World War II and Propaganda Posters
Propaganda during World War II was escalated to perhaps the greatest heights in history. Propaganda is used to manipulate information to influence public opinion, rather than merely communicate the facts about something. The American government used propaganda posters to persuade people to conserve material needed by soldiers, to discourage gossip about information heard about the war effort, and to invest in war bonds. Other posters enforced the need for mass production of war materials and some were directed at women to become part of the workforce because of the depleting number of men left for combat.
Firstly, war bonds were debt securities issued by a government for the purpose of financing military operations during war, including World War II. The cost to the American treasury for the nation’s involvement in World War II was over $340 billion (World War 2 Bonds, 2009). This reasoning caused the government to employ posters about war bonds. The bonds were also seen as a way to remove money from circulation and reduce inflation. The first of three poster examples (refer to Figure 1) shows a war-widowed mother grasping her children with despair. The poster reads, “I Gave My Man, Will you give at least 10% of your pay to War Bonds.” This poster is intended to let the audience know that there are mothers who are losing their men to war, and if they can give up something so valuable, then the audience should be able to give up something as small as 10% of their pay. It symbolizes a sense of guilt and shame.
The second poster (refer to Figure 2) is one of the most popular of World War II bond posters. It is an eerie image of the Nazi Swastika casting a shadow over troubled American children holding their toys and patriotic symbols. It reads, “Don’t Let The Shadow Touch Them, Buy War Bonds.” This poster attempts to convince...
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