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Propaganda And Trench Art In World War I

960 words - 4 pages

World War I began in 1914; the United States joined three years later in 1917. The American people were initially set on taking a neutral position in the war, but several factors contributed to the United States eventually taking a side. In order to create positive public opinion for the decision to join the war, Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information. The Committee created its own propaganda in order to encourage the American people to support the war. The committee did not create all propaganda, but a majority of songs and posters held the patriotic message of backing the country’s decision. In addition to propaganda put out during World War I, soldiers created trench art, any decorative item created by someone involved in war where the manufacture is directly related to the conflict. Soldiers, domestic and foreign, created trench art, most of it conveyed the feelings throughout the war.
The song “Say a Prayer for the Boys ‘Out There’” was written in 1917, the same year that the United States joined World War I. Soldiers were just being sent away to war and the song called for Americans to pray for the deployed soldiers and their families. Though this song was not written for the Committee on Public Information, it still held a strong message that citizens should support the war. The song mentioned, “those who fight for liberty” and soldiers laying down their lives for our safety, “so that we may live, their lives they give.” These two specific lines related closely to the American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For an American to deny support to any soldier who fights for those things, would seem unpatriotic. The song may have had the intention of drawing young men to enlist as it set the soldiers up as heroes, but the discussion of sacrifice may have deterred young men. “Say a Prayer for the Boys ‘Out There’” likely appealed to the American population because it called mainly for the support of our soldiers rather than the war itself. Essentially the song acknowledged that the soldiers have been called to arms Americans must pray for their success and safety. Though it is unlikely, given that the song was written during the first year the United States was involved in the war, the song could have been an attempt to console families who had lost loved ones. The constant reference to soldiers as boys and sacrifice pulls on Americans’ heartstrings making it next to impossible not to support the soldiers overseas regardless of whether or not you support the war. The illustration that accompanied the poster shows a family gathered around a table in the lower left hand corner. A picture above the dinner table suggests that the family has a loved one...

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