Nova Scotians will have an opportunity to explore propaganda designed to influence public thought and action during the First World War.
An Act of Remembrance: World War I Publicity Posters at the Nova Scotia Archives is an online exhibit of about 90 large, brightly coloured propaganda posters that appeared throughout Canada as part of a government strategy.
“Propaganda is very much a part of war,” said Bruce Gilchrist, vice-chair of the Army Museum Halifax Citadel. “The initial theme of the propaganda during the First World War was: we need your help, get over here. 50,000 soldiers were recruited in Nova Scotia alone.”
The posters were produced initially to encourage military enlistment, but their themes quickly expanded to include building public support for war industries, food production and the sale of war or Victory savings bonds.
“It is important to look at all aspects of the First World War, including what was happening closer to home,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince. “The digitized propaganda posters show how publicity worked 100 years ago during this very difficult time for the world.”
The online exhibit is the first in a series to be developed by the Nova Scotia Archives over the next four years to commemorate the province’s contribution to, and losses sustained, in The War to End All Wars. A companion article by Dianne O’Neill, Your King and Country Need You: World War I Propaganda Posters, points to specific posters of interest to Nova Scotians.
To view the online exhibit, go to http://novascotia.ca/archives/virtual/warposters/ .
World War I began for Canada on Aug. 4, 1914, when Great Britain officially declared war against Germany. About 620,000 Canadian troops experienced battlefield horrors during the four long years that followed.