• World War II

    World War II


    A. Propaganda posters

    Context :

    Chamberlain was succeeded by Churchill (PM) in May 1940. Churchill was also the Minister of Defense. Coalition government (when 2 or more parties share the power) : the Cabinet got 4 Labour ministers, 15 Conservatives, and 1 Liberal.

    In September 1939 a National Service Act was passed introducing conscription (when you order people by law to serve in the armed forces). By 1942 all men and women between 16 and 60 could be called for different sort of service, so almost all the population in Britain were conscripted : in 1940 men were conscripted, men who weren't able to serve in the armed forced were conscripted in coal mines, and in 1941 women were conscripted.


    > What is the British population being aked to do in these posters ?

    These posters were part of Government information campaign, so people were told what to do and what not to do to contribute for the war effort (don't waste food, don't take the bus when you can walk,...). These posters in particular : “Dig for Victory” = to collect scrap metal. Posters shows people how to wear a gaz mask.

    “Go trough your wardrobe”: Re-use old clothes or make their own clothes. Women were providing with sewing classes (how to re-use an old blanket,...).

    “Home grown food means more ships for the War effort”: less than a third of the food was produced at home, because of the war ennemies ship targeted incoming allied ship (with food), preventîng supplies to reach the UK.

    → This is why these posters were part of the propaganda posters.


    > How could this contribute to the war effort ?

    Everybody was asked to participate for the war effort. Women were encourage to replacement in factories, as men were gone to the war. Most women were conscripted especially for munitions factories. The nation labour was once again mobilized. Women were working in factories, hospital, schools, joined the army and by 1942 400 000 women had joined the army or the navy or the air force. So anyone was asked to help by making extra-effort. That what we called during the war a « home front ». The mood of the time was “doing your bit”.


    > What sort of mood might these posters contribute to ?

    People are encouraged to help, to recycle, to help each other. Encouraging to be patriotic. Posters, radios, films, were used to keep up people's spirit. Sometime it was part of propaganda to make fun of the ennemy. Actually the measures of the British Government were design to modalize a democratic system. And basically this was well-accepted by the population, because it was essential to maximise the nation war effort. The counter-part was that the government tried to insure the fairest possible treatement of the population. The British population appreciated the fairness of the system, the equality.


    B. Winston Churchill

    > What position did Winston Churchill occupy during the war ?

    He was Prime Minister.


    > What message is being given to the UK population in these speeches ?

    “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

    → He's just saying that everybody work hard in order to win the war.

    “[...] we shall never surrender” → Never surrender to Germans, it was important for Britain to help France and go down fighting. The nation who have surrender is finished. According to Churchill Germany was the ennemy and should not be trusted, so no surrender, no peace “traité”.

    “Let us therefore brace ourselves [...]” → Justify the help which was providing to France. The aim was to convince people that Britain was going to win the war and also to rally the country around him. He reported messages of support from the British dominions (to show the power of the Commonwealth).

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