propaganda posters for war

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These World War II Propaganda Posters Rallied the Home Front

By: Madison Horne

Updated: August 10, 2023 | Original: October 12, 2018

Rosie the RIveter

When Britain and France went to war with Germany in 1939, Americans were divided over whether to join the war effort. It wouldn't be until the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that the United States would be thrust into  World War II . Once U.S. troops were sent to the front lines, hundreds of artists were put to work to create posters that would rally support on the home front .

Citizens were invited to purchase war bonds and take on factory jobs to support production needs for the military. As men were sent to battlefields, women were asked to branch out and take on jobs as riveters, welders and electricians.

To preserve resources for the war effort, posters championed carpooling to save on gas, warned against wasting food and urged people to collect scrap metal to recycle into military materials. In the spring of 1942, rationing programs were implemented that set limits on everyday purchases.

While many posters touted positive patriotic messages, some tapped fear to rally support for the Allied side and caution against leaking information to spies. "Loose lips sink ships" became a famous saying. Meanwhile, graphic images depicted a blood-thirsty Adolph Hitler and racist imagery of Japanese people with sinister, exaggerated features.

Today, the posters a offer a glimpse into the nation's climate during World War II and how propaganda was used to link the home front to the front lines.

propaganda posters for war

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American propaganda posters of World War II that spurred the country to victory, 1940-1941

american propaganda posters world war two

Posters were not the only form of propaganda used by the U.S government. They also employed Hollywood, radio programs and advertisements, cartoons, music, and other forms of media.

However, posters were more common than the other methods of spreading propaganda. They could be made in mass quantities and spread around a large area, whereas a movie could only be seen by those going to the theater.

Another benefit was that a person’s exposure to posters could be longer than a radio program. Someone could only hear a radio campaign during the purchased time slots, but a poster would be on a wall until either the elements or people took it down, or a new poster was pasted over it.

american propaganda posters world war two

Franklin D. Roosevelt created the agency with Executive Order 9182 on 13 June 1942 with the goal of simplifying the way information about the war reached the public.

In order to gain more support from the civilian populace, there needed to be one central agency that could control the information that would reach them.

Subjects of the OWI posters included: buying war bonds; careless talk; recruiting; increasing production; conservation; and other ways one could support the war effort.

The different themes accompanied the various campaigns that the war agencies launched. If the promotions were to be successful, then posters needed to remind people of the campaigns on a daily basis.

american propaganda posters world war two

In the face of acute wartime labor shortages, women were needed in the defense industries, the civilian service, and even the Armed Forces.

Despite the continuing 20th century trend of women entering the workforce, publicity campaigns were aimed at those women who had never before held jobs.

Poster and film images glorified and glamorized the roles of working women and suggested that a woman’s femininity need not be sacrificed.

Whether fulfilling their duty in the home, factory, office, or military, women were portrayed as attractive, confident, and resolved to do their part to win the war.

american propaganda posters world war two

Placing the poster out in the public did not happen randomly. The OWI developed a strategy on where and how to place them.

It wrote a handbook about the entire process and distributed it to the people who were in charge of placing the posters around the section of the town or city in which they lived.

The distribution process occurred at both a national and local level. Various government buildings received posters and displayed them on their own.

american propaganda posters world war two

A pretty daring outfit for 1940.

However, this did not cover a wide enough spectrum of places that the average person would visit throughout the day. Therefore, it became necessary to get citizens involved in placing the posters in locations they frequently visited.

Each community had a Defense Council, and within the Council a poster committee handled the poster distribution. Members of the committee scouted around for the best spots to place the posters.

While looking for a location, the OWI handbook stated to be mindful of a few aspects like: the number of people that would see the posters in the place being considered; if the place already had government posters; whether the area was practical for posting; getting the owner’s permission; and the size of the poster that could be displayed.

american propaganda posters world war two

Almost every government building from museums, to post offices and schools, railroad stations, restaurants, stores, and occasionally the sides of buildings would have a propaganda poster hanging for anyone passing by to see.

