Guilted Into War

In this gallery I intend to look at some war propaganda that was used throughout World War II that tries to almost make people feel somewhat ashamed or scared for their lack of support in the war effort in an attempt to boost patriotism in the public.

Doing all you can, brother? Buy War bonds, Sloan, Robert S., 1943/1943, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
I chose this poster because I feel like it does well to try to force the reader to look inside themselves to think about their contribution to the war effort. The first effective way that it hits home for people is the use of "brother" in the top caption. By using brother in the question conveys to the reader that the man in the poster and the reader are close and practically family. This way he establishes a bond with the people to make them feel like they are together in the fight. The next point is that the man in the poster has sort of an inquisitive glare towards the onlooker. The stare coupled with the head wound would make any person not contributing want to almost shield their face from his gaze.
Would you be proud to tell him what you gave? War chest, Unknown, 1942/1942, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
In this poster we see a soldier standing at attention with his gun in position. He seems as if he is a perfect example of a soldier and a wholesome, good natured man. Therefore, when we read the caption at the top it makes us, the readers, feel as if we are not doing enough to help this man. If he was standing right in front of us asking us how much we have given i think most of us would feel regretful that we have not done enough. If there was a jar under this poster I believe it would be full from people who feel guilty about their contribution or lack of.
They’ve got more important places to go than you! Save Rubber - Check your tires now, Richards, Walter, 1942/1942, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
I like this poster because the feeling it is trying to convey is one that says people should either stay home or walk rather than drive their car. Richards does well to show the soldiers in the car look like they are on their way to a battle which ,by the tone of the poster, would be more important than perhaps going out on the town or just taking a drive around. The poster makes you feel like you are irresponsible if you do not have your tires checked. Be frugal with your tires.
Is your trip necessary? Needless travel interferes with the War Effort, Unknown, 1943/1943, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
I added this poster after the save rubber poster because I felt like these two posters almost work together to tell people that they should stay where they are. In this poster the top caption, "Is your trip necessary?" almost feels as if that is a question that parents ask their children after they tell them of some crazy scheme. After reading it the person feels guilty for doing something that they enjoy. Next, the people in the picture seem to be on a train of some sort, but the only people that seem happy are the soldiers. All of the common folk in the foreground look depressed. It seems like the feeling of the poster tries to make the reader think that if they travel they will be sad because they are hindering the men on the front lines. In reality, most people at home maybe needed a vacation to try and have a distraction from the war.
Save fuel for battle. The husband who wasted the hot water, Bateman, Jim, 1942/1942, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
I like this poster quite a bit because it has that cartoonish feel to it to where it almost seems like it could be in the funnies section of the newspaper. This poster seems like it relates to normal married life to where the wife is always yelling at the husband because he is constantly doing something irresponsible. Bateman I think is trying to appeal to women to make sure that they get their fair share of the fuel, but that the war effort also gets their share of the fuel also. As a man you feel greedy thinking of all the hot showers and water you have used when it could be put to better use.
Having these now or winning the war Which means more to you?, Miller, C. R., 1943/1943, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
This poster is interesting because it is trying to force the public's hand into contributing. When the reader looks at this they will obviously pick the war due to lack of options. There seems to be no middle ground to where you can support the war, but you can also choose to live with basic necessities somewhat luxuriously. The poster makes it easy to choose because it shows the soldiers in the bottom corner being attacked and fighting back. Therefore, most people will probably choose to help the soldiers in need.
Gee I wish I were a Man, I'd Join the Navy, Howard Chandler Christy, after 1917, From the collection of: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
If the government posted this poster today, there would be an outburst of angry people all over the country. The fact that women would want to be men to try and join the Navy might be a good selling point for the men, but the women would find this very offensive. This piece looks to all the men that have not enlisted to try and get them to join by "saying even a woman wants to join the war and what about you?". I know if I had seen this back then even I would have felt bad about myself and would then have contemplated entering the war. Then at the end of the poster it says "be a man and do it". As if to say if you do not join the Navy then you are not a man.
Your pen… an enemy weapon? Watch what you write, Unknown, 1943/1943, From the collection of: Museu do Caramulo
I used this poster for the last piece because I thought that it takes the last posters into a different area where it tries to somewhat scare the public into keeping them quiet. It kind of goes along with the saying "the pen is mightier than the sword." However, in this picture it seems that if you send anything in your letters to troops that your pen might as well be a bullet. Also I think that the red from the blood that is on the pen also connects with the red lettering that is put on the poster to really drive home the idea that people back home can kill troops overseas. The feeling of this piece is sad, but I think there is also a sense of anxiety from the last line. When I read "watch what you write" I almost feel scared for if some one is looking over my shoulder waiting to pounce if I make the mistake of including something valuable.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile