Before criticising the book: An Illustrated History of Britain, I have to define what propaganda is. That’s why, I would like to share with you this definition ”Propaganda is a way of spreading ideas and influencing people.
It played an important part in World War II as both the Allies and the Axis used propaganda to shape morale (happiness) of people at home and the forces fighting abroad, and to make the enemy seem more brutal. Propaganda was used to decrease the morale of the people on the other side to try and get them to oppose the war and lose their belief in a victory.” As for British, that’s exactly the point. British applied various ways in order to avoid the combats casualty and to gain strength against their enemies. Undoubtfully, One of these ways is British Propaganda. Their propaganda generally is about the wars which are involved in or any chaos atmospheres.
This propaganda can take many visual and auditory shapes and can spread in many ways. These ways are war posters, books, articles, essays, brochures, newspapers, even poems. Examples of propaganda which includes these ways can influence people’s attitudes and behaviours in terms of thinking so we can say that people can easily be exposed to British Propaganda. For British, propaganda is such a powerful tool that they can provide advantages and pull the people toward itself. We can deduce from this that British needs propaganda to persuade the people or win a war without taking any damages in terms of economic and social ways. There are many examples of British Propaganda throughout the history.
I can cite some articles which take place in the book. An Illustrated History of Britain not only British history but also about Irish, Scottish and Welsh history. However, while reading book, it is possible to be figured out that some of the parts and sections are written in non-objective ways, and the main issues are tried to be slipped away from the reality.
I mean that the book does not reflect the facts and truths without hiding anything. This makes me interested in context of the book that’s why I handled with three sections which are mentioned or not. The first issue I talk over is ”the Opium Wars”, the second one is ”the Great War”, and the last one is ”the Chanak Crisis” or the ”Chanak Affair”.The Opium Wars The book says that ”in 1839 Britain attacked China and forced it to allow the profitable British trade in opium from India to China. The ‘Opium Wars’ were one of the more shameful events in British History”. So far so good but if we think long and hard, we have to deal with opium which is an addictive drug. In China, use of opium was spreading fast, due to this reason Chinese government wanted to block the opium addict so China started to punish drug cartels and drug dealers in the country, and it wiped out all drugs about opium by burning them all.
This was the case for Britain that’s why Britain declared the war against China for removing the ban on opium. In addition to all these events, the cost of the wars forced the Chinese government to accept to make treaties with British. The treaties weighed against China, and it stayed in hard conditions. Throughout the treaties, British tried to set up diversed spy systems within China. Moreover, these treaties provide a basis for criminal and illegal activities.
Unlike the book, this is what shameful one is. When I look at the book, I cannot see any informations about this issue, and these events are slightingly mentioned in the book. In the meantime, British continued to expand their colonies all around the world. While doing these, British caused millions of inhabitants to destroy together with the customs and traditions. It is so obvious that the book is non-objective about the Opium Wars.The Great War The book states that British said that they involved in the Great War because they were defending the weak against the strong, and they asserted they were making war for democracy and freedom. In fact, British entered the war not only for these reasons but also for their trading routes.
They did not want to lose their advantages on trading routes. For this reason, they had to use something against their enemies in the war. I wish that the book mentioned that British entered the war because of their profit. However, what it was only told is that in the Great War the other countries taking place in the entente states need Britain’s help. Moreover, we can understand that the book tried to distort the facts by stating its opinions about the war. The book asserted one more time that loss of the war is based on ”sickness and heat”. The book implies that if it was not faced with these problems, British would be able to defeat the Turks.
They thought that they can beat and surround the Turks with the occupying powers. It was not expected that the Turks could beat off the attacks that’s why British became a threat for the Turks. However, the Turks drove off this threat again by fighting for their lands and their freedom. In the book, these chapters and sessions should have emphasized the impact of the wartime experience on the British Empire as a system of power, and suggest where between these two extremes the Imperial or colonial outcome of the war came to rest.
Whether Britain could transform itself into a continental monster, instead of being constrained into an Imperial and aquatic role, was also an issue between 1914 and 1918. The war did not spawn new Dominion nations in the way that simplified commentaries afterwards assumed. Just as the Great War was for Britain too complex an experience in human terms ever to be satisfactorily reconstructed by historians, so its Imperial dimension cannot be reduced to a formula.The Chanak CrisisUnder Mustafa Kemal Pasha, the Turks look unhappy because of the loss of territories against Greece under the Sèvres Treaty. The Turks drove back the Greeks from Smyrna by force in August 1922 and forced to cross the Dardanelles.
British worried about security of safe zone, and they also feared for the security of the Straits. Lloyd George, the prime minister of the period, tried to strengthen British troops in Chanak in order to prevent the Turks’ attacks. Moreover, by doing all these, the British thought that Dardanelles as a place that is going to earn them a reputation around the world with their victory. However, they could not find what they expected because it was diffucult to broke the defenses of the Çanakkale. In the other words, All these attempts caused the occupying forces to have big problems through the straits because the Turks had laid many mines to block off the British troops.
One more time, we can say that Çanakkale is impassable.