I Want You to View These Vintage Wartime Propaganda Posters (Third Edition)

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Every year around the 4th of July (at least for the last two years), I’ve done a post of these old timey war propaganda posters which have become pop culture icons and occasionally internet memes. However, in late June I had to attend a wedding in Minnesota while a bunch of crazy stuff went on in the Trump administration, which I had to catch up on when I came back. So I’m running a little late with this. Anyway, unlike some of the propaganda outlets of today like Brietbart or Fox News, these war time posters weren’t really meant to deceive. If anything, they were more like Public Service Announcements stating that, “we’re all in this together,” especially the ones pertaining to WWII when the threat to survival was very real. At any rate, the artwork is always interesting to look at which is why they’re still in our public consciousness long after the wars they originated in have been long over. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another treasury of good old-fashioned wartime propaganda posters.

  1. He does his bit for 4 years so you buy bonds.

Since he’s Scottish, he wears a kilt in his uniform. Yes, I know it’s part of his heritage. But it’s not a great clothing choice to wear in the trenches.

2. “Hit Hard and often with the Marines!”

Apparently, this means bombing the shit out of some Japanese city. To be fair, we were at war with them at the time. But I kind of hate seeing beautiful architecture reduced to ruin though.

3. To prevent loose heads, inspect daily.

Because you don’t want a hammer to lose its head and land on your foot. Since it hurts like hell.

4. Work in construction? Join the Seabees.

These are US naval construction battalions. Yet, they seem to have among the least badass names ever.

5. Fight for Canada and stab bayonets into fire breathing vultures.

Well, I guess the black bird symbolizes Germany. Yet, while the Canadian soldier will beat the crap out of them, he’ll be polite about it.

6. “Every Time You Twist a Nut, Think of Hitler.”

I know they mean this in a mechanical sense. But you can also make an inside joke out of it, too.

7. If you’re Filipino, thank Japan for invading you.

Yes, the Philippines was a US territory at the time. And Japan is pointing out the US is playing they’re liberators from the Imperial oppressors angle. However, history shows us that this psychological tactic didn’t work.

8. Got tin cans, send them to the war effort.

Don’t forget to take off the labels and flatten them. Because you don’t want the salvage collector to reject them.

9. Serve those who served, become a VA nurse.

So you can treat soldiers who might be missing limbs and are suffering from PTSD. Yet, please don’t ask them about them watching their friends die.

10. The Army Corps of Engineers always clears the way.

So join up and you, too, could be a giant GI that would make Captain America look like a sissy. You’ll also get giant equipment, too.

11. “You’ll buy ’em, we’ll fly ’em!”

For this dead-eyed pilot needs all the ammo he needs to shoot at Messerschmitt’s. Buy bond stamps, please.

12. Join the Signal Corps where skill and courage count.

Because there needs to be some kind of communication among the burning rubble of Western Europe. Though I’m not sure what kind of horn can be heard above machine gun fire.

13. Can’t fight? Send money!

This is for the Canadian Patriotic Fund. And yes, Canada actually fought in both world wars.

14. Blot out the Hun with Liberty Bonds.

As far as propaganda posters are concerned, this was the easiest to design. Just a red hand print and typeface and voila.

15. Don’t pick up sultry ladies, soldiers, since they’re loaded with disease.

Indeed, even warnings on VD won’t stop soldiers from picking up prostitutes. Because many of them might be dead in the next fight anyway.

16. Hold up your end and send bonds!

Yet, not sure if this would help the nurse holding one end of a stretcher. Also, it’s for a bond fundraiser.

17. Are you Irish and Canadian? Join up and fight for Mom!

I’m sorry, but Whistler was neither Irish or Canadian. But that didn’t stop Canadians from using his painting as a recruitment poster.

18. “Grind These Heels in Our Wheels of US Production!”

Nowadays we just use robots to make the stuff. Unless they require some technical skill and engineering.

19. Join the military police of the troops and for the troops.

If being a soldier isn’t tough enough for you, then become a military cop to make sure your fellow men aren’t killing each other on their off-hours. May or may not be able to stop officers from committing war crimes.

20. Join a Volunteer Agricultural Camp to lend a hand on the land.

However, you’re unlikely to find any hunky man on the farm who’s neither terribly disabled or suffering from PTSD. Because those guys are overseas.

21. You came to this country, now help us preserve it. Save your wheat and food.

To be fair, there ware a lot of immigrants during WWI. So the image is warranted if you think otherwise.

22. Be an American Eagle and join the Army Air Service.

Disclaimer: New pilots will only receive limited training before combat. Also, average time in the air is 20 minutes.

23. Know a trade? Build for your Navy.

Yes, this is another Seabees poster. But this one is for the yards and docks where combat opportunities are limited.

24. Support the troops, send more fish.

Because fighting the German menace is more important than thinking about overfishing. Since fish is a fighting food.

25. “Dad, I’m off to war so you buy bonds!”

Since Johnny will have to leave his elderly father sooner or later. He’ll be drafted if he doesn’t volunteer.

26. Remember to practice safe SECS.

Meaning if you’re a soldier fighting, don’t give away certain info related to your job. Because the enemy can intercept it.

27. “Do it right, make it bite!”

So make bombs the right way to shoot down the enemy planes. Kind of a disturbing message to send.

28. Keep New Orleans safe, don’t talk about ship sailings.

Because a slip of the lip can sink a ship. For you don’t know who in New Orleans can be working for the Nazis.

29. Join WAVES and work on parachute strings.

Because someone has to make the parachutes strings straight on those Navy planes. So they’ll make a woman do it.

30. Pour that molten metal on to make the planes.

For the planes can’t make themselves. Also, don’t forget to put on your safety equipment. Though shirts are optional for some reason.

31. Keep America calm and stop needless noise.

Well, that’s something I can still get behind. Yet, this poster is telling Americans not to panic when everything goes to shit.

32. See that dead soldier? Well, he’s gone because of careless talk.

So keep your mouth shut and the next group of soldiers would be parachuting down alive. Understand?

33. Support your country, save waste paper.

Not sure what they’d use the waste paper for. But they also give instruction for packing certain types.

34. When America’s under threat, Lady Liberty draws her sword.

When Lady Liberty draws her sword, it’s really going to go down. Just look what the US did during the world wars.

35. Support the war effort and keep that lumber coming.

Since soldiers need to use all the wood they can get. Though the ones in the Pacific might be surrounded by jungle.

36. When you show up for work, you’re punching Hitler’s face.

So keep punching in every day. However, be careful with the munitions equipment that could send you to the hospital.

37. To win the war, more women must go to work.

But once the war’s over, women must leave their jobs for the men and settle down to be happy housewives. Kind of sucks if you think about it.

38. Soldiers, beware of the Juke Joint Sniper.

She’s also known as a prostitute or whore. And yes, she’s loaded with STDs.

39. Uncle Sam’s not done fighting yet.

So, Japan is next. And that would mean the US will drop a couple nukes on it until the country surrenders.

40. Support your country, build bombs and buy bonds.

Let’s hope she doesn’t cause an accident. Though her face does evoke some sadistic glee akin to a serial killer.

41. Make sure you can load and unload those docks fast.

Got to get those goods for the troops quick. Else, we’ll end up with Fascism.

42. When Columbia calls, men must enlist.

Funny, we don’t even use Columbia as Liberty anymore. Yet, she wields a flag and sword.

43. Save your country, donate your binoculars to the US Navy.

Since us looking for enemy U-boats is more important than spying on the neighbors and birdwatching. So send your binoculars, please.

44. Don’t forget to prepare for air raid protection.

Since you’ll never know whether the Germans will bomb the shit out of your hometown. Just ask the Brits.

45. Remember, that pickups might be full of STDs.

And these were meant for your grandparents’ generation. So I guess many didn’t keep it in their pants for their sweethearts back home.

46. Help us win the war so save your food.

Because all your food waste can be used to feed some hungry soldiers. And we need them well-fed to win.

47. Join the sub service to hit the Japanese where it hurts.

So join up living with a bunch of other guys like you in a cramped space to bring down Japanese aircraft carriers. Still, not exactly a nice place to be at.

48. Free speech doesn’t mean careless talk.

So use your freedom of speech wisely. Also, don’t talk around parrots.

49. Help win the war, invent for victory.

So if you have a more efficient idea about killing more people at a faster rate, give the US military a call. Hell, do it now.

50. We’ve just begun the fight, so join up.

Though this guy seems kind of frightened to me. Like he’s pleading for help than leading a charge.

51. Protect yourself since STDs are everywhere.

So remember, stay away from prostitutes. Or other scarlet women for that matter.

52. Support the war effort and build more B-24s.

It’s a bomber plane by the way. Still, if you’re assigned to one of these during WWII, best you write your last will and testament. Since they have a 50% survival rate.

53. Support the war effort by finding a job that fits you best.

Offer only valid until war ends. After that, women must give up their jobs for the menfolk. Because they belong in the kitchen according to their antiquated ideas.

