The photograph of Winston Churchill with the Thompson submachine gun was taken during his visit to the coastal defense positions near Hartlepool on 31 July, 1940. The interesting thing about this picture is that both the British and the Germans used it for propaganda purposes. The British edited out two soldiers standing next to Churchill, making him look statesmanlike, determined and menacing. On the other hand, the Germans compared it to those of the gangsters of the American West. The Nazis used this photo in their propaganda leaflets airdropped onto Britain during the Battle of Britain.
Winston Churchill with a Tommy Gun during an inspection near Hartlepool, 1940.
Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels saw the image as a god send and used it extensively domestically, with the other Axis countries, and even in air drops over the Britain during the Battle of Britain with the text in English “WANTED,,” and at the bottom: “for incitement to MURDER.” The reverse of the leaflet is all text: This gangster, who you see in his element in the picture, incites you by his example to participate in a form of warfare in which women, children and ordinary citizens shall take the leading parts. This absolutely criminal form of warfare which is forbidden by the Hague Convention will be punished according to military law. Save at least your own families from the horrors of war!
Nazi Leaflet (left), Nazi poster with Churchill with the German text “Sniper” (right).