Free trial: WWII Censorship Archive

Free trial: WWII Censorship Archive

Until 10 April 2024, you can explore our newest free trial to the WWII Censorship Archive! Censorship: Practice and Policy during the Second World War explores British postal and telegraph censorship throughout a pivotal era of modern history.

Over 17,000 images drawn from Ministry of Defence files at The National Archives document the coordination of censorship by hastily assembled teams looking at historical precedents from the First World War and instructional precedents that had taken place since. This vital work that ensured information valuable to the enemy was never leaked, formed part of the often overlooked “secret war”.

Over time, censorship became an international effort coordinated between Britain, her colonies, allies including America, and other neutral states, such as Ireland.  Often comprising teams of women, global censorship teams worked around the clock reliably to assess and if necessary flag it for censorship the without slowing down the process in line with a slew of policies, instructions, and official guidance pouring out from London in an attempt to maximise the security and efficiency of censorship. Censors often became adept at codebreaking and recognising concealed suspect materials.

As the war ended, censorship units took on responsibility for monitoring communications across occupied territories, including Austria, Germany, and Italy, to maintain security and monitor public morale. This shows how censorship not only helped win the war but was vital in securing the peace that followed.

This collection is a rich resources for students and researchers with interests in military and political history, the history of the British Empire, international relations, and security and intelligence.

Access the archive for free until 10 April

You can access this archive for free for the next month.

Any comments? Please send them to our Humanities Faculty Librarian, Anne Worden (email:

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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