Don't keep a diary

Poster
ca. 1942 (made)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In this propaganda poster, the enemy is depicted solely by his big barrel chest, Nazi uniform and sinister stubby hands. The Nazi soldier is dehumanised, depicted without a head or body. Note that colour is used sparingly to highlight the British flag, the glow of the diary's binding and the single, gruesome trickle of blood dripping down the soldier's buttons. Visually, this was designed to create a strong representation of evil in the minds of Britons. Today, we often think of wartime diaries as a source of valuable insights into the lived experience of World War II. At the time, seized diaries - particularly those belonging to Allied troops - could have leaked important and potentially dangerous information to Axis forces.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
colour lithograph
Brief Description
"Don't keep a diary - it might get into the enemy's hands" World War II propaganda by unknown designer. Colour Lithograph. UK, ca. 1942.
Physical Description
Black and white image of a Nazi soldier's chest. The unidentified soldier's hands are leafing through a seized British diary.
Dimensions
  • Height: 36.9cm
  • Width: 25.1cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Dont/ Keep a diary/ it might get into the enemy's hands
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
Subjects depicted
Places Depicted
Summary
In this propaganda poster, the enemy is depicted solely by his big barrel chest, Nazi uniform and sinister stubby hands. The Nazi soldier is dehumanised, depicted without a head or body. Note that colour is used sparingly to highlight the British flag, the glow of the diary's binding and the single, gruesome trickle of blood dripping down the soldier's buttons. Visually, this was designed to create a strong representation of evil in the minds of Britons. Today, we often think of wartime diaries as a source of valuable insights into the lived experience of World War II. At the time, seized diaries - particularly those belonging to Allied troops - could have leaked important and potentially dangerous information to Axis forces.
Other Number
LS.1911 - Leslie Schreyer Loan Number
Collection
Accession Number
E.1548-2004

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record createdFebruary 21, 2005
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