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How We Advertised America: The Amazing Story of the Committee of Public Information


How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee of Public Information

From the Book – The whole business of mobilizing the mind of the world so far as American participation in the war was concerned was in a sense the work of the Committee on Public Information. We had an alternative to face when we went into this war. The instant reaction of habit and tradition was to establish strict censorship, to allow to ooze out just such information as a few select persons might deem to be helpful, and to suppress all of the things which these persons deemed hurtful. This would have been the traditional thing to do. I think it was Mr. Creel’s idea, and it was certainly a great contribution to the mobilization of the mental forces of America, to have, in lieu of a Committee on Censorship, a Committee on Public Information for the production and dissemination as widely as possible of the truth about America’s participation in the war. Undoubtedly for the country to adopt the censorship plan would have been to say, “Now, we must all sit still and breathe cautiously lest we rock the boat.” It was an inspiration to say, instead: “Now, this boat is just so many feet long, it is so many feet wide, it weighs just so much, and the sea is just so deep. If, after having all of these facts before you, you think rocking the boat will help the cause. That is what the Committee on Public Information did, and it required a stroke of genius perhaps not a stroke of genius, but something better than genius to see that it required faith in democracy, it required faith in the fact; for it is a fact that our democratic institutions over here would enable us to deal with information safely; that, as Mr. Creel believed, if we received the facts we could be trusted. . . . It would be impossible, if anybody wanted to do it, to pick out the particular persons to whom credit is due for these great things. Of course, it is very easy to know where the chief credit lies. Nobody could deny that the chief credit lies with the Chief Executive of this nation. As to all the rest, it is glory enough and credit enough to have been permitted to serve under his leadership, and in the cause of which he was the leader; but I want to close what I have to say by pointing out that the mobilization of America, superb as it was, was a mobilization not of men alone, nor of money, nor of industry or labor, but a mobilization of true appreciation of the rights of man. It was a democratic movement which made this great result possible, and in that mobilization of ideas the Committee on Public Information played a part of great distinction and value, and when I speak of the Committee on Public Information, of course, I speak largely of Mr. Creel. The land forces, for which I speak especially, recognize with gratitude the debt which they owe for making their victory possible, and also making it worthwhile. . .

514 pages

Categories: All Books, Miscellaneous


Good Historical Antique! If you’re interested in World War I and the campaigns genereated to arouse public opinion, this is the book for you. George Creel, almost single-handidly, created all of the rousing public relations that marked this tragic war in America. His ideas must have been good. The Nazi propaganda chief, Goebbels, adopted many of them and used them against us. George Creel is a forgotten American hero. He deserves more recognition. –   James B. Saunders   5.0 out of 5 stars

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