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The First World War: Visual Perspectives and Narratives

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Sources from Imperial War Museums


The third resource in our First World War portal (see also Personal Experiences and Propaganda and Recruitment), The First World War: Visual Perspectives and Narratives features a rich variety of primary source material from the unparalleled holdings of Imperial War Museums.

Through both visual and documentary resources, this collection showcases the international dimensions of the conflict, the Home Front and the role of women in the war.

The collection includes:

  • Photographs (documenting the war from multiple international perspectives, including foreign official photographs and private collections)
  • Artwork (oil paintings, watercolours, pastels and pencil sketches from a large array of artists, including artists’ commissioning documents)
  • Film clips (covering the full duration of war and numerous international forces)
  • Museum objects (object photographs)
  • Posters (various international posters)
  • Manuscripts (previously undigitized personal collections)
  • Rare printed material (books and pamphlets recording various aspects of the war)
  • Ephemera (books, pamphlets, pin badges, postcards, stamps)

The diverse material allows for an exploration of the following themes:

  • Industry and economy
  • Workers and strikes
  • The role of women
  • Education 
  • Children
  • Food and rationing
  • Transport
  • Hospitals and casualties
  • Societies and organisations
  • Volunteers 
  • Disease
  • Entertainment
  • Fundraising
  • War bonds and war loans
  • Morale
  • Religion and spiritualism
  • Zeppelin raids
  • Shipping
  • Easter Rising
  • Demobilisation
  • Celebration

Essays from editorial board members will cover topics such as photography during the First World War, prominent artists and their artwork, film coverage, the Home Front and women and the war.