Reading through Professor Andrew’s history of MI5, I came across a story about anti-German propaganda in the run up to the first world war.
In 1906, a popular author, William Le Queux, published a book, The Invasion of 1910, explaining in meticulous detail German plans to invade Britain in 1910. The plans were made up by the author, but were widely believed. They were serialised by the Daily Mail, whose proprietor had a special hatred of the Germans (in his final will he accused them of poisoning him by ice cream).
The Daily Mail changed the invasion plans in the book, as they felt that there were too many villages on the invasion route where the Daily Mail’s circulation was low. Instead towns were added with a greater number of Daily Mail readers (to induce extra fear).
The serialisation added 80,000 to the Daily Mail’s readership and contributed to greater anti-German feeling.
*Well, 104 years ago.
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