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Information, Censorship Or Propaganda? The Illustrated French Press In The First World War

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines different photograph collections in order to enhance understanding of photographic propaganda during the Great War. The photograph of a dead French soldier showed the silhouetted body of a zouave, a soldier from the French colonies, abandoned after a victorious attack. This was followed in February 1915 by a photograph of two dead legs, attributed to a French corpse. The chapter provides three conclusions. First, between 1914 and 1918, the French public had access to photographs which vividly depicted some of the most atrocious aspects of life at the front. Second, the idea of an authoritarian and omnipotent censorship office is incorrect, at least as far as the illustrated press is concerned: the censorship of the illustrated press was relatively benign. Finally, the publication of such violent photographs in the press was not the result of official photographic propaganda.

Keywords: censorship; French soldier; Great War; photographic propaganda



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