e-space
Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    The Planning, Design and Reception of British Home Front Propaganda Posters of the Second World War

    Lewis, RM (2004) The Planning, Design and Reception of British Home Front Propaganda Posters of the Second World War. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University College Winchester.

    [img]
    Preview

    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (1MB) | Preview

    Abstract

    This project focuses on propaganda posters produced during the Second World War (1939 to 1945), primarily by the British government, aimed chiefly at their civilian population. The project uses Foucauldian discourse analysis and content analysis to investigate the images and their context, and identify key themes across a wide range of posters, over a long time-frame. This thesis contributes to an historical understanding of the British popular propaganda experience, largely ignored in previous historical research. Drawing on material from several archives, including the Imperial War Museum (IWM), the Public Record Office (PRO) and Mass-Observation (M-O), the project also uses questionnaires to elicit memories of the posters, and a poster database to collect together material which would otherwise remain dispersed. The thesis sets the posters against a background of contextual material, it identifies key propaganda theories, discerns relevant poster styles and recognises British poster style as one of pragmatic functionalism. The thesis outlines the poster production and distribution processes of the Ministry of Information (MOI) and considers the first (highly criticised) posters before concentrating on four case studies, each of which is structured in three sections: the planning (context), the design, and the reception of the posters. The first case study examines what people were fighting for, and identifies their ‘imagined community’, by considering urban and rural representations of the UK in the posters. The second case study considers industrial propaganda, emphasises the idea of the island nation, and identifies those involved in the industrial effort. The third case study looks at the ‘enemy within’, and examines who was excluded from, or was considered damaging to, the war effort. The fourth case study explores in detail who was compromising the war effort through their sexual behaviour, putting themselves at risk of venereal disease. The thesis argues that the posters drew heavily on longer term discourses emanating from new and established institutions, although there was often a clear distinction between those that drew on the past and tradition, and those that pushed forward to the future.

    Impact and Reach

    Statistics

    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    1,780Downloads
    6 month trend
    1,583Hits

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

    Repository staff only

    Edit record Edit record