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Mass bomber raid on Cologne (INF 3/1603)
Mass bomber raid on Cologne (INF 3/1603)

This workshop introduces pupils to the original artwork for propaganda posters produced during the Second World War.

The session starts with a discussion led by the Education Officer about the Second World War and the concept of 'total war' - how this conflict affected both those away fighting, and those on the Home Front. The Education Officer then explains about the formation of the Ministry of Information, and talks to pupils about propaganda; what it was, the types of messages it conveyed, and how it was used to persuade people on the Home Front in Britain.

The class is then split into two for the first activity. One half of the room are given a selection of photographs taken from documents held in the archives, and are asked to write captions for each image from the point of view of a German newspaper. The other half of the room are also given a selection of photographs, and are asked to write captions from the perspective of a British newspaper reporting on the war's events. When the groups feedback to each other, they discover that they were all given the same selection of photographs - an activity that emphasises the power of propaganda, and how governments were able to manipulate visual evidence through the tool of the written word.

Pupils then go on to study a selection of original Second World War propaganda posters. They are given a workbook to guide them through their study, and are asked to consider each poster in turn; both the images and the language they use, and the message each poster is attempting to convey. The Education Officer then leads a short feedback session on what the pupils have found out.

For the final part of the session, pupils design their own propaganda poster whilst listening to music from the wartime period.

"This was a really engaging workshop - many students have shown an interest in wanting to return independently" KS3 Teacher

Session options

This session can be delivered as a

  • Workshop
  • Videoconference
  • Virtual classroom

Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Email: education@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Available: Any time of year

Cost: Free

Suitability: Year 4-9