The OBE was invented as a way of tying ordinary people to a system in deep crisis, writes John Newsinger, while the man who came up with the idea was part of a cover up into the sexual abuse of children.
The Order of the British Empire (OBE) was created on 4 June 1917. Its motto was “For God and the Empire”. The year of its foundation was not coincidental — it was very much a royal response to the pressures of total war, industrial unrest and revolution.
King George V was very worried that the monarchy was under threat — something dramatic had to be done to attach “ordinary” people to a system that was founded on privilege.