‘The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle.’ These emotive words from Prime Minister Winston Churchill on VE Day 1945 praised the struggle of all those living and working on the home front during the Second World War. While carrying out research for our event, Illustrating victory, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of VE Day, we have discovered how documents here at The National Archives demonstrate the ways in which the British government strove to keep every man, woman and child from thoughts of quitting the war effort.
From radio to film to posters, the government fed constant streams of information and propaganda to the public, all designed to raise the spirits and encourage the public whose sons and daughters were daily giving their lives in war. Series INF 3 is made up of the original designs of ‘war artists’ employed by the government to produce propaganda images. These come in many forms including large scale posters, tiny postcards and illustrations for books and magazines. The different media the artists used to create these works and their messages can vary hugely. Many of these have been digitised and you can see them through the Art of war online exhibition and our Illustrating victory Flickr album.
The INF 3 series provides a unique opportunity to explore some of the art held here and to gain insights into the psychology of a nation at war. This blog post will give you a glimpse of how we can interpret these documents through three distinct and significant perspectives, revealing the diversity of the holdings at The National Archives and the power of propaganda – a power still tangible 70 years later. Continue reading »