54. Women, help our boys win the war and buy bonds.

Or else, this sweet old lady might feed you a poisoned pie. So send money.

55. Don’t boast till it’s over. Enemies also have their production machine going, too.

So best you don’t say anything until it’s all over. Whenever that is.

56. All you British ladies, come into the factories.

Just don’t blow yourself up and know you’ll only have that job until your man comes home. So keep calm and carry on.

57. Men of Britain, best you join up and stop air raids. Else, you’ll have your house bombed.

Of course, if you’re a guy during WWII, you’ll already fail miserably. Because we all know the Germans bombed the shit out of the UK. Though this one depicts a large airship for some reason.

58. In wartime, give all the help and comfort you can.

This is from the Jewish Welfare Board during WWI. But it would’ve worked just as well in WWII for obvious reasons.

59. Support your country and dig on for victory.

Since food rations for civilians can only go so far. So get on with your vegetable garden.

60. This summer of 1917, don’t forget to enlist since your country needs you.

If not, then expect Uncle Sam to look upon you in dismay. Also, you might get arrested for trying to buck the draft.

61. Your country needs you, join the Navy.

And yes, they use the woman in a naval uniform again. Despite that she won’t wear it in real life.

62. Are you a girl with a star-spangled heart? Be a WAC.

Look, ladies, you can join the Army, too. Of course, you won’t be assigned to combat duty. Because that’s men’s stuff.

63. Remember, sailors, don’t tell your date about naval operations.

After all, she could be German for all you know. Careless talk costs lives.

64. Are you a woman not doing vital work? Your country needs you now.

Because while the men are away, women need to step up. This is especially if they don’t have husbands or kids.

65. Are you playing square, soldier? Save gas.

Since the world only has a limited supply of oil. Best you save on your tank for the troops.

66. Only you can prevent forest fires and Fascism.

Kind of expecting Smokey the Bear to turn up at any moment. But he won’t be around till the 1950s.

67. Join the Marines to fight first in France for freedom.

Keep in mind you’ll be spending hours in some filthy trenches. Hope you don’t mind rats.

68. They have the guts, donate scrap metal.

Cause those tanks need all the scrap they could get. Not to mention, bullets are made of metal, too.

69. We can’t win the war without women.

Yes, you can’t win a war without women. But they still treated them like crap once it’s over.

70. Don’t crow or we lose the war.

And yes, there’s a giant rooster with the Axis Powers. So best keep your mouth shut and avoid careless talk.

71. Answer the call and join Pershing’s Crusaders.

But unlike their medieval counterparts, they don’t fight for their souls. And they spend more time in the trenches.

72. Support the men in the trenches. Enlist now.

Yeah, I know it’s a miserable experience with filth, disease, gunfire, and No Man’s Land. But your country needs you at the front. Still, the guy’s kind of creepy.

73. As Americans, we’ve always fought for liberty.

And it’s made no difference whether they’re Brits or Nazis. Yet, the uniforms and equipment have drastically changed.

74. Victory is always a question of stamina.

So send the troops your meats, fats, sugars, and anything laden with carbs. Since they need energy in the trenches.

75. When the empire is threatened, the lions must rise to the occasion.

Despite that it’s the lionesses who always do everything. Men, what can you do with them?

76. Women should always respond to the call of service for their country.

Yes, women, respond to the call of service. Your God-given right to vote can wait later. Since this is WWI poster.

77. Fight for your country, Australians, or the Germans will win.

Here they have Australia as New Germany. That should scare them into enlistment.

78. In America, free labor will always win.

Because American made weapons are top of their grade. Yet, we also have large multinational corporations willing to play both sides.

79. America beat the Germans before and we’ll beat them again.

However, this time they’re fighting for Der Fuhrer instead of the Kaiser. So it’s a bigger deal.

80. You never know who’s listening on the party line.

For it just as well could be Hitler for all you know. So no careless talk on the phone.

81. Support your country and join the Red Cross.

Sure they may be a great organization. But don’t mind its dubious reputation relating to corruption.

82. As FDR said, we must preserve hope. So buy bonds.

Not sure if this FDR image freaks me out. But he kind of reminds me of a mad scientist who’s about to experiment on some hapless trespasser in his castle.

83. This American soldier will go over the top for you.

And you see the soldier carrying the American flag. But in WWI, they’ll seldom go over the top. Since No Man’s Land is a real hell hole.

84. This woman’s husband is proud she did her part.

Well, at least he tries to be supportive. Though the expression reminds me of a man who’s struggling to feel secure with his masculinity. Yet, can’t help but feel a bit resentful over the whole thing.

85. Do your bit and get into the khaki.

Cause who else is going to fight in Gallipoli alongside a hot Mel Gibson? Sorry if I offended any Australian reading this.

86. Stop the black market. Don’t buy or sell on it.

Too bad there will always be a black market. And people will always make money on it.

87. British Empire soldiers always stand together.

That doesn’t mean the soldiers will get independence or be treated equally. But it’s WWI so it’s a recruitment tool.

88. America needs more nurses.

Here Uncle Sam gives a new nurse her hat. Now they wear scrubs.

89. While our men are at war, serve on the home front.

This is from Pennsylvania by the way. And there are some civilian organizations you can join, too.

90. Support the war effort, conserve energy.

Just remember there were no windmills, solar panels, and geothermal energy sources. So conserving fossil fuels is the only option.

91. Always remember that Hitler wants know.

So cut with the careless talk. Or you’ll help Hitler win the war.

92. It’s best to land with the US Marines.

But keep in mind, you wouldn’t want to fight with them on the Pacific. Because it’s a very violent place during WWII.

93. At night, it’s forward to victory.

For the German planes can bomb the shit out of Britain at any time in 1940. Best have the anti-aircraft gun ready at night.

94. Save energy and turn the gas down.

Guess most stoves were powered by natural gas. Seems like they should switch to electric.

95. This soldier lets his M-1 do the talking.

So in wartime, we must be careful on what we say. Or he’ll get riddled with bullets.

96. Why stand by during a brush fire? Fight the Germans back!

Because our effort needs all hands on deck. However, now our brushfire is the Trump administration. And too many are standing by watching our country burn thanks to Donald Trump, white supremacists, greedy corporations, and right-wing conspiracy nutjobs.

97. Save your coins, kids, and by war stamps.

And when little Jimmy turns 18, it’s straight to the trenches. But wars can’t win themselves, you know.

98. Support the troops, send money to the Red Cross.

Nowadays contributing to the Red Cross doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. Yet, in this one, it acts like a shield for Lady Liberty.

99. Watch the ramparts, join the Army Air Forces.

And here he is holding a large bomb to be dropped in some city. But thanks to him, the skies won’t be so friendly.

100. Instead of dreaming of victory, fight for it! Buy bonds!

For soldiers can’t get on without stuff in the trenches. So send the US government money despite that they spend more on the military than anything else.

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The Anatomy of a Medieval Castle: Part 4 – Types and Architectural Features

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Italy’s Castel del Monte was built in the 1240s by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. You may not know it, but it originally had a curtain wall. Yet, it’s a unique enough castle to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Finally, we get to the castle architecture. Over the 900 some years castles were built during the Middle Ages, they took on many forms with many different features. Most castles were made from wood since it was cheap, readily available, and an easy building material. However, a wooden castle was totally helpless against flaming arrows because we all know how wood catches fire, breaks, and decays over time. However, if a noble could afford it, he’d have his castle constructed from stone despite the high expense and maintenance. But stone was significantly less flammable and breakable with siege weapons and the elements. Early castles mostly consisted of simple fortifications and design. But as the medieval period went on, they became more complex with more towers, stronger gatehouses, and sturdier walls.

Castle Types

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Restormel Castle in England is an example of a shell keep which was a circular stone keep, are type of castle design. Though once a luxurious residence of the Duke of Cornwall, it was in ruins by the 16th century.

Adulterine Castle- a castle built without a liege lord’s or king’s approval.

Concentric Castle- a castle with 2 or more concentric curtain walls, such that the inner curtain wall is higher than the outer and can be defended from it. Often had round towers.

Courtyard Castle- a castle type consisting of a stone curtain wall surrounding a courtyard with buildings built inside it, normally against the curtain wall.

Knight’s Castle- a castle owned by a knight.

Motte and Bailey- an early form of castle where a large mound of dirt was built up. A wooden fortification was placed on top, which were shaped like a timber fence forming a circle like a crown.

Rectangular Keep- a stone castle with a square or rectangular keep with a second-floor entrance. The castle on Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a classic example.
Shell-Keep- castle style consisting of a circular or oval wall surrounding its inner portion. Usually stores and accommodates wooden buildings inside the hollow walls.

Stone Keep Castle- the classic medieval castle with a stone keep and a thick stone wall, which can be rectangular or circular in shape.

Tower House- a small castle consisting mainly or entirely of a single tower.

Architectural Features

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Built in the 12th century, the Château de Pierrefonds almost seems straight out of a fairy tale. Despite its 19th century restoration, it retains most of its defensive military architecture.

