Labour History Review

The Labour Party's Election Posters in 1945

Labour History Review (1996), 61, (3), 299–308.


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The French artist, Jules Chéret, is widely accepted as the creator of the modern poster, his first designs being printed in 1869. A good account and a useful introduction to the origins and development of posters is given in John Barnicoat, A Concise History of Posters, 1972. Google Scholar

The CND logo was designed by Gerald Holton in 1958, but it was the graphic designer Ken Garland who produced the famous poster with its sliced CND symbols for the 1963 Aldermaston march and used the symbol in perspective for the 1965 Easter march. He also designed the tall black and white banners that lined the streets en route. See Peggy Duff, Left, Left, Left, 1971, and Richard Hollis, Graphic Design: A Concise History, 1994. Google Scholar

The Atelier Populaire was a remarkable democratic workshop set up by students of the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, where workers, students and artists produced posters throughout the strikes and street battles of 1968. Mostly screen printed, the posters were a daily weapon in the fight against the Gaullist government. The posters were never sold, but some were brought back to Britain and were the source of inspiration for many similar posters. The best reference is Posters from the Revolution, Pans, May 1968, 1969. Google Scholar

Labour Party Campaign Sub-Committee minutes, 11 April 1945, Box No. XXI, National Museum of Labour History. Herbert Morrison wrote in Herbert Morrison: An Autobiography by Lord Morrison of Lambeth, 1960, p. 232, that he was made chairman of a ‘Special Campaign Committee formed in January, 1945, to prepare for the election’. Google Scholar

The final print run for Let Us Face the Future was 1,300,000. This total was exceeded by the run of the sixteen-page pamphlet, Straight Left, which was almost 2,000,000. Report on Campaign Publicity Services, 23 July 1945, Box No. XXI, 301/13 A2 National Museum of Labour History. Google Scholar

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Michael Young, letters to John Gorman, 4 April 1995 and 11 September 1995. Michael Young drafted the 1945 declaration of Labour policy, Let Us Face the Future. He was ennobled as Lord Young of Dartington in 1978. Google Scholar

William Surrey Dane (1892-1978). Married Dorothy Armstrong in 1919. Chairman of the Daily Herald, 1949-1960. Google Scholar

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Philip Zec (1909-1983). Joined the Daily Mirror as political cartoonist in 1937. Resigned to join the Daily Herald in 1958, rejoined the Daily Mirror in 1961 and became a director of the Mirror Group. Google Scholar

Morrison, Autobiography, p. 237. Google Scholar

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Author details

Gorman, John