The OWI wanted a total saturation of governmental messages aimed at the average citizen. The messages contained on the posters supposed that every citizen needed to be a better contributing member of wartime society.

american propaganda posters world war two

If the image evoked a response then there was a chance that the viewer would support or be mindful of the message.

american propaganda posters world war two

Admiral Yamamoto shown on this December 22, 1941 issue of Time.

american propaganda posters world war two

This poster points with pride to the fact that only the Allies had asbestos.

american propaganda posters world war two

US posters had no compunctions about delving into stereotypes such as buck teeth and bad eyesight on General Tojo.

american propaganda posters world war two

It’s hard to argue with anything in this poster about Hitler’s brain. X-rays were very new, this was a sophisticated poster.

american propaganda posters world war two

America knocks out the opposition.

american propaganda posters world war two

Having Hermann Goering in a rare front-and-center role on this turned out to be somewhat ironic considering his ultimate fate.

american propaganda posters world war two

This poster creates a sinister mood by suggesting that the enemies might not always stay far away.

american propaganda posters world war two

American propaganda appealed to the mind as well as the senses.

american propaganda posters world war two

“Tokio Kid” was a figure in a series of wartime posters. He embodied a number of racial stereotypes.

american propaganda posters world war two

World War II saw the birth of the female war hero.

american propaganda posters world war two

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Library of Congress / Changes in American Propaganda Posters in World War I and World War II by Joshua Andrew Coulson).

Updated on: March 14, 2022

Any factual error or typo?  Let us know.

World War I: 100 Years Later

A Smithsonian magazine special report

The Posters That Sold World War I to the American Public

A vehemently isolationist nation needed enticement to join the European war effort. These advertisements were part of the campaign to do just that

Jia-Rui Cook

propaganda posters for war

On July 28, 1914, World War I officially began when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. In Europe and beyond, country after country was drawn into the war by a web of alliances. It took three years, but on April 2, 1917, the U.S. entered the fray when Congress declared war on Germany.

The government didn’t have time to waste while its citizens made up their minds about joining the fight. How could ordinary Americans be convinced to participate in the war “ Over There ,” as one of the most popular songs of the era described it?

Posters—which were so well designed and illustrated that people collected and displayed them in fine art galleries—possessed both visual appeal and ease of reproduction. They could be pasted on the sides of buildings, put in the windows of homes, tacked up in workplaces, and resized to appear above cable car windows and in magazines. And they could easily be reprinted in a variety of languages.

To merge this popular form of advertising with key messages about the war, the U.S. government’s public information committee formed a Division of Pictorial Publicity in 1917. The chairman, George Creel, asked Charles Dana Gibson, one of most famous American illustrators of the period, to be his partner in the effort. Gibson, who was president of the Society of Illustrators, reached out to the country’s best illustrators and encouraged them to volunteer their creativity to the war effort.

These illustrators produced some indelible images, including one of the most iconic American images ever made: James Montgomery Flagg’s stern image of Uncle Sam pointing to the viewer above the words, “I Want You for U.S. Army.” (Flagg’s inspiration came from an image of the British Secretary of State for War , Lord Kitchener, designed by Alfred Leete.) The illustrators used advertising strategies and graphic design to engage the casual passerby and elicit emotional responses. How could you avoid the pointing finger of Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty? How could you stand by and do nothing when you saw starving children and a (fictional) attack on New York City?

“Posters sold the war,” said David H. Mihaly, the curator of graphic arts and social history at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, where 55 of these posters will go on view August 2. “These posters inspired you to enlist, to pick up the flag and support your country. They made you in some cases fear an enemy or created a fear you didn’t know you had. Nations needed to convince their citizens that this war was just, and we needed to participate and not sit and watch.” There were certainly propaganda posters before 1917, but the organization and mass distribution of World War I posters distinguished them from previous printings, Mihaly said.