Aisle- space between an arcade and outer wall.

Ambulatory- aisle around an apse.

Apse- a circular or polygonal end of a tower or chapel.

Baluster- a small column.

Balustrade- a railing, as along a path or stairway.

Bar Hole- Horizontal bar for timber bar used as a door-bolt.

Barrel Vault- a cylindrical roof of stone or wood.

Base Cruck- a form of wood framed construction where the roof is supported by curved logs rising from the walls and not by aisle posts set on floor.

Bay- an internal division marked by roof principals or vaulting peers.

Blind Arcade- a line of arches on the face of a solid wall for decoration.

Bonnet- a freestanding fortification.

Boss or Keystone- a central stone in an arch or vault.

Bressumer- a beam to support a projection.

Cap House- a small chamber at the top of a spiral staircase in a tower or turret, leading to an open wall walk on the roof.

Cavalier- a raised structure containing a battery, usually sited above a bastion’s center to give better trajectory.

Cesspit- a wall opening where waste from one or more toilets were collected.

Colonnade- a range of evenly spaced columns.

Course- a level layer of stones or bricks.

Crossbar or Transom- a horizontal window division.

Cupola- a hemispherical armored roof.

Crow or Corbie Steps- a step-gabled end to a roof.

Diaphragm- a wall running up to the roof ridge.

Dog Leg- a right angle in a passageway.

Dormer- a vertically placed window in a sloping roof. Like you see on the top floors of a Cape Cod house.

Entresol or Mezzanine- a low story between 2 high ones.

Fireplace- a walled hearth used for heating a room. Most castles in the later Middle Ages had one in almost every room once they took off.

Gable- a wall covering the end of a roof ridge.

Garret- a building’s top story within a roof.

Groined- a roof with sharp edges at intersection of cross vaults.

Groin- junction of 2 curved surfaces in a vault.

Hood- an arched covering.

Impost- a wall bracket to support arch.

Jambs- side posts of an arch, door, or window.

Joists- wall-to-wall timber beans to support floor boards.

Lancet- a long, narrow window with a pointed head.

Label- a projecting weather molding above a roof or window to deflect rainwater.

Lantern- a small structure with open or window sides on top of a roof or dome to let light or air into the enclosed space below.

Lattice- Lines crossing to form a network whether on a window, fence, or gate.

Lintel- a horizontal stone or beam bridging an opening.

Loggia- a covered arcade or colonnade.

Louvre- a potter vent allowing smoke to escape from the hearth.

Meurtriere- an opening in the roof of a passage where soldiers could shoot into the room below.

Molding- masonry decoration that’s long and narrow as well as casts strong shadows.

Mullion- a vertical division of a window that’s constructed in panels.

Newel- Center post of a spiral staircase.

Nookshaft- a shaft set in a jamb or pier angle.

Pediment- a low-pitched gable over porticos, doors, and windows.

Pilaster- a shallow pier used to buttress a wall.

Piscina- a hand basin with a drain, usually set against or into a wall.

Pointed Arch- a sturdy arch that distributed the force of heavier ceilings and bulky wall. Can support much more weight than previous, simply, spindly pillars.

Rear Arch- an arch on a wall’s inner side.

Relieving Arch- an arch built up in a wall to relieve thrust on another opening.

Rib- a raised molding dividing a vault.

Roofridge- a roof’s summit line.

Soffit- an underside of an arch, hung parapet, or opening.

Spur- a triangular buttress used to strengthen a round tower’s bottom.

Spiral Staircase, Corkscrew, or Turnpike- a winding, circular staircase spiraling up clockwise which allowed added sword room for defenders. Steps were built unevenly to make it difficult for attackers to climb and fight. Said to be among the most economical and convenient method of accessing upper tower floors and easier to defend.

Squint- an observation hole in wall or room.

Traverse- a small bank or wall cutting across a covered way’s line.

Tympanum- a space between a lintel and arch over a doorway.

Vault- stone roofing.

Vaulted Ceiling- a ceiling with sturdy pointed archers and pillars that allowed ceilings to be taller than ever before. Also provided an impression of height, grandeur, and elegance. Can be built in a variety of different shapes and sizes.

Wall-Plate- a horizontal roof-timber on wall-top.
Wall-Stair- staircase built into a wall’s thickness.

The Anatomy of a Medieval Castle: Part 3 – The Keep, Bailey, and Interior

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Built in the 14th century, the French Château de Vincennes boasts one of the tallest medieval fortified medieval structure in its keep. Within Paris, this castle served as the French royal residence during the 15th century. Yet, it’s had a long and colorful history with memorable moments.

Once you get through the walls, it’s on to the castle’s interior. First, we go into the courtyard with the bailey where you’d find plenty of animals grazing, gardens, and buildings. These buildings consisted of stables, workshops, barracks, water suppliers, and storage facilities. You may even see a chapel there. Yet, the central heart of the castle was the keep, which was considered the strongest area and the last place of refuge if outer defenses fell. During times of peacetime, it was the lord’s main residence where he’d conduct his business. He’d hold meetings and entertain guests in the great hall. At banquets, the kitchens would be bustling preparing lavish feasts while everyone was treated to dinner and entertainment. In some castles, the lord and his family would eat and sleep in the hall. Sometimes you might even find a chapel or dungeon, too.

The Courtyard

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Scotland’s Doune Castle was built in the 13th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. Its 14th century reflected current ideas on what a royal castle should be. Yet, we remember this as the castle featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Its courtyard isn’t particularly big in this aerial shot. Yet, it at least includes a well.

Bailey, Courtyard, Enclosure, or Ward- open space surrounded by a castle’s walls. Walls making up the bailey could be considered part of it. A castle could have several of these like an upper bailey, lower bailey, west bailey, and/or east bailey. Had room for buildings to house the Lord and his immediate followers along with space for animals and storage. During attacks, the local people could enter the bailey for safety.

Bake House- building that would’ve baked fresh bread for everyone living within the castle since bread was a dietary medieval staple.

Barmkin- a yard surrounded by a defensive wall in smaller castles.

Brewery- a building where an ale wife would’ve brewed ale and beer. Mostly because brewing beer was said to sterilize highly polluted water.

Death Hole- the space between the inner and outer curtain walls of a concentric circle that trapped attackers.

Garden- green area located in the bailey near the kitchen. Was split into several sections: fruit trees and bushes, herbs for cooking, herbs for medicine, vegetables, flowers for cooking, and flowers for medicine. There were often stairs leading up to it.

Inner Ward or Quadrangle- large inner courtyard inside a castle, usually around the keep. A focus to day-to-day residential life within the castle.

Outer Ward- large courtyard outside the inner ward but still held within the curtain wall. Was mostly reserved for livestock for grazing.

Stables- part where the horses and other livestock are kept since they’re the main medieval means of transportation, communication, and battle. Included haylofts and spaces for the grooms to live.

Workshops- separate buildings in the bailey for artisans to make objects for maintaining the building the grounds. Consists of carpenters, farriers, and blacksmiths.

The Keep

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Germany’s Burg Eltz was built in the 12th century and has been own by the same family for over 33 generations. It is one of 3 castles in the country that have never been destroyed. Yet, its keep is quite imposing in the Alps.

Forebuilding- a fortified entrance to the keep. Often held a staircase and a small chapel.

Keep, Donjon, or Great Tower-generally the central main tower built in the inner ward which was the tallest and strongest structure in the castle and gave a commanding view of all fighting positions. Usually served as the ruling lord’s residence since it was the safest place. The top most part served as his and his family’s quarters. The bottom was used for storage. While the middle was used for the great hall. In warfare, it was mostly used as the last line of defense during a siege or attack. Can be square or round and comprise of several floors. Can be attached to walls or free standing. Its walls could be over 17 feet thick to prevent undermining and a built-in staircase.

The Dungeons

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Castle dungeons were the stuff of nightmares. If you were thrown in here for a crime, you can be subject to a dark room in the castle basement with all kinds of horrifying conditions. And yes, you may be subject to torture and possibly execution. If you don’t starve to death or succumb to disease first.

Dungeon- a place to confine political prisoners. Mostly consists of a single small room with a single access from outside like a heavy door. Is generally underground and sometimes a secret passageway would lead to it. Though it could also be in the keep or under a gatehouse. Has plenty of unique torture devices for interrogation like branding irons, collar, torture rack, and others. Other enhanced interrogation techniques include whipping, boiling in water, and starvation etc. Also, employed full-time executioner who also administered torture.

Oubliette- a dark, narrow, underground, vertical tunnel-like dungeon with the only opening consisting of an iron-grilled trap door on the ceiling from the guard room floor where prisoners were left in their solitude for psychological torture. Though other torture methods may be used for interrogation or increase a prisoner’s suffering. Once a victim was thrown in the oubliette, they were considered forgotten by the outside world and left to die. Survival was nearly impossible and there was no way to escape.

