The strategic use of rumour in wartime is part of the arsenal of governmental power, a self-aware political weapon. While the dissemination of misinformation, propaganda, and news has a lengthy history, it reached its pinnacle during World War Two, particularly through the attempts of the British to spread information that would undercut the confidence of enemy populations, provide hope for populations under enemy control, and support those who were working for an Allied victory. We present an account of the structure of the British propaganda machine, its operational forms, and then describe the spread of a set of active rumours. While it is difficult to determine the effects of these claims, the British believed that rumour diffusion had an important role in shaping public opinion in enemy and occupied nations.
- Great Britain
- World War II
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations