World War One Propaganda

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Information about World War One Propaganda

Published on February 5, 2014

Author: pgallagher89



This presentation concerns total war and the propaganda campaigns carried out by the Central and Allied powers during World War 1.

―Go back to simple food, simple clothes, simple pleasures. Pray hard, work hard, sleep hard and play hard. Do it all courageously and cheerfully.‖ – Hoover PROPAGANDA VS. REALITY DURING WORLD WAR I

Only 92 years later. CRASH COURSE: h?v=_XPZQ0LAlR4&safe=activ e MONTY: h?v=ZJE7uJyHJ3k&safe=active

Overview of the War’s Beginning  Beginnings:      July 28: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. August 1: Germany declares war on Russia. August 3: Germany declares war on France August 4: UK declares war on Germany after they invade Belgium. August 6: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. Serbia declares war on Germany. WAR

Image Courtesy of the New York Times.

Total War  Definition: a war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, esp. one in which the laws of war are disregarded.  War up to this point had many laws and customs.  The introduction of new technology will upend these wartime norms and cause huge shifts in perception.

What rules of war?  The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907: expressly prohibited chemical weapons on the battlefield. Signed by all major countries.  2. Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land: POW’s must be treated with respect. No poisons. No looting of towns.  Today, (most) nations still abide by the Geneva Protocol of 1925 which prohibits the use of biological or chemical weapons.

Victims of a Gas Attack

Victims of Gas Attack Image courtesy of The Onion.

Image courtesy of The Onion.

Civilian Deaths in the War  Total civilian deaths, including disease, famine, and ―accidents‖ totaled 5.8 million.  Civilian deaths as a result of direct military action totaled roughly 1 million.  Russia lost almost 1 million civilians during the course of the war until it withdrew in 1918.

TO THE FRONT! The Mighty Russian Army.

―From Munich via Metz to Paris,‖ German soldiers mobilize. August, 1914. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Writing reads, ―Trip to Paris.‖

Germany invades Belgium  First campaign of WW1  Invasion of Belgium prompts Great Britain to enter the war due to the London Treaty of 1839  German invasion becomes known as “The Rape of Belgium.”  The actions of the German military in Belgium are stylized and described in order to provoke British outrage and, hopefully, bring America into the war. Image courtesy of New York Tribune, public domain.

Technology of Total War  Poison gas  Artillery  Machine guns  Aircraft  Tanks  Flamethrowers Australian soldiers in gas masks. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Gas Masks, c. 1918. Image courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson National Library.

Big Bertha, German Howitzer. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Used in Battle of Liege, c. 1914.

French machine gunners, c. 1918. Image courtesy of the U.S. National

British plane flying over German lines. Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland.

―A British Tank in Action.‖ Image courtesy of

French soldiers using flamethrowers, c. 1919. Image courtesy of

A German sniper waits for a shot from the trench. Date unknown. Image courtesy of the History Place, World War I timeline.

World War 1 Propaganda  Objective: Let’s look at the propaganda efforts in World War 1 and how, or why, they were effective.    Make sure to grab a propaganda poster analysis worksheet on your way in. You will be turning it in at the end of class. Finish your study guide. Hold on to it for the unit test at the end of the week. At the top of page 2 of your study guide, write PROPAGANDA.

Propaganda  Defintion: information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

―The Crucified Soldier‖ from WW1, originates in Belgium ―The Crucified Soldier,‖ from Wikimedia commons

Reality vs. Propaganda  Alliances -> War, and war needs soldiers  Countries must ―sell‖ the war effort to their citizens. No one wants to fight in No Man’s Land. It’s named that for a reason.  So, allies and central powers each begin propaganda campaigns to recruit soldiers and stir up civilian support.

Following images courtesy of

―The Call‖ by Jessie Pope, 1915 Who’s for the trench— Are you, my laddie? Who’ll follow French— Will you, my laddie? Who’s fretting to begin, Who’s going out to win? And who wants to save his skin— Do you, my laddie? Who’s for the khaki suit— Are you, my laddie? Who longs to charge and shoot— Do you, my laddie? Who’s keen on getting fit, Who means to show his grit, And who’d rather wait a bit— Would you, my laddie? Who’ll earn the Empire’s thanks— Will you, my laddie? Who’ll swell the victor’s ranks— Will you, my laddie? When that procession comes, Banners and rolling drums— Who’ll stand and bite his thumbs— Will you, my laddie?

―Dulce et Decorum Est‖ by Wilfred Owen, 1917 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori. (It is sweet and right to die for one’s country)

Reality Reality of the war. ―Gas Attack, 1917.‖ Image courtesy of the State Library of New York.

Propaganda in film ch?v=KQPJ0FEXtoM&safe=ac tive Take out a piece of notebook paper and answer the following questions while you watch the video:     What is the purpose of the video? How is Great Britain personified? What do you make of the phrase, ―What others are suffering,‖ used throughout the video? How is social class portrayed?

A. C. C. B. D. E.

Sources for Slide 37  A. ―Be Patriotic‖ courtesy of     B. ―Destroy this Mad Brute‖ courtesy of Wikimedia Commons C. ―Beat Back the Hun‖ courtesy of Wikimedia Commons D. ―We Teach them to Run‖ courtesy of E. ―Father What Did you Do‖ courtesy of

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