The Administrative Context: The Ministry of Information and Social Surveys

Propaganda was under much closer government control in the Second World War than in the First World War, when there was a variety of "agencies which - constantly merging and splitting - discharged the various functions related to morale, news, censorship and propaganda". [Footnote 1] Not until 1918 was a Ministry of Information created, under newspaper owner Lord Beaverbrook, to try and instil some order into the chaos, but its chief function appeared to be…

What are ‘propaganda’ and ‘poster’?

If we are to discuss the efficiency of government Home Front propaganda, specifically as regards the posters that the government produced, it is important that we have a clear idea of what is meant by a 'poster', and by 'propaganda'. This chapter will aim to give some idea of the definitions of these words, with reference to how they have been regarded in the past, and since the Second World War, and how this affected…

Introduction

In the fifty-two years since the end of the Second World War, modes of historical study have changed greatly. Emphases of study have changed from the study of great men to the study of the ordinary people, and the issues that concerned them. The posters produced during the Second World War are a part of this history. Visually, they cannot be regarded as great works of art; neither were they intended as such by the…

List of Pictorial Illustrations

Due to a desire by the Ministry of Information (MoI) to remain anonymous information concerning Second World War posters is very scanty, with dates and details of artists rarely available. Unless otherwise stated, posters are British, and seen/assumed to be the most common size: 20" x 30", with reproductions taken from postcards or IWM copies. STILL IN PROGRESS Fig. Title 1 'Britons [Kitchener] wants YOU' Date: 1914-1916 Artist: Alfred Leete (1882-1933) Printer: Victoria House Printing…

Acknowledgements

My biggest thanks goes to Dr Martin Polley for his time, patience and unfailing enthusiasm for this dissertation. Thanks also goes to Derek Bunyard for time spent discussing some artistic aspects. Thanks is also given to the trustees of the Imperial War Museum (IWM), the Mass-Observation (M-O) archives, and the Public Record Office (PRO). Particular thanks for help goes to Jenny Wood and Michael Moody of the Art Department, and the Reading Room staff, at…