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Propaganda During World War Two Essay

1276 words - 5 pages

Propaganda During World War Two

During World War II propaganda was ubiquitous. It consisted of a wide range of carriers including leaflets, radio, television, and most importantly posters. Posters were used based on their appeal: they were colorful, creative, concise, and mentally stimulating. Posters often portrayed the artist's views on the war. They demonstrated the artist concern for the war, their hopes for the war, and reflected the way enemies were envisioned. Posters also show a nations political status: they reflect a nations allies and enemies, how the nation saw itself, and its greatest hopes and fears of the war.
Posters were mainly used to sway public opinion. They were aimed at brainwashing society to think and act a certain way. Each poster was designed specificly for a particular community, playing upon the cultural norm. Since posters were rather inexpensive, they were not made to last, but were effectively used as a visual tool of propaganda. They were usually very graphic, therefore allowing even the illiterate to be swayed in the direction of the artists choosing.
Essentially the posters intentions were to boost morale at home. This was a necessity since the United States had to cut short American liberties and rights in order to successfully wage a war. Such liberties included: food rationing, involuntary drafting, metal rationing, relocation of citizens, and many other restrictions. Posters were used to keep morale high and reassure the public just what they were fighting for and that victory is inevitable.
World War II propaganda posters were used mainly for three reasons: to invoke public sympathy for the war cause, to help finance the war, and by encouraging people to support the war. Many types of posters invoked the use of sympathy. The first type of poster of was the "Alliance" poster. In this type of poster, the United States flag as well as the flags of the Allied powers were drawn to show that the Allied powers had bigger and strong allies and would easily crush the smaller and lesser Axis powers. The second type of poster was the "Victory" poster. In this type of poster, the United States flag and a solider in uniform were shown to give off a patriotic feeling and accompanied by words such as " America, Now and Forever". These posters also used symbols such as Uncle Sam, the American Eagle, and most of all the Stars and Stripes. The third type of posters, "Careless Talk" posters, were in contrast to "Victory" posters. These posters were designed to keep Americans from talking about the war. Talking may seem as harmless, however American authorities feared that spies would overhear American plans of attack and would relay this information to Axis powers. Although not using nation symbols, symbols such as were death, such as a paratrooper and others with cemetery crosses. These posters commonly used the cause-and-effect idea. An example of this is represented in a poster showing a spaniel gazing over...

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