London – Lambeth – Imperial War Museum (War Recruitment Poster)

This poster can be found on the on-line collection (© IWM Q 71310) rather than the physical displays of the Imperial War Museum, but it’s an interesting poster and I was intrigued by the reference to Lovain as I hadn’t heard of it. The town is in Belgium, better known as Leuven today, and on 25 August 1914 the Germans attacked the town and went on a frenzy of destruction, including wrecking the university’s library and destroying 230,000 books including over 1,000 incunables. The British helped to re-equip the library after the war, although it was destroyed again during the Second World War with over one million books destroyed.

Anyway, the poster is a reminder of how the Government wanted the Germans to be portrayed during the First World War, which was as a population who couldn’t be trusted. The allegations of firing on the sacred Red Cross and trashing cities certainly caused anger and concern amongst the British people, so I imagine this was a particularly successful campaign.