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Don't You Believe It!
How much do you know about World War I?

Don't You Believe It!

Don't You Believe It tests you on propaganda.

World War One saw the first mass use of propaganda by both sides. Governments made sure that the people only heard what the government wanted them to. The aim was to make people think that they were on the side of justice, to encourage people to volunteer for military service and, most of all, to portray the enemy as being evil. Defeats went unreported, half-truths were exaggerated and lies were spread as news. The facts differed greatly from what people actually got to hear.

In 1915 the British passenger ship RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat. In an attempt to create anger against the Germans, what story was made up?
The German Kaiser threw a party to celebrate the sinking
German toy shops sold models of the sinking Lusitania
German sailors had deliberately shot survivors of the sinking
German children were given the day off school to celebrate the sinking
Of the 1,198 people killed in the sinking, 128 were American. This prompted British attempts to get America into the war. The attempts failed and America did not join the war until two years later
Many German propaganda posters used what part of German culture as their theme?
The denizens of Germanic myth, such as valkyries, dragons and sword-wielding heroes, appeared on many posters. They also named parts of their defensive structure, The Hindenburg Line, after mythological heroes such as Siegfried and Wotan
An American propaganda poster shows which character, wearing a German uniform and sitting on top of a pile of skulls?
The Red Baron
Count Dracula
The Kaiser
The Devil
This demonisation of the enemy worried some people. American professor, Vernon Kellogg, said "...after the war, the people of the world, when they recognise any human being as a German, will shrink aside so that they may not touch him as he passes, or stoop for stones to drive him from their path"
In 1915 the 'Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages' was published by the British in an attempt to sway neutral countries against Germany. Into how many languages was it translated?
Ten languages
Twenty languages
Thirty languages
Forty languages
The report was widely distributed, especially in America, where it was popularly received and helped to turn public opinion against Germany. Despite this, the report itself contained no actual proof and is considered by most historians to be untrue
In 1917 it was reported in the British press that the Germans were making what from the bodies of their fallen soldiers?
Lubricating oil
This story was based on a (probably deliberate) mistranslation of the German word "Kadaververwertungsanstalt." In reality the bodies of fallen horses were being rendered into glue, a practice which was common at the time
A British newspaper report, on the beginning of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, omits which detail?
Amount of land lost
Number of British casualties
Amount of land captured
Number of German casualties
The report mentions German artillery weapons which have been captured (2), German soldiers who have been killed (600) or taken prisoner (several hundred) and ground won from the Germans (1km). It does not mention any British casualties, which, by the end of the Battle one month later, had reached almost 60,000
After Germany invaded Belgium, stories of atrocities appeared in the British press. Which of these was NOT said to have happened?
The cutting off of children's hands
Children being given hand grenades as toys
The bayonetting of babies
The eating of babies
Many crimes were reported, including gouging out people's eyes and crucifying soldiers, but cannibalism was not reported. Perhaps it was thought too barbaric to be believed. An investigation concluded that, "...none of the rumours of wanton killings and torture could be verified."
In Britain a law limiting what could be reported was brought in on 8th August 1914. What was this law called?
The Reporting of War Act
The Correspondence Act
The Defence of the Realm Act
The Freedom of Information Act
The Defence of the Realm Act stated that, "No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty's forces or among the civilian population." It listed what could be reported, but also what could not, such as the movement of ships, the number of British troops and any future plans
Which activity was done during the night in an attempt to keep it from the British public's eyes?
The execution of German prisoners
The return to England of wounded men
The execution of German spies
The return to England of retreating soldiers
The losses during the battles of Ypres and the Somme were so great in number that trains, their carriages filled with injured men, were used to bring them home. They arrived at Victoria Station late at night and early in the morning. No newspapers reported on their arrivals
One anti-German poster, encouraging men to enlist, shows a gorilla with a club, wearing a German helmet and carrying a helpless woman. What is the headline of this poster?
Save the women of the world!
Destroy this mad brute!
Protect us from the German beast!
Fight for her life!
American sociologist, Dr. Harold Lasswell said, "...every war must appear to be a war of defence against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about who the public is to hate." He believed that demonising the enemy was a necessary act of war


Author:  Graeme Haw

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