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Committee on Public Information


COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION, set up by executive order of President Woodrow Wilson, 14 April 1917. Formally it consisted of the secretaries of state, war, and the navy, with the journalist George Creel as civilian chairman. The committee was responsible for uniting American support behind the World War I effort. Creel, handling most of the work, plus a far-flung organization abroad and at home, presented the war issues with pamphlets, films, cables, posters, and speakers (known as Four-Minute Men). The committee's sophisticated use of propaganda became a model for future government efforts to shape mass opinion.


Creel, George. How We Advertised America. New York: Arno, 1972.

Gary, Brett. The Nervous Liberals: Propaganda Anxieties from World War I to the Cold War. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Vaughn, Stephen. Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980.

Wiegand, Wayne A. An Active Instrument for Propaganda: The American Public Library During World War I. New York: Greenwood, 1989.

Guy StantonFord/a. g.

See also Conscription and Recruitment ; Mobilization ; Propaganda ; War Department .

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