Blog Archive

September 2020

“Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once”Guy Woodward finds echoes of PWE campaigns in classic sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo

May 2020

“Jangling caterwauls”: Muriel Spark and the scrambler telephoneBeatriz Lopez explores Spark’s wartime use of a secure telephone and considers the device’s later disturbing reappearance in her novel The Hothouse by the East River (1973)

Anti-malarial disinformation – James Smith finds disturbing echoes of a British wartime disinformation campaign in recent White House press conferences

VE Day: the PWE and the POWs James Smith and Guy Woodward on the PWE’s re-education of POWs

April 2020

Postcard propaganda: Hans Fallada’s Alone in BerlinGuy Woodward finds echoes of PWE campaigns in Hans Fallada’s novel Alone in Berlin

March 2020

Books in disguise: what to do during the Allied invasionGuy Woodward finds an invasion manual disguised as a novel

February 2020

SOE’s ‘virtual reality’ resistance movementGuy Woodward investigates a fictional Balkan resistance movement, and ponders the parallels between propaganda work and writing fiction

January 2020

Muriel Spark and the Ethics of Deception: a didactic approach to black propagandaBeatriz Lopez finds traces of wartime moral dilemmas in Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Cartoons and propaganda: Osbert Lancaster at the PWEGuy Woodward investigates the involvement of Daily Express cartoonist Osbert Lancaster in wartime propaganda

December 2019

‘No Christmas truce in political warfare’: festive wartime propaganda – part 2Guy Woodward on PWE plans for a Christmas radio broadcast featuring Italian POWs

November 2019

Clandestine fiction: John Steinbeck’s The Moon is DownGuy Woodward finds a miniature novel in the PWE papers

October 2019

DON’T drink yourself silly in public: the PWE’s pocket guide to FranceGuy Woodward on the PWE’s pocket guides for service personnel

From Woburn to the St. Petersburg troll factoryreading Peter Pomerantsev’s book This is Not Propaganda, Guy Woodward finds echoes of PWE’s wartime activities in contemporary disinformation campaigns

September 2019

Adolf and His Donkey Benito Guy Woodward on Kem’s cartoons for North Africa

July 2019

PWE and the Durham minersGuy Woodward on the deployment of the Durham miners in wartime propaganda – and the role of a Durham MP in the PWE

June 2019

Discarding history for mythology: Muriel Spark’s mythologizersBeatriz Lopez explores how Muriel Spark’s foremost mythologizers employ WWII myth-making techniques to impose their delusional understandings of the world on reality.

‘L’Entente Cordiale’: D-Day and the literary magazineGuy Woodward

May 2019

Voici l’ordre nouveau!: pop up propagandaGuy Woodward

April 2019

‘Show it only to your intimate friends’: circulating propaganda behind enemy linesGuy Woodward on the reception of propaganda leaflets in enemy and occupied Europe

Brexit and the wartime ‘Projection of Britain’Guy Woodward finds echoes of current political debates in the PWE archive

February 2019

‘The celestial city is as real as any swamp’: Freya Stark in the Middle EastGuy Woodward traces Freya Stark’s involvement in wartime propaganda

Masters of Deceit: Introducing #SparkQuoteoftheWeekBeatriz Lopez introduces a new series exploring Muriel Spark’s fictions of deception

Muriel Spark and plausibilityBeatriz Lopez finds traces of Spark’s wartime service in the PWE in two novels deeply concerned with the appearance of truth

January 2019

Letters in bottles and leaky U-boats: Ian Fleming’s ideas factoryGuy Woodward  traces the involvement of the creator of 007 in covert wartime propaganda

December 2018

“Peace on earth, but only when Hitler is smashed”: Christmas wartime propagandaGuy Woodward on propaganda and the festive season

November 2018

John Betjeman’s Dublin whispersGuy Woodward investigates poet John Betjeman’s role in spreading rumours in neutral Ireland during the Second World War.

Poisoned sweetmeats: introducing #siboftheweekGuy Woodward on the PWE’s production of rumours during the Second World War

The Political Warfare Executive – what’s in a (cover) name?James Smith on Whitehall secrecy and the names used to conceal PWE operations