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Making the truth graphic : the Canadian government’s home front information structure and programmes… Young, W. R. 1978

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c MAKING THE TRUTH GRAPHIC: THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT'S HOME FRONT INFORMATION STRUCTURE AND PROGRAMMES DURING WORLD WAR by WILLIAM ROBERT YOUNG B.A., York University, 1969 M.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1 9 7 8 ( c ) William Robert Young, 1 9 7 8 In present ing th i s thes is in p a r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make it f ree l y ava i lab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thes is for scho la r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h is representat ives . It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th is thes is fo r f i n a n c i a l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permission. Department of History  The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date 10 A p r i l 1978 A B S T R A C T During the Second World War, the Canadian government could claim only moderate success for i t s information opera-tions. To begin with, the government had d i f f i c u l t y i n 1939 establishing i t s f i r s t - e v e r , f u l l - s c a l e wartime information agency, the Bureau of Public Information, and providing i t with an e f f e c t i v e organization and p o l i c y . Various outside i n t e r e s t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y Canadian newspapers and s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s , pressed the government to adopt a policy which refl e c t e d t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r views on the role of wartime information in a l i b e r a l democratic system. After tr y i n g out an information p o l i c y that rested on f a c i l i t a t i n g newspaper coverage, the minister of National War Services with responsi-b i l i t y for public information allowed the director of Public Information to expand his a c t i v i t i e s in an ad hoc manner and to adopt newspaper or s o c i a l s c i e n t i f i c techniques i f he saw f i t . This approach s a t i s f i e d no one and led to a complete reorganization of information work in 1942 and the formation of the Wartime Information Board, the Bureau's replacement, which f i n a l l y emerged with a p o l i c y in 1943. The chief archi-tect of the new approach, John Grierson, wanted to use the s o c i a l sciences in an integrated media approach that explained how democracy f i t into an increasingly complex, technological society. But this was d i f f i c u l t . The WIB could not avoid involvement in c o n f l i c t i n g currents of midwar opinion. Ortho-dox free-enterprisers asserted the primacy of private business ( i i ) w h i l e anyone w i t h o p i n i o n s to the l e f t o f them urged v a r y i n g degrees o f s o c i a l change. The r e f o r m e r s t h e m s e l v e s , however, c o u l d not agree on the d e s i r a b l e measures. A f t e r b a r e l y e s c a p i n g the c r o s s f i r e , G r i e r s o n r e s i g n e d i n 1944. The new g e n e r a l manager, A.D. Dunton, f i n a l l y succeeded i n s e t t i n g up a s m o o t h l y - r u n o p e r a t i o n t h a t g e n e r a l l y f o l l o w e d G r i e r s o n ' s d i r e c t i o n . At the same time t h a t the board was e x p l a i n i n g demo-c r a t i c p r o c e d u r e s to Canadians, however, p o l i t i c a l i n t e r f e r e n c e i n i t s o p e r a t i o n s demonstrated t h a t the new propaganda t e c h -n i q u e s c o u l d be m a n i p u l a t e d f o r p o s s i b l y u n d e m o c r a t i c ends. The e v o l u t i o n o f o f f i c i a l wartime i d e o l o g y more or l e s s p a r a l l e l l e d p o l i c y development. The Bureau began by t r y -i n g to e s t a b l i s h a concept of Canadian n a t i o n a l i s m t h a t encom-passed a m i x t u r e o f c h a u v i n i s t i c p a t r i o t i s m and a g e n e r a l r e a l i z a t i o n o f the o u t l i n e s o f Canadian n a t i o n h o o d . In the wartime co n t e x t , t h i s meant p r e s e n t i n g a view of the enemy, of the a l l i e s and o f wartime events t h a t would m o b i l i z e Canadians to s u pport the government's p o l i c i e s . I t a l s o i n v o l v e d t r y i n g to d e f i n e a view of 'Canadianism' t h a t would encompass the e t h n i c community as w e l l as E n g l i s h and French Canadians. By the m i d d l e o f the war, i t was o b v i o u s t h a t t h i s approach had not proved s a t i s f a c t o r y . The BPI's s u c c e s s o r , the Wartime I n f o r m a t i o n Board c o u l d not t o t a l l y r e o r i e n t a l l these opera-t i o n s but d i d manage to e s t a b l i s h new programmes t h a t took a d i f f e r e n t approach to Canadian n a t i o n h o o d . B a s i c a l l y , t h e s e programmes t r i e d t o awaken a sense o f p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a l i e n a t e d groups, to take i n d i v i d u a l needs i n t o account and t o provoke d i s c u s s i o n about the d i r e c t i o n of government p o l i c y . The C i i i l propaganda o p e r a t i o n s , however, were not t o t a l l y r e o r i e n t e d and r e t a i n e d some elements of c h a u v i n i s t i c p a t r i o t i s m . The new system, d e s p i t e i t s success i n heading o f f popular d i s -content, opened the door to m a n i p u l a t i o n of p u b l i c o p i n i o n . ( i v ) TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION PART I: BUILDING THE STRUCTURES: THE THEORY AND POLICY OF INFORMATION Chapter I Chapter I I Chapter I I I Chapter IV The Years o.