Archived Pages from 20th Century!!
|Guns, tanks, and bombs were the principal weapons
of World War II, but there were other, more subtle, forms of warfare as
well. Words, posters, and films waged a constant battle for the hearts
and minds of the American citizenry just as surely as military weapons
engaged the enemy. Persuading the American public became a wartime industry,
almost as important as the manufacturing of bullets and planes. The Government
launched an aggressive propaganda campaign to galvanize public support,
and some of the nation's foremost intellectuals, artists, and filmmakers
became warriors on that front.
This online exhibit features 33 posters and 1 sound file from a more extensive exhibit that was presented in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from May 1994 to February 1995. Like the original, this exhibit is divided into two parts, which represent two psychological approaches used in rallying public support for the war.
|Part 1 These posters motivate the viewer
by instilling patriotism, confidence, and a positive outlook. Patriotic
colors of red, white, and blue predominate. Pictures of fists, muscles,
tools, and artillery convey American strength. American heroes and familiar
national symbols appeal to patriotism.
|Part 2 These posters rock people out
of their complacency with grim, unromantic visions of war. They depict
the human cost of war, confronting the viewer with corpses, bloodshed,
and gravestones. These images appeal to darker impulses, fostering feelings
of suspicion, fear, and even hate.
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