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UK propaganda under spotlight

A collection of UK wartime propaganda will go under scrutiny next month at a talk organised by the National Museum

Dr. Toby Thacker will examine the imagery of lithographs produced in 1917, for a war he argues that “many in Britain did not perceive as futile or pointless.”

The lithographs are part of the museum’s Efforts and Ideals exhibition. Whilst some revel in sleek, industrial imagery, others draw upon medieval scenes featuring armour-clad knights and mythical beasts.

First World War recruitment posters

By 1917, initial war optimism had faded. The lithographs were among the new tools used to help deal with the hardship at home [Credit: Ben Sutherland]

Thacker said the former reflected the broad sense of modernisation, with the war bringing in such sweeping changes as women in the workplace.

By contrast, he said, “the medievalist approach allowed artists and others in Britain to represent the war as a moral contest, between good and evil.”

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