Military Censorship of Photographs in World War I

During the course of World War I, tens of thousands of photographs were withheld from publication by the U.S. military.  These included images that might have revealed troop movements or military capabilities, pictures that were liable to be used in enemy propaganda, or those that could adversely affect military or public morale.

The development of military controls on publication of photographs during WWI was described in a 1926 U.S. Army report (large pdf) that is illustrated with dozens of images that had been withheld, with a description of the reasons their publication was not permitted.

See “The Military Censorship of Pictures:  Photographs that came under the ban during the World War – and why” by Lt. Col. Kendall Banning, U.S. Army Signal Reserve Corps, 1926 (courtesy of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center).


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