The Attempt of the British Government to Hide the Real Effects of the Blitz on the British Citizens

The Attempt of the British Government to Hide the Real Effects of the Blitz on the British Citizens
The British government was attempting to hide the real effect of the Blitz on the British citizens. It did this through a combination of censorship and propaganda. Censorship was when certain information was omitted from items such as newspapers, films and letters. This was because they could give a negative view which was the opposite of what the government wanted. This gave only positive and optimistic information such as stories, photographs and reports which showed the British people coping capably and commendably with the changes the Blitz was bringing. The main medium for censorship was films. Many major films had to be censored and changed to end on a happy note. Also if there were any dead bodies in the film, they would have to be edited out. The films were made so they would not show collapsed buildings. The government did this so that people would forget the war and any homes or family they lost. As well as films being censored, the item that was the most time consuming, was to check everyday mail and letters. This could be from soldiers at the front line to their families, or just friends keeping in touch. All of these were checked thoroughly for anything which may have a negative outlook and could lower the recipients morale. As some words had to be omitted, it was hard to make sense to the reader.
Letters were not the only text based article to be censored. Newspapers were given extremely tight guide lines to follow when writing stories. They were (like films) not allowed to show any shocking images. The government did not own the paper companies, as it did with the airways of the radio, so they were harder to control. They did however do the final editing. The reason the government took such interest in the newspapers was because people from all backgrounds could read them as they were inexpensive, not like radios and televisions. The government fed the newspapers exaggerated stories and virtually made up figures such as for casualties. This is a good example of the types of propaganda they used. Many major bombings and disasters were covered up by the government. An example of this is was the Balham underground station disaster. A bomb hit it, a water pipe burst and 64 people died. A bus was also turned over. Obviously, this story could not become to public, so everything was denied, and a photo, (which was doctored) was taken as proof. The government would not want that story leaking out as many people were already sheltering down underground stations and the story would cause panic and terror when sheltering there. Propaganda is when information is designed and published for the public to read in an attempt to influence people?s ideas. In the second world war the government produced all of it. It tried to make everybody believe in a certain point of view. The government were also known to have changed and edited pictures and photos. The most famous photo of the war, was one of St. Paul?s Cathedral in flames. This was actually exaggerated with extra effects such as more smoke and flames to make it look more dramatic. I interpreted this as the government trying to show people that though everywhere was bombed, and everybody was going through it at the same time, everybody could still pull through, just like St Paul?s sticking strongly out of the middle of a fire. The underlying view that the government strived to produce was that people should stay calm, pull together and support the war effort. The government tried to tried to create an atmosphere of solidarity and encourage everybody to feel like they are playing a part. The propaganda which was used the most was radio broadcasts. There were reports that the government could reach over 25 million people just through the ?wireless.? It was used to bring cheerful and comic shows to the ears of listeners. One of the most famous was ?It?s that man again? which poked fun at Hitler. These programs helped to show people the brighter side of life and almost certainly boosted morale. As well as entertainment broadcasts, there were also victorious and high spirited speeches to the general public. Many of the speeches contained phrases such as ?We shall not surrender!? This may have had connections with the first world war when the German government ?stabbed the people in the back? by surrendering. Britain did not want to escalate worries that it may happen again. Churchill made many morale boosting speeches that kept Britain in high spirits. The Prime minister and his government were not the only leaders of Britain to produce propaganda. The Royal family went frequently around heavily bombed areas to help boost morale. It was said that they were living in London all the time supporting the British people, except it later turned out that they were advised by the Prime minister to leave London for safety. He admitted that if any harm came to them during a raid, there would be a plummet in the morale levels in Britain, with some people only fighting for the war due to patriotism and for the Royal family. Going to the cinema was a major part of the everyday life for British people, and the government took advantage of this. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the film was censored, but furthermore an extra clip of about 20 minutes was played before the main film started. The clip contained pictures of the war, of course with Britain beating the Germans. This again raised morale throughout Britain with many people believing that Britain had a major upper hand in the war. The clips were accompanied by music. This could be requested by war veterans, or someone that had played a large part in the war effort. I believe in some ways the government?s Propaganda was dishonest, but if they had not distributed it, the British citizens could have ended up in panic or even eventually lose interest in the war and all hope of winning it. If the government had not used their initiative in censorship and propaganda then Britain could well be under German rule today.

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