Communication

Communication

Newspapers were not able to freely publish information about the war.

People communicated events on the Home and Fighting Fronts using a variety of mediums. The main avenues of mass communication were printed newspapers, journals, books, posters and the mail. Dogs were used to carry messages.

However, at the start of the war the government introduced censorship under the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) and newspapers were not able to freely publish information about the activities of the war on the fighting fronts.

Journals such as the War Illustrated became very popular but it was primarily a propaganda tool with an emphasis on bravery, honour and 'stirring deeds at the  front'.

There was a wide range of art work and propaganda art created during the war.

A military historian once asserted, "Art and war are old companions. Battlefields and soldiers have been popular subjects with artists since earliest times".

Official war artists such as Paul Nash decided they were no longer going to "paint for propaganda" and asserted that he wanted his art work "to rob war of the last shred of glory the last shine of glamour".

World War 1 saw the establishment of war poetry as a genre of writing. The emergence of the term 'War Poet' meant for the first time a distinction could be made between poets who wrote about war from a distance and those who drew inspiration directly from their experiences on the frontline. Two of the most famous war poets were Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Both men spent time in Edinburgh at the Craiglockhart Military Hospital for Officers. In their very different styles they wrote about the futility of the war and the tragic human cost.

However, many of the combatants of the First World War recorded the daily events of their experiences in the form of a personal diary. Some were subsequently published after the war and have become celebrated. Many more remained tucked away in drawers for years, unpublished and unseen. Scotland's War is delighted to publish some of the donated letters and diaries that have rarely been seen since the tragedy of the conflict.

© Alistair McEwen