The WW1 Home Front: patriotism and propaganda
By the webmaster’s mother, 1906-2002
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.
- it is aimed at male manual workers, as most men worked with their hands and were the only wage earners
- the men are lean and muscular
- both have facial hair
- both have typical working clothes, e.g. heavy boots, waistcoat, apron, flat peaked cap
- one is smoking a pipe
- lunch - known then as dinner - was brought from home in the form of a sandwich and a metal can of cold tea.
I don't know how successful the posters were for encouraging people to buy the war certificates.
Promoting the WW1 war savings certificates
Patriotic war bonds
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
Everyone was encouraged to support the World War One war effort in their own way, and patriotic propaganda and patriotism were woven into every facet of society.
The photograph shows an example from a typical street photographer.
My younger brother had his 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 Britain and its allies were doing fighting the war. Note:
- the King's crown
- the British flag
- flags of the allies
- fighter planes and
- a warship.
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
Everyone was encouraged to support the World War One war effort in their own way, and patriotic propaganda were woven into every facet of society.
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 troups, dated 1914, is understandably totally positive. It shows no fighting, only a single soldier in uniform with bright sunshine ahead, the sun with the date of 1915.
The wording is:
Presumably Lady Rawlinson ran a support group for the 4th Corps soldiers.