History Reviewer

Book Review: Patriotism & Propaganda in First World War Britain

This looks like an interesting book – not reviewed by me I hasten to add:

Gradually, much of the scaffolding of the influential, but historically inaccurate, depiction of British opinion during the First World War, reflected in countless novels as well as older historical studies, is being dismantled. The disillusionment of the war poets is no longer seen as typical of soldiers’ attitudes and the fortitude of British society is increasingly recognised. The view of public opinion in 1914 as overwhelmed by war hysteria and unthinking jingoism has been replaced by one of a reluctant but resolute nation convinced of the justice of the war. But the question remains as to how morale was maintained as the conflict dragged on and the casualties and deaths mounted. David Monger addresses this question in a detailed examination of the role of the hitherto unexplored history of the National War Aims Committee (NWAC), a semi-official parliamentary organisation set up with cross-party support in the summer of 1917.

Read full review.


Kitchener: Your Country Needs You

Your Country Needs You (Kitchener)

Before ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ became famous, whenever I mentioned to people that I was studying World War Two posters for my PhD, the most frequent responses was “ah-ha, your country needs you!”, to which I would reply, well, yes, “right idea, wrong war”! The image, however, IS iconic, mentioned as Number 1 of the ‘100 Best Posters of the Century” in the 1990s, and did influence a number of Second World War campaigns, especially of the “Do you really need to x?” variety.

Country of Origin United Kingdom
Date 1914-1916
Artist Alfred Leete
Printer Victoria House Printing Co. Ltd., London
Size 29 1/2″ x 20″
Sources Unknown
Other Information. One of several variations of this poster. Please contact the IWM with queries about the copyright/reproduction of this poster.

Related Texts:

History Reviewer

Seduction or Instruction?: First World War Posters in Britain and Europe

Jim Aulich & John Hewitt (2007)

“This book makes a critical and historical analysis of the public information poster and its graphic derivatives in Britain and Europe during the First World War. Governments need public support in time of war. The First World War was the first international conflict to see the launch of major publicity campaigns designed to maintain public support for national needs and government policies. What we now know as spin has its origins in the phenomenon. Then, as now, the press, photography and film played an important role, but in the early 20th century there was no radio, television or internet and the most publicly visible advertising medium was the poster. Considering the museological and memorialising imperatives behind the formation of the war publicity collection at the Imperial War Museum, this fascinating book goes on to provide a constitutional and iconographical analyses of the British Government recruiting, War Loan and charity campaigns; the effect of the inroads of the poster into important public and symbolic spaces; a comparative analysis of European poster design and the visual contribution of the poster through style and iconography to languages of ‘imagined communities’ and the construction of the individual subject. The book will of interest to design historians, historians and readers involved with the study of communication arts, publicity, advertising and visual culture at every level.”

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First World War Posters

First World War Poster“Britain entered the war on 4 August 1914.¬† The possessor of a small professional army and without a policy of conscription she had urgent need of more men – many, many more men – for training within the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

Thus the government in London acted quickly in bringing out a stream of recruitment posters, including possibly the most famous of its type, featuring¬†Lord Kitchener (“Your Country Wants You!”).

Other posters followed in due course, many urging wartime economy.  Others simply encouraged continued support for government policy, usually by whipping up indignation against the latest alleged outrages committed (invariably) by the German Army.

Browse the collection of approximately 40 posters by clicking each individual image.” on



Creating a WW1 Poster Online

Create Your Own WW1 Propaganda Poster

Especially if you’re dealing with schoolage children, this could be a useful site where you can get them to think about what is involved in creating a propaganda poster. The flash file gives a lot of information about what was required of propaganda posters (which I feel was using a lot of knowledge created SINCE WW1, but still, interesting exercise!). The student can then go on to create their own propaganda poster using the images provided – the slogan came up as “already used”, make your own new slogan!