The "Linen Card Era" of Post Cards was from 1930 to 1945. Most World War II Post Cards were printed on this linen type paper stock. Soldiers would send these mementos home as proof of "being there" in the case of attending one of the camps or forts depicted in the cards. They were an inexpensive (if not free) way to correspond with loved ones or friends back home or around the world.
Many propaganda and battle related cards were printed during these war years but in the United States postcards tended to avoid scenes of combat in favor of motifs more patriotic in nature or anti-Axis. The great losses of World War One were still too vivid a memory for many, resulting in few attempts to romanticize the bloody battlefield. While images of dead and broken bodies eventually found their way into pictorial magazines if only reluctantly, American postcards shied away from this type of imagery. The postcards of these war years most often took the form of comics poking fun at the recruit’s newly acquired way of life away at military camps or of the hardships at the front line.
Confused attitudes toward women in military service also became the subject of many cards. Many more were generic depictions of fighting equipment or military camps so no sensitive information could be revealed. It wasn’t unusual for cards from this period to have parts of their written messages blackened out by government censors.
During the American Civil War the Federal Government realized that soldiers on the march had no way of obtaining postage stamps for their correspondence. An official system was then devised where they could write their name, rank, and unit on a letter, and it would be mailed for them postage due.
By World War Two, the same general system was being used but in a more generous manner. A letter or postcard could now be sent for free (Franking) if the words Free or Soldier’s Mail were written where the stamp should go and the soldier’s outfit and camp were listed. Besides the privately printed cards that were used this way many postcards were also issued by the military for servicemen. These cards were non pictorial but they incorporated bold graphic designs. These V-Post Cards should not be confused with V-mail as they were not microfilmed but sent out as regular postcards.