Ministry of Information 1939-46
MoI Digital was launched on 3 September 2019 to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Ministry of Information in the UK. MoI Digital is a web-based resource developed by the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London with the co-operation of The National Archives, the Imperial War Museum, and King’s College London. It provides free access to two types of WWII social survey – the ‘Home Intelligence Reports’ and the ‘Wartime Social Surveys’.
The former, which ran from 1940 to late 1944, were compiled from a wide range of sources and covered reactions to current events alongside changing attitudes towards life in the UK. Meanwhile, the Wartime Social Surveys were more statistical and were regarded as a form of early market research. Together they give users a unique opportunity to witness the day-to-day experiences of those on the home front in the UK during the Second World War, revealing how the MoI assessed the British public’s mood, including its reactions to the Blitz, to the build-up of American soldiers preparing for D-Day, and to D-Day itself.
The Ministry’s mission was conducted through print, radio broadcasts (via the BBC), photographs, films, public meetings, and static and travelling exhibitions. The digitised documents point to a complex organisation which combined politicians, civil servants, and a remarkable ragbag of writers, producers, publishers, film makers, journalists, commercial artists, and advertising men.
MoI Digital can be found at moidigital.ac.uk
Professor Simon Eliot
Institute of English Studies
School of Advanced Study
University of London
London WC1E 7HU