The Great Hall

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The Great Hall was the main room in the castle where the lord would conduct his business, hold meetings, and throw feasts. In early castles, the lord, his family, and staff would even eat and sleep there.

Gallery- passage built into the thickness of the walls that runs around the upper part of a keep’s hall. Windows allow light into the hall below and the passage allows for movement around the keep’s upper floors. Also provides a position where hall events can be viewed. If the hall’s captured, defenders could’ve used a gallery to shoot arrows from.

Hall or Great Hall- a major room that’s possibly the heart of the castle which served as the castle’s principal living quarters. Usually a castle’s largest room either built in the keep or a separate building. Generally, consists of an elaborate high vaulted roof and/or a gallery running around on top of it. Served as a throne room, conference center, and dining hall.

Minstrels Gallery- a raised gallery overlooking the great hall intended for the lord’s musicians. Consisted of a narrow balcony with a railing or balustrade.

Truss- a timber frame used to support the roof over the great hall.

The Chapel

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Since Christianity was very important to people in the Middle Ages, most castles included a chapel. These can range from a simple room like this to elaborate buildings.

Aumbry- recess to hold sacred objects, typically in a chapel.

Chancel- the space surrounding the altar.

Chapel- a place of worship usually built within the keep, near the gatehouse, or a separate building in the bailey. Can range from a simple room or an elaborate edifice that can be 2 stories high with the family sitting in the balcony and servants in the nave. May have a resident or visiting priest depending on the resident noble’s peerage rank. Great place for the lord to marry off family members to secure alliances, soldier funerals, and display of piety. Also, a great space safe since harming a priest was widely seen as the ultimate act of barbarity. For only the most fearless of castle attackers would do such a thing. Not to mention, killing anyone in a place of worship was often frowned upon in the Middle Ages.

Choir- part of a cruciform church east of the crossing where you’ll find the singers.

Narthex- a chapel’s principal hall between the nave and the main entrance.

Nave- the principal chapel hall, extending from the narthex to the chancel.

Living Quarters

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In most medieval castles, high ranking nobles rarely slept alone since many had servants there with them. Yet, they can nonetheless be colorful tableaus as you see in this one.

Apartment- a room belonging to a castle household resident like a lord’s widowed mother.

Bottlery or Buttery- a room for storing and serving beverages like wine land other expensive provisions like a castle wine cellar. Located between the great hall and the kitchen. The person who presided over this room was called the butler.

Bower- attractive private apartment intended for the Lady. Usually in a room behind the dais of the great hall but later a higher level in the keep.

Camera- a private room used for both living and sleeping that’s set apart from the more public areas of a house.

Cistern- a castle’s water source, which collected rainwater from roofs. Can be located within the keep or bailey. Some castles had rudimentary plumbing that channeled water from cisterns to sinks.

Great Chamber- the bedroom for the lord and lady located on the keep’s upper floor.

Kitchens- where food is made. In early castles, they were separate from the keep in kitchen towers due to fire risk. But moved to the keep when brick construction became more common. A castle kitchen’s size was often proportionate to castle’s intended grandeur and importance. The most elaborate kitchens were all set to cook and prepare game and fish when hunting on the grounds.

Larder- a cool area where perishable food is stored prior to use. Was usually close to the kitchen. Staffed by a larderer who was responsible for meat and fish. Often had ice to keep the food chilled along with meat hooks.

Latrine or Privy- rooms with holes in the seats used as toilets. Wastes dropped below into the bailey, the outer wall’s base, the moat, or cesspools within the tower. Usually far away from the chambers and often had double doors to reduce the smell. But as time went on, a private privy was built for people occupying important rooms. To keep out a noxious stink, privy windows had no glass, which made it freezing in the winter months. Can be fitted with a wooden or stone bench with as many as 4-6 holes in it. Hat a chute which led to a cesspit or moat. Supplemented by chamber pots.

Oratory- a private chapel with an altar used by the lord’s family for private prayer. Can also be a small cell attached to a larger chapel.

Pantry- a storage area for food, beverages, gold, and other items. Usually located in the keep’s lower levels.

Screens- wooden partitions at the kitchen end of a hall, protecting passage leading to the buttery, pantry, and kitchen.

Solar- originally a room above ground level, but commonly applied to the great chamber or a private room off the great hall. Was traditionally seen as the sleeping and private quarters of the Lord’s family. But later became their private living room. Usually above the great hall.

Wardrobe- a room used to store the lord and his family’s clothes and personal articles.

Well- a castle’s primary water source that proved important during a siege even if they had little food. Can be situated in the courtyard or keep. Or at least located near the kitchen either within the bailey or keep. Outside wells were usually protected from the elements by a wooden covering or iron grating. Yet, it was possibly the castle’s weakest point. Since invaders could poison the water supply if left unattended, which virtually guaranteed defeat.

Specialty Areas

RONNEBURG CASTLE ARMOURY

No castle could ever be without its own armory. But where it was could depend on the castle. On some it can be in the keep. In others, in the gatehouse or bailey.

Arcade or Cloister- a covered passageway with arches along one or both sides. Can also be a row of arches supported on columns, which could be free standing or attached to a wall (like a blind arcade).

Armory- a room which stored weapons, armor, and other defenses to use in war or attacks. Typically located in the keep’s upper levels.

Barracks- a building or group of buildings used to accommodate soldiers.

Blockhouse- a small square fortification, usually of timber bond overlapping arrangement of bricks in courses.

Dovecote- a building used to house pigeons and doves. Generally contained pigeon holes for birds to nest.

Guardroom- room used by on-duty guards. Can also store weapons. However, the guards wouldn’t sleep there since they’d be barracked in the gatehouse, a tower, or under the keep.

Ice House- building to store ice. Was usually built underground with a conical or rounded bottom to hold melted ice and a drain for water.

Kennel- place to keep animals, particularly hunting dogs.

Knight’s Hall- a large room or chamber within a castle where knights gathered for meetings, meals, and planning their next activities.

Knights’ Quarters- living area for resident castle knights.

Mess Hall- dining area for soldiers and servants. May include its own kitchen.

Secret Passage- secret routes in the castle that served a variety of purposes. Some were designed to pen up a distance from the castle so inhabitants could escape during an attack or get supplies in and out during a siege. Secret passages also led to secret chambers where people can hide, supplies could be kept, or a water well was dug.

The Anatomy of a Medieval Castle: Part 2 – Towers and Gates

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England’s Windsor Castle was built after William the Conqueror’s invasion in the 11th century. Since then, it’s been a residence for the royal family to this day. Even if modern British monarchs just use this place for a weekend getaway. And yes, you’d almost mistake this gatehouse as the castle itself.

So we’re off to a great start. Some of the other distinguishing castle features are towers and the gates. When you look at any castle picture, you might come across an imposing entrance with the impressive gatehouse containing a drawbridge and that sliding iron wrought door of spikes. Yet, since an unsecure entrance made a castle uniquely vulnerable, the gateway was usually the first structure built in stone. A gatehouse contained a series of defenses to make a direct assault more difficult than battering down a simple gate. Yet, you’d probably wouldn’t know this in movies where vast armies storm the castle with no problem. In reality, trying to storm a castle head was a stupid way to lose an army. Another prominent castle feature are the towers, which were used for look outs and shooting arrows along with storage and imprisonment. They could be built in various locations like the walls and the gatehouse as well as come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Though early towers were mostly square shape which were said to be quite easy to topple through burrowing at the foundations. While round towers were not.

The Main Entrance

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The Welsh Harlech Castle was built by English King Edward I Longshanks in the 1280s. It was involved in several wars and was used as a residence and military headquarters by Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr in the early 1400s. Later, it was held by the Lancastrians during the 1460s until the Yorkist forces took it during the Wars of the Roses. And served as a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War in the 1640s. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe.” Nonetheless, seeing this imposing gatehouse, you wouldn’t want to storm this castle.

Barbican- a stone outpost protecting the castle’s gate usually built in front of the main entrance. Construed in the form of a tower or gateway where guards could stand watch. Some may include a narrow passage allowing for a limited number of attackers forced into a confined area for defenders to shoot at them like fish in a barrel through murder holes from the ceiling. Early barbicans were built from earthworks and wooden palisades designed to add complexity to the entrance’s layout and confuse attackers. Usually acted as the outermost defense of a castle. Due to limited space, was only defended by a small number of men.

Breastwork- a heavy parapet slung between 2 gate towers. A defensive work usually situated over the portcullis.

Drawbridge- wooden bridge in front of the main gate to span the moat or ditch. In early castles, it was moved horizontally to the ground by hand or destroyed and replaced. In later castles, it was built so it can raise up in a hinged fashion thanks to pulleys, ropes, chains, and winches. Can be raised or withdrawn making crossing impossible and prevent siege weaponry being pushed toward the castle’s walls and gates.

