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First World War Propaganda Analysis

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The First World War was a locomotive of historical precedents in both warfare and propaganda. The war commenced with cheers, celebrations in the streets, and lines of volunteers signing up for the armies. However, as the war progressed, the belligerents saw destruction of European empires, the introduction of conscription, and untold atrocities committed by soldiers on both sides. Allied and Central governments alike produced propaganda on massive scales to sustain a rallying cry throughout the war. The First World War set a precedent of war being “a bloody and relentless struggle in which sustaining morale became just as essential for both sides as sustaining military effort” (Taylor 176). War was no longer only a battle of military power but also a battle for mobilizing entire populations and nations. The effective use of propaganda by the Allied Power governments, especially the British government, secured their victory over Germany by increasing patriotism, recruitment, morale, and ultimately encouraging the United States of America to join the war.
The First
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However, the British government also focused on a different type of propaganda, atrocities propaganda, to spur citizens to action through fear. One of the major objectives the British government had for wartime propaganda was the portrayal of Germany and its allies as violators of the principles of warfare, humanity, and liberty (Ross 45). The Allied Powers played upon numerous tales of atrocities committed by German soldiers in order to fear monger within their own populations. The objective was to increase recruitment rates with men angered by the atrocities and elevate the desire to win the war within their nations. Allied propagandists embraced the popular “tale of Belgian boys with hands chopped off by Germans, whether or not the purported intent was to ensure they would never become soldiers to fight Germany” (Ross
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