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Censorship of the press in France 1917-1918

Sorrie, Charles (2014) Censorship of the press in France 1917-1918. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines the development and implementation of media control in France during the First World War. First it describes the evolution of the press control system between 1914 and 1916 and outlines its bureaucratic framework. The study then analyses the extent to which censorship of the press was useful in helping the French government achieve its aims during the particularly turbulent years of 1917 and 1918. The chapters are set out chronologically and contain sections that examine the role of censorship on a case by case basis. The last two years of the war have been chosen for special examination in this thesis because in 1917 and 1918 France’s war effort was increasingly strained simultaneously by both internal and external events. In 1917 France was threatened with rising war weariness, coinciding with the failed Nivelle Offensive, mutinies at the front and international calls for a negotiated peace settlement. In 1918, as Clemenceau began to rally the nation, France faced its most crucial enemy attack since the Marne in 1914. Most of the thesis focuses on censorship of newspapers in Paris. These papers not only had far larger ciculations than their provincial counterparts but often were read in the provinces more than were local papers. Finally by following a few papers specifically through these two years, it is possible to see the evolution of the way in which papers on the left, right and centre were monitored by the government. This thesis argues that France’s censorship system, while not perfect was effective in achieving the aims set out as its goals in 1914 by the War Ministry: to keep military secrets from the enemy and to help maintain public order.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Charles Sorrie
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DC France
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Stevenson, David

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