Postal censorship  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Postal censorship is the inspection or examination of mail, most often by governments, that can include opening, reading or marking of covers, postcards, parcels and other postal packets. Postal censorship primarily takes place during war time or periods of unrest, though occasionally during other times, like periods of civil disorder or a state of emergency, as was the case in Ireland during 1939-1945. Both covert and overt postal censorship have taken place.

Historically, postal censorship is a very old practice; it is usually linked to espionage and intelligence gathering. Mail subjected to postal censorship can be civilian mail, or military mail, and in most countries where postal censorship takes place, or has taken place, different organisations perform censorship of these types of mail. In 20th century wars the objectives of postal censorship encompass economic warfare, security and intelligence.

The study of postal censorship is a philatelic topic of postal history.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Postal censorship" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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