Gatehouse- a complex of towers, bridges, and barriers built to protect the castle’s main entrance. Often had a guard house and living quarters. Usually consisted of 2 very large stone towers joined above the main gate guarded by a bridge, gates, portcullis, or a combination. But can range from a simple structure to a 2-3 story building with an impressive façade to impress royal visitors. Above the entrance were rooms to house the constable and some men to defend the building who were stationed on the first floor. While the top floor contained murder holes and storage space for weapons. Traditionally the most vulnerable part of the castle, it became one of the most secure and with an excellent defensive position. Contains a passage with all kinds of obstacles, traps, and murder holes in the vaulted ceilings. So perhaps you want to think twice before storming a castle. Usually the first part of the castle to be completed. Though a larger and circular wall castle could have more than one.

Murder Holes- holes left in the floor on a gatehouse’s upper level, used to thrust pole weapons down, or shoot down flaming arrows at attackers trapped between the inner and outer gates. Also used for dropping heavy rocks, hot tar, boiling water, and other nasty things.

Neck or Death Trap- a narrow walled passage between a barbican and the castle walls which trapped invading enemies.

Portcullis- a heavy, sliding metal or wood grate with sharp spikes that was vertically dropped just inside the castle’s main gate through ropes and pulleys. Designed to block passage and make using rams against the main gate less effective. Think about that before trying to break down a door with a battering ram. Can also be dropped on an enemy and injure multiple people. Was always in a state of readiness and the guards can drop it from its suspended position at any time. Some gatehouses could had more than one, depending on the castle’s size and number of entrances.

Turning Bridge- drawbridge pivoted in the middle and worked like a see-saw. Had a counterweight attached to the end near the gateway.

Wicket- a person-sized door set into the main gate door.

Wing-Wall- a motte’s wall downslope to protect stairway.

Yett- a portcullis of lattice wrought iron bars used for defensive purposes.

The Towers

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Originally built in the early 1100s, the Alcazar of Segovia started out as a fortress, but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery college, and a military academy. Today it’s a military archives building, museum, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet, you have to admit how its towers give the place a unique look.

Bastion Tower- tower projecting from a wall face that functions as a bastion.

Bastle House- a small tower house with a living room over a cowshed.

Corner or Archer Tower- tower located on curtain wall corners used for firing arrows from slits.

Drum Tower- a large, round, low, squat tower built into a wall, usually connecting stretches of curtain wall.

Flanking or Mural Tower- tower located on the castle walls that provided effective flanking fire.

Gate Tower- tower constructed at the main entrance. May be part of the gate house.

Tower- fortification used to provide stability and additional defensive capabilities to the curtain wall. Used for firing upon enemies, lookout, storage, and keeping prisoners. Provided access to lookout points, wall walks, and sleeping points. Can be constructed in various shapes, sizes, and at various locations.

Sanitary Towers- a tower in the inner or outer walls used as a toilet. The wastes would drop into a cesspool in a pit.

Wall Tower- tower on wall that archers used for showering arrows on invading armies.

Watchtower or Look Out- a freestanding structure used to alert the castle in an enemy attack, spot returning soldiers and visitors in the distance, check whether the coast was clear before anyone left the castle, and send messages to distant people using recognized symbols. Had to be so high that areas around the castle could be watched for an impending attack or siege. Usually had a 360-degree view as well as employed a guard or watchman to see for many miles around.

Turrets

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Belgium’s 14th century Cleydael Castle seems straight out of a fairy tale on the water. However, the turrets on that one tower are quite unique.

Bartizan or Crow’s Nest- a small turret at the corner of a tower or wall. Usually at the top but not always. Usually located at one of the highest points of the castle and used as a lookout.

Belvedere- a raised turret or pavilion.

Squinch Arch- arched support for an angle turret that doesn’t reach the ground.

Turret- a small tower rising above and resting on the walls or the edge of the castle’s main towers, usually used as a lookout point. Allowed defenders to provide sheltering fire to the adjacent wall in attacks. Can contain a staircase if higher than the main tower or an extension of a tower room.

The Anatomy of a Medieval Castle: Part 1 – Around the Walls

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This is Bodiam Castle in Sussex, England. Built in 1385 to defend against French invasion during the Hundred Years War, it doesn’t have a keep. But its walls and moat are impressive.

Whether you’re into Disney movies, Middle Earth, or Game of Thrones, we all seem enchanted with medieval castles. However, while we imagine them as a fairy tale palace, they were medieval house fortresses for European nobility. Though you’ll also find castles in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Castles originated in the 9th and 10th centuries as the fall of the Carolingian Empire resulted in individual lords and nobles dividing the territory. To control the area surrounding them, these guys built castles as both offensive and defensive structures. Castles provided a base to launch raids and protect from enemies. Though castle studies often emphasize their military origins and see castles as “a fortified private residence,” they also served as centers of administration and power. Urban castles were used to control the local populace and important travel routes. Rural features were often near features integral to life and community like mills, fertile land, or a water source. Though most medieval castles in Europe today are made from stone, many were made from wood, especially in the early Middle Ages. Due to lacking arrow slits and towers, early castles often exploited natural defenses and relied on a central keep. But as a scientific approach to castle defense emerged, leading to tower proliferation and emphasizing flanking fire. Taking inspiration from Roman forts and technology from the Crusades, you’ll find some concentric castles. Nevertheless, since all things much come to an end, castles began to decline began to decline with the introduction of gunpowder which made them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live. Though these structures still captured the imagination enough to make aristocrats want to build castle like houses, but without the key defenses.

herstmonceux castle from the air

This is Herstmonceux Catstle in England’s East Sussex. Built in the 15th century, it’s one of the most significant brick buildings in England. Though more like a palace than a fortress, its walls and moat are nonetheless impressive. By the way, from 1957-1988, it was home to the Greenwich Royal Observatory. Today it’s used by the Bader International Center of Queen’s University in Canada.

The first part of this series will focus on the outermost components like the walls and what’s outside them. As the first line of defense, such structures would have to make invasions and sieges incredibly difficult for the enemy. Before a castle was built, you’d often construct an artificial hill called a motte and a ditch filled with water called a moat. A castle’s walls had to be high enough to make scaling with ladders impossible. And they had to be thick enough to withstand bombardment from siege engines. Though sizes vary, a typical castle wall could be 10 feet thick and 39 feet tall. They’d also have stone skirts around their bases to prevent infiltration as well. Walkways on top of curtain walls allowed defenders to rain arrows on the enemies below with battlements giving them further protection.

Outside the Walls

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The Chateau de Gisors in France whish was a key fortress for the Dukes of Normandy in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was built to defend the Anglo-Norman Vexin territory from the King of France. However, when Richard the Lionheart got imprisoned in Germany, the castle went into Philip Augustus’s hands. Was also known for its links to the Templars, serving as a final prison for its last Grand Master in 1314. Still, its motte is particularly notable.

Berm- a flat piece of land between the curtain wall and the moat protecting it. Intended to reduce soil erosion to keep the wall from collapsing. Also kept debris from the wall from falling into and filling the moat.

Bivalate- a pair of defensive ditches or earth embankments surrounding a mound or medieval castle.

Caponier- a covered passage within a ditch.

Caponiere- a covered passage across a ditch to an outer fortification structure like a ravelin.

Counterscarp- outer slope of a ditch.

Couvre Face- a low rampart in a ditch protecting the ravelin’s face.

Covered Way- a protected communication wall all around the ditch’s outer edge, covered by earthworks from enemy fire.

Crownwork- a freestanding fortification built in front of the main defenses.

Cunette- a trench at a ditch’s bottom.

Ditch or Fosse- a common defense dug around the castle’s outside walls and the resulting earth to create banks. Most were dry but some were filled with water to create moats. The steeper the ditch sides, the better since it made it more difficult for attackers to climb. Though ditches weren’t filled with water, rainfall would’ve created a muddy obstacle to cross. The castle’s toilets also emptied into it, giving attackers another disgusting problem.

Earthwork- fortification made of earth mounds, banks, and ditches.

Glacis- a bank sloping down from a castle which acts as a defense against invaders. Consists of broad, sloping, naked rock or earth on which the attackers are completely exposed.

Hornwork- an independent earthwork located in front but not connected to the curtain wall within its bastions’ range (so it can be defended by them). Had long parallel sides with a back shaped like a crescent moon facing the castle’s curtain wall. But was built so low so it couldn’t shelter attacking forces if overrun. Forced attackers to start their siege further away from the castle and gave defenders a better chance to destroy siege lines before they could reach the structure.

Moat- a deep, wide ditch surrounding a castle’s outer walls. Often filled with water from diverted rivers, lakes, or springs with a special dam. Mostly had an inlet and outlet of water rather than being a self-contained donut (unless the castle was built on an island in the middle of a lake). It was often around 3-30 feet deep and at least 12 feet wide. It was sometimes within the outer wall or between the outer wall and the inner wall. Its primary purpose wasn’t to stop attackers but siege weapons, siege towers, battering rams, and most importantly, tunnelers. Since tunneling a castle was an effective means of collapsing the walls or infiltrating it. A moat would cause any tunnel to collapse through flooding. Also, gave valuable time for castle defenders to form strategies for subsequent defense. Sewage was often tipped into the moat so it would smell pretty unpleasant.

