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National Museum of Naval Aviation
History Education Program

Home Front - Section IV

Posters of World War II

Throughout World War II posters played an important role in influencing the American public and could be seen almost everywhere. They were displayed in storefronts, on government buildings, in the work place and most anywhere Americans frequented. Posters issued by such entities as the War Information Board served as a constant reminder that the United States and all its citizens were engaged in a terrible struggle to save the world from tyranny. Many posters contained dominant images meant to evoke emotion from the viewer and encouraged them to do their part in helping to win the war. Such slogans as "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships" and "Your Job Well Done May Save a Son," reminded Americans not to discuss information regarding the war effort and to work harder. Other posters encouraged Americans to plant "victory gardens," participate in scrap drives and buy war bonds.

Government-issued posters were nothing new when the United States entered World War II in 1941. Posters issued by various local and national agencies had also played large roles in the propaganda of the Civil War and World War I. However, the posters of World War II are unique in their wide array of topics and designs, which during the war encompassed approximately twenty-two hundred different designs of posters as opposed to only six hundred during World War I. World War II was the only period in American History that posters were issued by government agencies and independent companies on such a grand scale. Companies such as Ford, Stetson, and Westinghouse joined in the production of posters bearing such slogans as, "Keep it Under Your Stetson," and "Back The Attack."

Students and educators may appreciate these posters not only for their historical and social values, but for their artistic qualities as well. Designs for posters during this period came from a variety of sources, such as patriotic art contests, professional graphic designers and traditional artists. Many well known artists of the day, such as Lawrence Beale Smith, Norman Rockwell, Robert Sloan and World War I poster designer, Howard Chandler Christy, created some of the more widely recognized designs.

[click] the button below for posters and directions for this lesson.





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