Abram Games: the war designer who persuaded Britain with his posters

The National Army Museum’s new exhibition explores the work of the Second World War graphic designer and master of visual seduction, who created propaganda posters to boost recruitment, educate soldiers, and encourage civilians to contribute to Britain’s war efforts.

When war broke out in in Britain in 1939, fighting for your country was not really a personal choice. Conscription to the army was made compulsory for all men aged between 18 and 41 who were in good health, and anyone who refused on religious, moral or other grounds – conscientious objectors – had to stand in front of a court to make their case.

Refusing to fight was not seen as strong-spirited, anti-establishment or radical – it was portrayed in the media and by Government as cowardly, selfish and a betrayal, and many men went to jail for it.

Despite the stigma, which was a hangover from the First World War, attitudes were softening and refusing to fight was becoming more common. Over 60,000 men applied to be conscientious objectors during the Second World War, which was four times the amount of those in 1916. So what could be done to encourage more men – and later women – to want to join the army?

Courtesy of the National Army Museum

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