George Creel

George Creel

George Creel (December 1, 1876–October 2, 1953) was an investigative journalist, a politician, and, most famously, the head of the United States Committee on Public Information, a propaganda organization created by President Woodrow Wilson during World War I.

Creel began his career as a reporter for the "Kansas City World" in 1894 before starting his own newspaper, the "Kansas City Independent", in 1899.

He also worked for "The Denver Post" (1909–1910) and the "Rocky Mountain News" (1911–1917) before President Wilson made him head of the United States Committee on Public Information during World War I. As head of this organization, he assembled a team of 75,000 public speakers, the "Four Minute Men," to give brief speeches throughout the country in favor of the War.

He published his memoirs of the experience, "How We Advertised America", in 1920, and would write 14 other books during his lifetime. He described American propaganda by saying "Our effort was educational and informative throughout, for we had such confidence in our case as to feel that no other argument was needed than the simple, straightforward presentation of facts." ["How We Advertised America", p.3, citation according to Mark Crispin Miller]

Creel gathered the nation's artists and created thousands of paintings, posters, cartoons, and sculptures promoting the War. He also gathered support from choirs, social clubs, and religious institutions to join "The Worlds Greatest Adventure In Advertising." He recruited about 75,000 "Four Minute Men," who spoke about the War at social events for an ideal length of four minutes, considering that the average human attention span was judged at the time to be four minutes. They covered the draft, rationing, bond drives, victory gardens and why America was fighting. These men thereby helped to maintain the nation's morale. It was estimated that by the end of the war, they had made more than 7.5 million speeches to 314 million people.

Creel wrote books as well as speeches. "How the War Came to America", translated into many languages, sold almost seven million copies and included Wilson's war message. He created pamphlets that were handed out with help from the Boy Scouts of America. Almost 60 million pamphlets, booklets, and leaflets were distributed. Although not all people changed their minds about the War due to his efforts, he succeeded in reaching the people.

He served on the San Francisco Regional Labor Board in 1933 and became chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Works Progress Administration in 1935.

He was an active member of the Democratic Party and ran against the novelist Upton Sinclair for the post of Governor of California.

He was married to Blanche Bates from 1912 until her death in 1925. [imdb|0060857|Blanche Bates]

References

Works

*George Creel: "How We Advertised America", New York: Harper & Brothers, 1920
*The Committee on Public Information (Author): "How the War Came to America"


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