Monday, 30 September 2013

Peace is coming

Two postcards by the unknown artist DInah

Peace is a precious commodity but greatly undervalued. It is in human nature to be at war with whoever annoys us regardless of the consequences. And so it was that my awareness of life came about in the throws of war as I was in my fourth year when the Second World War began.

Boys who know no other life adapt very quickly to the conditions and meld in and take for granted what parents thought would be unbearable for them. We were able to bear it in England because we were not occupied, unlike our European neighbours and an uncanny optimism that told us that everything would be all right.

We were however bombed throughout the war especially the industrial cities, docks and military establishments. As it is in such a small island few areas escaped the onslaught as bombs not able to be dropped on the target would be dropped anywhere to lighten the load for the enemy bombers on the way home. 

Children still need to play in war and in peace and thus they get accustomed to a different way of life. Why should we laugh less with a war on? So our bargaining tools were bomb fragments and shell casings, our toys were planes and tanks or we whizzed around the school playground with arms outstretched mimicking aircraft in the skies. We only stopped laughing when an uncle died in a foreign field or hot desert. But laughter was resumed as relatives came to stay for the duration in your home because theirs had been bombed out and they had nowhere else to live; because for us it was a holiday.

News broadcast on the radio or in the papers would not be specific but vague when bombed cities were not named and losses in battle not counted. Retreats were a victory of sorts as those that escaped could fight another day. Propaganda was the lie that we embraced as truth is far too terrible. Thus the dissemination of propaganda as a political strategy was thought to be not a bad thing if it calmed the population and gave them hope.

So it was that during the early days of war when things were at their worst that an anonymous postcard artist with a pen name of Dinah started creating postcards with positive messages about the war using cartoon children often in uniform to show us we could win the war.

The early cards even had quotes from the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill urging the nation on. With this attitude there never was any doubt that Britain would not be conquered despite the hardships. Peace was inevitable.


          Reverse of a Dinah postcard with extract from one of Winston Churchill's speeches


  1. wow, that was awesome... You are so right people are so malleable and adaptable and why shouldn't we do what is in our nature when something as horrible as war is on? If laughing and positive signs were not there what would save us through those times? THis was really well written and an interesting take on the prompt... THanks so much.

  2. War . . . . . With what's going on in the southern part of our country (The Philippines), sometimes it makes me think that my problem is not as big as theirs.

  3. Thank you, O.E. I needed to hear you message today. Yes, kids are resilent for good reasons, some bear more than adults could endure. We weren't bombed or anything like that where I grew up in mid-America (Nebraska). But we did take precautions and often had black-outs at night. I remember going with dad to the 'junk' yard (really it was recycle but I didn't know that then) bringing things, especially metals. He was in his mid-thirties and a farmer so he had a deferment from the draft. Some of my older cousins went to war, and thank goodness, they all came back home. Mrs. Jim's brother was shot down in his P-38 over Italy and died. That was in 1944.

  4. A very important and thought provoking piece, my friend. Thank you for this.

  5. That was a horrible time for most of the world. My father was in WWII but never really said much. He was one of the fortunate ones that got to come home.

    Have a day filled with peace. ☺

  6. This wonderful, thoughtful post brought to mind stories that my parents shared and and WWII memorabilia they showed us. My father served in the US Navy during the war, and my mother was a telephone operator on the West Coast. The propaganda of war is all part of what fuels the machine. If it bolsters spirit and offers encouragement, that's a good thing. Yet still, I wish instead we could all focus on sharing the propaganda of peace. Thank you for an excellent TST post, Robin!

  7. That sounds rough, sorry y'all had to live through such hard times and glad y'all made it out ok. I hope that never happens here. Thanks for sharing your story! : )