Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection, 1940-1944

Overview of the Collection

Cummins, Jane
Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection
1940-1944 (inclusive)
.25 linear feet, (1 box)
Collection Number
The Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection consists of World War II propaganda pamphlets, flyers, and magazines dating from 1940 to 1944.
Willamette University Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem, OR
Telephone: 5033706866
Fax: 5033706141
Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Great Britain was desperate to gain the full support of the United States to defeat Nazi Germany. However, Britain was not only fighting against anti-British propaganda but also American isolationism. By the fall of 1940, Britain had gained the sympathy of most Americans after witnessing in newspapers, radio broadcasts, and newsreels the devastating effects of German aerial bombardments of British cities (later coined by the British press as the Blitz), but many Americans still remained fiercely resistant to entering the war. Thus, Britain redoubled its propaganda efforts in the US by concentrating its resources into the British Information Services, located in Rockefeller Center, New York City. The purpose of the British Information Services was to strengthen relations with the US, working to aggressively influence Americans through active promotion and distribution of British views and documents on the war.

The Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection includes many British Information Services pamphlets, flyers, and magazines from 1940 to 1944, as well as a few publications from other publishing agencies. The purpose of most of the propaganda material is to prove Britain's competency and strength. Some propaganda magazines highlight the accomplishments and capabilities of the Royal Air Force, Army and Navy, while others marvel at Britain's increased production in arms, ammunition, and military vehicles. Some of the propaganda depicts the ordinary accomplishments of the British people as a way to promulgate the stability and vitality of the country. Most importantly, many of the propaganda pamphlets and flyers promote camaraderie against a common enemy. A few pamphlets emphasize the differences between Britain and Germany (and even Japan) to associate Britain with the ideals of democracy and freedom, fighting against the menace of Nazism and fascism. Some touch on the unified strength of the British Commonwealth (or Common Pool) as a way to prove that even colonized, or previously colonized, nations have stayed with Britain and have provided resources and men to fight in the war effort. All of these messages were an attempt to convince Americans that the United States had a clear stake in Britain's war effort and that total support was essential to defeat Germany.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection consists of World War II propaganda pamphlets, flyers, and magazines dating from 1940 to 1944. There is one published by the American Association for Adult Education on US National Defense (1940), but the majority focus on Great Britain, its views, war efforts, and accomplishments. The collection contains a 1940 pictorial record of the British people, illustrating Britain's education, social, and medical services; British children; and British culture and activities enjoyed during peace and wartime. Among the more war-oriented material in the collection are a 1940 "The Might of the Army" magazine and an undated Illustrated magazine titled "Royal Air Force Special Number," two copies of War in Pictures, and an Illustrated London News magazine depicting warcraft and warfare. The collection also features a print copy of Winston Churchill's speeches ("Some excerpts from wartime speeches" published in 1943) and articles written by General Jan Smuts ("Prospects of War and Peace" published in 1940), Vincent Harlow ("A Commonwealth in Arms"), Herbert Morrison ("Mr. Smith and Mr. Schmidt"), T. A. Raman ("What India Wants" published in 1941), and Sir George Dunbar ("India at War" published in 1940). It also includes a flyer advertising the radio schedule of Britain Speaks, a political broadcast service for US listeners, as well as a pamphlet analyzing Britain Speaks published by Princeton Listening Center (1940).

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Publications are grouped together based on publisher, title, or subject.

