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Transnational Cultural Propaganda

French Cultural Policies in Britain during the Second World War

Charlotte Faucher

The Second World War challenged the well-established circulation of cultural practices between France and Britain. But it also gave individuals, communities, states, and aspiring governments opportunities to invent new forms of international cultural promotion that straddled the national boundaries that the war had disrupted. Although London became the capital city of the main external Resistance movement Free France, the latter struggled to establish its cultural agenda in Britain, owing, on the one hand, to the British Council’s control over French cultural policies and, on the other hand, to the activities of anti-Gaullist Resistance fighters based in London who ascribed different purposes to French arts. While the British Council and a few French individuals worked towards prolonging French cultural policies that had been in place since the interwar period, Free French promoted rather conservative and traditional images of France so as to reclaim French culture in the name of the Resistance.

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Liberal Whispers and Propaganda Fears

The American Jewish Committee and Israel’s Palestinian Minority, 1948–1966

Geoffrey P. Levin

-Gurion, the first reason for raising the issue was the AJC’s interest “in human rights for everyone and therefore also the human rights of Arab minorities in Israel.” Engel then noted a second reason—that “Arab propaganda is making a great point of the

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“Till I Have Done All That I Can”

An Auxiliary Nurse’s Memories of World War I

Michelle Moravec

compiler” and the capturing of “the memory of the cultural moment in which they were made.” 27 A complex interaction between Clarke’s memorializing and her repurposing of commercial souvenirs, propaganda, and press coverage makes interpreting them a

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Interview

Propaganda’s Role in Liberal Democratic Societies

Jason Stanley and John B. Min

Stanley and Min discuss how propaganda works in liberal democratic societies. Stanley observes that the inability to address the crisis of liberal democracies can be partially explained by contemporary political philosophy’s penchant for idealized theorizing about norms of justice over transitions from injustice to justice. Whereas ancient and modern political philosophers took seriously propaganda and demagoguery of the elites and populists, contemporary political philosophers have tended to theorize about the idealized structures of justice. This leads to a lack of theoretical constructs and explanatory tools by which we can theorize about real-life political problems, such as mass incarceration. Starting with this premise, Stanley provides an explanation of how propaganda works and the mechanisms that enable propaganda. Stanley further theorizes the pernicious effects that elitism, populism, authoritarianism, and “post-truth” have on democratic politics.

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A Concept in Application

How the Scientific Reflex Came to be Employed against Nazi Propaganda

Margarete Vöhringer

The article analyzes Sergej Chakhotin’s transfer of the concept of reflex from Russian physiology to German propaganda. Chakhotin had been working at Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory in St. Petersburg in the 1910s. The experiences he had there with reflex conditioning, the boom of psychotechnics, and the application of psychological practices for aesthetic purposes were his basis for the invention of a socialist propaganda program against the Nazi regime. It is shown how the concept of reflex changed as it meandered through different disciplines.

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Between the Old and the New World in Poland

Marian Falski’s Elementarz

Joanna Wojdon

Marian Falski’s “Reading Primer” (Elementarz) was the first textbook to be published in Warsaw in 1945 by the newly established State School Publishing House (Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictw Szkolnych). It was officially approved by the Ministry of Education and by the Censorship Office, but nevertheless had an interim character, unlike other editions published before, during and after the war, both in Poland and abroad. The core of the book was reprinted from the prewar edition. However, in his depictions of war trauma and postwar circumstances the author was apparently trying to comply with the propaganda model developed during the Stalinist period. These findings are empirically grounded in a content analysis of the primers following archival research conducted in the files of the Ministry of Education and the Censorship Office, both of which are housed in the Modern Records Archive (Archiwum Akt Nowych) in Warsaw.

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Education, Entertainment, and Indoctrination

Educational Film in Interwar China

Kaiyi Li

This article demonstrates how educational film in interwar China served the dual purpose of mass recreation and political indoctrination. It places educational film in China in the context of Chinese tradition and the predominance of utilitarian scholarship. On the one hand, China has a long history of using mass-recreational tools in order to influence and control society. On the other hand, foreign educational films available in the early twentieth century were not attractive to Chinese audiences. Hence, the boundary between recreational and educational film at the time was ambivalent and the combination of recreation, education, and propaganda was reflected both in the phenomenon of showing educational films and in the contents of the films themselves.

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Benoît Glaude

The forms taken up by French comics in the Offenstadt brothers' wartime weeklies echo other representations of the Great War produced behind the front lines, including the music hall, popular imagery and illustrated newspapers. The Offenstadt brothers' picture stories, which staged comic operas starring soldiers and conformed to French propaganda instructions, were a hit with soldiers and civilians (including children), aside from some offended Catholic critics. This essay contextualises their success, focusing on the reception of the comics, particularly those by Louis Forton.

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Gauging the Propagandist’s Talents

William Le Queux’s Dubious Place in Literary History: Part One

A. Michael Matin

Shortly after the outbreak of World War One, Charles Masterman was appointed by Prime Minister Asquith to oversee a covert literary propaganda campaign in support of the British war effort. Although William Le Queux had been one of the most prominent British anti-German writers during the prewar years, he was not recruited for this governmental endeavour that included many of the nation’s best-known writers. Nonetheless, he continued on his own to publish anti-German propaganda throughout the war. These two articles assess Le Queux’s national security-oriented writings within that broader context, and they offer a methodology for gauging the potential efficacy of such texts based on recent developments in the field of risk-perception studies. Part One provides a historical and methodological foundation for both articles and assesses a number of Le Queux’s pre-1914 works. Part Two (published in Part II of this issue) examines Le Queux’s career and writings from 1914 through to his death in 1927.

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Gauging the Propagandist’s Talents

William Le Queux’s Dubious Place in Literary History: Part Two

A. Michael Matin

Shortly after the outbreak of World War One, Charles Masterman was appointed by Prime Minister Asquith to oversee a covert literary propaganda campaign in support of the British war effort. Although William Le Queux had been one of the most prominent British anti-German writers during the prewar years, he was not recruited for this governmental endeavour that included many of the nation’s best-known writers. Nonetheless, he continued on his own to publish anti-German propaganda throughout the war. These two articles assess Le Queux’s national security-oriented writings within that broader context, and they offer a methodology for gauging the potential efficacy of such texts based on recent developments in the field of risk-perception studies. Part One (published in Part I of this issue) provides a historical and methodological foundation for both articles and assesses a number of Le Queux’s pre-1914 works. Part Two examines Le Queux’s career and writings from 1914 through to his death in 1927.