Category Archives: politics

Propaganda, American and British

Ian Whitcomb’s essay Over There shows how in America official agencies such as George Creel’s Committee on Public Education mobilised the popular media (including music) from the very beginning of America’s engagement in the War. George Creel’s How We Advertised the War (1920) gives an account of how it was done. This was in marked […]


After C.W. Daniel had been convicted under DORA for publishing Despised and Rejected, the novel about homosexuals and pacifists, he received this letter: 20.X.18 Dear Mr Daniel, As I say, I can only hope that the enormous fine inflicted on you, for no offence at all, may serve as an advert, at all events, to […]

Stephen Graham

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Stephen Graham’s A Private in the Guards is the most  considered and penetrating of twenties war memoirs. His account of the training methods used by N.C.Os in the Scots Guards lays great stress on ‘the humiliation of recruits by words or blows’ and ‘the use of glaringly indecent language’.  I’ve […]


This week’s Daily Telegraph has done a great deal to educate us about our rulers. Reading about the activities  of Phil Hope, from the  Ministry of Health, I was reminded of Chesterton’s 1922 poem about education, Citizenship: For he will learn, if he will try, The deep interior truths whereby We rule the Commonwealth ; […]

Kipling, for the ECB

Here’s a picture of the grandees of world cricket taking money last year from that obvious chancer Sir Allen Stanford, and apparently not bothering to ask where it came from. Now, of course, he has landed them in a financial pickle  – though the people of Antigua are even worse off. Seeing the picture, I […]

More Paranoia, from F. Britten Austin

As well as the lurid Battle of London, I’ve been looking at another paranoid Red menace story of the twenties, F.Britten Austin’s They Who Laughed, in his future-war collection, The War God Walks Again. Like Hugh Addison’s novel, this places the Red hordes in control of London landmarks. It begins with socialist leaders looking down […]

“The Right to Strike”

I’ve been trying to find out about the  controversial 1920 play, The Right to Strike by Ernest Hutchinson. In this, railway workers on a Yorkshire line have a legitimate grievance about their wages, so they strike, knowing that without the railway, food and essential supplies will soon run out in the isolated town of Valleyhead. […]

“The Bomb Shop”

A book I’m investigating at the moment is ‘D’ Company and Black ‘Ell: Two Plays by Miles Malleson, published in 1916 by the radical publisher Henderson. The police raided Henderson’s shop in the Charing Cross Road, and all copies in stock were confiscated under the Defence of the Realm Act. Black ‘Ell is a strong […]

D.H.Lawrence in The English Review

A while back I remember reading a reference in the Times Lit Supp to “D.H.Lawrence’s anti-war story, England My England.” This struck me as odd at the time. I suppose the writer’s reasoning is that the story shows war as rather nasty, and everybody knows that DHL had a rotten time in the war, so […]

Once a Hun, Always a Hun

That’s the title of a film distributed by the Ministry of Information in 1918 – a film that attracted severe criticism in Parliament. I’m getting interested in the scale of Government propaganda operations during the War, and the reactions to them, so I’ve been looking at the Hansard report of the Commons debate on 5th […]