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A Guide To War Publications of the First & Second World War by Arthur Ward

By Arthur Ward

In WW2 info leaflets and posters proliferated. infantrymen have been bombarded with box rules, airmen with the newest updates approximately airborne early caution, bomb attractions and radio navigation and sailors with fabric that helped them establish enemy airplane and submarines and informed them the way to function the recent send board guns to spoil them.

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William Hogarth and other British satirists gave vent to the frustrations and incredulities of a more questioning population during this period. Although they were subsequently more famous for their novels, writers, such as Daniel Defoe, who, in February 1704, began his weekly, the Review – a forerunner of both the Tattler and the Spectator, and Jonathan Swift, the most influential contributor between November 1710 and June 1711 of the Examiner, which started life in 1710 as the chief Conservative political mouthpiece, both contributed to a growing climate of cynical observation.

Fouqueray also had a distinguished career as a mural painter and as a prolific illustrator for magazines and journals such as the Graphic and Illustration. Another memorable poster, ‘The French Woman in War-Time’, by Georges Émile Capon, shows three women engaged in supporting the war effort by each either nursing young children, toiling on the farm or working in a factory at the lathe. Originally designed to promote a government film produced to encourage women to leave the comfort of home behind and do ‘their bit’ for the good of France instead, Capon’s illustration soon enjoyed wider distribution.

Preventing certain information from circulating, censorship, was quite another and just as important. Little more than a week before hostilities broke out in 1914, Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, announced in the House of Commons the setting up of a press bureau with the dual task of censoring press reports and of issuing to the press what he said would be ‘all the information relating to the war which any of the Departments of State think it right to issue’. Throughout the war the various provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) specified the matters for which publication was an offence.

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