“Keep Calm” – World War II Poster Found in UK Bookstore

In 1939, a series of World War II posters were released by the British government, intended to reassure the public and encourage support for the war effort.

The first published sign read:

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The second read:

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Finally, the third:

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The posters were reserved for use during times of crisis and catastrophe but the third, with perhaps the most timeless message (“Keep Calm And Carry On”), never saw publication.

Recently, a copy appeared at Barter Books in Northeast England. At an auction, the shop owners acquired boxes of books, one of which contained the third unpublished poster. Because it was now public domain, the poster was hung on the wall inside the store and copies of all three posters were offered for sale.

The message was rediscovered just in time for the 21st century’s war, recession, and instability. While this isn’t a crisis on the level of World War II, the validity of the message remains true: Keep calm and carry on.

It has since been satirized and parodied, applied to political movements and pieces of pop culture. Now, Saab owners are using it to keep the faith, as a rallying cry, as they wait for a suitor to purchase the now-bankrupt automaker.

The video below tells the story of the poster’s origins and how it was found:


Fast Tube by Casper

Below is a hooded sweatshirt with Saab’s Griffin logo in place of the crown:

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A Saab alternate version of the poster:

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Some parodies and twists on the theme:

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