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WW1: Patriotism and Propaganda


The WW1 Home Front: patriotism and propaganda


It was recognised by the government and others that patriotism and propaganda on the WW1 home front were crucial to winning the war, and both were woven into every facet of society. This page is about some of them. Personal recollections bring the page to life.


Extracted from the memoirs of the webmaster's mother(1906-2002) and edited by the webmaster with further research


Extracted from the memoirs of the webmaster's mother(1906-2002) and edited by the webmaster with further research

Patriotic war savings certificates in World War One

British war saving certificates were first issued in 1916 to help fund the First World War.

I particularly like the following poster for the savings certificates because it so clearly illustrates the times - not that that was particularly its intention.

UK World War One poster for war savings certificates, first issued 1916, shows men in working clothes

World War One poster encouraging people to buy war savings certificates.

In particular:

As the following contribution shows, the certificates were not only aimed at civilians but also at the men in the trenches.

Promoting the WW1 war savings certificates

My work on WW1 Officers diaries shows what a hard sell these certificates were to the men in the trenches. There are numerous entries showing how the men were reminded to buy the certificates, the total sold each month, etc and asked to buy more. The Government was not only asking the men to fight but to pay for it as well!

Jan Greenslade

Patriotic war bonds

from the webmaster

My mother does not mention war bonds, but my understanding is that they were essentially loans to the Government aimed at wealthier people and marketed in terms of patriotism because they took years to mature.

Patriotic street photography in World War One

Street photograph was steeped in patriotism. Just look at the decoration around the picture of the boy in the following photo.

World War One propaganda photograph of a boy, showing him framed with the king's crown, the British flag, flags of the allies, fighter planes and a warship.

World War One propaganda photograph of a boy framed with the King's crown, the British flag, flags of the allies, fighter planes and a warship.

My younger brother had this photograph taken by a street photographer on the way home from school. (Incidentally, he did not ask my mother's permission, and if he had she would doubtless have refused because money was so tight.)

What is interesting about the photo is how the relatively small photo of my brother is placed in a relatively large frame decorated with images that are clearly intended to whip up pride in what the country and its allies were doing fighting the war. Not in particular:

These are the powerful and victorious icons of war. Images of life in the trenches and the horrendous casualties are of course absent.

Patriotic greetings cards in World War One

Inspirational WW1 Christmas card for the troops in World War One

Inspirational Christmas card for the soldiers at the front in 1914

Old films and photographs of the mud, discomfort, disease, mutilations and death in the trenches on the fighting fronts are well known. Yet, this Christmas card for the troops, dated 1914, is understandably totally positive. It shows no fighting, only a single soldier in uniform with bright sunshine ahead and the sun. The date of 1915.

The wording is:

We wish you all a happy Xmas and New Year, success, victory and safe return. Xmas 1914. From Lady Rawlinson and Friends of the 4th Corps.

Presumably Lady Rawlinson ran a support group for the 4th Corps soldiers.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased if you would contact me.

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