The Creel Committee aimed primarily at manipulating people’s minds to convince them to support the participation of the USA in World War I. It managed to make Americans promote and eagerly support activities connected with the War, for example, designing posters demonizing the German army.


The Creel Committee, or Committee on Public Information (CPI), was created by the government of the United States as an independent agency aimed at impacting public opinion. It was named after its leader, George Creel, and, in fact, it was the first remarkable propaganda agency controlled by the USA government. The Committee existed between 1917 and 1919, and during all this time, it used every available opportunity to influence public opinion in favor of America’s involvement in World War I and to create public enthusiasm around it. In order to reach this purpose, the Committee used mostly such methods that were later considered as mistakes that are better to be avoided. For instance, one of the most used ways of influence was creating fake news. George Creel, being a former journalist himself, particularly aimed at newspapers. He studied this industry inside out and could easily manipulate public opinion by the news.

Moreover, there were people creating special posters targeted to demonize the German soldiers and, consequently, to strengthen the negative public image of them, which also motivated people to be involved in military actions. One more vivid example of the Committee’s shady activities were the speeches of the Four Minute Men. The initial idea was that a group of people who were volunteers was given some topics by the CPI on which they should have performed a four-minute speech. The issues were connected with the war effort of America in World War I. The speeches were presented in four minutes while reels were changing in cinemas across the country. Besides, the speeches were created to be exactly four minutes so that it would be possible to present them at the places with a lot of audiences, such as town meetings, restaurants, and so on.
Interestingly enough, the Committee on Public Information experienced a media accident when its reliability faced a threat. One of the fake news that the CPI gave to newspapers was discredited when journalists interviewed some English officers who were involved. After that, the Committee started to be called “the Committee on Public Misinformation.” As a result, a vast majority of publishing agencies turned into skeptics.

When the War came to an end in 1918, a decline in the reputation of the Committee on Public Information followed. Many Americans came to the conclusion that the CPI had exaggerated the information and conflicts. Therefore, it managed to create the atmosphere that by influencing public opinion suppressed attempts to stop the involvement of America in the World War I. Later, when the Office of War Information (OWI) was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to promote the participation in the World War II, the actions of the CPI were considered as the examples of a wrong activity which needs to be avoided. George Creel requested to join the Office and the new propaganda campaign, but the request was turned down in order to minimize the risks of repeating the experience of the CPI.