King's College London
Online Exhibitions
The Cartoon in Wartime Propaganda

Posters

Kitchener recruiting poster in World War OneKitchener recruiting poster in World War OnePoster campaigns supported home propaganda in both World Wars, encouraging recruitment, raising morale and providing advice on public safety and rationing.

War Bonds and other campaigns to collect scrap metal or improve production in factories also assisted the war effort.

Posters and broadsides were a common sight during World War One - mainly directed at encouraging enlistment in the Army (conscription was only introduced in 1916).

Example of the art of FougasseExample of the art of FougasseThe posters, along with other propaganda such as pamphlets, public meetings and music hall songs, were initially very successful with large numbers of young men joining up.

A wide selection of recruiting and war effort support posters kept in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives can be viewed online at World War One posters available via the Serving Solder website.

During World War Two, Ministry of Information poster campaigns included the 'Dig for Victory' series in 1939 that encouraged householders to turn over their gardens to growing vegetables in the face of food shortages.

The most successful campaigns were arguably those that overcame initial public scepticism with skilful use of humour and simple messages.

Another successful campaign was the 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' series warning against dangerous gossip. Its artist, Cyril Bird ('Fougasse'), had studied engineering at King's College London, switching careers after the Great War, before being appointed art editor of Punch in 1937 and editor in 1949. His distinctive style and use of humour made him a popular choice for many government public information posters.

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