Propaganda from the Civil Service

An early attempt from the Ministry of Information

In the finest tradition of the British civil service they produced the infamous “red poster” of 1939 – ‘Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution, will bring us victory’. The poster was indeed the work of a civil servant – A P Waterfield, the Deputy Director General of the newly established Ministry of Information. It was one of a series of three posters issued by the Ministry shortly after the outbreak of war in September 1939. The design was totally unimaginative and the message was supercilious and condescending. Even The Times newspaper was not impressed, calling it “insipid and patronising”. Predictably, the poster was counter-productive, the implicit “them and us” division stimulating resentment rather than fortitude. It surely must rank highly amongst the most crassly inept propaganda posters ever produced.”

See fascinating analysis of British World War II posters at The Weapon on the Wall by Paul Vyšný at St Andrews University.