Propaganda and neutrality: Alternative battlegrounds and active deflection-REGISTRATION

Marta Garcia Cabrera's picture
June 24, 2021 to June 25, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Humanities, Journalism and Media Studies, Modern European History / Studies, World History / Studies
International conference that plans to explore issues around the role of propaganda in neutral states. Online event (Zoom): 24 - 25 June 21 - REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Propaganda and neutrality: alternative battlegrounds and active deflection is an international conference organized by the University of Kent’s Centre for the History of War, Media and Society, with the collaboration of the Institute of Historical Research in London and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Given the current circumstances we are currently planning on the basis of a fully virtual conference that will take place the 24th and the 25th of June 2021. The link to the online platform will be sent to all registered users when the event approaches.

‘Propaganda and Neutrality’ conference plans to explore issues around the role of propaganda in neutral states. The CFP was opened to academics and postgraduate students who are studying the role of propaganda in neutral states. Topics will cover activities in neutral and nonbelligerent states during times of military conflict – notably the World Wars and the Cold War such as Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, United States, Ireland, Switzerland and Turkey. The event will cover all aspects of propaganda and neutrality, including discussions on late Twentieth Century cross-continental interactions.

The event will bring together a total of 28 academics from all over the world and the panels will be chaired by prominent researchers that will create an excellent environment for debate and discussion.

Keynote speaker: Professor Jo Fox

More info:



Registration open to all participants and attendees.






Day 1

Welcome and introduction 08.45-09.00


Pre First World War

1. Dr Maartje Abbenhuis (Associate Professor in History, Director of the Europe Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand) – ‘Mobilising neutrality to protect the world: Campaigning for neutrality in the international arena before and during the First World War’ 09:00-09:30

2. Dr Mario Draper (Lecturer in Modern British and European History, University of Kent, UK) – ‘‘A Scrap of Paper’: Belgian Neutrality, Europe and the Prospect of war, 1870-1914’ 09:30-10.00


Break (10.00-10.15)


KEYNOTE Professor Jo Fox, Dean of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS) and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Public Engagement with the University of London – 10.15-11.00


Break (11.00-11.30)


First World War and the United States of America

3. Dr Richard Dunley (Military and Diplomatic Historian, University of New South Wales, Australia) – ‘Combating the Spectre of Navalism: propaganda, public opinion and maritime rights in the Anglo-American relationship 1914-5’ 11.30-12.00

4. Professor Stephen Badsey (Professor of Conflict Studies, University of Wolverhampton, UK) – ‘American neutrality and belligerent propaganda 1914-17’ 12.00-12.30

5. Dr Vincent Trott (Lecturer in History, Open University, UK) – ‘Humour, propaganda and neutrality: American Cartoons and the First World War 1914-1917’ 12.30-13.00


Lunch break (13.00-14.00)


First World War and Alternative Battlegrounds

6. Dr María Inés Tato (Researcher at CONICET, University of Buenos Aires, Professor of History, University of Buenos Aires, and Master in War History, National Defense University (UNDEF), Argentina) – ‘Allied and German propaganda in Argentina during the First World War’ 14.00-14.30

7. Dr Georgios (Yorgos) Giannakopoulos (Academy of Athens Postdoctoral Fellow, Greece and Visiting Fellow, Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College, London, UK) and Dr Zinovia (Jenny) Lialiouti (Assistant Professor in Modern and Contemporary European History, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece) – ‘Killing neutrality: the propaganda battle and the Greek “National Schism” (1915-1918)’ 14.30-15.00

8. Dr Florian Grafl (Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Munich, Germany) - ‘Barcelona as an Alternative Battleground in the First World War’ 15.00-15.30

9. Miguel Brandão (PhD Student, University of Porto, Portugal) – ‘Anglo-Portuguese Diplomacy and the Pro-Allied Propaganda during the Great War – The Portuguese “neutrality” (1914-1916)’ 15.30-16.00


Break (16.00-16.30)


Second World War – Ireland, Switzerland and Vichy France

10. Lior Tibet (PhD Student, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) – ‘Censorship and Soft Power in Neutral Ireland 1933-1945: the case study of the German cinema’ 16.30-17.00

