The popular history of 100 years (1845-1945) of Anglo-German love/hate, which exposes the secrets of a relationship steeped in mutual admiration, blood and propaganda.
In August 1914, Britain’s first act of war was not to mobilise its army or the Grand Fleet. It was to cut cables preventing German propaganda from reaching American newspapers. This war of words would quickly become as vicious as the slaughter on the Western Front.
For a century, Britain and Germany had been closer than any other two countries. Germany was Britain’s biggest export market, and vice versa. Germans adopted English dress, customs and manners. German thinking on race, national identity, eugenics, and racial supremacy also had its roots in British thinkers like Darwin, Huxley and Galton. Even as late as the Nazi era, Hess, Himmler, Goering and Hitler himself remained passionate Anglophiles.
During WW1, however, Germany, Britain and the USA spent billions on clandestine propaganda to blacken each other’s reputations. This gargantuan effort gave birth to the PR industry itself – later seized upon by Nazi propagandist Goebbels to devastating effect. This expertly written popular history gives a fresh perspective on this tumultuous, painful love-hate relationship, and is also a brilliant study of propaganda itself – now more than ever a vital weapon of war.