The Information Front
272 pages, 6 x 9
22 b&w illustrations
Release Date:01 Jul 2011
Release Date:10 Dec 2010
Release Date:10 Dec 2010

The Information Front

The Canadian Army and News Management during the Second World War

UBC Press

In wartime, it is not only success on the battlefield that determines victory. Winning hearts and minds is a vital part of military strategy and relies in large part on the effective management of how and what information is reported from the front.

In this illuminating study, Timothy Balzer explores how the Canadian military developed and relied on public relations units to manage news during the Second World War. The soldiers assigned to these units were mainly former journalists who, in what some have considered a challenge to journalistic objectivity, were responsible for censoring information, supervising and assisting war correspondents, coordinating policy with the Allies, and ensuring the steady flow of news to Canada.

Brought to life with public relations case studies from Dieppe, the Sicilian campaign, and Normandy that reveal clashes among individual commanders and politicians, the press, the military, the government, and the Canadian public, The Information Front offers a balanced and intelligent discussion of how the military used censorship and propaganda to rally support for the war effort.

As an exploration of Second World War journalism, this book will interest students of Canadian history, journalism, and military/civil relations.

A well-researched and well-thought out study of how the Army’s public relations apparatus functioned during the greatest war in Canadian history … Balzer’s is a most interesting book, a fine academic study that deserves a wide readership. J.L. Granatstein, Canadian Military Journal, vol. 12, no. 2, Spring 2012
A thorough, balanced, and thoughtful examination of how the Canadian Army used censorship and propaganda to rally Canadians behind World War II. Jim DeBrosse, Ohio University, Journalism History, 37:2 (Summer 2011)
This is an important and original history of the Canadian Army’s overseas public relations during the Second World War that is based on impressive research in Canadian, US, and UK primary sources. J.L. Granatstein, author of Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace
An immensely readable and very illuminating history. Others have focused on the battlefield correspondents, but Balzer shows us that what Canadians knew about their army’s actions during the Second World War was shaped, in large measure, by the military public relations apparatus. Chris Dornan, Director of the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at Carleton University, who writes extensively on the Canadian news media
Timothy Balzer has taught at the University of Victoria and for the Continuing Studies Division of the Royal Military College of Canada.


Part 1: Canadian Army Public Relations and War News in the Second World War

1 The Beginnings: The Growth of Canadian Army PR and Policy, September 1939 to June 1943

2 Learning through Trial and Error: Sicily and Italy, July 1943 to June 1944

3 The Publicity Machine: The Northwest Europe Campaign and Beyond, June 1944 to May 1945

Part 2: Case Studies

4 “Sugaring the Pill”: Selling Dieppe to Canadians

5 Public Relations Triumph, Press Relations Debacle: The Invasion of Sicily

6 Murder, Massacre, and Friendly Fire: Three Normandy Case Studies






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