11. Professor Karen Garner (Professor of Historical Studies, SUNY Empire State College, USA) – ‘Propaganda and Censorship in Neutral Eire during ‘the Emergency’: the influence of the Allies and personalities of Churchill, Roosevelt and de Valera’ 17.00-17.30

12. Dr Guy Woodward (Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Durham, UK) – ‘An Irregular Intellectual: Elizabeth Wiskemann in Berne, 1940-45’ 17.30-18.00

13. Dr Richard Carswell (Independent researcher, UK) – ‘The role of propaganda in the case of ‘neutral’ Vichy France 1940-1944’ 18.00-18.30


Close: 18:30-18:45



Day 2

Welcome and introduction 08.45-09.00


Second World War and Turkey

1. Professor Yasemin Doğaner (Professor of History at Hacettepe University) and Dr Yasemin Türkkan Tunalı (Assistant Researcher, Hacettepe University, Turkey) – ‘Turkey’s Neutrality in the Shadow of Nazi Propaganda’ 09.00-09.30

2. Dr Edward Corse (Honorary Research Fellow, University of Kent, UK) – ‘Pursuing a Reluctant Ally: the story of Britain’s propaganda campaign in neutral Turkey during the Second World War’ 09.30-10.00


Break (10.00-10.30)


Second World War and Iberian connections

3. Simone Muraca (PhD Student, University of Padua, Italy) – ‘Beyond Neutrality: successes and failures of Italian cultural propaganda in Portugal during Second World War (1939-1945) 10.30-11.00

4. Dr Marta García Cabrera (Historical Researcher, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain) - 'Great Britain's contingency plans in Spain during World War Two: British propaganda as an instrument of military operations' 11.00-11.30

5. Veronica Barry (PhD Student, Maynooth University, Ireland) – ‘An examination of Nazi propaganda directed at women of the neutral states, 1933-45: a case study of Ireland and Spain’ 11.30-12.00


Lunch Break (12.00-13.30)


Second World War – Looking beyond Europe

6. Dr Helena F.S. Lopes (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Bristol, UK) – ‘Invasion rumours, new newspapers, a kidnapped ship, and other propaganda tales of neutral Macau, 1937-1945’ 13.30-14.00

7. Dr João Arthur Ciciliato Franzolin (Postdoctorate Research Assistant, University Estadual Júlio de Mesquita Filho, UNESP, Brazil) – ‘Signal, Em Guarda, Victory and the transnational struggle of the Axis and the Allies to influence readers in neutral and occupied countries during World War II’ 14.00-14.30


Break (14.30-15.00)


The Cold War

8. Dr Emil Stjernholm (Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies, Lund University, Sweden) – ‘DEFA Films on Swedish Television: Mapping the Reception of East German narratives’ 15.00-15.30

9. Dr Cyril Cordoba (Research Associate, University of Lausanne, Switzerland) – ‘“Swiss counter-intelligence is as full of holes as its cheese” – neutrality and Maoist propaganda in 1960s Switzerland’ 15.30-16.00

10. Dr P. Mike Rattanasengchanh (Assistant Professor of Asian and US History at Midwestern State University, USA) – ‘Laos and neutrality: unsung heroes in a tragic effort for neutrality’ 16.00-16.30


Break (16.30-17.00)


Late Twentieth Century cross-continental interactions

11. Dr Hillary Briffa (Lecturer in Defence Studies, King’s College, London, UK) – ‘Malta: the Mediterranean Interlocutor’ 17.00-17.30

12. Steve Westlake (PhD Student, University of Bristol, UK) – ‘Unwrapping ‘Britain’s Greatest Gift to the World in the Twentieth Century’: Neutrality, NGOs and the BBC World Service, 1989-1999’ 17.30-18.00

13. Professor Nicholas J. Cull (Professor of Communication, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, USA) – ‘Anti-Apartheid propaganda and the counter-neutrality paradigm: the US and UK cases compared’ 18.00-18.30


Close: 18:30-18:45

Contact Info: 

-Edward Corse (main organizer):

Dr. Edward Corse, Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of War, Media and Society at the University of Kent. He is the
author of A Battle for Neutral Europe: British cultural propaganda in the Second World War (Bloomsbury, 2013).

-Marta García Cabrera:

Dr. Marta García Cabrera, historical researcher at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), studying British propaganda and intelligence in Spain during the First and the Second World War. Alumnus of the University of Kent (2016).