British Post Office


At the beginning of the war, in order to gain wider powers over national security, the Government introduced the Defence of the Realm Act, 1914 (DORA). The new legislation gave the Government the power, if need be, to censor the press. Under the new legislation and military authority, the coverage of the war in its early stages was speculative. There were many generalisations and few, if any, facts.

But the war and its effects were communicated through a variety of mediums. The picture postcard became the favoured method through which the troops at the front and their family and friends on the home front communicated. Scotland had a love affair with postcards. Indeed, when they were first introduced they became very popular and the Postmaster-General claimed the largest number was sent from Scotland. During the war, special sentimental family postcards were designed but humorous and satirical cards also gained great currency. Poetry, both professional and amateur, became a favoured outlet for expressing anti-war sentiments, camaraderie  and sacrifice. The artwork of the conflict was, for the most part, propaganda. Artists were employed by the Government or they worked on illustrated newspapers, and periodicals such as The Sphere, The Graphic and The Illustrated London News. However, as a counterbalance, poetry and artwork began to emanate from those who were at the fighting fronts as they began to question the purpose of the war and tried to rationalise the suffering.

Sources: War, Journalism and History, Peter Lang, 2012. 'Up the Line to Death: The War Poets 1914-1918, Methuen, 1964.


An example of a sentimental postcard.

site search by freefind advanced
Scotland Home. Official