Rare British WW1 Propaganda Posters

A British recruitment poster

'Blood and Iron' by Charles Ernest Butler.

The painting is dated 1916, two years after the events it depicts. Kaiser Wilhelm, on horseback with the Angel of Death at his shoulder, turns aside from leading his troops into further action. The response of the man on the ground is defiant but emasculated and Christ, too, is neutered, limited to the role of offering succour. In the background, the Belgian town of Louvain burns. The work shows no obvious hero to resolve the chaos and destruction. Instead it calls out to the viewer to step forward, to take on the challenge of what looks like an Arthurian quest, and to defeat the foe. In this work Butler depicts the horrors of war, not as a pacifist statement but rather to encourage the recruitment of men to fight the evil of German aggression, personified in the Kaiser. Although this was neither a commissioned painting nor authorised in any respect, it carries a strongly populist message about the war. It is part of a body of work that described German atrocities with an almost pornographic relish, both in attempting to motivate people to resist aggression, and to justify the Allied war effort.
Text: BBC

A Punch cartoon from 1915 depicting the stalemate on the Eastern Front

British navy recruitment poster


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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito