Key Research Themes: World War One and World War Two

The pages of Punch are key sources for depictions of World War One and World War Two, reflecting British political and social attitudes and commenting on international affairs. Among the many research themes are:

World War One

  • The Coming Conflict
  • Propaganda and Patriotism
  • Recruitment and Army Life
  • New Technology
  • The Home Front
  • Enemies and Allies
  • Peace and its Aftermath


1914 – Germany invades Belgium
The Triumph of "Culture."



1917 – In the trenches
Vague Tommy (writing letter). "Wot day is it?" Chorus. "The fourteenth." Tommy. "Wot month?" Chorus. "October." Tommy. "Wot year?"



1915 – Use of aircraft by the military
Riders of the Wind. John Prospero Bull. "Ariel they charge exactly is perform'd; But there's more work." The Tempest, Act I., Sc 2.


1918 – Women and war work
Taxi-driver (who has received bare legal fare, to Lady Maud, on munitions). "'Ere, wot's this? Calls yerself a gentleman, do yer?"




World War Two

  • Appeasement
  • The Phoney War
  • The Home Front
  • Evacuees, Land Girls and Bevin Boys
  • Rationing and Dig for Victory
  • A World at War and The Special Relationship
  • Propaganda
  • The Postwar World: Reconstruction and Austerity


1943 – The Big Three Allies and Hitler
The Fates Decide.


1944 Air raids
Boche's Benefit. "I still think last night's was a better show."




1944 – Women in the armed forces
"No, Albert, you mustn't talk to Mum now!"





1945 – The final battles in Europe
Shutting the Doors