Location of Collection

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Progress in Freedom
Booklet published by the British Information Serivces, an agency of the British government, in New York City at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It features a pictorial record of the life and activities of the British people during wartime.
1943 October
1 2 British propaganda pamphlets
The folder features a radio broadcast from the Listener of General Smuts on July 21, 1940 in Cape Town, titled "Prospects of War and Peace." It was reprinted by the British Library of Information in New York City at 50 Rockefeller Plaza. The folder also includes four pamphlets that were printed in England: "The Four Red Lights" (author not named); "We Shall Win Because" (author not named); "Commonwealth in Arms" by Vincent Harlow, which was originally a radio broadcast given on July 15th, 1940; and "Mr. Smith and Mr. Schmidt" by Herbert Morrison. The folder also contains a "Britain Speaks" pamphlet, published by British Broadcasting Corporation in New York City, which provides a schedule of B.B.C news broadcasts with dates, times, and description.
1 3 The strength of Britain propaganda booklets
The folder includes two booklets: "Britain and the Common Pool" and "The Might of the Army." "Britain and the Common Pool" was published in March of 1944 by the British Information Services in New York City. It describes the development of the Common Pool, its purpose and importance, and its contributions. "The Might of the Army" was printed in England in November of 1940. It provides pictures and descriptions of the British Army and its weaponry and war production, such as its tanks, guns, motor vehicles, etc.
1940, 1944
1 4 British Information Services propaganda booklets
The folder contains three booklets: "Britain versus Japan," "5 Years of War," and "The First Four Years." All three were published by the British Information Services, an agency of the British Government, located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. "Britain versus Japan" was printed in June of 1944 and describes how the British fought against the Japanese for years. It also depicts British colonies in Asia and Oceania. "5 Years of War" was printed on September 3, 1944 and outlines Britain's role in the war from 1940 to 1944, as well as a record of bombs dropped and amount of "Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat" sacrificed over the five years. "The First Four Years" provides a four-year record of Britain, including a timeline of events and a record of the British Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, war production, and the British people.
1 5 British booklets on World War II
The folder features two war booklets printed in London. The first is "Britain To-Day," the forty-third in its series, published by Longmans, Green Co. on December 27, 1940. The second is called "The Issue," and was the second in its series, reprinted by Macmillian Co. from the Round Table War Pamphlets. "Britain To-Day" features four articles: "The Remaking of Britain" by the editor, "Clydeside" by William Power, "The M. and B. Discovery" by Sherwood Taylor, and "British Documentary Films" by Dilys Powell. "The Issue" is an article that outlines "what the stake is" and "what exactly the world is facing."
1 6 Illustrated: Royal Air Force Special Number
Illustrated magazine was published in Great Britain by Odhams (Watford) Limited. This special issue includes eight articles on the RAF (Royal Air Force). One featured story focuses on a squadron of RAF bombers who took part in the first leaflet raid over Germany on September 3, 1939 and is titled "Onslaught on Germany." The other articles are titled: "The Air Council," "How the Empire's Air Power Covers the World," "Victorious Fighters,""How They Work: Why They Win," "The Bomber - and Its Task," "Costal Command," "John Smith Joins the Air Force," and "Heroes of the Air Fights." The magazine includes numerous photos, with captions, of the RAF, soldiers in action, and RAF warcraft.
1 7 British Information Services special edition booklets
The folder contains two British Information Services booklets titled "African Victory with The British Forces: From El Alamein to Cape Bon" and "Winston Churchill Prime Minister: Some Excerpts from Wartime Speeches." The first pamphlet details the advancement of the British in North Africa from El Alamein on October 23, 1942 to its conclusion on May 13, 1943 in Cape Bon. The second pamphlet provides short excerpts of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's wartime speeches over the radio, as well as various addresses, from November 12, 1939 to September 6, 1943. The pamphlet also includes numerous pictures of Churchill.
1 8 The Illustrated London News - Supplementary Issue: The "Graf Spee" Action and its Aftermath
The folder includes a supplementary magazine issue of The Illustrated London News on the first naval battle of World War II, detailing the defeat of the German Admiral ship Graf Spee that had been commerce raiding Allied merchant ships. The issue details the successful attack and capture of the Graf Spee and its accompanying supply ship, the Altmark, by the British Navy during the Battle of the River Plate. It provides numerous pictures of the wreckage and aftermath and also illustrates the welcoming return of the Royal Navy cruisers: HMS Exeter, Ajax, and Achilles (which was from the New Zealand Division).
1 9 War in India
The folder features a handout titled "What India Wants" by T. A. Raman, published by the British Library of Information located at 50 Rockefeller Plaze in New York City, in February 1941. T. A. Raman is a member of the Indian Congress Party and London Correspondent of the Congress Paper and The Hindustan Times. The folder also includes a booklet published by Williams Cloews and Sons in England. It is titled "India at War: A Record and Review 1939-1940." The booklet is by Sir George Dunbar and includes a forward by Field-Marshall the Lord Birdwood.
1 10 War in Pictures magazine
War in Pictures magazine was published in Britain by L.T.A. Robinson Limited. The two magazines featured were printed in September and December 1940. The front cover of the first magazine provides a picture of an aircraft over a burning ship at sea and includes a short excerpt titled "Britain Rules the Sea." The magazine includes articles and pictures of the Royal Navy, American and British aircraft, Indian soldiers and sailors, and war production and bases. The front cover of the second magazine features a Dutch Fokker T.8 W float plane, including an excerpt titled "The Dutch Fight on for Freedom." The magazine contains articles and pictures of Taranto Harbor, the Royal Navy, British bombing raids on Germany, and Gibraltar.
1940 September - December
1 11 American booklets on World War II
This folder contains two booklets. The first was printed by the American Association for Adult Education and the second by the Princeton Listening Center. The purpose of the first booklet, titled "Defense Papers," is to help guide Americans on the "study of National Defense." Topics include the efficiency of rearmament, training workers for defense, risk to civil liberities, and Japan. "Defense Papers" also provides a list of books, pamphlets, radio programs, and films that relate to the topics. Princeton Listening Center is a project of the School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University, financed by the Rockefeller Foudnation to study European international broadcasting in wartime. The booklet, titled "Britain Speaks: Broadcasts to America," is the twelfth in its series. It critiques the British Broadcasting Corporation, looking at its "voice," persuasion skills and tactics, themes, and effectiveness on American listeners.
1940 November - December

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Propaganda
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, British
  • World War, 1939-1945--Propaganda
  • World War, 1939-1945--Social aspects--Great Britain

Geographical Names

  • Great Britain