Despite the passage of 100 years—as well as many wars and disillusionment about them—these posters retain their power to make you stare. Good and evil are clearly delineated. The suffering is hard to ignore. The posters tell you how to help, and the look in the eyes of Uncle Sam makes sure you do.

“ Your Country Calls!: Posters of the First World War ” will be on view at the Huntington from August 2 to November 3, 2014. Jia-Rui Cook wrote this for  Zocalo Public Square .

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Women in world war i war posters.

Many of the posters were commissioned by the Committee on Public Information's Division of Pictorial Publicity.  George Creel, chair of the committee, felt strongly that posters would be extremely important in influencing Americans’ feelings: "I had the conviction that the poster must play a great role in the right for public opinion. The printed word might not be read; people might choose not to attend meetings or to watch motion pictures, but the billboard was something that caught even the most indifferent eye . . ." [1]

Other organizations heavily involved in the war and war relief efforts, such as the U.S. Army, the YMCA, and the Red Cross, also commissioned their own posters from artists.  The proliferation of posters put out by the government and other organizations served to motivate and influence the American people in a variety of ways.  Some simply aimed to promote patriotism and to encourage public support of the war.  However, many took this aim a step further by encouraging enlistment, promoting Liberty Bonds, and recruiting volunteers for a variety of work on the home front.  Posters attempted to reach these goals by speaking to different audiences in a variety of ways.  For example, to promote enlistment a poster could tell men that Uncle Sam wanted them for the U.S. Army; it could play on feelings of guilt for men who did not enlist; it could convince mothers and wives that they needed to tell the men in their lives to enlist; or it could show enticing, heroic action on the battlefield.

The depiction and usage of women in World War I posters varied, depending on the goal of the organization that commissioned them. In some posters, women appeared in distress or seeking help as victims of the war. Prior to American entry, these posters functioned to sway American public opinion in the direction of joining the Allies by cultivating outrage that a country, particularly its women, had been attacked. After the U.S. entered the war, the posters depicting women as victims played on the traditionally masculine role as a protector of women in order to convince men to enlist in the armed forces.

Unlike the posters that portray women as victims, passive observers of the war, or seductresses, many of the World War I posters show women taking a much more active role in contributing to war efforts. For example, many of the Red Cross posters (oftentimes soliciting donations or seeking more volunteers and nurses) show nurses in the thick of the conflict, carrying stretchers with wounded soldiers, caring for the soldiers, and attending to families displaced by the war. These women are portrayed as strong, courageous, and patriotic, thus promoting the work of nurses and the Red Cross and prompting other Americans to likewise lend their support.

Posters showing active, patriotic women were also used on the home front to promote and recruit for war efforts in America. These posters, like the Woman's Landy Army one pictured below, show women in their home front jobs, typically appearing enthusiastic and further promoting the home front efforts.  Additionally, the women are usually depicted as "'ordinary' women . . . in order to set an example for potential participants in war-related activities" in America. [2]

Allegorical women also appeared in World War I posters, most often representing a country such as France or America, or representing certain national ideals or goals such as liberty, victory, and justice. Many of the posters featuring allegorical women were aimed at recruiting men for the armed forces, although when not soliciting enlistment, the posters also targeted women.

Aside from featuring women, many of the posters included in this section highlight the wartime organizations that contributed to the war effort, such as the Red Cross, the War Camp Community Service, and the YWCA, many of which were run by women and/or whose volunteer base was largely composed of women.

Please note that the Archives Center at NMAH is in the midst of digitizing their vast poster collection, so images may not be available for all of the posters included in this section—check back soon!

Further Resources

David Haberstitch, “Memories of a wartime poster model,”  O Say Can You See? Stories from the National Museum of American History  (blog), October 12, 2010 .

