Conclusion

This study of the administrative context, content, and reception of these posters allows us to make a number of conclusions on the issue of World War II propaganda. These relate to the way that the government appeared not to have learnt any lessons from the First World War, although over the course of the war appeared to learn from its own failures. The government learnt to listen to the people, although they still seemed to…

Case Study: Gendered Images

In a post-feminist age, one could argue that there should also be a chapter devoted to the way that men were depicted and appealed to in posters, but these are generally not relevant to the Home Front, with most posters aimed at men designed to get them to enlist in the services. With the war no longer fought in faraway territories, women were involved firsthand in warfare for the first time. The Government tried to…

Case Study: The Direct Appeal

M-O claimed that we can divide official propaganda into two main types, the first of which involved appeals for direct action, dealing with practicalities, which would have an immediate effect, such as giving up a saucepan for salvage. The second type was more hypothetical, such as gas mask campaigns, where it would not make any immediate difference to the citizen whether he/she carried his/her gas mask, but would simply be preparing him/her for the coming…

Case Study: International Relations

A major difference between posters of the World Wars is that unlike in the First World War, in the Second World War it "was no longer possible to stir patriotic blood by large references to King and Country", [Footnote 1] neither was xenophobia rampant. The Germans were no longer depicted as the evil Hun as improved travel and communications meant that many realised that Germans were normal human beings. When war broke out, it was…

The First Posters

In May 1940, a MoI memorandum had stated that "the best available brains should be conscripted at once. Big advertising agencies should be called into conference". [Footnote 1] Although it was claimed that selling toothpaste involved 'selling an idea' as much as official propaganda did, [Footnote 2] M-O felt that not enough new thinking had been done about the different function of official propaganda; [Footnote 3] that established commercial practices were not necessarily suitable. Government…