Was World War One propaganda the birth of spin?

Total war demands total commitment















A BBC Multimedia education resource

World War One was Britain's first total war - meaning that the whole of the British population was needed for the war effort. Millions of young men were asked to head to the battlefield. Hundreds of thousands of workers were recruited to power an industrial war machine. The public had to accept years of hardship and civilian casualties as a price worth paying for victory.









The government’s first challenge was to make sure they had enough men to fight. The first two years of war saw a massive recruitment drive, with over a million men volunteering. By 1917, this was no longer a problem; conscription had been introduced. Instead, the government faced a much more difficult problem; to persuade the people of Britain to continue supporting a war that was costing more – in money, resources and lives – than anyone could have foreseen.

This saw the birth of something new in British politics. Prime Minister Lloyd George needed to talk directly to the people and influence their attitudes and their behaviour. World War One was perhaps the moment that modern spin was born.

This series includes 8 chapters on WW1 propaganda

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