'The limits of peace propaganda: The Information Section of the League of Nations and its Tokyo office

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Public opinion became a defining factor in international politics in the era of the League of Nations. Although the League’s Information Section conducted what it called “peace propaganda” to influence public opinion, we know little about its activities, especially beyond Europe. This chapter focuses on the Information Section and its Tokyo office, and examines what “public” they aimed at, the operations they conducted, and the nature of these operations. Although the League’s peace propaganda was intended to appeal to the general public, its contents were largely created by and for experts. The case of the Tokyo office shows how the League understood the “public” in Japan, the only Council member from Asia, how the office reflected and strengthened the League’s orientation towards experts, and what happened after Japan’s declaration of its withdrawal from the League in 1933. The League’s peace propaganda shaped a prototype of public relations for international organizations in the following decades. But its expert-oriented model was outmoded by emerging mass-based politics and mass media. The chapter traces the origin of the current disconnect between experts at international organizations and the general public to the era of the League.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationExorbitant Expectations: International Organizations and the Media in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
    Editors Jonas Brendebach, Martin Herzer, and Heidi Tworek
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
    Edition1st edition
    ISBN (Print)9781138303089
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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