Motte- a natural or artificial hill with a flat top upon which a castle was built. Was constructed from dirt and rocks to a height between 10 and 100 feet.
Neck Ditch- a ditch cutting across a neck of land to hinder an enemy’s advance.
Place of Arms- an enlarged area in a covered way where troops could assemble.
Ravelin or Demilune- a triangular earthwork located in front (but not connected to) the curtain wall, within range of the curtain wall’s bastions. The back was shaped like a crescent moon and faced the curtain wall. But built low so it couldn’t shelter attacking forces if the ravelin was overrun. The front sides also had a defensive wall of their own. Allowed defenders to fire upon attacking troops before they could reach the curtain and a better chance to destroy siege lines before they could reach the castle. Forced attackers to start their siege further away from the castle.

Revetment- a retaining wall to prevent erosion.

Scarp- a slope on a ditch’s inner side.

Tilting Yard- yard or field where jousting tournaments and combats took place. Usually situated just outside the castle’s confines.

Watergate- a gate allowing a coastal castle to be resupplied by sea, especially during a siege.

The Walls

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Scotland’s Craigmillar Castle is a ruined castle in Edingburgh built in the 14th century. Mary, Queen of Scots once stopped here to convalesce after her son James’s birth. It was here some of her supporters decided to kill her godawful husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Still, the walls are amazing to look at.

Allure or Wall Walk- walkway at the top inside of the curtain wall, which allowed guards to look for enemies. Reached either from a set of stairs running up from the wall’s inside or from a built-in tower. Can also be the fighting area on a tower as well.
Bastion or Bulwark- a structure projecting at the end of the curtain wall or at the junction of 2 walls. Usually situated at each corner of a curtain wall. Though could be placed in the middle if the walls were long. Allowed the defenders to cover dead ground (blind spots where attackers can’t be seen or fired upon) and provide crossfire for the curtain wall and adjacent bastions. Can consist of a tower or turret.

Batters- a section at a castle wall’s base that’s angled in such a way to make dropped stones bounce away from the curtain wall and into the enemy. Also add strength to the wall walk’s base.

Buttresses- a rectangular masonry projections used as additional outside strength and support for walls. Become thinner towards the top. Prominently featured in Gothic cathedrals like Notre Dame.

Chemin-de-Ronde- a walk-walk extending all the way around a castle.

Chemise Wall- wall formed by a series of interlinked or overlapping semicircular bastions.

Citadel- the innermost curtain wall of a concentric castle. Had walls higher than the rest and was the last line of defense before the keep itself.

Corbel- a stone bracket projecting from a wall or corner that supports a main floor or other structure’s weight. Often used for turrets.

Cornice- a decorative projection along the top of a wall.

Counterguard- a long near-triangular free-standing fortification within the moat.
Crenels, Embrasures, or Wheelers- small openings in crenellation that’s splayed on the inside, allowing the archer to move into the arrow slit space and get a better view.

Cross-Wall- an internal dividing stone wall in the keep providing extra strength and a platform for wooden floors. Also served as a barrier at times when the keep had been invaded.

Curtain Wall or Enceinte- a surrounding outer stone wall around the castle connecting the towers and other fortifications. Was designed to protect the castle. Can be 8-20 feet wide, up to 45 feet high and 1,500 feet long.

Flying Buttresses- masonry projections used to spread and support the weight of tall walls by transferring force directly to the ground. Were often elaborately designed, appearing to dart and sweep around each building, giving a sense of movement and flight. Usually decorated with intricate carvings giving a sense of grandeur and importance.

Garderobe- a room projecting from a wall that served as a toilet the family’s clothes. A hole in the floor allow wastes to drop below. Had chutes for discharge which often led to the castle moats and had iron bars to prevent entry from attackers.

Glacis- an angling of the curtain wall along the vertical plane that allows the wall to deflect some or all the force of rocks or other missiles thrown from a siege engine or cannon balls fired from siege cannons.

Hoardings or Brattices- wooden fortifications added to the crenellations and towers to provide additional protection to the castle’s defenders. They were removable and provided overhead cover. Also provided a walkway outside the crenellations facilitating the dropping of stones and hot liquids on attackers.

Hoarding Holes- holes in the castle walls to support the hoarding.

Inner Curtain Wall- defensive wall within a castle dividing the inner area into 2 or more defensive areas.

Lunette- a fortification shaped like a half-moon or arrowhead which was similar to a bastion except that it didn’t have wings connecting to a castle’s wall and the back was generally open. Can be its own structure or connected to a curtain wall like a bastion.
Machicolations- permanent stone additions to a castle’s battlement which provided better cover for defenders inside the castle, allowing them to drop items like boiling oil, hot lead, dead animals, human excrement, and rocks on attackers. Most often located in places that would be commonly attacked like near the main entrance.

Oriel Window- a window or set of windows sticking out from a building like bay windows. Made of stone or wood. Often had corbels underneath to support them.

Orillion- an arrowhead bastion.

Palisade- a sturdy wooden fence built to enclose a site until a permanent stone wall could be constructed. Can be as high as 10 feet tall.

Pitatta Forma- a fortification structure protecting the curtain wall between 2 bastions. It’s square or rectangular in plan but takes the form of a small tetrahedral bastion.

Plinth- a wall’s projecting base.

Postern or Sally Port- a small secondary gate located in the curtain wall’s back, which mostly functioned as a backdoor entrance or exit. Was connected to a small guard room near the bailey. Was often in a concealed location which allowed occupants to come and go inconspicuously. If possible, it could be built on a cliff, only accessible by footpath. During a siege a postern could act as a secret exit for troops to pass through besiegers or send out a messenger. Was firmly barricaded during conflict and people sometimes used a password to enter. Used by tradesmen and servants during peacetime. Designed for only one unmounted person could go through at a time.

Putlog Holes- castle wall holes to support scaffolding.

Rampart- a defensive wall of stone and mounds of earth that can be built quickly for early medieval castles. Later replaced by battlements.

Rear Arch- arch on an inner wall’s side.

Relieving Arch- an arch built in a wall to relieve thrust on another opening.

Respond- a half-pier bonded into a wall to carry an arch.

Redan- a small ravelin, derived from the lunette but had shorter sides. Was often made of earthwork but could comprise of stone and other materials. Could be its own structure or connected to a curtain wall like a bastion.

Rubble Core- a filling between the outer and inner wall parts.

Shield Wall- an exceptionally thick wall protecting the castle on its most vulnerable side.
Talus- a slope on the curtain wall that inhibited an attacker’s ability to reach the wall with a siege tower. Since a tower’s ramp wasn’t enough. Also provided a strong foundation to help support a wall against undermining.

Battlements

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England’s Warwick Castle was developed from an original built by William the Conqueror during the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, it was refortified which resulted in one of the most recognizable examples of 14th century military architecture. After its stronghold days were over in the 17th century, it was converted in a country house. And yes, you’ll find a lot of cool battlements here.

Arrow Loops, Arrow Slits, or Loopholes- thin slots in the walls and structures used to shoot arrows through. Came in a variety of shapes and sizes, usually depending on the weapons fired from it. Low and narrow arrow slits were suited for crossbows. High and wide arrow slits were built for longbows, which can be as high as 9 feet. But common designs are key holes, vertical slits, or crosses which allow the archer to fire his weapon with a great amount of protection.

Battlement, Rampart, or Crenellation- a defensive, outside top wall that has a broad top with a walkway and a typically stone parapet. Notched wall consists of alternate crenels (openings) and merlons (square sawteeth) to give castle defenders a position to fight or fire through as well enough protection to reload.

Fausse Braie- an exterior battlement, outside and parallel to the main battlement and considerably below its level.

Finial- a slender piece of stone used to decorate the merlon tops.

Merlons- upward square sawteeth of a battlement. Often pierced with arrow slits for observation and fire. Are usually rectangular in medieval Europe but can also appear in a swallow-tail form along with other shapes. Also have a secondary decorative purpose by giving the castle a distinct castle like appearance you find in storybooks.

Oilette- a round opening at a loophole’s base to help archers to easily aim a shot.

Parados- a low wall on a main wall’s inner side.

Parapet- a barrier at the edge of a roof, terrace, walkway, or other structure. Often used to defend a castle from military attack as a low defensive wall at shoulder or head height.

I Want You to View These Vintage Wartime Propaganda Posters (Second Edition)

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Once again, the 4th of July puts us in the patriotic kick of things. Unless the Trump administration put a damper on that, like it does with everything. Anyway, I did a post of old wartime propaganda posters for the 4th of July last year. And since I have plenty left over, I thought it would be a good idea to do another. Because I think we all long for the days when propaganda didn’t try to pass itself as news. Though to be fair many of these wartime posters function more like public service announcements with messages like conserve resources, do your part, don’t give out any military secrets, buy bonds, enlist, and what not. And yes, you’ll find plenty with racist caricatures, particularly on any of the WWII ones featuring the Japanese. Still, they tend to be rather interesting to look at and not such for the artwork. But many of them have become so ingrained in the popular imagination that they’ve been parodied in pop culture for years. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasure trove of more propaganda posters from the old wartime years. Enjoy.

