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1. Transcending the Nation

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Chapter Summary

In July 1917, a small committee of MPs was formed to organize propaganda in Britain to maintain civilian morale and resolve. This chapter examines some aspects of the National War Aims Committee (NWAC's) work and propaganda. It demonstrates that the Committee's local organizational structure was essential to its operations, enabling both a sense of local agency and participation, and more responsive and appropriate propaganda. Further, the propaganda produced by the Committee contained an underlying narrative of patriotism, which rendered British national identity as a product of both local experience and supranational environment. In Private Lives, Public Spirit, Jose Harris contends that in the years before the war Britain had experienced "a subterranean shift in the balance of social life away from the locality to the metropolis and the nation". While local ties remained important, the nation was now "the centre of gravity".

Keywords: domestic propaganda; Great Britain; National War Aims Committee (NWAC); supranational patriotism



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