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Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign against American "Neutrality" in World War II

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ISBN-13: 978-0195111507
ISBN-10: 0195111508
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This scholarly analysis supports the theory that propaganda is most effective when accelerating natural developments in public opinion. The isolationism that dominated America in the 1930s was challenged by events, specifically ruthless Nazi aggression. British publicists and political leaders assisted the process by highlighting the bonds of a common language, literature and political heritage, transcending what were made to seem minor policy differences. This approach proved especially effective among the Anglophilic elite that dominated U.S. decision making out of all proportion to its numbers. The American people in 1941 joined and fought a war they knew principally through British eyes-a perception fostering the "special relationship" that continues to influence U.S. policies a half-century later. Yet for all this analysis about British influence, what choice did the U.S. have once Japan attacked and Germany declared war?
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Isolationists blamed Britain for gulling the U.S. into the First World War and stood firmly against Britain's vital need to get America involved in the second. With subtlety a necessity and "No Propaganda" their operational byword, the British set about their task of isolating the isolationists by massaging as many media outlets and film studios as they could. Cull delves into the organizations set up to mold American opinion, which combined overt and covert methods. Using the former method, they simply allowed radio broadcasts of the Blitz, which created the Edward R. Murrow legend as well as confidence that Britain would not be defeated. In secret, they weren't above placing articles favorable to their cause or even foisting a fraud on FDR. In October 1941, Roosevelt claimed to have a Nazi map of German plans for South America, a map likely forged by the man named Intrepid, William Stephenson, the SIS boss in New York. Cull meticulously looked for the source of the map, but its footprints were likely covered up once the purpose of the British information-offensive was attained. Highly detailed, this history elevates this aspect of America's entry into the war above the footnote status, where it has hitherto resided. For larger collections. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195111508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195111507
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,912,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Philip Ufnowski on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was, generally, 'okay'. There were some information errors. For instance, author says the British loss the Battleships "Nelson and Barham". The HMS Nelson was mined twice and scrapped in 1949. A second serror was saying the German heavy cruiser Priz Eugen was a German battleship. It was, as I wrote, a heavy cruiser with 8 inch naval rifles. A more important error was the author saying that Churchill proposed France and Britain amalgamate. He said it was a propaganda ploy. William Shirer in his book about the downfall of the French republic say it was a proposal to stop the French government from signing a separate treaty. Such a treaty was in violation of an earlier treaty under provisions said neither nation would sign a separate peace without mutual consent.

Author kept moving around from different events somewhat breaking cohesion of the premise. The British may have found sympathy in America but it did not get America to get into the war.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Williams on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sixty-five years ago, Americans believed that their government's renewed relations with the British Empire in support of the Queen's military effort in Europe's Great War had been a mistake. They believed that ignoring Thomas Jefferson's wisdom of "Friendship and trade with all nations; Entangling alliances with none", was a costly and deadly mistake. In the future, they said, Americans would leave the Europeans to settle their differences without American interference and the British Empire would have to tread without American brawn - "Burn everything British except their coal" said one Irish-American banner in 1921.

According to Prof Nicholas John Cull of Leicester Univ, American neutrality was contrary to British foreign policy so a British 'Fifth Column' was implemented to suck America back into her Mama's Empire. Winston Churchill, who held American and British citizenships, probably did more to suck America back into the British Empire than any other single British statesman. Churchill boasted that he had "dreamed of, aimed at, and worked for" American brawn to backup British Empire during WWII. Everywhere the Yanks are embroiled today are those quagmires originally created by the British, Iraq is just one good example (See also 'Churchill's Folly: How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq' by C. Catherwood at www.amazon.co.uk).

Prof Nicholas John Cull at Leicester Univ did his PhD in 1991 at Leeds on British propaganda and information warfare aimed at getting America off her libertarian footing and back to providing the brawn to British Empire as was accomplished for the first world war.
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10 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Alleyn Guo on September 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
From June 1940 through to June 1941, Britain stood alone against an alliance of European countries, led by Germany, that were hell-bent on the destruction of freedom and the subjugation of all non-Germanic peoples. Cull has studied Britain's attempts to gain itself an ally against Nazism, but concludes oddly that these attempts were in some way sinister. He fails to convince. Britain's role against fascism was surely a heroic one, a subject for our admiration, and Britain's desire to obtain American help is surely neither insidious nor surprising.
Cull describes in detail the propaganda methods used by the British. They sent American radio stations recordings of British news broadcasts, and wrote articles in American newspapers seeking support. This rather mundane activity is related as if it is quite spine-chilling. Now, if Cull could prove that the British terrorized America and then framed the Germans I would sit up and take notice, but the fact is the British did nothing of the kind - they were, after all, the champions of the free world and not about to erode the very principles of justice they were fighting to preserve.
One of Cull's main grudges revolves around a "Nazi map of German plans for South America" which, he says, Roosevelt used to convince Americans of German villainy and which, he says, was forged. Having already convinced himself of British villainy, he concludes that this map can only have been foisted on the American people by British spies. Cull seems to have moved mountains to obtain evidence that his theory is correct, but admits to having failed. Undaunted, he concludes that his theory is correct, the map must have been forged by the British secret service, but - here's Catch 22 - they were so crafty that they ensured no-one would ever find any proof.
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Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign against American "Neutrality" in World War II
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