Germany’s aerial bombing campaign against Britain was an unprecedented development in warfare. The civilian population found itself on the front line for the first time and the public’s anger, frustration and demands for retaliation against the Zeppelin raids was tempered by a remarkable resilience. This was expressed with humour, through the medium of the humble picture postcard, and a demand for souvenirs. My presentation would start with an explanation of the effects Germany hoped an air campaign against Britain would bring, being terror and panic on the streets.I would then look at the reaction in Britain to the early raids in 1915, illustrated with postcards showing the damage to property, and discuss the anger, frustration and demands for retaliation. The subsequent change in attitude of the public is interesting with the introduction of comic postcards which, by the sheer variety available, were very popular. As many were not posted, this suggests people collected them to say "we are not frightened of you ". This humble method of communication became a powerful means of propaganda and a catalyst for a change in the public’s attitudes.The emphasis of the postcard offerings changed once the threat had been countered. Crowds descended on crash sites to secure their own piece of the “Baby Killers” and the pilots who dealt the fatal blows became celebrities in their own right.
About the Speaker:
David is a member of Cross & Cockade International (The First World War Aviation Historical Society) and the Airship Heritage Trust. He regularly lectures on behalf of these organisations on the subject of Zeppelin raids, drawing on a unique and extensive collection of postcards and contemporary memorabilia. David also writes Cross & Cockade’s quarterly e-newsletter, “Wind in the Wires”, which has over 1,400 subscribers. David is also a contributor to books, journals, magazines and other WW1 projects and his first book, “Let the Zeppelins Come”, focusing on the morale boosting impact of comic postcards to the British public, was published in March 2017 and received national press coverage. His second book "The Zeppelin Offensive: A German Perspective in Pictures and Postcards" was published in October 2018.
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HMM Tuesday Talk - The Public's Response to the First Blitz" with David Marks
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