Talks and Lectures

Ian regularly gives talks and lectures on various aspects of war film propaganda both at book festivals and to a wide range of institutions and organisations in the UK and overseas.

Recent engagements have been to:-

Universities and Colleges: Edinburgh University; Montgomery College, Maryland, USA

Museums, Libraries and Book Shops: American Naval Museum, Washington, USA; Oxgangs Library; Blackwell’s Edinburgh

Probus Clubs: South Queensferry, Moffat, Bishopbriggs, Murrayfield-Cramond, Falkirk, Linlithgow and Bo’ness, Antonine, Craigleith, Edinburgh, First Probus Club of Portobello, Penicuik, Kirkintilloch

Rotary Clubs: Braids, Edinburgh

Private Clubs: The New Club and Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh, The Western Club in Glasgow, The Open History Society, The International Women’s Club, Stewart House Men’s Club, Murieston Fifty Plus Club


Ian’s talks cover a wide range of subjects as follows:

1) Exploding the Myths about Nazi film propaganda.

Illustrated with a host of Powerpoint slides and clips from a number of films this talk explodes a number of myths which have arisen about Nazi film propaganda over the years - first, that the Nazis were masters at film propaganda and never made mistakes - actually they made a lot of mistakes and second, that everything they said was a lie. In fact, much of what they said was true - they just didn't tell the whole story. The talk covers their Mary Queen of Scots film, two pro-Irish (anti-English) films, their 1943 Titanic film and Ohm Krueger - the most anti-British film ever made. It also reveals the truth about Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics.

2) Casablanca: The fascinating secrets behind this 1942 classic film.

Illustrated with clips and stills from the film, this talk explains the background to the making of this propaganda film, uncovers little known truths about the cast and plot and reveals why as  late as 1980 only a  heavily censored, dubbed version (20 minutes shorter) and with a totally different plot was ever allowed to be screened in West Germany!

3) The 1942 Dieppe Raid: The extent to which both sides made propaganda out of this disastrous operation!

This talk explains the truth behind this disastrous Allied operation in 1942 and by comparing the respective newsreel clips produced by the Allies and the Germans of the same incident explores the extent to which either side actually told the ‘truth’.

4) If War Should Come and The Forth Bridge Raid.

This talk explores the content of a couple of ground-breaking short war information films. The first film was made just before WW2 and contains fascinating advice about what civilians need to do when war breaks out. The second film was released in 1940, should be of special interest to an Edinburgh audience, and was designed to raise the morale of the civilian population and the balloon squadrons

Ian is also willing to produce one-off presentations, as required. If you would be interested in having Ian giving a talk to your organisation on any of the above topics or on any related subject then, in the first instance, please use the contact form.

Current Talks Schedule