How was information shared?

A compilation of recruitment posters Propaganda posters encouraged the public to join up and do their bit for King and Country.

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The sinking of the Lusitania

A propaganda poster about the sinking of the Lusitania

The RMS Lusitania was sunk by the German army in 1915. This made people angry because it was a civilian ship that was travelling from the UK to the USA and 1,000 ordinary people died when it was attacked. Many poster artists created propaganda posters based on this event.

The Government needed to recruit lots of soldiers and wanted people to work together. So what the public thought about the war really mattered.

They tried hard to persuade people to think in a certain way. This is called propaganda.

Posters were printed that made the army look exciting. Other posters told men it was their duty to join and they would feel proud if they did.

'Rally round the flag'

Some posters even tried to make them feel guilty, saying their children would be embarrassed if their father had done nothing in the war.

Stories about bad things the Germans had done were also encouraged. The Government knew people would be angry and even frightened.

Everyone would want Britain to win the war and make the Germans pay for the dreadful things they were supposed to have done.

Many of the tales were untrue. The Germans told the same stories about the British.

'For King and Country'

Having the King or Prime Minister make a speech made people want to support their country. Everyone would read the report in the newspapers the next day.

A young girl on a step ladder putting up posters on a wall A young girl putting up posters in a town in Norfolk.

German Shepherd

A black shaggy dog

German Shepherd dogs became known as 'Alsatians' in 1919 because people didn't want to own dogs they thought were German.

The English Kennel Club didn't reinstate 'German Shepherd' as an official name until 1977.

Most people thought if someone important had said something, then it must be right. Usually the speeches were written by officials in the Government.

Sometimes, just letting people see what was going on was enough to win their support.

'The big push'

In August 1916, a famous film was shown about the men fighting in the Battle of the Somme. A few parts of the film were acted, but most of it was real.

Around a million people saw the film at their local cinema in the first six weeks after it was released. It was the first time people could see soldiers in the trenches, guns firing and wounded men.

Finding out what was really happening in the war was important and, although it was upsetting, people were glad they had seen it.

Teachers' notes

Teachers' notes and classroom ideas looking at communication 100 years ago.

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