A.A Milne is known all over the globe as the famous creator of one of the world’s most beloved characters, Winnie The Pooh. What is less well known about A.A Milne, or Alan Alexander Milne as he was known to his friends, is that this veteran of the First World War and published pacifist, worked for British intelligence agency MI 7b.
Milne joined the British Army in February 1915 and served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. However it would be decades before Milne’s full role in the First World War would come to light. A chance discovery of documents by a relative of a former MI 7b employee, revealed that Milne had been producing pro-British propaganda from 1916-1919.
What makes this discovery all the more startling is Milne’s published work on pacifism, he is famously noted to have said that he left the British Army having never fired a shot at the enemy. Milne’s seminal work, Peace with Honour published in 1934, decried war and was symptomatic of Milne’s loudly self-professed pacifism.
It was however Milne’s experiences in the First World War and the birth of his son Christopher that would herald the advent of his most famous work, Winnie The Pooh. Milne first published his works on Winnie The Pooh in 1924, he would continue to publish his much loved children’s stories until his death in 1956.
While Milne’s jump from a pacifist to a propagandist may have confused some, his children’s books are still opening the eyes of many.
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