Postcards

Students learn about an efficient way for First World War soldiers to send messages home. 

Standardised New Zealand First World War postcard, 1917. Raglan Museum.

Standardised New Zealand First World War postcard, 1917. Raglan and District Museum.

Context 

Soldiers often used postcards like this to send a quick message home. Instead of writing a letter, they would choose the most fitting statement from each option and cross out the rest. During the war, censors read all letters to ensure that they included nothing about what the soldiers were doing. This was to prevent important information being revealed if the letters fell into the wrong hands. Another reason for censorship was to prevent information in the letters from worrying families at home. Postcards like this allowed censors to approve correspondence more quickly.

Key questions 

  • What can we observe? 
  • What do we already know? 
  • How might people view this postcard in different ways? 

Possible discussion questions 

  • Have you ever sent or received a postcard? What did it say, or what did you write about? 
  • Do you have family that live in another city or country? How do you communicate with them? 
  • How do you think the soldiers felt when they were far away from their families and couldn’t talk to them or see them? 
  • Where was this postcard sent from, and where was it going? 
  • What information did this postcard give to the soldier’s family? What information did it leave out? 
  • TS
  • Print.
  • Share.