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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Historical Tidbit: The Origin of "Keep Calm" Posters

Original Poster from WWII (Source)
Did you know...

That the "Keep Calm and Carry On" movement dates back to World War II?

It's true. So last week I was putting together my latest Wheel of Time Read-Along post, and I usually post fan art with it, just so people can see different renditions of characters and scenes. (Don't worry, I always credit my source.)

So anyway, I found a "Keep Calm and Cleanse Saidin" poster and decided to use it. When I clicked on the origin, it took me to the Keep Calm-o-Matic website, which is just plain awesome! This site is where you can make your own "Keep Calm" poster, and it has the origin of the movement.

Poster that led me to this story! (Source)
As it turns out, "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters were printed in England during World War II. This was the third in a series of highly successful war posters that were distributed all over the country. Surprisingly, the actual "Keep Calm" poster was not widely distributed. It was created and printed up to be used in case of an actual invasion. That would be the time to keep calm and carry on, see? But of course the Nazis didn't invade England and when the war ended, hundreds of posters were scrapped and destroyed.

Enter Stuart and Mary Manley, who owned a small bookstore in Northumberland. They found a few surviving copies of the posters and hung them in their shop. To their surprise, the public loved them and wanted to buy copies, so the couple started printing facsimiles to sell.

Since the year 2000, the poster and its variations have become world famous, and now people use them everywhere: internet memes, advertising, TV shows, news stories, politics. You name it and it probably has a "Keep Calm" poster. 

Now, me, I just thought this was a fad. A cool fad, but a fad just the same. I had no idea it had origins in World War II when good ole Winston Churchill was just trying to keep his countrymen positive and moving forward, no matter what happened.

For more info, visit the Keep Calm-o-Matic website.

Did you know about the origin of these posters? What do you think of it?


  1. I always wondered about those. They're very British.

    1. Agreed! "Carry on" isn't a phrase you hear much in the U.S. Not in any seriousness, anyway. :D

  2. I had no idea! VERY interesting. :)

  3. This is SO interesting! I always imagined they were just another internet meme, I would never have though of looking intro their history.

    1. I kind of stumbled onto it on accident, but very interesting, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Priya! :D