Keep Calm and Carry On

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Keep Calm and Carry On Poster

Despite nearly 2.5 million of these posters being printed, most were unaware of their existence. Today, reproductions are posted in companies throughout the world.

In 1939, the British government aimed to boost morale of its citizens in case of invasion during WWII. The Ministry of Information produced a series of posters to use as motivational publications.

Three campaign slogans were used:

  • Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might
  • Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory
  • Keep Calm and Carry On

Despite a printing of 2.5 million, the last campaign was the lesser known. Since plans were to release the third poster should Germany invade Britain, it is believed that the bulk of the “Keep Calm” posters were destroyed.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 that an original “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was found in a second-hand bookstore. Since the copyright had expired (UK goverment artistic works expire in 50 years), Barter Books owners Stuart and Mary Manley reprinted the image for their customers. Interest increased and, today, one can find the “Keep Calm” message on clothing, mugs, home decor and a slew of other items. The slogan also has been parodied throughout the world – such as, “Keep Calm and Drink Beer”.

Many see the “Keep Calm” message as both nostalgic and timely. “Keep Calm and Carry On” has become a more modern, unofficial motto for British nurses, many financial firms and other companies throughout the world. The reproduction posters can be seen in thousands of offices, where they’re used as motivation during trying economic times.

Last updated: May 01, 2012
Filed under: Retro Memories Tagged with: slogans, WWII