  1. Conserve water for the military industrial complex.

To be fair, this is for WWII when many nations were fighting for their survival. Still, the military industrial complex has gained a shadowy reputation since then.

2. This Christmas give your family the gift of war bonds.

Sure your kids may not enjoy them now. But wait until they’re about to go to college. Also, it’s your patriotic duty to do so.

3. Don’t get VD or else you’ll miss the boat.

Because our nation can’t afford soldiers with gonorrhea or chlamydia. So guys, keep it in your pants.

4. Angelic lady with harp wants you to enlist at your nearest recruiter station.

Because if you don’t enlist now, there’s a good chance they’ll draft you. A gem from World War I, by the way with George M. Cohan’s “Over There.”

5. One legged sailor wants you to do your part.

Because as you can see, he already did and got his leg blown off for it. And to him, it was worth it.

6. The YWCA wants you to support women workers.

Because women build planes and bombs so men can use them to blow up or shoot down other guys. By the way, average air time in a WWI aircraft was 20 minutes.

7. “When the sword is drawn, the Navy upholds it!”

So join the US Navy. Because spending long days warding off German U-Boats sure beats trenches and planes. Seriously, anything is better than the trenches.

8. Before you bang this woman, know that she might be an STD laden whore.

Yes, they seem to have a lot of wartime posters on STDs. But then again, contracting an STD is far worse than getting a cold.

9. Don’t be lazy or you’ll help the Nazis win.

Makes me wonder if they’re putting this guy down or sympathizing with him. I mean, the guy has a broken arm and can’t really do his job.

10. Even Mickey Mouse wants you to buy bonds.

Because Mickey loves America and wants to protect it from Nazis. Despite that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic.

11. Strike a blow for the Axis and give more wood for the army.

And we mean lumber this shirtless jacked guy chops down. Not the other kind since being gay in the military can give you a one way ticket to Levenworth, Kansas.

12. Civilians need food so plant more beans.

Because these people liberated from Axis occupation are absolutely starving. Mainly because of totalitarianism, systematic oppression, and the fact we bombed the shit out of their towns.

13. Buy war bonds to the moms and kids of fallen men.

Because a lot of employers simply won’t hire single moms during the 1940s. This is especially the case when she has two kids under the age of 5.

14. In a time of war, great Americans don’t take time off when their country needs them.

Though even during a time of war, can’t people just take time off for medical needs? Besides, everyone needs a break.

15. A woman loves a man who volunteered for submarine service.

Yet, serving in a submarine is absolutely no picnic at all. Still, at least they didn’t have women on there fortunately for her.

16. Defeat the Nazis and defend religious freedom.

Though I’d think it would be more to the point if it was a synagogue instead of a church. But church works fine.

17. The traffic light is right, stop waiting to beat Hitler and enlist.

However, they forgot to put a disclaimer: Must be 18 years or older. Though the traffic light is very effective.

18. Send your scrap to Uncle Sam so they can shoot down Nazi planes.

Still, I’m not sure a burning plane for a scrap metal poster is a good idea. But then again, this is WWII so it’s understandable.

19. Want to avoid VD? Try Prophylaxis.

Prophylaxis means prevention. And I guess the prophylaxis here is keeping it in your pants.

20. Whether in the fields, factories, or combat zones, we must attack at all fronts.

Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean using a hoe or a blow torch as weapons. But they’re the home front.

21. Kids, help Uncle Sam win the war by buying war savings stamps with your change.

Since bonds are for grownups. And the US government isn’t above getting its hands on your monthly allowance to pay for a new machine gun.

22. Ladies, don’t worry about rations, can your food instead.

Yes, they encouraged people to can their food so they’d last for weeks. Then again, they didn’t have as reliable refrigeration then.

23. The Red Cross and Uncle Sam need you!

I don’t know about you, but Uncle Sam seems to be a bit creepy with that nurse. I have a bad feeling where this is leading.

24. Soldiers, when you sleep with a woman, you might pick up more than a girl.

And they think college hookup culture is bad these days. Yes, the World War II generation slept around, too.

25. This soldier wants you to save gas through carpooling.

Yes, carpooling saves gas. But the disadvantage of carpooling is that it’s not always feasible for co-workers living a neighborhood away from each other. Though this wasn’t much of a problem in the 1940s.

26. Before the war, men never thought a woman can do a blue collar job.

Yes, this is kind of sexist. But women did work in factories during both world wars. Not to mention, many female factory workers in WWI started out as girls.

27. Be wary and don’t fall for Axis propaganda.

Note they included religious bigotry on there but left out other faiths. Still, I’d worry more about Axis Sally than Tokyo Rose.

28. See a German U-Boat? Bomb it!

This is a navy recruitment poster. And here’s a guy carrying explosives. Hope he throws it at the Germans quick or he’s sunk.

29. Someone talked and this man’s ship got bombed.

Yes, scare them straight into shutting up while they make port in a foreign country. Still, you’d wonder if this guy ever learned to swim.

30. Uncle Sam wants you to shut up about military strategy.

Because you’ll never know when you meet a Nazi spy. So keep your trap shut.

31. The British Navy needs your bones for bombs.

They also need bones for all this other stuff, too. Though the aircraft one is puzzling to me.

32. Remember, loose talk during lunch can cost lives.

Nothing inspires paranoia like this one. Doesn’t help they’re drinking beer either. Oh, I see what they’re getting at.

33. Winston Churchill always holds the line to victory.

Here’s Churchill’s famous English bulldog portrait. And it doesn’t seem very flattering to me.

34. Careless talk will give you a German Iron Cross.

Or as this poster conveys, “make you a traitor.” Also not, the Nazi signet in full display.

35. Remember to eat healthy to be US strong.

Too bad a lot of people in our country do not nowadays. Still, you can see the point.

36. Talk less because you’ll never know if you meet a German spy.

Keep in mind that the Gestapo mainly dressed in civilian clothes in Nazi Germany. So this isn’t incredibly far fetched.

37. Fight for your country so you won’t have to lose your sacred rights.

Too bad they didn’t try to warn us during the 2016 election. Because our rights are now under attack from the Trump administration and the GOP as we speak. Have you seen the GOP healthcare plan and anti-protest laws?

38. VD can be cured, but antibiotics can’t relieve your regret.

So a sailor should be a good boy to keep it in his pants and his mouth shut. Because careless talk may mean death to your comrades.

39. Set to course to victory, join the US Coast guard.

Sure patrolling the nation’s borders may seem like a boring gig as you see these guys’ faces. But at least you most likely won’t die.

40. Defend America, don’t waste your food.

Because Americans need to be healthy to defeat the Nazis. So clean your plate at dinner.

41. Empty cans? Save them for ammunition.

Funny how the bullet chains are cans with tomatoes. As if they’re firing a machine guns with sauce bullets.

42. To avoid careless talk, don’t forget to tie your parrot’s beak shut.

Or any military camp could just ban pets. Much easier than tying something on a parrot’s mouth.

43. Soldiers, Uncle Sam wants you to take care of your gear.

For soldiers need to make sure everything’s working so their equipment can last. Doing that, the life they could save, could be their own.

44. Support oil for it powers planes and land vehicles.

Though today, you’d be more for clean energy like wind and solar. Okay, maybe we’re not that far yet, technology wise. But we’ll get there.

45. Join the Navy and man the guns!

I don’t know about you. But there’s something phallic about that missile and it doesn’t help that the guy doesn’t have shirt on. Just a thought.

46. Produce to the limit or else the 2 headed Axis hulk will storm New York City.

Because you don’t want this monster destroying the Statue of Liberty. Still, in movie world, cataclysmic events in New York are commonplace.

47. Use your ration stamps to stamp out black markets.

Funny how they have a black marketer in disgusting green. Yes, ration stamps get the job done.

48. Keep em’ fighting since production wins wars and prevent accidents.

Again with the bare chest and phallic looking missiles. And you wonder why sailors are more prone to gay stereotyping.

49. Every minute counts so avoid time off.

Instead of avoiding time off, it’d be better if it said, “avoid vacation time.” Because if someone needs a day off for illness, injury, or family, then they should have it.

50. Keep our cars rolling cause America can’t hitchhike to victory.

Still, hitchhiking isn’t a good idea even if that’s a way people got around at the time. And hitchhiking to victory, forget it.

51. “We’ve just begun to fight! Watch us put it across!”

I guess this is for recruitment as the eagle looks ahead. Guess this is from WWII.

52. The housewives brigade wants your scraps.

So give them all your junk so they can give to the war effort. Metal, paper, and bacon grease preferred.

53. Don’t read history, make it. Join the Navy.

But I think reading history is very important. This goes especially for the stuff that isn’t flattering like slavery.

