I’m a big fan of the popular British “Keep Calm and Carry On” WWII poster. It is posted at least four places in my room, visible from pretty much wherever one sits. To me, it is inspiring and very strengthening.
I see “Keep Calm” memorabilia in many stores, and most people know that it is from WWII. But there is more history that most people haven’t heard.
In 1939, Britain’s Ministry of Information produced not one, but three inspirational posters with the classic design of a white crown on a red background. Incidentally, “Keep Calm and Carry On” was the only one not made public until recent years. The others, while their slogans may not be as quick and catchy, are equally powerful ideas. (See below.)
“Keep Calm and Carry On” was created as a last resort should the Nazis invade and occupy Britain. The Ministry of Information planned to release the poster to stiffen resolve and encourage fortitude if such a disaster should occur. Because it was never actually released, the poster was forgotten until copies were discovered in a bookstore owned by Stuart and Mary Manley in Northumberland. By that time, the image was public domain, and the couple had been reproducing and selling it in their shop to anyone who wanted a copy. Mary Manley credited the poster’s popularity to the common perception of British people: “…unshowily brave and just a little stiff, brewing tea as the bombs fall.”
I could use a bit more of that kind of “stiffness” and courage in trying times. Perhaps I’m not the only one.