£clIndirection, 1939 to 1942 7 A New S i n g e r and a New Song: The Wartime I n f o r m a t i o n Board and John G r i e r s o n 39 I n f o r m a t i o n and P o l i t i c a l C o n f l i c t 71 The F l o w e r i n g and the Demise o f the Wartime I n f o r m a t i o n Board 102 PART I I : THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEMES Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter V I I Chapter V I I I Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter X I I D e f i n i n g Canada's P l a c e i n the War, I : B a t t l i n g the Enemy 125 D e f i n i n g Canada's P l a c e i n the War, I I : War Events and Canada's A l l i e s 141 Working f o r U n i t y , I : A n t i - S u b v e r s i v e A c t i v i t i e s and the Canadian E t h n i c Community 164 Working f o r U n i t y , I I : BreaKEown i n French Canada 197 A New N a t i o n a l P o i n t o f View 215 A p p l y i n g the New N a t i o n a l i s m , I : Wartime R e s t r i c t i o n s 229 A p p l y i n g the New N a t i o n a l i s m , I I : Workers and S o l d i e r s 252 The F i n a l T e s t : Post-War I n f o r m a t i o n 271 CONCLUSION 289 NOTES BIBLIOGRAPHY 302 407 (v) APPENDIX A: CAST OF CHARACTERS 4 29 APPENDIX B: BUREAU OF PUBLIC INFORMATION: ORGANIZATION AND EXPENDITURES 443 APPENDIX C: WARTIME INFORMATION BOARD: ORGANIZATION AND EXPENDITURES 445 ( v i ) ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I n p r e p a r i n g t h i s w o r k , I h a v e i n c u r r e d many d e b t s . I am g r a t e f u l f o r t h e a d v i c e a n d e n c o u r a g e m e n t o f D r . M a r g a r e t P r a n g , my s u p e r v i s o r . J a c k G r a n a t s t e i n r e m a i n e d a c o n s t a n t s o u r c e o f c o m m e n t , a s s i s t a n c e a n d e x h o r t a t i o n . V i v N e l l e s , N e d H a g e r m a n , M a r g a r e t M a t t s o n , J a c q u e s N a u d , P a t O x l e y a n d L e s l i e B u r k e r e a d v a r i o u s s e c t i o n s o f t h e m a n u s c r i p t d u r i n g i t s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s . W i t h o u t t h e g e n e r o u s a i d o f t h e s t a f f o f t h e P u b l i c A r c h i v e s o f C a n a d a , t h i s w o r k w o u l d h a v e b e e n i m p o s s i b l e t o r e s e a r c h . C l a u d e L e M o i n e o f t h e N a t i o n a l L i b r a r y a r r a n g e d f o r a n o t h e r e s s e n t i a l , a p l a c e t o w o r k . J a c q u e s N a u d , C a r o l M a c l e o d , S h i r l e y S t e v e n s a n d K a t i e I n n i s s t r o v e v a l i a n t l y t o c r e a t e a s i l k p u r s e . My p a r e n t s a n d f r i e n d s k e p t up my f l a g g i n g s p i r i t s . I t h a n k t h e m a l l a n d I a l o n e a c c e p t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r a n y s h o r t c o m i n g s . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n was p r e p a r e d w i t h t h e f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e o f t h e C a n a d a C o u n c i l a n d t h e J . S . E w a r t F o u n d a t i o n . ( v i i ) INTRODUCTION Du r i n g the Second World War, the Canadian government f o r m a l l y e n t e r e d the propaganda b u s i n e s s . By e s t a b l i s h i n g the Bureau o f P u b l i c I n f o r m a t i o n and the Wartime I n f o r m a t i o n Board, the government p u b l i c l y undertook the t a s k o f m a r s h a l l i n g p u b l i -c i t y and e d u c a t i o n a l t e c h n i q u e s to m o b i l i z e the p o p u l a t i o n f o r wartime a c t i v i t y . T h i s comprehensive i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n o f the government's wartime powers of p e r s u a s i o n l a g g e d b e h i n d B r i t a i n , France and the U n i t e d S t a t e s . A l t h o u g h the Canadian government had e s t a b l i s h e d a s m a l l p r e s s o f f i c e d u r i n g the Great War, i t had never produced a n y t h i n g l i k e the comprehen-s i v e p u b l i c i t y campaigns u n d e r t a k e n by the famous (or infamous) American Committee on P u b l i c I n f o r m a t i o n or the analogous B r i t i s h or French o p e r a t i o n s . A f t e r the war, the Canadian government d i d not copy to a g r e a t e x t e n t the d e v e l o p i n g Ameri-can government, or even Canadian c o r p o r a t e , p r a c t i c e o f main-t a i n i n g an i n t e r m e d i a r y p u b l i c r e l a t i o n s o f f i c e between the p r e s s and the d e c i s i o n makers. Canadian government f i g u r e s p r e -f e r r e d to c u l t i v a t e c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n d i v i d u a l news-papermen and to use t h e s e c o n n e c t i o n s as an u n o f f i c i a l means of p r o v i d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t s u p p o r t e d the government. A l t h o u g h s e v e r a l Canadian government departments mounted p u b l i -c i t y campaigns d u r i n g the 1930's, the f i r s t g r e a t e f f o r t a t s y s t e m a t i c a l l y c o - o r d i n a t i n g the media to s c r e e n , to c o l l a t e and to p r e s e n t i n f o r m a t i o n o c c u r r e d d u r i n g the Canadian t