54. Buy bonds to keep Germany and Japan from this mom and kid.

Yes, they have menacing hands that’ll go after your family. Just imagine the suffering.

55. Men who know always say no to prostitutes.

Because prostitutes are STD ridden whores who’ll infect them. Then again, this isn’t an entirely accurate description.

56. War bonds are the crop that never fails.

Though if I can grow money I would. But unfortunately money doesn’t grow on trees. Or from the ground.

57. Eat some of each from every food group every day. Other than that, eat whatever you want.

Nowadays, you’d have to eat a set of servings from each group. And it’s usually shaped within a plate or a pyramid.

58. In a time of war, it’s best you watch your weight.

So I guess they don’t want you to overeat either. Yes, it’s best you know your capacity.

59. Knock out VD. Prophylaxis prevents disease.

And yet, they have tanks shooting out saying, “soap,” “silver,” and “mercury.” Unfortunately, such treatment aren’t as good as penicillin.

60. July 4th is Uncle Sam’s birthday and the US is still going strong after 142 years.

And see Uncle Sam charge with his bayonet among the exploding bombs. Not necessarily a safe way to run through. But it’s WWI.

61. Simple Sam breaks a tool every day at work.

Here he is on a stool with a dunce cap. Yes, his antics in the factory waste time. But he really can’t help himself.

62. The Statue of Liberty wants you to buy a liberty bond or she perishes.

So while Uncle Sam urges men to serve, Lady Liberty urges everyone else to buy bonds. But she doesn’t look defenseless here.

63. Take the pledge that you’ll use ration points and not buy black market stuff.

Because it’s your patriotic duty to do so as an American consumer. So raise your hand and swear to it.

64. Let the guns do the talking for silence is security.

Because the guns can do quite a lot of damage. Kind of intimidating if you ask me.

65. Sure she might be hot but she could very well be a Nazi spy.

If you want to know, just ask her what she thinks about Jewish people. Okay, maybe that’s a bad indicator.

66. Always be be on the alert and join the Marines.

Here he has a gun pointed at planes during the night. I’m sure the planes don’t know what’s coming.

67. A rattlesnake is less dangerous than careless talk.

And rattlesnake bites are are real bitch. In fact, rattlesnakes can kill you. Just look at the fangs of this thing.

68. Think this Japanese beauty is hot? Avoid her.

Crazy how they managed to put a naked woman on here. Not often you see this on a WWII poster.

69. Sailor, beware of who you screw at port.

So don’t tell her anything about equipment, salings, or troop movements. She might be using her hotness to get you to talk.

70. Want to bring him back sooner? Get a war job.

Though the sooner you bring him back home, the sooner you’ll get a pink slip. So what it brings you is mixed.

71. “You give us the fire. We’ll give ’em hell!”

Here he is about to get in a fighter. Remember that bombers and pilots didn’t have a high survival rate in WWII. So he’s not likely to make it.

72. In Germany, someone is doing the same job as you, beat ’em.

Funny how they put it behind a large white swastika. Looks so evil.

73. The swastika marks the spot.

And it’s squarely on Hitler’s ass. And the planes are bombing it like crazy as he screams in pain.

74. Make every minute count for Pershing. Join the  shipyard.

However, keep in mind that WWI era wasn’t known for good health and safety conditions. And that the guy isn’t in proper safety equipment.

75. Remember, housewives, save fats for explosives.

Because fats contain nitro glycerin. So whenever you contribute grease to the military, you’re killing Nazis.

76. Women, there’s a war to be won. So get on your feet now.

Because when there’s a war on, the US needs everyone they have. So ladies, it’s off to the munitions factories.

77. Canada needs soldiers like you in its army.

Instead of a noble knight on horseback, we have a soldier on a motorcycle. Don’t think popping a wheelie is a good idea.

78. Smack the Japanese and join the submarine service.

Here’s a guy holding a V for victory. Hope he knows that the Pacific front was particularly horrific.

79. A starving child’s life was saved because you went without luxury. So give us money.

What a way to pull at people’s heartstrings. Though recently, the American Red Cross’s reputation has suffered.

80. “Let’s go Canada!”

Apparently, Canada didn’t have its famous maple leaf flag yet. And this guy hardly looks like a badass.

81. Every time you take the day off, you help Hitler.

Seems like they’re big on getting people not to miss any day at work. Though everyone deserves a break now and then. Even in wartime.

82. Break the bottle neck traffic, carpool.

Yet, in this one, the car breaks the bottle. But you have to agree, carpooling is a good idea, whenever it’s feasible.

83. Tell where he’s going, he’ll never get there!

Because telling where he’s going helps the enemy. So don’t. Okay?

84. Remember, make a mistake, you help the enemy! Because there’s a war on.

Sorry, but we can’t afford secretaries making mistakes. Too bad she might not have adequate training which I’m quite sure about.

85. Don’t forget that this hideous Japanese guy is the enemy.

Really? Depicting Japanese guys as raping white women? That’s about as racist and horrendous as sending a bunch of Japanese Americans to internment camps out west.

86. Still need more rags for salvage.

And yet, this old guy leads an invisible homeless guy. Couldn’t see anything so cruel.

87. “Remember Pearl Harbor and purl further!”

Seems like this was designed by a knitting circle. Still, it’s kind of clever.

88. Hey, British POWs, want some fresh air? Join the Free Corps.

The British Free Corps was a Waffen SS unit during WWII consisting of British prisoners of war who were stationed at the Eastern Front to fight the Russians. Only 54 joined up and major figures were later court martialed as traitors.

89. Fight the Japanese menace surrounding Australia. Blockade!

Though to be fair, militaristic Japan wanted an empire. And Australia is quite close to Indonesia.

90. “Couldn’t have done it without you!”

As if this American sailor can’t help but show how many Japanese boats he’s sunk. So proud of his accomplishments.

91. Salvage your rubber cause these guys have more important places to go.

Though it seems like they’re going on a joy ride more than anything. But they need rubber for tires to get around places.

92. Talk too much and this soldier’s behind a barbed wire fence.

Of course, he’d probably be at some POW camp which is nothing like Hogan’s Heroes. But at least he can be happy he’s not from Russia.

93. Can’t fight in war? Plant a victory garden instead.

After all, if you can grow it, you don’t need to buy it. You can even give some of your produce to the troops, too.

94. Open your eyes, America, since fighting Nazis isn’t business as usual.

Nor is it with the Trump administration. Not sure how we’ll get through that with our federal government intact.

95. Be good this year and invest in defense.

Because if you’ve been bad and help Nazis, then you’ll probably get something worse than coal. Like a charge for treason. And Santa wouldn’t like that.

96. Keep your mouth shut and don’t rat out information.

Cause you never know when the Axis powers would use it against you. So be smart and don’t say anything about war stuff.

97. The YWCA wants you to back our girls over there.

Yes, women who served in WWI didn’t get the credit they deserved. This switchboard operator is one of them.

98. Even a fish would keep its mouth shut around Japanese bait.

Boy is their rendition of the Japanese racist. Still, even if the fish took the bait, it would die right there.

99. After Iwo Jima, it’s all of us together.

This is a depiction of the famous photo at Iwo Jima. Subject of two Clint Eastwood movies.

100. Wasting stuff helps Hitler.

And they had to do a paper version of Hitler with a weird looking mustache brush. Not flattering but he’s a horrible man anyway.

A Speech for Our Times

elesson-the-great-dictator-grab

The 1940 film The Great Dictator is a historically significant political satire where Charlie Chaplin condemns Hitler, Mussolini, the Nazis, and Anti-Semitism. At the end of the movie, Chaplin as the barber is mistaken for the titular despot and gives a speech denouncing totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and rallying the soldiers along with the audience to fight for free liberal democracy. 76 years later with the rise of right-wing populist authoritarianism, Chaplin’s 5-minute climatic speech resonates as much as ever. These regimes may not be like the militarist nationalist regimes of the 1930s, but they can be just as much a threat to democracy, civil liberties, state institutions, human rights, and even the civic moral fiber. Many of these regimes came into power on platforms promoting racism and xenophobia. And many of the movements have demagogue leaders who have abused their power for their own enrichment, discredited and intimidated anyone who’s challenged or criticized them, and have little respect for the laws, values, and traditions in the very country they’re supposed to lead. Furthermore, their elections have emboldened extremists within their own nations into committing acts against vulnerable people with little or no consequence. But unlike some dictators of the 1930s, authoritarian leaders are much more likely to erode their constitutionally democratically elected regimes through legitimate means from within, which can even be scarier as well as just as disturbing. We must stand firm against authoritarian regimes that may not just compromise people’s liberties and rights, but can also rot a nation’s soul through corruption, misinformation, manipulation, and incompetence. Today we need to hear the words of Chaplin’s climatic speech more than ever to be reminded of our common humanity and how authoritarian leaders threaten our way of being. And since I doubt it’ll be heard at the Oscars this weekend, I have it on my blog.

Chaplin’s Final Speech from The Great Dictator:

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!