World War I

A Guide To War Publications of the First & Second World War - download pdf or read online

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By Arthur Ward

In WW2 details leaflets and posters proliferated. infantrymen have been bombarded with box laws, airmen with the most recent updates approximately airborne early caution, bomb attractions and radio navigation and sailors with fabric that helped them establish enemy airplane and submarines and advised them tips on how to function the recent send board guns to wreck them.

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In my opinion Ludwig Hohlwein is the greatest of all poster artists. This superb example is designed to raise funds in aid of German prisoners of war and civil detainees. Propaganda was not the government’s only concern of course. Getting the message across was one thing. Preventing certain information from circulating, censorship, was quite another and just as important. Little more than a week before hostilities broke out in 1914, Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, announced in the House of Commons the setting up of a press bureau with the dual task of censoring press reports and of issuing to the press what he said would be ‘all the information relating to the war which any of the Departments of State think it right to issue’.

Now part of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, British publisher A&C Black had a rich and independent history since it was founded in 1807 by Adam and Charles Black in Edinburgh. In 1851, the firm bought the copyright of Walter Scott’s Waverley novels for £27,000. G. Wodehouse’s first book. Since then A&C Black’s extensive backlist has encompassed many books on visual arts, glass, ceramics and printmaking. Little wonder then that immediately after the cessation of hostilities in 1919 this publisher was to produce one of the best, illustrated reference books about war posters.

His woodcut leaflet Plain Truth, depicting a kneeling man praying to Hercules who is sitting in the cloud, an allegory of ‘Heaven helps him who helps himself’, told the American colonists to defend themselves against the Indians without British help. Franklin’s subsequent 1754 cartoon of a snake chopped into pieces, advised the colonies to ‘join or die’, to unite against their common foe, further encouraging sedition. When, in the spring of 1798, twenty years after the end of the American War of Independence and the loss of the colonies, General Bonaparte’s ‘Army of England’ massed along the Channel coast of France, the House of Commons again called the country to arms.

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A Guide To War Publications of the First & Second World War by Arthur Ward


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