World War One and the Birth of Public Relations

Detail from a 1918 poster promoting the sale of war bonds.  Credit: The Toronto Public Library Archives.

Detail from a 1918 poster promoting the sale of war bonds. Credit: The Toronto Public Library Archives.


By 1917, the Canadian government was encountering increased public resistance to the war. South of the border, the US was just entering it, and enlisting methods now common in mass communications. Ira Basen explores how the first global war gave rise to what we'd now call public relations.

Participants in the program:

Stuart Ewen, Professor, Department of Film & Media Studies, Hunter College N.Y. Author of PR: A Social History of Spin.

Susan Brewer - Professor, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Author of Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda From the Philippines to Iraq.

Michael Schudson, Professor, Columbia University.

Helen Thomas, former Washington columnist .

Jeff Keshen - Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Mount Royal University. Author of Propaganda and Censorship During Canada's Great War.

Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media, Culture & Communication, New York University.

Randal Marlin , Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Philosophy, Carleton University. Author of Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion.

Daniel Robinson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information & Media Studies, University of Western Ontario.

Jay Rosen, Associate Professor, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University.

Listen - Audio Excerpt

Laura Brandon talks about notable WWI propaganda posters found in the collection at the Canadian War Museum.

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Image Gallery of WW1 Propaganda Posters

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