Second World War white propaganda

White propaganda was published by the British Government throughout the Second World War.

Publications issued by several ministries were aimed at involving civilians in the war effort and assuring them that the armed forces were doing a sterling job. White propaganda on positive developments was also published for the British forces themselves.

Helping the war effort
The Ministry of Information was charged with keeping up public morale. This was a time when the changing nature of warfare demanded that civilian populations contribute to the general war effort.

But it was not just a question of getting support for the war and keeping people's spirits up. Given that most fit adults – that is, men – were away fighting, there were jobs to be filled in the factories, in the mines, and on the land. People were even needed to drive buses and ambulances.

Propaganda encouraged people who had never been employed before – many of them women – to work and 'do their bit' to help the economy and the war.

Practical advice
Ministry of Information publications also gave the public practical advice – for instance, on how to construct air raid shelters, 'dig for victory' and 'make do and mend'.

However, many of the Ministry's campaigns were regarded as patronising, and became an irritation to the public – quite the opposite of what was intended.

White propaganda images
Examples of Second World War white propaganda which are shown here are taken from collections of official publications at the National Library of Scotland. See the NLS Collections page for more information.