Elizabeth Prelinger and Barton C. Hacker, "'The Spirit of Woman-Power': Representation of Women in World War I Posters," in A Companion to Women’s Military History , ed. Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining (Boston: Brill, 2012), 453–484.

Eric Van Schaack, "The Division of Pictorial Publicity in World War I," Design Issues 22, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 32–45.

Jia-Rui Cook, "The Posters That Sold World War I to the American Public," Smithsonian Magazine , July 28, 2014 .

Michele J. Shover, "Roles and Images of Women in World War I Propaganda," Politics & Society 5, no. 4 (December 1975): 469–486.

World War I Posters at the Library of Congress .

World War I Posters at the U.S. Army Center of Military History .

"World War I Posters: The Graphic Art of Propaganda," LIFE.com .

"Your Country Calls!: Posters of the First World War" at The Huntington .

[1] George Creel, as quoted in Eric Van Schaack, "The Division of Pictorial Publicity in World War I," Design Issues 22, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 33 . 

[2] Elizabeth Prelinger and Barton C. Hacker, "'The Spirit of Woman-Power': Representation of Women in World War I Posters," in A Companion to Women’s Military History , ed. Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining (Boston: Brill, 2012), 464.

Image Sources:

Herbert Andrew Paus, "The Woman's Land Army of America," 1918, Photos, Prints, Drawings, Library of Congress, JPEG file,  http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/13400/13492r.jpg  (accessed April 30, 2015).

Howard Chandler Christy, "I Want You For The Navy," 1917, Photos, Prints, Drawings, Library of Congress, JPEG file,  http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/cph/3g00000/3g02000/3g02000/3g02010r.jpg  (accessed April 30, 2015).

  • Women in World War I
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  • Liberty China and Queen's Ware
  • Pins & Buttons
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  • Correspondence
  • Anna Coleman Ladd
  • Resources at Anacostia Community Museum
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  • Smithsonian American Art Museum Arts Inventories Catalog
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propaganda posters for war

Powers of Persuasion

army recruiting poster

"I Want You"

by James Montgomery Flagg, 1940. National Archives, Army Recruiting Bureau

View in National Archives Catalog

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 with clearly articulated goals and strategies to galvanize public support, and it recruited some of the nation's foremost intellectuals, artists, and filmmakers to wage the war on that front. Posters are the focus of this online exhibit, based on a more extensive exhibit that was presented in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from May 1994 to February 1995. It explores the strategies of persuasion as evidenced in the form and content of World War II posters. Quotes from official manuals and public leaders articulate how the Government sought to rally public opinion in support of the war's aims; quotes from popular songs and sayings attest to the success of the campaign that helped to sustain the war effort throughout the world-shaking events of World War II.

Jump to Part 1 Galleries:

Man the Guns!

It's a Women's War Too!

United We Win

Use it up, wear it out, four freedoms.

Jump to Part 2 Galleries:

This is Nazi Brutality

He's watching you, meaning of sacrifice, stamp 'em out, part 1: patriotic pride.

WWII Poster

View the Man the Guns! Gallery

WWII Poster

Man the Guns—Join the Navy, by McClelland Barclay, 1942, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513519)

Keep 'em fighting. Production wins wars. Stop accidents, Printed for the National Safety Council, Inc., Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 514767)

Get hot—keep moving. Don't waste a precious minute., Records of War Production Board  View in Online Gallery

(NAID: 535107)

Masculine strength was a common visual theme in patriotic posters. Pictures of powerful men and mighty machines illustrated America's ability to channel its formidable strength into the war effort. American muscle was presented in a proud display of national confidence.

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative, Latch on to the Affirmative, Don't Mess with Mr. In-Between. 1945, Music by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

It's a Woman's War Too!

