent. His research interest is in modern and contemporary political propaganda. In 2013, he co-curated the exhibition on propaganda and persuasion at the British Library and authored the book that accompanied the exhibition, Propaganda. Power and Persuasion (British Library/Chicago University Press, 2013).

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