You Never Know Who's Listening!

New Slogan for February 1940

In February 1940 a nationwide campaign was launched that warned the general public against loose talk and the dangers of unwittingly giving information to enemy sympathisers.

The slogan 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' was born. The Ministry of Information was responsible for distributing two and a half million posters to offices, shops, public houses etc.

Some of the posters were drawn by the Punch cartoonist "Fougasse" (Kenneth Bird). He created a series of posters, many comical, showing Hitler listening in on unsuspecting gossipers. A selection of these posters can be seen on this page.

Keep Mum!

Other memorable posters included "Keep Mum, she's not dumb!" and Norman Wilkinson's "A few careless words...." All the posters issued at this time were a breath of fresh air compared to the Ministry of Information's earlier efforts, which included the lengthy and rather formal slogan "Do not discuss anything which might be of national importance. The consequence of any such indiscretion may be the loss of many lives."