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British Education / Propaganda For Educating Soldiers

Fine example of issue No. 71 of the Bureau of Current Affairs publication forJuly 16 to July 29th 1945.

Scarce educational map and broadsheet, published by the Bureau of Current affairs, the post World War II incarnation of the Army Bureau of Current Affairs, which was created in 1941 to promote education within the British Military. The publication would ultimately be seen as controversial left-leaning propaganda in Britain.

The broadsheet newsmap provides a rich historical tableau of post-World War II educational efforts within the British Military, serving as an illustrative and informative piece designed to enlighten military personnel on global strategic considerations at the time. 

The central feature of the first side is a globe focusing on the Pacific, surrounded by four corner maps that delve into the Western Pacific region. These maps portray the strategic movements of Allied forces as they advanced towards the Asian continent. The use of metaphorical 'bridges' illustrates the Allies' tactical efforts to establish a strong presence capable of overcoming the Japanese forces. This visual representation serves as a military educational aid, aligning with the curriculum of the Army Education Scheme and intended to be part of a series that would appear monthly on the back of Map Review.

On the verso, the broadside takes on a more varied and news-oriented character. It presents a collection of illustrations and maps supplemented with current affairs articles to provide a comprehensive informational snapshot. Among the highlights is a news story regarding the arrest of Philippe Pétain, the Marshal of France, reflecting the turbulent political climate and the reckoning with collaborationist elements in post-war Europe. The inclusion of a photograph from the Potsdam Conference with prominent leaders and diplomats encapsulates a pivotal moment in history, where decisions were made that shaped the post-war world order.

This broadside can be seen as a historical artifact that encapsulates the educational and propaganda efforts of the time. Its dual function as both an informative piece and a strategic guide reflects the complexity of the post-war period, wherein military education was interwoven with political and ideological narratives. The publication's later characterization as controversial and left-leaning indicates its part in the broader debate over the role of education and propaganda in military and governmental institutions. This broadside, therefore, stands as a testament to the multifaceted approaches to post-war military education and the dissemination of geopolitical strategy within the British Armed Forces

Army Bureau of Current Affairs

The Army Bureau of Current Affairs, or ABCA, was established by William Emrys Williams to educate and raise morale amongst British servicemen and servicewomen during World War II. Williams insisted - despite some controversy - on the right to education, in particular in current affairs, for servicemen and women, and so in mid-1941 Williams established the ABCA and ran it for the duration of the war.

Through the ACBA, officers attended courses on conducting discussion groups. These discussions started as hourly sessions each week. ABCA rapidly expanded resulting in photographic display; wall newspaper articles written by the men themselves and an "Anglo American Brains Trust". The ABCA issued pamphlets in units and promoted discussion about subjects such as post-war reconstruction and the Beveridge report. ABCA met with resistance from Winston Churchill who felt it was a poor use of military time.

The ABCA is generally regarded as a factor in the landslide Labour Party victory in the post-war general election in 1945, a charge that was refuted by General Ronald Adam, the Adjutant General, who had overall responsibility for the Bureau. Nonetheless, ABCA organizers and teachers predominantly seem to have been left-wing, as were the soldiers who attended the classes. The classes became dominated by discussion of nationalization and social justice. The service vote in the election that followed is said to have been the most dramatic reflection of the public mood, with as many as 80% of soldiers voting for the Labour Party according to some sources.

After the war and under the auspices of the Carnegie Trust, Williams transformed the ABCA into the Bureau of Current Affairs, moving their offices to Piccadilly in London and continued their activities in peace-time with the assistance of several ABCA contributors including the artists James Boswell.

Condition Description
Printed on both sides.