GEORGE CREEL, HOW WE ADVERTISED AMERICA (1920):
It was in this recognition of Public Opinion as a major force that the Great War differed most essentially from all previous conflicts. The trial of strength was not only between massed bodies of men, but between opposed ideals, and moral verdicts took on all the value of military decisions. Other wars went no deeper than the physical aspects, but German Kultur raised issues that had to be fought out in the hearts and minds of people as well as on the actual firing-line. The approval of the world meant the steady flow of inspiration into the trenches; it meant the strengthened resolve and the renewed determination of the civilian population that is a nation’s second line. The condemnation of the world meant the destruction of morale and the surrender of that conviction of justice which is the very heart of courage.
. . . . In no degree was the Committee an agency of censorship, a machinery of concealment or repression. Its emphasis throughout was on the open and the positive. At no point did it seek or exercise authorities under those war laws that limited the freedom of speech and press. In all things, from first to last, without halt or change, it was a plain publicity proposition a vast enterprise in salesmanship, the world’s greatest adventure in advertising. . . . We did not call it propaganda, for that word, in German hands, had come to be associated with deceit and corruption. Our effort was educational and informational throughout, for we had such confidence in our case as to feel that no other argument was needed than the simple, straight-forward presentation of the facts.
. . . . The Four Minute Men, an organization that will live in history by reason of its originality and effectiveness, commanded the volunteer services of 75,000 speakers, operating in 5,200 communities, and making a total of 755,190 speeches, every one having the carry of shrapnel.
. . . . [The Committee] planned war exhibits for the state fairs of the United States, also a great series of interallied war expositions that brought home to our millions the exact nature of the struggle that was being waged in France. In Chicago alone two million people attended in two weeks, and in nineteen cities the receipts aggregated $1,432,261.36
. . . . It assembled the artists of America on a volunteer basis for the production of posters, window-cards, and similar material of pictorial publicity for the use of various government departments and patriotic societies. A total of 1,438 drawings was used.
It issued an official daily newspaper, serving every department of government, with a circulation of one hundred thousand copies a day. For official use only, its value was such that private citizens ignored the supposedly prohibitive subscription price, subscribing to the amount of $77,622.58.
. . . . Through the medium of the motion picture, America’s war progress, as well as the meanings and purposes of democracy, were carried to every community of the United States and to every corner of the world. "Pershing’s Crusaders," "America’s Answer," and "Under Four Flags" were types of feature films by which we drove home America’s resources and determinations, while other pictures, showing our social and industrial life, made our free institutions vivid to foreign peoples.
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