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A Guide To War Publications of the First & Second World War (Hardback)

From Training Guides to Propaganda Posters

WWII WWI Social History

By Arthur Ward
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781783831548
Published: 16th April 2015

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In WW2 information leaflets and posters proliferated. Soldiers were bombarded with Field Regulations, airmen with the latest updates about airborne early warning, bomb sights and radio navigation and sailors with material that helped them identify enemy aircraft and submarines and told them how to operate the new ship board weapons to destroy them.

An abundance of familiar slogans exhorted the population to do the utmost: 'Go To IT!', 'Come Into The Factories', 'Keep Calm and Carry On', 'Dig For Victory', 'Lend A Hand on the Land', 'Walk When You Can'. Other messages warned of the consequences of irresponsible behaviour: 'Careless Talk Cost Lives', 'Loose Lips Sink Ships', 'Keep It Under Your Hat' and 'Be Like Dad, Keep Mum', the latter illustrating just how much social mores have, thankfully, changed in the last 75 years.

This book is concerned with the plethora of printed ephemera that was designed to educate, instruct, inform and entertain. Such original material can still be bought and is easy to store – the posters also often making attractive items for display – but as with all other authentic historical material supply is finite and examples of wartime publications in first class condition command a high price. This is the first time a single volume has been dedicated entirely to a long overlooked component of wartime collectables. It is designed to complement books which focus on traditional militaria such as uniforms, equipment and regalia and is intended to reveal just how much material was produced, across the board, by each of the warring nations. It will advise enthusiasts about what was produced, what is still available and where to find it and, importantly, how to conserve and store such vintage printed items.

As featured in

Chichester Observer

'... fascinating story...'

West Sussex Gazette

Comprehensive.

Military Historical Society

Though glossy and fit for the coffee table, this book is clearly aimed at collectors of war memorabilia, mentioning rarity, prices and other issues such as condition, with a final chapter on looking after collectibles, especially paper items. Ward's Top Ten tips page cries out to be put up on the wall of any serious collector.
There is a good deal to learn from this book and one closes it grateful that all those WW2 instructions about using gas masks and surviving nuclear war were never needed.

Friends of the National Archives

The two World Wars produced an outpouring of imagery for training and propaganda. This fascinating book reviews a broad selection of war publication, recommended.

Read the full review here.

Firetrench
 Arthur Ward

About Arthur Ward

Trained at art school, Arthur Ward has enjoyed a thirty-year career in media and marketing. His first love, however, is history, and he is particularly interested in the social and political aspects of military history and, as far removed from this as it is perhaps possible to get, the history of toys. He is a specialist about Airfix and is considered the leading authority about this famous brand. He also runs www.collectingfriends.com, the enthusiasts’ website he established with Radio Four's Peter Donaldson.

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