The Inspiring History of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” Slogan

“Keep calm and carry on”. ― British Government, 1939

“Keep calm and carry on” is a popular phrase that has become widely known in recent years. The phrase originated in the United Kingdom during World War II, when it was used as a motivational slogan to encourage the British public to remain resilient and determined in the face of challenges.

The slogan was created by the British government in 1939, shortly before the start of the war, as part of a propaganda campaign designed to boost morale and prepare the public for the difficulties that lay ahead. It was intended to be one of a series of three posters that would be displayed throughout the country, along with the slogans “Freedom is in Peril” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.”

However, only the first two posters were widely distributed, and the third poster, featuring the “Keep calm and carry on” slogan, was never widely displayed. It was rediscovered in 2000, when a couple found an original copy of the poster in a bookshop in Alnwick, England, and it has since become a popular catchphrase and cultural touchstone.

Today, the phrase is often used to encourage people to stay calm and focused in the face of stress or adversity, and to persevere despite challenges or setbacks. It is also frequently used in a humorous or ironic way, to poke fun at situations that are far from calm or under control.

Recommended Books

Are you looking to learn more about the famous phrase “Keep calm and carry on”? If so, there are plenty of books that can help you delve deeper into the history and meaning of this iconic slogan. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster” by Melvyn Bragg: In this book, author Melvyn Bragg explores the history of the “Keep calm and carry on” slogan, from its creation as part of a propaganda campaign during World War II to its rediscovery and widespread popularity in recent years. Through interviews with experts and historical research, Bragg offers a thorough and engaging look at the meaning and significance of this enduring phrase.
  2. “Keep Calm: The New Art of Living” by Rhena Branch and Rob Willson: This book offers a modern twist on the “Keep calm and carry on” philosophy, offering practical strategies and techniques for cultivating calmness and resilience in daily life. With a focus on mindfulness and positive psychology, this book provides a helpful guide for anyone looking to navigate the stresses of modern life with grace and poise.
  3. The Art of Keeping Calm” by Piers Brotherton: In this book, Brotherton explores the science behind stress and anxiety and offers a range of techniques and strategies for managing these emotions and cultivating calmness in everyday life. Drawing on a variety of sources, including neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Brotherton provides a comprehensive and thought-provoking examination of the importance of keeping calm in a fast-paced world.
  4. Keep Calm: The Memoirs of a Career Military Man” by General Sir Peter Wall: In this memoir, General Sir Peter Wall reflects on his long and varied career in the British military, offering insights into the role that calmness and resilience played in his success. Through a series of engaging and thought-provoking anecdotes, Wall illustrates the importance of maintaining a level head in even the most challenging circumstances.

These are just a few examples of the many books that delve into the meaning and significance of the “Keep calm and carry on” slogan. Whether you’re looking for a deep dive into its history or practical advice for staying calm in the face of stress, there’s a book out there that can help you learn more about this enduring phrase and its relevance to modern life.

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3 thoughts on “The Inspiring History of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” Slogan

  1. Yes, it’s interesting how certain phrases and sayings can become so prevalent in our culture and language, even if their origins are not widely known. The phrase “keep calm and carry on” is a good example of this – it has become a popular way to encourage resilience and determination in the face of adversity, and is used in a variety of different contexts. Whether or not it was originally used during WWII, it has certainly become an enduring and widely recognized phrase.


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