History Reviewer

War Posters: Weapons of Mass Communication

Exhibition book
War Posters: Weapons of Mass Communication
By Dr James Aulich

This lavishly illustrated book features over 300 of the most eye-catching and iconic posters from the Museum’s international collection. Starting with the Great War in 1914, through to the war in Iraq, from countries all over Europe, the Commonwealth, America and Russia, these posters are undoubtedly some of the most varied and powerful graphic images ever produced.

Over 300 illustrations, 256 pp
£19.95 hardback”

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History Media & Press Media - Visual

The One Show

I’ve just been chatting to the Researchers from The One Show about “Keep Calm and Carry On”, which they are planning to cover on 29th March.  I had tried pitching to The One Show before, but hadn’t been picked up.  It looks like I won’t actually be on it, as they will be filming at Barter Books (Alnwick is a little far from Winchester, although I really want to go and see the store!), but as usual, I hope that my historical knowledge makes a contribution… and is acknowledged! It will be interesting to see who else they talk to – I know it includes James Aulich, who wrote this great book on War Posters, and was behind the digitisation project at the Imperial War Museum.

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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Weapons of Mass Communication

“In the 21st century we have become accustomed to mass communication developing to unbelievably sophisticated levels, yet a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum shows how for a large part of the 20th century, the humble poster was the key means of influencing public opinion.

The exhibition explores this phenomenon by presenting hundreds of the most eye-catching and iconic posters used to sell war and attendant ideologies from WWI to the present day.

Running until March 31 2008 Weapons of Mass Communication mines the museums’ vast poster archive to present a snapshot of the ideas that have been used to both promote and oppose conflicts and political ideas. ”

Read full entry. The accompanying book: “War Posters: Weapons of Mass Communication” by James Aulich is beautifully produced, and some information remains online.