First World War propaganda material digitised for first time

Newsletters produced by the Allies and pamphlets designed to prepare conscripted soldiers for war are among a tranche of propaganda and recruitment papers made available online.

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Newsletters produced by the Allies and pamphlets designed to prepare conscripted soldiers for war are among a tranche of propaganda and recruitment papers now available online.

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Adam Matthew Digital has uploaded 140,000 pages of rare First World War posters, cartoons, aerial leaflets, and government and military files, to a new digital portal titled Propaganda and Recruitment.

Designed to explore the conflict through themes including recruitment and training, dissension, and morale at home and on the front line, the new portal features primary sources, contextual essays and interactive maps.

Highlights include a booklet distributed by the British to the Germans about the conditions enjoyed by prisoners of war (PoWs), and the case file on the loss of the Lusitania, which contains transcripts of interviews with passengers and crew members, and private messages that were sent to the ship.

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The portal also features a German infantry manual, a collection of letters from General Rawlinson to Lord Kitchener, detailing the goings on under his command on the Western Front, and a pamphlet designed to help prepare conscripted soldiers in Britain before they carried out their duties.

The portal also boasts German aerial propaganda aimed at British troops, and French aerial propaganda intended for Polish soldiers in the German armies.

The portal is the second part of Adam Matthew Digital’s First World War archive collection. The first part, launched in September 2011, focused on First World War personal experiences, and comprised diaries, letters and scrapbooks.

The third part, due to launch in May 2014, will focus on visual perspectives and narratives. Drawn from the holdings of the Imperial War Museum in London, this module will feature an array of photographs, artwork, film clips and museum objects, 100 of which will be digitised in a 360-degree format.

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Collection editor Sarah Mellowes told historyextra: “This portal will give an essential insight into the First World War.

“There is such a vast and varied range of material, and also a wealth of international material. It’s just fantastic to be able to showcase so many international perspectives through an array of foreign language sources.

“The content will be of use to people at all levels, from community college students to academics.”

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To explore the portal find out more about the First World War collections, visit www.amdigital.co.uk.