Love from the trenches

The romantic pictorial postcards of World War I

When war erupted in August 1914, postcards were the perfect medium to provide a link between the men on active service and their loved ones back home. Fearing that seperation could be forever, postcards helped to boost the morale of the people both at home and the troops on the war fronts.

Here is a collection of romantic wartime postcards from the nations in conflict. Many soldiers on active service would buy postcards in local shops and the subject matter was usually sentimental.


"Good soldier, whom I love, to reward you I am sending you this flower...", 1916 (colour litho) A young soldier daydreaming about his love (tinted photo)
“Good soldier, whom I love, to reward you I am sending you this flower…”, 1916 (colour litho), French School / Bridgeman Images A young soldier daydreaming about his love (tinted photo), French Photographer, (20th century) / Bridgeman Images


A visual language borrowed from religious iconography

Black-and-white photographs were often hand-coloured afterwards and some depict photomontages of young lovers daydreaming of their sweethearts.

Many French wartime postcards borrowed from a religious visual language established before the war. Imagery in the Catholic press often depicted religious visions appearing in everyday life. The postcards tapped these previously established conventions, often featuring a scene of war at the top of the frame, while the scene of home occupied the bottom.


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 “Only he who knows longing, knows what I suffer”, 1915 (colour litho), German School

Don’t Worry, We Will Make It!, 1915 (colour litho), German School


The Germans used zeppelins for strategic bombing in France and England during World War I.  The message in this postcard from 1915 may have been a lighthearted attempt to reduce the fear of these raids. The man is in uniform, circling the woman with his arm as if to offer symbolic protection.



Damn The Zeppelins!, 1915 (colour litho), French School, (20th century) / Private Collection / � Galerie Bilderwelt / Bridgeman Images


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