History Reviewer

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

A key work for this project which fully considers the administrative history of the Ministry of Information, the lead government department for propaganda. He argues that for two years, the measures taken by government propagandists were:

  • Unnecessary and inept
  • Based on misunderstanding and distrust of the British public
  • Products of the class and background of the propagandists themselves.
  • He feels that after two years:
  • The Germans were still characterised as irretrievably wicked.
  • Efforts were made to separate Communism from the ‘Russian’ (not Soviet) war effort.
  • Propaganda was intermittently prompted by doubts about people’s martial stamina and devotion to Parliamentary democracy.

McLaine felt that the achievements of the Ministry of Information were that:

  • The MOI realised importance of full and honest news as a factor
  • They recognised that in the fight against totalitarianism, it was important not to disregard one of its main weapons, although within a democratic context.
  • With benefit of Home Intelligence, the MOI came to regard the British people as sensible and tough, and so entitled to be taken into the government’s confidence

See if you can get hold of a copy on Amazon.}