Posters of the Great War, Frederick Hadley & Martin Peglar

Posters of the Great War, Frederick Hadley & Martin Peglar.

This impressive book contains 200 full colour posters from the collection of the Historical Museum of the Great War at Péronne (one result of this is the presence of French-language versions of some British posters). The posters cover a wide range of topics, from recruitment to funding the war, and every major combatant.

We begin with an overview of poster production at the time, and the general policies of the major combatants. We then move onto a thematic collection of posters. Most of these chapters have posters from most major combatants, although the first chapter, on Recruiting Posters, focuses on the United Kingdom, Empire and the United States, where voluntary recruitment was needed. The other main combatants used conscription and so didn’t need voluntary recruits. 

This is a fascinating view of both how each country saw the war, and the messages they wanted to get out to their populations. These messages changed over time, and different countries tended to produce posters in a different style. The German posters based on stats or historical arguments stand out as rather different in style (one showing the French invasions of Germany under Louis XIV, during the Seven Years Wars and in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars is very effective, mainly because Napoleon's campaigns crossed most of Germany.

The poster was perhaps the most effective means of mass communication during the First World War, colourful and bold in a world of black and white film and poor quality newsprint pictures. This collection makes it clear just how striking many Great War posters were, and suggests how effective they might have been at the time.

1 - Recruiting
2 - Loans and Money
3 - The Soldier
4 - The Enemy
5 - The Family and the Home Front
6 - Films
7 - After the War

Author: Frederick Hadley & Martin Peglar
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 160
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military with the Historical Museum of the Great War, Péronne, France
Year: 2013

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