Illustrated front postcards

Besides the “triangular letters” and the non-illustrated field postcards, several armies of the Second World War introduced the illustrated front postcard as well. As if the soldiers preserved as a last resort of civilization the lovely habit of peacetimes of sending home photo postcards from the foreign countries visited. However, instead of the pictures of the visited places, these cards inspired the beloved ones at home mostly with the heroic representations of the steadfastness and victories of the army.

Italians also thought about the soldiers on leave.

“The enemy is listening to you”

“Germany is really your friend!”

On the Soviet front there were almost no such postcards until the very last period of the war. Probably there was no capacity to manufacture and distribute them, and as we have already mentioned by quoting Russian philately forums, the postcard genre almost completely disappeared from the inter-war Soviet Union. The latter explanation is reinforced, as a rule by an exception, by the fact that in the city preserving the most bourgeois spirit, in Leningrad they even published postcards during the blockade, although they represented peacetime subjects, as we will present it in another post. But if there had existed any Soviet illustrated front poscards, then they would have most probably taken over the representations of the posters which were continuously sent to the front to reinforce the military moral.

And indeed, when from 1943, if not the traditional illustrated postcards, but at least the postcards and envelopes with a small design started to spread, the motives of these posters were transferred to them.

Finally, a specific type of Soviet front postcards is the one called “trophy-cards” in Russian philately: the postcards issued before the occupation in the countries occupied by the Red Army, and then written and sent home by Soviet soldiers. We have already seen an example where the back of an used German card was stuck over with a blank paper and written once more, this time in Russian. But from time to time there show up others which were written in Russian for the first time.

The two last cards are especially interesting, as they belong to a First World War postcard series representing the foreign soldiers who fell in German captivity. These two cards, as the Soviet soldier notes it under the pictures, show two soldiers of the Russian army between 1914 and 1918, who thus returned home after a thirty year long captivity, though not spontaneously. These trophies will be discussed in more detail in a subsequent post.