Propaganda was an essential weapon in the war against Germany

Length: 1559 words

Propaganda according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “Dissemination of ideas and information for the purpose of inducing or intensifying specific attitudes and actions” which basically means using items to persuade people to a certain way of thinking or to get them to support their cause.

The First World War was the first “total war” which meant that the whole world would be affected by this war in some shape or form. This meant that Propaganda would play a very important role in the First World War. There are many types of propaganda that were used in the First World War. They were:

* Film

* Newspapers

* Leaflets

* Speeches

* Radio

* The Tank

* Posters

* Paintings and Pictures

I would say that Propaganda played a very important in the defeat of Germany as things such as Recruitment Posters and Leaflets persuaded many people to join the fight or to support the cause.

The aims of Propaganda are:

* To create hatred or suspicion of the enemy

* To create support or to get people onto the persons or peoples side

* To manipulate people to the persons or peoples advantage

Most sources of propaganda are often lies or are a manipulative twist of the truth.

In fact, the British government even made up that the German were turning the fats of dead British Soldiers into soaps! This is obviously untrue but during the war people were hearing of such atrocities in Germany that they believed this. This would have stimulated a lot of people to want to help out in the war effort as it plays on their conscious that their relatives may have been turned into soap!


DORA is the Defence Of The Realm Act. This meant that the Government had complete control over the press and made sure that everything that was published or read out on radio conformed to their approval beforehand. This meant that the Government could manipulate and convince the British public to help out and support the war effort. It also made sure that no bad stories of the loss of British lives were printed or read out to ensure that confidence was kept as high as possible. Also the government never allowed any photographers into a battle situation. They forbid any photographs to be taken of such situations without their permission. This ensured that no bad photographs or publicity reached home, dampening the confidence of the British people.

Conscription is when the government have the power to force any man from between the age of 18 to 41 to fight for their country unless they were working ion the vital industries.

Examples Of Propaganda:

One of the main and most popular posters used by the British Government was this one. It is a picture of Lord Kitchener a very successful General. This picture is very manipulative because its like he is looking straight at you and it makes you feel as though you have to join up because he is talking to you. The “God Save The King” message at the bottom is also very deliberate because it tries to make the person feel very patriotic and make him feel like he wants to fight for his country.

The way “you” is emphasised in capital letters and very bold letters and the way Kitchener’s finger is pointing straight at the person looking at the person is very deliberate to make the person looking at it feel as though he is talking specifically to him. This was a very popular poster because after its launch 2million people signed up to the Army in 6 months proving that it was a very powerful and manipulative poster.

This picture is also a very manipulative picture. It is a picture of a family watching as soldiers go off to war. This is a very powerful image, as many men did not want to go to war because they did not want to leave their family behind. But this poster is trying to reassure them that it is ok for them to go, in fact the women want them to go! This is very manipulative and also a very powerful image. The way in which the word “GO!” is in capital letters and the biggest word in the poster, shows that it is meant to be eye-catching and distinctive to the person viewing it as “GO!” means go to war it is a very important word.

This table shows how volunteers for the army fell in just a few months. This was because Christmas had been and went (everyone had expected the war to be over by then), everyone had heard stories of the heavy losses of British troops. For example, in March 1915 the British army lost 11,000 men at Neuve Chapelle; then, in September 1915, 60,000 British soldiers were killed at Loos.

The fall in the number of recruits meant that the Government could no longer rely on volunteers, so in May 1916 conscription was introduced.

All men aged between 18 and 41 now had to join the army unless they were working in essential industries.

So at this time there was a drop in the use of Propaganda for recruitment posters because everyone had to fight anyway

This poster is of some British soldiers reading a German newspaper. It has been translated into English for normal people to read. It has been deliberately done like this to insight British people who have not volunteered yet to think that this was a cheeky statement by the Germans and make them want to sign up. The “OH, YEAH?” is also very well done because it is like it is asking the actual person seeing the poster “is this true, are you going to let them think this or do something about it?” It is a very effective poster because it is like it is in disbelief that the Germans think this and is asking for support to ensure that not only do they not achieve this aim but not even think about it.


Films were nowhere near used as much as they are today. But, the “Battle of the Somme” film was a short, silent film in black and white, which depicted the scenes of the war. It was the most popular film of its time and the most successful. It was the only realistic representation of the war of its time so many people viewed it and when the harsh reality of the war hit home to them it made them think that they wanted to join the war effort also.


As part of DORA, the Government had all control of the press. This meant that all broadcasts had to be approved before it went on air. All normal programmes were suspended and the news was broadcasted as much as possible. This was to ensure that all the British people were up to date on the current affairs and it was a chance for them to push the message of recruitment across. Also, it was a good opportunity for them to use this as a very powerful Propaganda tool. They could broadcast stories of the atrocities carried out by the Germans and use it to cause the British people to hate them even more, thus achieving their aim of gaining more support for the war effort.

The Tank

The tank was quite unsuccessful in the war. Its top speed reached a maximum of about 8mph and it kept getting stuck in the mud of the trenches. But, more importantly it was a very good propaganda tool. It meant that the British Government could show the people of Britain that it was moving forward with new technology and that it was a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. This helped restore national pride at an all time low and made people feel confident about its chances in the war.

Propaganda was very important to help Britain’s war effort. It helped to restore national pride, it helped with recruitment, and it helped to ease people’s fears and pain. It helped to create an image of Britain being superior and better while at the same time; it made Germany out to be evil and weak. When, in reality, both countries were as evil!

I think that Propaganda did play a huge role in Britain’s defeat of Germany. If Propaganda weren’t used, would so many people have volunteered for the army? Would the people have been so supportive or confident? Would they have hated the enemy so much?


I agree very far with the statement that Propaganda was an essential weapon in the war against Germany as it meant that it encouraged a lot more people to sign up for the army, encouraged women to be involved as well even giving information on how to make do during a war. It may not have turned out that way had Propaganda not been used.

However, if both sides wouldn’t have used Propaganda I don’t think it would have had an effect on the outcome of the war as at the end of the day it takes people and machinery and their resolve to win a war, not posters and newspaper articles.

Also, if propaganda had not been used, it would probably not have made that much of a difference to the outcome of the war but without sufficient evidence of it not being used, I can not make a further judgement

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