Farmers facing enemies, comic book characters and talking animals. Unlike Russian posters, in the spirit of socialist realism, American propaganda posters were able to surprise with the form of their message.
Despite ideological differences, both Soviet and American propaganda posters were supposed to pursue the same goals. The posters were to reach the consciousness of the mass audience, regardless of their origin or education, through the use of visual stimuli. Two basic elements were used, i.e. graphics and text. Professional graphic designers and artists were often employed to design posters, hence many of them are characterized by high aesthetic value. However, as with the Russian posters, their importance decreased after the spread of television.
Themes used in American propaganda posters
As with the propaganda posters in the USSR, American propaganda portrayed war as a fight between good and evil. Such an operation was aimed at mobilizing citizens to join the army. American propaganda, however, was not free from manipulation. In their message, the Americans overestimated the possibilities of precision bombing, exaggerating its accuracy.
Poster We want your kitchen waste
In fairy tales and comics, the leaders of the Axis were portrayed as caricatured, comic-book characters, non-humans, who were faced by heroes known to us today, such as Bugs Bunny. Such a message dehumanized the enemy and allowed the recipient to create a conviction in the subconscious that the soldier of the enemy army is an incarnate evil, and not a man who just happened to be on the other side of the front line.
Anti-German and anti-Japanese propaganda
The attack of Japanese troops on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 caused the United States to break with its isolationist policy and take an active part in World War II. The main hostilities took place in Europe and the Pacific.The United States, realizing that the success of the war was not only the result of the appropriate tactics of the military operations carried out, but also a series of government propaganda activities involving citizens on both the war and home fronts, activated its citizens to support the war. During World War II, American propaganda posters took particular account of the internal front, shaping the attitudes of citizens that have survived to a greater or lesser extent to this day, such as not wasting food.
This multidimensional war education, not focused solely on the struggles between armies, shaped the social awareness of gender equality and the economy. Some of the posters tried to present the threat posed by the Axis countries and totalitarian governments, others encouraged citizens to financially support the army or forced the recipient to feel guilty for not taking actions to improve the situation of soldiers on the front. An important aspect for the American government was gaining public support for the hostilities (and we would like to remind you that the United States officially joined World War II quite late, hence the public mood did not necessarily support this decision), therefore the main goal of propaganda was to create feelings of national unity and idealization of hostilities.
A large part of the American posters were posters encouraging women to actively support the war effort. Large campaigns have been launched to mobilize women into work and convince their husbands that this is the right thing to do. Let us remember that we are talking all the time about the period when women's rights were in their infancy, and earning for a family was the domain of men. However, let us not delude ourselves that such activities were caused only by the desire to enable women to fulfill themselves through other activities than raising children. The war situation significantly influenced the shortage of workers in the industrial and agricultural sectors, causing huge shortages of workers. The propaganda aimed mainly at housewives, because they were seen as a new source of labor.
Propaganda posters depicting strong and independent women supporting their husbands in their war efforts contributed to a 15% increase in the number of working women, and women quickly became the main topic in the propaganda media and the most important figures playing a significant role on the internal front.
In our gallery you will find many propaganda posters from the First and Second World War.
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