24 December 2021
Wishing all our readers and followers a happy and peaceful Christmas and our very best wishes for the New Year.

Throughout 20th and 21st Century history, and across all nations, Christmas has traditionally been a time for civilian populations back at home to remember those serving in the military who are away from family and loved ones. And this was particularly so for German populations remembering those who were away at the front.

During the First World War, campaigns were held in the homeland to collect gifts for those who were serving, with such campaigns being organised on both a local and national basis. 

Gift packages to men away at the front would typically include confectionary, books, cigarettes, tobacco and other ‘comforts’ such as knitted gloves and scarves.

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In Iron Cross magazine we have covered the First World War gift campaign posters which were used to encourage the public to donate to this patriotic Christmas gift drive. Illustrated here are just two of those colourful posters. One of these specifically targets the population of Hamburg, with the other being aimed at a much wider target audience via the German Red Cross organisation.

Similar campaigns were run at home for German servicemen away at the front during the Second World War, and although his artwork was not used for any Christmas campaign posters, war artist Hans Liska produced a particularly thought-provoking painting of German soldiers huddled together in a hut on the Eastern Front at Christmas during 1942. It is a painting which encapsulates in one image the privations of a wartime Christmas for German servicemen – particularly those serving away at the Eastern Front who were often facing impossible situations and not knowing whether they would ever see families again – let alone another Christmas.

The Hans Liska artwork and the Hamburg Christmas poster appeared in issue #7 of Iron Cross magazine. Back issues of this edition are still available. The Christmas Red Cross poster features in the current issue of Iron Cross magazine, issue #11.