WWII Poster

View the It's a Woman's War Too! Gallery

WWII Poster

Victory Waits On Your Fingers—Keep 'Em Flying Miss U.S.A., Produced by the Royal Typewriter Company for the U.S. Civil Service Commission, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 515979)

Longing Won't Bring Him Back Sooner...Get a War Job!, by Lawrence Wilbur, 1944, Records of the Office of Government Reports View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513840)

We Can Do It!, by J. Howard Miller, Produced by Westinghouse for the War Production Co-Ordinating Committee, Records of the War Production Board  View in Online Catalog

Of all the images of working women during World War II, the image of women in factories predominates. Rosie the Riveter—the strong, competent woman dressed in overalls and bandanna—was introduced as a symbol of patriotic womanhood. The accoutrements of war work—uniforms, tools, and lunch pails—were incorporated into the revised image of the feminine ideal.  

(NAID: 535413)

In the face of acute wartime labor shortages, women were needed in the defense industries, the civilian service, and even the Armed Forces. Despite the continuing 20th century trend of women entering the workforce, publicity campaigns were aimed at those women who had never before held jobs. Poster and film images glorified and glamorized the roles of working women and suggested that a woman's femininity need not be sacrificed. Whether fulfilling their duty in the home, factory, office, or military, women were portrayed as attractive, confident, and resolved to do their part to win the war.

These jobs will have to be glorified as a patriotic war service if American women are to be persuaded to take them and stick to them. Their importance to a nation engaged in total war must be convincingly presented. Basic Program Plan for Womanpower Office of War Information

WWII Poster

View the United We Win Gallery

WWII Poster

United We Win, Photograph by Alexander Liberman, 1943, Printed by the Government, Printing Office for the War Manpower Commission,  Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513820)

Above and Beyondthe Call of Duty, by David Stone Martin, Printed by the Government, Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of War Information  View in Online Catalog

At the beginning of the war, African Americans could join the Navy but could serve only as messmen. Doris ("Dorie") Miller joined the Navy and was in service on board the USS  West Virginia  during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Restricted to the position of messman, he received no gunnery training. But during the attack, at great personal risk, he manned the weapon of a fallen gunman and succeeded in hitting Japanese planes. He was awarded the Navy Cross, but only after persistent pressure from the black press.

(NAID: 535886)

Pvt. Joe Louis Says—We,re Going to do our part . . . and we'll win because we're on God's side, Records of the Office Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513548)

During World War II, racial restriction and segregation were facts of life in the U.S. military. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of African Americans participated wholeheartedly in the fight against the Axis powers. They did so, however, with an eye toward ending racial discrimination in American society. This objective was expressed in the call, initiated in the black press for the "Double V"—victory over fascism abroad and over racism at home. The Government was well aware of the demoralizing effects of racial prejudice on the American population and its impact on the war effort. Consequently, it promoted posters, pamphlets, and films highlighting the participation and achievement of African Americans in military and civilian life.

We say glibly that in the United States of America all men are free and equal, but do we treat them as if they were? . . . There is religious and racial prejudice everywhere in the land, and if there is a greater obstacle anywhere to the attainment of the teamwork we must have, no one knows what it is. Arthur Upham Pope, Chairman of the Committee for National Morale, in America Organizes to Win the War

WWII Poster

View the Use It Up, Wear It Out Gallery

WWII Poster

When You Ride Alone You ride with Hilter!, by Weimer Pursell, 1943, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 516143)

Save Waste Fats for Explosives, by Henry Koerner, 1943, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513832)

Waste Helps the Enemy, by Vanderlaan, Records of the War Production Board  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 533960)

During the war years, gasoline, rubber, sugar, butter, and meat were rationed. Government publicity reminded people that shortages of these materials occurred because they were going to the troops, and that civilians should take part in conservation and salvage campaigns.

Astronomical quantities of everything and to hell with civilian needs. Donald Nelson, Chairman of the War Production Board, describing the military view of the American wartime industry.

WWII Poster

View the Four Freedoms Gallery

WWII Poster

Ours...to fight for—Freedom From Want, by Norman Rockwell, ©1943 SEPS: The Curtis Publishing Co., Agent

Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513710)

Save Freedom of Speech, by Norman Rockwell, ©1943 SEPS: The Curtis Publishing Co., Agent, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513711)

Save Freedom of Worship, by Norman Rockwell, ©1943 SEPS: The Curtis Publishing Co., Agent, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513712)

Ours...to fight for—Freedom From Fear, by Norman Rockwell, ©1943 SEPS: The Curtis Publishing Co., Agent, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513666)

President Roosevelt was a gifted communicator. On January 6, 1941, he addressed Congress, delivering the historic "Four Freedoms" speech. At a time when Western Europe lay under Nazi domination, Roosevelt presented a vision in which the American ideals of individual liberties were extended throughout the world. Alerting Congress and the nation to the necessity of war, Roosevelt articulated the ideological aims of the conflict. Eloquently, he appealed to Americans' most profound beliefs about freedom. The speech so inspired illustrator Norman Rockwell that he created a series of paintings on the "Four Freedoms" theme. In the series, he translated abstract concepts of freedom into four scenes of everyday American life. Although the Government initially rejected Rockwell's offer to create paintings on the "Four Freedoms" theme, the images were publicly circulated when The Saturday Evening Post, one of the nation's most popular magazines, commissioned and reproduced the paintings. After winning public approval, the paintings served as the centerpiece of a massive U.S. war bond drive and were put into service to help explain the war's aims.

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message to Congress, January 6, 1941

Part 2: Staying Vigilant

WWII Poster

View the Warning! Gallery

WWII Poster

WARNING! Our Homes Are in Danger Now!, produced by the General Motors Corporation, 1942, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 516040)

Keep These Hands Off!, by G. K. Odell, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

A study of commercial posters undertaken by the U.S. Government found that images of women and children in danger were effective emotional devices. The Canadian poster at right was part of the study and served as a model for American posters, such as the one below, that adopted a similar visual theme.

(NAID: 513550)

Don't Let That Shadow Touch Them. Buy War Bonds., by Lawrence B. Smith, 1942, Produced for the Government Printing Office for the U.S. Treasury, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513572)

We're Fighting to Prevent This, by C. R. Miller, Think America Institute, Kelly Read & Co., Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 516102)

Public relations specialists advised the U.S. Government that the most effective war posters were the ones that appealed to the emotions. The posters shown here played on the public's fear of the enemy. The images depict Americans in imminent danger-their backs against the wall, living in the shadow of Axis domination.

Commercial advertising usually takes the positive note in normal times . . . But these are not normal times; this is not even a normal war; it's hell's ideal of human catastrophy [sic], so menace and fear motives are a definite part of publicity programs, including the visual. Statement on Current Information Objective Office of Facts and Figures

WWII Poster

View the This is Nazi Brutality Gallery

WWII Poster

This is Nazi Brutality, by Ben Shahn, 1942, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

Lidice was a Czech mining village that was obliterated by the Nazis in retaliation for the 1942 shooting of a Nazi official by two Czechs. All men of the village were killed in a 10-hour massacre; the women and children were sent to concentration camps. The destruction of Lidice became a symbol for the brutality of Nazi occupation during World War II.

(NAID: 513687)

We French Workers Warn You...Defeat Means Slavery, Starvation and Death., By Ben Shahn, 1942, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the War Information Board, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513688)

The Sowers, by Thomas Hart Benton, 1942, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

Artist Thomas Hart Benton believed that it was the artist's role either to fight or to "bring the bloody actual realities of this war home to the American people." In a series of eight paintings, Benton portrayed the violence and barbarity of fascism. "The Sowers" shows the enemy as bulky, brutish monsters tossing human skulls onto the ground.

(NAID: 515648)

Many of the fear-inspiring posters depicted Nazi acts of atrocity. Although brutality is always part of war, the atrocities of World War II were so terrible, and of such magnitude, as to engender a new category of crime—crimes against humanity. The images here were composed to foster fear. Implicit in these posters is the idea that what happened there could happen here.

Under their system, the individual is a cog in a military machine, a cipher in an economic despotism; the individual is a slave. These facts are documented in the degradation and suffering of the conquered countries, whose fate is shared equally by the willing satellites and the misguided appeasers of the Axis. Government Information Manual for the Motion Picture Industry Office of War Information

WWII Poster

View the He's Watching You Gallery

WWII Poster

He's Watching You, by Glenn Grohe, ca. 1942, Gouache on cardboard, Records of the Office of War Information  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 7387549)

Someone Talked!, by Siebel, 1942, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of War Information  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513672)

...Because Somebody Talked!, By Wesley, 1943, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the Office of War Information, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513669)

Wanted! For Murder, by Victor Keppler, 1944, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

A woman—someone who could resemble the viewer`s neighbor, sister, wife, or daughter—was shown on a "wanted" poster as an unwitting murderess.

At least one viewer voiced objection to the choice of a female model. A letter from a resident of Hawaii to the Office of War Information reads, in part, "American women who are knitting, rolling bandages, working long hours at war jobs and then carrying on with 'women's work' at home—in short, taking over the countless drab duties to which no salary and no glory are attached, resent these unwarranted and presumptuous accusations which have no basis in fact, but from the time-worn gags of newspaper funny men."

(NAID: 513599)

Concerns about national security intensify in wartime. During World War II, the Government alerted citizens to the presence of enemy spies and saboteurs lurking just below the surface of American society. "Careless talk" posters warned people that small snippets of information regarding troop movements or other logistical details would be useful to the enemy. Well-meaning citizens could easily compromise national security and soldiers' safety with careless talk.

Words are ammunition. Each word an American utters either helps or hurts the war effort. He must stop rumors. He must challenge the cynic and the appeaser. He must not speak recklessly. He must remember that the enemy is listening. Government Information Manual for the Motion Picture Industry Office of War Information

WWII Poster

View the Meaning of Sacrifice Gallery

WWII Poster

You Talk of Sacrifice..., Produced by Winchester, Records of the War Production Board  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 535236)

Have You Really Tried to Save Gas by Getting Into a Car Club?, By Harold Von Schmidt, 1944, Printed by the Government Printing Office, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 513630)

Miles of Hell to Tokyo!, By Amos Sewell, 1945, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the War Manpower Commission, Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 515009)

To guard against complacency, the Government promoted messages that reminded civilian America of the suffering and sacrifices that were being made by its Armed Forces overseas.

The mortal realities of war must be impressed vividly on every citizen. There is a lighter side to the war picture, particularly among Americans, who are irrepressibly cheerful and optimistic. But war means death. It means suffering and sorrow. The men in the service are given no illusions as to the grimness of the business in which they are engaged. We owe it to them to rid ourselves of any false notions we may have about the nature of war. Government Information Manual for the Motion Picture Industry Office of War Information

WWII Poster

View the Stamp 'Em Out! Gallery

WWII Poster

Stamp `Em Out!, Produced by RCA Manufacturing Company, Inc., Records of the Office of Government Reports  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 515473)

More Production, by Zudor, Printed by the Government Printing Office for the War Production Board, Records of the Office of War Information  View in Online Catalog

(NAID: 7387556)

The Government tried to identify the most effective poster style. One government-commissioned study concluded that the best posters were those that made a direct, emotional appeal and presented realistic pictures in photographic detail. The study found that symbolic or humorous posters attracted less attention, made a less favorable impression, and did not inspire enthusiasm. Nevertheless, many symbolic and humorous posters were judged to be outstanding in national poster competitions during the war.

War posters that are symbolic do not attract a great deal of attention, and they fail to arouse enthusiasm. Often, they are misunderstood by those who see them. How to Make Posters That Will Help Win The War, Office of Facts and Figures, 1942

Additional Media

Song:   "Any Bonds Today?"

