During World War I, the picture postcard was the most important means of communication for the soldiers in the field and their loved ones at home, with an estimated 30 billion of them sent between 1914 and 1918. A postcard from home offered the soldier in the trenches a short escape from their daily hell, while receiving a postcard from a man on the front-line was literally a sign of life. These postcards create a vivid record of life at home and abroad during the Great War, both from the messages they carried and the pictures on the cards themselves. The depiction of the war on the contemporary postcards is extremely diverse: The ways in which the postcards depict the war differs greatly; from simple enthusiasm, patriotism and propaganda to humour, satire and bitter hatred. Others portray the wishes and dreams (nostalgia, homesickness and pinups) of the soldiers, the technological developments of the armies, not to mention the daily life and death on the battlefield, including the horrific reality of piles of bodies and mass graves. Altogether, this extraordinarily vivid contemporary record of the Great War offers a unique and detailed insight in the minds and mentality of the soldiers and their families who lived and died in the war to end all wars.
GREAT WAR THROUGH PICTURE POSTCARDS
PICTURE POSTCARDS from the First World War offer a multilayered source of information. The postcards sent by and to soldiers not only mirror the events in the different theatres, but also give a unique view of the daily life both on the front line and at home, in all warring countries. The aim of this publication is to document how the First World War was portrayed by and through picture postcards from three different vantage points:• How were the real events pictured? • How were emotions and perceptions of the war communicated? • Which artistic and stylistic devices were used to influence and manipulate public opinion? Chapters cover many topics including: War and Picture Postcards – Themes: From Hatred to Love – The First World War – Countries and Armies -The Western Front – The Other Theatres of War – Old and New Weapons – The War in the Air- Transport and Communication- In the Trenches and Behind the Lines – Dead, Wounded, Taken Prisoner or Missing – The Home Front and the Neutral States.
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