A battle for neutral Europe : British cultural propaganda by Edward Corse

By Edward Corse

A conflict for impartial Europe describes and analyses the forgotten tale of the British government's cultural propaganda association, the British Council, in its crusade to win the hearts and minds of individuals in impartial Europe through the moment global battle. The publication attracts on a number formerly unused fabric from records from throughout Europe and personal memoirs to supply a different perception into the paintings of the prime British artists, scientists, musicians and different cultural figures who travelled to Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey at nice own hazard to advertise British existence and proposal in a time of conflict.

Edward Corse indicates how the British Council performed a sophisticated yet an important function in Britain's warfare attempt and attracts jointly the teachings of the British Council adventure to supply a brand new version of cultural propaganda.

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26 Even the £2,500 was not safe though, as the economic crisis unfolding at the time meant that the decision was reversed in 1931, though one-third of the money had already been spent. Instead, the Foreign Office’s News Department went into planning mode for when the money returned in the 1932/1933 financial year. There was enough confidence to do this as the News Department believed that the value of British cultural propaganda work had been recognized, together with the cost of other countries’ cultural propaganda on British commercial interests.

Concentrating on the elites had a number of advantages. 53 It was ‘better’ in three senses. First, if there was pre-existing pro-British sympathy in neutral countries, there was likely to be a high proportion of it residing in the elites. As has been stated the elites were more likely to have the time to think about where their sympathies lay and to have vested interests in their sympathies. It is true that this also means that the elites also had the opportunity to think about whether their sympathy should lie with Britain’s enemies – but at least there should be a pocket of genuine pro-Britishness among them due to the elites having more ability to be free thinking.

30 All of these cultural organizations had been established prior to the British Council’s inauguration in December 1934 and so the Council was always playing a game of catch-up in fighting Britain’s corner. 31 Admittedly, it had a lot more of Europe available in which it could operate, and most of it was not neutral territory, but still it gives a good feel for the extent of the German cultural propaganda at this time. 32 The Germans had been heavily influenced by the French model of first promoting its language, with the aim of following that knowledge of its language abroad with the promotion of other forms of its culture.

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