The Conning of America examines for the first time from a literary perspective the propaganda writings produced in the United States during the period of World War I. This American propaganda literature was written in two distinct stages: the first stage was written by the pro-War establishment based on the East Coast of the United States before American entry into the conflict. It attempted to vilify Germany and her Allies while at the same time showing England, France, and Russia as the victims of a well-planned organized German plan for world domination-beginning with the invasion of neutral Belgium. The literature urged the United States to prepare for a German invasion of America and to be wary of German-Americans, who most likely were spies in the employ of the Imperial German government. The second stage of propaganda literature occurred when America declared war on the Central Powers in April 1917. While still using the blood thirsty militaristic Hun as a symbol of German inherent evil, the propaganda literature began to portray the Americans as the saviors of European culture.
American boys were being sent to Europe on a spiritual mission to purify decadent European culture, while at the same time their sacrifice would rejuvenate and sanctify American values in the fire of the conflict in order for America to take her proper place in the new post-war order.
Preface Introduction: Background Chapter One: The Invasion of Belgium Chapter Two: The Belgian Atrocities Chapter Three: The Sinking of the Lusitania and the Execution of Nurse Edith Cavell Chapter Four: The German Invasion of America Novels Chapter Five: The Enemy Within Chapter Six: Saving the Heart of Civilization: The Road to War Chapter Seven: The Yanks Are Coming Conclusion: All for Nothing? Works Cited: Bibliography: General Reference Works Bibliography: British and Allied Literature Bibliography: American Novels and Personal Narratives Bibliography: Selected American Short Stories Index