British propaganda and the threat from Chinese communism, 1948-54.

Griffiths, Katie (2019) British propaganda and the threat from Chinese communism, 1948-54. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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On the 6th January 1950 Britain accorded de jure recognition to the newly formed People’s Republic of China. The decision reflected a post war desire in Britain to protect its trade with China and the security of colonial Hong Kong. Yet in seeking diplomatic relations with a communist country, it not only diverged from its American ally, but appeared at odds with its own commitment to combat the perceived threat of communism. It is within this set of conflicting interests that the thesis is positioned.

The thesis reveals the use of British anti-communist propaganda in ‘greater China’, including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, from 1948 to 1954. Until now this is a topic that has been largely ignored, an issue that this thesis seeks to redress.

The thesis advocates a new, holistic approach to the study of Britain’s Cold War propaganda that demands the study of both negative and positive propaganda in order to fully understand London’s anti-communist efforts. It demonstrates the need for a multi-agency method, one that looks beyond the well documented role and operation of Britain’s Information Research Department.

In utilising this approach, the thesis shows that Britain did engage in anti-communist propaganda in ‘greater China.’ However, the aim and scope of the propaganda activities were challenged and shaped, not only by London’s prioritisation of its relationship with the PRC, but also by a range of other factors, including the local environment, geo-strategic priorities, and funding. As a result the nature of anti-communist propaganda campaign altered over both time and space.

The thesis demonstrates there was no overarching propaganda policy for ‘greater China.’ What was achieved was uncoordinated and reflective of the differing aims and objectives of the many actors. The thesis offers an important contribution that both builds upon and challenges existing work on Britain’s Cold War propaganda and Sino-British relationship in the early Cold War.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Young, John
Taylor, Jeremy
Keywords: propaganda, British; Communism, China;
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 56970
Depositing User: Griffiths, Katie
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2020 14:14
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 09:31

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