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Propaganda and the Role of the State in Inter-War Britain$
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Mariel Grant

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204442

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204442.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Propaganda and the Role of the State in Inter-War Britain

Mariel Grant

Oxford University Press

The book offers insights into the nature of propaganda and its management, and contributes to our understanding of the changing role of the state in modern British society. During the early stages of the Second World War there was some debate as to whether security considerations would permit publication of the exact location of the Ministry of Information (MOI). It was not until 1941–2, when Brendan Bracken's appointment as minister led to a significant operational change that gave it a firmer Parliamentary base, did the department's public image begin to improve. Even so, the MOI had yet to discard its reputation for failure. During the war the ministry's obvious shortcomings were attributed to misguided planning and staffing. Critics charged that the department had been assembled too quickly and without adequate thought. The MOI was considered to be devoid of clearly defined guiding principles. The affirmation of the idea that internal expertise was of at least equal importance to advertising experience in determining publicity policy exerted an enormous influence on the department's reaction to attempts to centralize all government publicity in the domestic sphere.

Keywords:   Ministry of Information, Second World War, Brendan Bracken, planning, advertising

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