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The Army Bureau of Current Affairs, or ABCA, was an organisation set up to educate and raise morale amongst British servicemen in World War II.

ABCA issued pamphlets in units and promoted discussions, for instance about post-war reconstruction and the Beveridge report. It met with resistance from Winston Churchill, who felt it was a poor use of military time. The organisation is generally regarded as a factor in the landslide Labour Party victory in the post-war general election in 1945. ABCA organisers and teachers predominantly seem to have been left-wing, as were the soldiers who attended the classes, and classes became dominated by discussion of nationalisation and social justice. The service vote in the election that followed is said to have been the most dramatic reflection of the public mood, with as many as 80% of soldiers voting for the Labour Party according to some sources.

Some of the ABCA titles in the series WAR and CURRENT AFFAIRS are as follows: Apart from these pamphlets (usually containing 16 pages, including front and rear cover) there seems to have been a French language version for Canadian French speaking troops. A completely different series is made for the Middle East but not many come onto the market.

A different approach for discussion was an ABCA issued wall chart, for use in barracks etc. Not many of these seem to have survived the war, however.

Last but not least a song book was released in 1944, called the ABCA song book. Edited by Capt. C. Hassall ... Musical arrangements by Lieut. E. Fenby,etc.[With a foreword by W. E. Williams, fondly known as "ABCA Bill", who had been closely involved with Allen Lane in 1935 founding Penguin Books and had created the Pelican imprint.] A.B.C.A. pamphlets series WAR

1941 No. 1 20 Sep: News-facts for fighting men; No. 2 4 Oct: News-facts for fighting men; No. 3 18 Oct: News-facts for fighting men; No. 4 1 Nov: News-facts for fighting men; No. 5 15 Nov: News-facts for fighting men; No. 6 29 Nov: News-facts for fighting men; No. 7 13 Dec: News-facts for fighting men; No. 8 27 Dec: News-facts for fighting men

1942 No. 9 10 Jan: News-facts for fighting men; No. 10 24 Jan: News-facts for fighting men; No. 11 7 Feb: News-facts for fighting men; No. 12 21 Feb: Fifty-five days in Malaya; No. 13 7 Mar: If invasion comes; No. 14 21 Mar: The enemy in the east; No. 15 4 Apr: The mind of a Nazi; No. 16 18 Apr: The Libyan See-saw; No. 17 2 May: The German army; No. 18 16 May: How Russia fights; No. 19 30 May: The Greeks fight on; No. 20 13 June: In a desert battle; No. 21 27 June: Libya, summer 1942; No. 22 11 July: The thrust for Egypt 23 25 July: The U.S. Army 24 8 Aug: Guide for Jap invaders 25 22 Aug: The Merchant Navy 26 5 sep: The Indian Army; No. 27 19 sep: Life in the R.A.C.; No. 28 3 Oct: Dieppe Summary; No. 29 17 Oct: The British Soldier; No. 30 31 Oct: I didn’t think it mattered; No. 31 14 Nov: Where did that one go (RA); No. 32 28 Nov: The Airborne Forces; No. 33 12 Dec: Desert song; No. 34 26 Dec: Army Food (+ CMP+ selection)

1943 No. 35 9 Jan: The trouble with Italians; No. 36 23 Jan: And what did you see?(RA); No. 37 6 Febr: Little men, what now?; No. 38 22 Feb: This is the Red Army; No. 41 3 April: “Be Mean and kill ‘em”; No. 42 17 April: He leads, the others follow; No. 44 15 May: Casualty report; No. 45 29 May: Operation Diary; No. 46 12 June: The Royal Marines; No. 47 26 June: The horse’s mouth ; No.48 10 July: Enemy: Japan; No. 49 24 July: The documents in the case; No. 50 7 Aug: Mediterranean Journey; No. 51 21 Aug: The guards at Mareth; No. 52 4 Sept: A night out in Sicily; No. 53 18 Sept: ATS (progress report); No. 54 2 Oct: Daylight bombing; No. 55 16 Oct: Coastal Forces; No. 56 30 Oct: Soldiers’ Battles; No. 57 13 Nov: All orders faithfully executed (RE) ; No.58 27 Nov: When in Rome; No. 59 11 Dec: Parachuting as a career

1944 No. 61 8 Jan: Seaward watch; No. 62 22 Jan: Frankfurt revisited; No. 63 5 Feb: Recce Corps; No. 64 19 Feb: Strictly G.I.; No. 65 4 Mar: Salerno Diary; No. 66 18 Mar: Louder and Faster (AA); No. 67 1 Apr: The man overhead; No. 68 15 Apr: Self-preservation(booby traps); No. 69 29 Apr: One more river; No. 70 13 May: The other army; No. 71 27 May: Next of kin; No. 72 10 June: Up in Arms; No. 75 5 Aug: The case against Private Abbott; No. 76 19 Aug: Tiger, tiger, burning bright; No. 77 2 Sep: Two sides of battle; No. 78 16 Sep: The Captain in search of his youth; No. 79 14 Oct: Not only concerned with food; No. 80 28 Oct: Gentlemen, let us not hurry; No. 81 11 Nov: Five years of war; No. 82 25 Nov: Yes, if he has no fingernails; No. 83 9 Dec: Arnhem, part I; No. 84 23 Dec: Arnhem, part II

