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20th Century Conflict

Television documentaries about the World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 have given us powerful images of the military action. The impact of the conflict on communities is evident in family letters, memorabilia and items of propaganda.

In 'No T'anks', the cartoonist uses the image of a tank, with all its associations of warfare and death, to create a humorous postcard. "You would not like one of these after you" wrote the aunt of Frank Bowley in 1917. Greeting cards which survive from the Great War period show a range of images, from the patriotic to the sentimental.

William Lees, a Nottingham lace representative, lived in Lille during the war, and collected records and ephemera about the siege of the town by the Germans in October 1914. The pamphlet 'Lille en Feu! Haut les Coeurs!' commemorates the events in a poem written by Gustave Varlet, Capitaine d'Infanterie, in December 1914. It was published on liberation in October 1918.

Wartime inspires striking images of propaganda. Posters published by both Britain and Soviet Russia show how the countries encouraged their populations to support the war effort in different ways. One of a substantial series of Soviet war posters bears the caption 'Courage takes the town!'. It was issued in September 1943.

Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.

First World War postcard Zoom in

First World War postcard

Lille en feu souvenir brochure Zoom in

Lille en feu souvenir brochure

Soviet war poster Zoom in

Soviet war poster

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