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Propaganda Posters World War One
Age range: 11-14
Resource type: Worksheet/Activity
13 November 2014
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How was propaganda used in World War One?
What is propaganda.
This famous poster used the face of Lord Kitchener to persuade men to join the army. Kitchener died when his ship hit a German mine.
Posters brought together people from different jobs and backgrounds. As well as soldiers, this poster shows a blacksmith, a munitions worker, and gentleman and a nurse.
Dramatic depictions of events were used to motivate people to join the army. 1,000 civilians died after the Lusitania, a passenger ship, was attacked by a German submarine in 1915.
Posters tried to persuade men to join friends and family who had already volunteered by making them feel like they were missing out.
The fear and the anger that people felt against air raids was used to recruit men for the armed services.
Posters urged women to help the war effort. The Women's Land Army worked on farms to grow crops for people to eat.
Women were encouraged to put pressure on their sons, brothers, husbands and fathers to join the army.
Before rationing was introduced, posters encouraged people to cut down on resources that were becoming harder to come by, like bread.
What did newspapers report?
At first journalists were not allowed to report from the Western Front.
Many found secret ways to travel there. One journalist, Basil Clarke, hid on a train full of French soldiers.
In April 1915 the ban was stopped and some journalists went to the front.
People in Britain wanted to know what was happening
But the Government knew spies might read the papers. A law was passed to stop newspapers from printing information which could help the enemy or make British people feel unhappy about the war.
Most journalists were strongly patriotic
They wrote stories in a way that made the British and their allies look successful. If the Army or Navy had done well in battle, the story would be on the front page with a bold headline.
Newspapers carried a list of officers and men killed in battle
Local papers would list those in their area who were dead or missing. It all made very sad reading since so many soldiers and sailors were young men.
How did reporting change?
More on World War One
Find out more by working through a topic
What was medicine like during World War One?
- count 11 of 40
How did animals help in World War One?
- count 12 of 40
Who was Sergeant Stubby?
- count 13 of 40
What were air raids like in World War One?
- count 14 of 40
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Lesson at a glance
How can art be used to convey a message.
Welcome to episode five of Time Travel TV! This time we will be exploring a colourful piece of art, but what was its message and purpose?
Look at the mystery document very carefully. What you can see?
You might like to discuss your ideas with your helper, or print out the document to circle details as you spot them.
Here are a few questions to think about:
- What is the layout of this document?
- What images can you see?
- What does the text say?
- What type of document is it?
You’ve worked like a history detective to investigate this poster and collect lots of evidence.
Now, consider these questions to take your thinking further:
- Who does the figure in the dustbin represent?
- What does the text mean?
- When do you think this poster was made?
- Who do you think produced this poster?
- Why was it made?
How does this poster work as a piece of propaganda?
Use all of the evidence you’ve gathered to make suggestions about what this poster is trying to convince people to do, and why this would have been important during the war.
See if you can summarise your ideas in a sentence or two to work out the message of the poster.
Did you think this poster was effective?
Many more propaganda posters were designed during the war to encourage people to support the war effort, and each poster had its own important message. Practise your skills and find out more about propaganda with the follow-up activities on this webpage.
Additional documents to investigate:
Look at each poster in turn, and think about these questions:
- What can you see in this poster? Jot down as many details as you can spot.
- What is the message of this poster? What is it trying to convince people to do?
- Who was its intended audience? Use details from the poster to support your ideas here.
- What techniques does the artist use to get the poster’s message across?
- Do you think this poster is effective? Why?
Design your own propaganda poster
Propaganda can be an effective way of encouraging people to do something important. Create your own poster to convince your parents, carers or someone in your family to do something that’s important to you!
You could design a poster to encourage people to volunteer for the NHS, recycle plastic, or support a cause that matters to you.
Don’t forget to think about your audience and use a range of techniques to make your poster convincing. Colourful images, catchy text, and even humour can all help to get your message across!
How did Britain encourage people at home to help win the war?
The Home Front
How did people prepare for the war at home?
Resources you can trust
Children evaluate the purpose, audience and effectiveness of a range of World War Two propaganda posters. Includes a cross-curricular Art challenge to design a poster of their own.
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