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 in the course of the moment global battle. The ebook attracts on a number of formerly unused fabric from files from throughout Europe and personal memoirs to supply a special perception into the paintings of the best British artists, scientists, musicians and different cultural figures who travelled to Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey at nice own hazard to advertise British lifestyles and notion in a time of battle.
Edward Corse exhibits how the British Council performed a refined yet an important function in Britain's conflict attempt and attracts jointly the teachings of the British Council event to provide a brand new version of cultural propaganda.
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Additional info for A battle for neutral Europe : British cultural propaganda during the Second World War
Even Iceland was not forgotten. ’ The Council is probably the only institution which has ever been paid by a Government to propagate snobbery. If you don’t believe me, listen to this statement by one of its ex-chairmen: ‘We are not catering for the lower type who might like a cup of cocoa or a singsong. . ’ I know that our export trade is in a dreadful state, but snobbery is the one thing we cannot afford to send abroad. 55 It is not possible to verify the accuracy of the ‘ex-chairman’s statement’ as this is not documented elsewhere and if said, is unlikely to have been a written statement.
Admittedly cultural propaganda is primarily a long-term phenomenon and cannot expect to have the same immediate effect as military success in changing opinions, but its effect can be more profound in the long term. It was mentioned above that effective propagandists keep their audiences in mind when creating propaganda. High culture being promoted to elites could be effective (on the assumption that it was promoted well). Mass audiences (in Britain or indeed abroad) were unlikely ever to see the value of the British Council promoting high culture however well it was presented as they were not the intended audience.
To use a well-worn phrase that it was there to ‘fly the flag’ does not begin to describe its role of cultural relations, but this concept did play a role in its existence and purpose. Of course there were other organizations, not least the British Embassies and Consulates, that were also part of this role, and the British Council was there as part of that wider machinery of British presence in foreign countries. It was not just a matter of being seen to be there that was important. Ensuring (or at least trying to ensure) that British interests in the cultural field were treated in the same way as Axis interests, and preferably given favourable treatment, was a vital task.
A battle for neutral Europe : British cultural propaganda during the Second World War by Edward Corse