Propaganda in prose : a comparative analysis of language in British Blue Book reports on atrocities and genocide in early twentieth-century Britain.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
This paper examines three British Blue Book reports published in early twentieth-century Britain during the war period. The first report examines the invasion of Belgium by the German army and their maltreatment of Belgian people. The second report discusses the Committee of Union and Progress’ acts of cruelty against Armenian Christians. Both of these reports were authored, compiled and then distributed by the British Government in Britain and other Western countries. The third report discusses German colonial rule in South-West Africa and their abuse of ‘native’ Herero. This report was compiled and authored in South- West Africa, but published for a British audience. This dissertation engages in a comparative analysis of these three Blue Book reports. It examines how they are structurally different, but thematically and qualitatively similar. Investigation begins with discussion of the reports’ authors and how they validate claims made in the respective prefaces. Subsequently, there is examination of thematic similarities between each report’s historical narratives. Historiography is employed extensively to contextualise these reports and engage in wider debates on their objectives. This dissertation engages with three major strands of historiography: The British Government’s employment of propaganda during the First World War British Blue Books reports; and wartime propaganda. The South-West African report has a lack historiography. This paper seeks to fill a gap, while also adding to modern scholarship on British Blue Books. This dissertation demonstrates that wartime British Blue Books were not unique, as they deliberately illustrate similar thematic tropes and rhetorical devices throughout both their prefaces and historical narratives.