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Don't keep a diary

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1942 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    H. Manly & Son (printers)

  • 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:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 1B, box LS3

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.

Physical description

Black and white image of a Nazi soldier's chest. The unidentified soldier's hands are leafing through a seized British diary.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


ca. 1942 (made)


H. Manly & Son (printers)

Materials and Techniques

colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Dont/ Keep a diary/ it might get into the enemy's hands


Height: 36.9 cm, Width: 25.1 cm

Descriptive line

"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.


Paper; Ink

Subjects depicted

Politics; Flags; War; Secrecy; Blood; Propaganda; Diary; Soldiers; National socialism


Prints; Propaganda; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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