288 | MP conclusion
voice, and backing it up by the promise of powerful help.
Propaganda helped to destroy the morale of the German,
and of the Russian, troops. Again, it pushed down a
crumbling mountain. Allied propaganda started in 1915.
Before spring 1917 it made no appreciable impression on the
German troops. About that time, objective facts began to
support it. In the battles of Verdun and the Somme, the
Allied troops had had overwhelming material on their side.
In addition, the news of hunger at home had a demoralising
The real propaganda wave started only in summer 1918.
There was little promise of success as long as the German
people hoped for an early, and victorious, end of the war
after the spring offensive of 1918. But after this offensive
had come to a standstill, in June and July 1918, the German
troops were seized by despair. By August apathy and hope-
lessness reigned supreme. 750,000 to 1,000,000 German
soldiers refused to fight during the last months of the war.
Instead, they moved about behind the lines. Defeat had
become attractive. In this prevailing mood, arguments
against militarism etc. were taken up as excuses which
justified the desire to see the war ended at any price. One
believed the Allied promises and arguments because one wanted
to. They afforded welcome and handy rationalisations for
a course of action desired independently of them.
F. C. Bartlett points out that "thus fully formulated
suggestions are acted upon without criticism only when they
chime in with tendencies in the actor which are awake and