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Souvenons nous toujours

  • Object:

    Poster

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1940 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:

    E.1297-2004

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MM, shelf 8

Mers-el-Kébir and Dakar were French colonial naval bases in North and West Africa, respectively. After the fall of France, Winston Churchill controversially ordered bombardment of Mers-el-Kébir (July 1940) to prevent the French navy from falling into German hands. Around 1,200 French sailors died, turning public opinion in France vehemently against Britain - something Hitler was quick to exploit. At Dakar (September 1940) Charles de Gaulle joined a similar operation hoping, but failing, to rally the port to the cause of the Free French. The text-only format has a stark impact. The two place names need no elaboration to arouse feelings of horror and outrage. The design causes the viewer to think immediately of bloodshed.

Physical description

French cursive type printed in blue ["Souvenons nous/ toujours"] with red block lettering above ["DAKAR"] and below ["MERS-EL-KÉBIR"], suggesting blood. This text is framed in blue, white and red, the colours of the French tricolour flag.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

ca. 1940 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

'Souvenons nous / toujours'
(from the French) Let us always remember
printed in blue

Dimensions

Height: 80.1 cm, Width: 120.7 cm

Descriptive line

Souvenons nous toujours [Let us always remember] French Second World War poster, ca. 1940

Materials

Ink; Paper

Techniques

Colour lithography

Subjects depicted

Blood; Colonialism; War; Violence; Politics; Strategy; Propaganda

Categories

Prints; Propaganda; Posters

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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