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War Propaganda by Notable Artists

War Propaganda by Notable Artists
It takes more than military might, a keen strategy, and an arsenal of weapons to lead a country to victory during wartime. The psyche also plays a vital role in boosting the morale of soldiers and civilians during wartime. 

In The Power of Advertising, A.O. Richardson writes, 

“Pictures are the universal language of the twentieth century, and, properly used, are of immense value to the advertiser. The growing popularity of the illustrated papers and magazines is evidence of the pulling power of pictures. (p. 128)

During previous wars, including World Wars I and II, the USA, its allies, and its enemies all used colorful posters, radio programs, pamphlets, and films to inform, guide, and rally civilians to pitch in to help. Some of these initiatives included supporting wartime production, participating in scrap drives and rationing, encouraging people to grow victory gardens, and more.

Wartime posters also united the country, reminded Americans of their ties to the Allied countries, and highlighted the sacrifices of the soldiers and civilians. 

Some of the messages that were emblazoned on posters included, “Of course I can! I’m patriotic as can be—And ration points won’t worry me!” and “The more women at work, the sooner we WIN!” Others encouraged the public to purchase defense bond stamps.
Many prominent graphic artists and illustrators joined the wartime efforts, including Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, and Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). 

Some of the iconic works that emerged from this campaign include Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms,” which was inspired by a speech made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that touted “Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship,and Freedom from Fear.”


The American soldier does not like the necessity of waging war.  And yet—if he lays off for one single instant he may lose his own life and sacrifice the lives of his comrades.

The next time anyone says to you that this war is “in the bag,” or says ‘it’s all over but the shouting,’ you should ask him these questions: “Are you working full time on your job?” “Are you growing all the food you can?” “Are you buying your limit of war bonds?” and “Are you loyally and cheerfully cooperating with your government in preventing inflation and profiteering, and in making rationing work with fairness to all?” Because—if your answer is “No”—then the war is going to last a lot longer than you think.

By Regina Molaro



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