Introduction

The Second World War, usually referred to as World War II, was a global war that took place between 1939 and 1945. It was made up of a vast majority of global countries, especially countries with great powers. The countries with great powers formed opposing military alliances, which were known as Axis powers and Allies. World War II was so rampant that it directly involved an estimated over 100 million personnel from over 30 countries across the world. The countries which joined the world supported the mission by all means, and in the process, they threw their scientific capabilities, industrial and entire economies in support of the war efforts.

History describes World War II as the deadliest conflict that had ever occurred to humanity in the world. This is because the War led to 70 to 85 million fatalities through which the majority of those who died and got injured were civilians. Ten million people lost their lives as a result of massacres, starvation, genocides, and diseases. Therefore, World War II did more harm than good to humanity across the world in different capacities. Apart from the loss of lives and properties, the economics of many powerful nations collapsed as a result of World War II. The government of the United States of America played a critical role in the intensification and raging propaganda that led to World War II.

How Propaganda posters were used

The propaganda posters were used in various ways. Over the course of World War II, the government of the United States began waging a constant battle for the minds and hearts of the members of the public. As such, the government prioritized the efforts of supporting the affairs of the War through the wartime industry just as significant as the context of production of planes and bullets. As such, the U.S. government began the massive production of posters, radio shows, newsreels, pamphlets, and even movies to spread the propaganda that the government was fully behind the war efforts.

Studies show that in 1942, the Office of War Information (OWI) was formed with the core intention of creating and crafting government messages.[1]The propaganda campaign was made up of systematic and specific goals and unique strategies related to WWII. To make the whole process successful, intellectuals, filmmakers, and artists were extensively recruited to specifically take the objectives of the government and turn them into a systematic propaganda campaign. This involved series of posters that were found across the United States of America, all the way from apartment buildings and schools to post offices and railway stations.

The commissioning of propaganda posters

The government did the commissioning World War II propaganda posters in the form of recruitment, the financing process of the war effort, and the essence of unifying the members of the public behind the were efforts. In the process, there was an elimination of dissent of all kinds, massive factory production of different types of war materials, and resource conservations.[2]

Who created propaganda posters?

The government created World War II propaganda posters through the use of intellectuals, filmmakers, and artists. One of the famous U.S. artists, James Flagg, was responsible for designing over 46 posters for the U.S. government. The famous poster had a message, ‘I Want You for U.S. Army’, a poster used to lure millions of young people across the country to join the U.S. Army to participate in World War II (Spencer-Bennett, 2020). [3]The posters were essentially meant to instill people with a patriotic and positive outlook on the issues of conflicts that were taking place in the U.S. That’s why the colors of the U.S. flag, that is, red, blue, and white were massively used in the propaganda posters. 

Themes and how the art of imagery functions

The repeating themes that were most common in the posters were essentially the consequences of the careless talks, victory gardens, war bonds, civil defense, conservation, and anti-Germany and Japanese scenarios. It was very significant to have the people of America be behind the war effort. As such, Victory over the Axis failed to be provided, and it would not have been possible without the support of people deriving from all walks of life.

How artists used things such as religion, age, politics, and gender

The artists systematically used a series of things such as politics, age, religion, gender, and other issues whenever they were designing the propaganda posters. Such collective issues were used to uplift the spirit of the people in all the denominations of life to see the need for fighting. The posters pulled people’s positive and negative emotions into different capacities. The words that the artists extensively used, such as ‘When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler’, made World War II be so personal and inspired the members of the public to take action to ensure that they won the War in all aspects.[4]The posters extensively tapped into the public’s patriotic spirit, which is always doing the good for their beloved nation of the United States of America. The messages were extensively happy and bright, positive and also colorful.

The target audience of World War II

The target audience of World War II propaganda posters was the young and energetic people who were required to join the army. There were shortages of people who were willing to join the armed forces as the War escalated. As such, the propaganda had to be used to incite and uncover the young people’s patriotism.[5]The other target groups were the general members of the public. As earlier described, the posters extensively tapped into the public’s patriotic spirit, which is always doing the good for their beloved nation of the United States of America. As such, the target audience was so convinced that participating in the war would eventually protect their country and their dignity in the USA.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is notable that propaganda posters were massively used in the United States to inspire the Americans to be part of the War during World War II. From streetcars, post offices, and shop windows to factory break rooms, the posters reminded Americans of the need of participating in War as they wanted through their daily businesses. The posters, which were extensively eye-catching and inexpensive to produce, essentially shaped the behaviors of Americans in a unique way through which they eventually supported the military efforts. While the majority of the posters targeted the broader audience in the USA, other populations were targeted in systematic segments, such as the racial minorities, farmers, factory workers, and even the young people from certain age groups. Some of the posters extensively reflected crucial ideas regarding gender, race, and even the overall aim of the War and why the Americans should join.

Bibliography

Jellison, Katherine. “Get Your Farm in the Fight: Farm Masculinity in World War   II.” Agricultural History 92, no. 1 (2018): 5-20.

Kietlinski, Robin. “US-Japan Enmity–WWII Wartime Propaganda Posters [History].”(2019).

Oliver, Rebecca. “All quiet on the disillusioned front: the effects of World War II on American literature.” (2018).

Spencer-Bennett, Joe. “The Ministry of Information and the linguistic design of Britain’s World     War II propaganda: What archival documents can tell us about political discourse.” Discourse & Society 31, no. 3 (2020): 329-347.


[1] Kietlinski, Robin. “US-Japan Enmity–WWII Wartime Propaganda Posters [History].”(2019).

[2] Jellison, Katherine. “Get Your Farm in the Fight: Farm Masculinity in World War II.” Agricultural History 92, no. 1 (2018): 5-20.

[3] Spencer-Bennett, Joe. “The Ministry of Information and the linguistic design of Britain’s World   War II propaganda: What archival documents can tell us about political discourse.” Discourse & Society 31, no. 3 (2020): 329-347.

[4] Kietlinski, Robin. “US-Japan Enmity–WWII Wartime Propaganda Posters [History].”(2019).

[5] Spencer-Bennett, Joe. “The Ministry of Information and the linguistic design of Britain’s World   War II propaganda: What archival documents can tell us about political discourse.” Discourse & Society 31, no. 3 (2020): 329-347.

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Analysis of World War II Propaganda Posters," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2022, https://schoolworkhelper.net/analysis-of-world-war-ii-propaganda-posters/.

Upload Now

guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments