The Bryce Committee
Committee on Alleged German Outrages
Published May 12, 1915, mere days after the sinking of Lusitania, the Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages purported to evaluate the charges of German atrocities leveled by the Belgian government. Responding to these reports and an outcry from the British public, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith appointed Viscount James Bryce, a former ambassador to the United States (1907-1913) and an established scholar and historian, to lead an investigation. The committee was asked to collect and verify eyewitness accounts, diaries, and other substantive reports of the actions of the German soldiers and officers.
Though Bryce and his committee excluded many of the most bombastic accounts, the report made headlines around the world. 41,000 copies were sent by the British War Propaganda Office to U.S. newspapers, and by year's end the report had been translated into more than thirty languages.
Today, the report is considered masterful propaganda, couched in legal language and authored by well-respected men. The stories of atrocities were reprinted, spreading anti-German sentiment like wildfire. Germany's own efforts to report atrocities committed against their army by Belgian civilians went largely unremarked.