1945 No. 85 6 Jan: Look Homeward, Jap; No. 86 20 Jan: Antwerp; No. 88 17 Feb: Riding high; No. 89 3 Mar: The Philippines; No. 90 17 March: The Red Army advances; No. 91 31 March: Incidental explosion; No. 93 28 April: Report (20 p.); No. 94 12 May: Return via Dunkirk; No. 96 9 June: The road to Rangoon; No. 97 23 June: Swan song A.B.C.A. series CURRENT AFFAIRS

1941 No. 1 27 Sep: A background bulletin; No. 2 11 Oct: A background bulletin; No. 3 25 Oct: A background bulletin; No. 4 8 Nov: A background bulletin; No. 5 22 Nov: A background bulletin; No. 6 6 Dec: A background bulletin; No. 7 20 Dec: A background bulletin

1942 No. 8 3 Jan: A background bulletin; No. 9 17 Jan: A background bulletin; No. 10 31 Jan: A background bulletin; No. 11 14 Feb: A background bulletin; No. 12 28 Feb: A background bulletin; No. 13 14 Mar: A background bulletin 14 28 Mar: A background bulletin 15 11 Apr: A background bulletin 16 25 Apr: A background bulletin 17 9 May: South Africa and the War 18 23 May: Britain’s Acres go to War 19 6 June: Cripps on India 20 20 June: Women at War 21 4 July: Hitler’s Own War 22 18 July: Meet the Americans 23 1 Aug: The British Empire 24 15 Aug: The Chungking Angle 25 29 Aug: The Russian Background 26 12 Sept: Here are the Americans 27 26 Sep: Town Planning 28 10 Oct: What price Victory? 29 24 Oct: Development of Nazism 30 7 Nov: How can we abolish War? 31 21 Nov: Taking Stock 32 5 Dec: North Africa 33 19 Dec: The Beveridge report

1943 34 2 Jan: The Mediterranean 35 16 Jan: Rumour 36 30 Jan: North African Resources 37 13 Feb: The Nation’s health 38 27 Feb: The Middle East and Turkey 39 13 Mar: Spain 40 27 Mar: Latin America 41 10 Apr: Germany’s New Order 42 24 Apr: The Colonies 43 8 May: Problems in the Pacific 44 22 May: Women after the war 45 5 June: Social Security 46 3 July: Facts about Italy 47 17 July: Balkan Background 48 31 July: When the Lights go on 49 14 Aug: The trouble with Germans 50 28 Aug: You are going to Europe 51 11 Sep: What about our schools 52 25 Sept: Transatlantic Soundings 53 9 Oct: Here’s Tae Us! 54 23 Oct: What we’ll Find in Europe 55 6 Nov: Are we United Nations 56 20 Nov: Building the Post-war Home 57 4 Dec: Farming in Soviet Russia 58 18 Dec: What about France

1944 59 1 Jan: You and the Americans 60 15 Jan: Armies of Occupation 62 12 Feb: What we’ll Find in Germany 63 26 Feb: This Business of Public Opinion 64 11 Mar: The Yank in Britain 65 25 Mar: What is good food 66 8 Apr: Belgium and Holland 67 22 Apr: How about Japan 0 68 6 May: Partners in Battle 69 20 May: The Nazis in Scandinavia 70 3 June: Electing the President 71 17 June: Work for All 72 1 July: So you’re going to France 73 15 July: Partisan Setting! 74 29 July: Friends in Need 75 12 Aug: After the Blitz is Over? 76 26 Aug: Schools for Tomorrow 77 9 Sep: The Japanese Way 78 23 sep: “Show me the way to go home” 79 7 Oct: Brush-up for civvy street 80 21 Oct: Parisian come-back 81 4 Nov: a Weapon against want 82 18 Nov: What happened at home? (20p.) 83 2 Dec: Fewer children 84 16 Dec: Men from the Dominions 85 30 Dec: The cinema and the public

1945 86 13 Jan: Japanese purpose 87 January 27: What price Peace? 88 10 Feb: Chinese prospect 89 24 Feb: A practical democracy (on New Zealand) (20 p.) 90 10 Mar: The more we are together 91 24 March: ‘Jolly Swagman’ 93 21 April: Theirs is the Future 94 5 May: On thinking geographically 96 2 June: The artist and the public (20 p.) B1 July 21: Bridging the Gap 108 17 Nov: South African Survey B 10 24 Nov: Hungry World 109 1 Dec: Indian Background (20 p.) 110 15 Dec: Housing Brief (20 p.) 112 12 Jan: Burning Issue (20 p.) 117 “What Manchester thinks to-day…” (20 p.)

Note: between July and December 1945 ABCA ‘Current Affairs’ had a ‘B’-series in between the normal bi-weekly issue, with a B prefix for the book number.

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