Transcript: 

"any bonds today bonds of freedom that's what i'm selling any bonds today scrape up the most you can here comes the freedom man asking you to buy a share of freedom today, any stamps today we'll be blest if we all invest in the u.s.a. here comes the freedom man can't make tomorrow's plan not unless you buy a share of freedom today".

Speech:   President Roosevelt's Address 

Transcript: Excerpt from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Message to Congress on January 6, 1941

"the first is the freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. the second is the freedom of every person to worship god in his own way—everywhere in the world. the third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world. the fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world." (applause).

Video:  Bugs Bunny

Video Description: Bugs Bunny enters stage right in front of a backdrop of Archibald McNeal Willard's painting, "Spirit of '76" showing three colonial soldiers with a fife, drum, and flag. Bugs wears a patriotic red and white striped top hat with a band of blue and white stars that he waves and tosses off stage left. Bugs sings "Any Bonds Today?", dances and throws blue papers printed with "Bonds" toward the audience. Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig, in Army and Navy uniforms, join Bugs onstage. The trio dances and sings in front of a backdrop showing a combat scene with ships and planes. As the song ends with a musical flourish, the cartoon fades to a gold background with a Minute Man on the left and the slogan "For Defense Buy United States Savings Bonds and Stamps."

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Many of the posters were commissioned by the Committee on Public Information's Division of Pictorial Publicity.  George Creel, chair of the committee, felt strongly that posters would be extremely important in influencing Americans’ feelings: "I had the conviction that the poster must play a great role in the right for public opinion. The printed word might not be read; people might choose not to attend meetings or to watch motion pictures, but the billboard was something that caught even the most indifferent eye . . ." [1]

Other organizations heavily involved in the war and war relief efforts, such as the U.S. Army, the YMCA, and the Red Cross, also commissioned their own posters from artists.  The proliferation of posters put out by the government and other organizations served to motivate and influence the American people in a variety of ways.  Some simply aimed to promote patriotism and to encourage public support of the war.  However, many took this aim a step further by encouraging enlistment, promoting Liberty Bonds, and recruiting volunteers for a variety of work on the home front.  Posters attempted to reach these goals by speaking to different audiences in a variety of ways.  For example, to promote enlistment a poster could tell men that Uncle Sam wanted them for the U.S. Army; it could play on feelings of guilt for men who did not enlist; it could convince mothers and wives that they needed to tell the men in their lives to enlist; or it could show enticing, heroic action on the battlefield.

The depiction and usage of women in World War I posters varied, depending on the goal of the organization that commissioned them. In some posters, women appeared in distress or seeking help as victims of the war. Prior to American entry, these posters functioned to sway American public opinion in the direction of joining the Allies by cultivating outrage that a country, particularly its women, had been attacked. After the U.S. entered the war, the posters depicting women as victims played on the traditionally masculine role as a protector of women in order to convince men to enlist in the armed forces.

Unlike the posters that portray women as victims, passive observers of the war, or seductresses, many of the World War I posters show women taking a much more active role in contributing to war efforts. For example, many of the Red Cross posters (oftentimes soliciting donations or seeking more volunteers and nurses) show nurses in the thick of the conflict, carrying stretchers with wounded soldiers, caring for the soldiers, and attending to families displaced by the war. These women are portrayed as strong, courageous, and patriotic, thus promoting the work of nurses and the Red Cross and prompting other Americans to likewise lend their support.

Posters showing active, patriotic women were also used on the home front to promote and recruit for war efforts in America. These posters, like the Woman's Landy Army one pictured below, show women in their home front jobs, typically appearing enthusiastic and further promoting the home front efforts.  Additionally, the women are usually depicted as "'ordinary' women . . . in order to set an example for potential participants in war-related activities" in America. [2]

Allegorical women also appeared in World War I posters, most often representing a country such as France or America, or representing certain national ideals or goals such as liberty, victory, and justice. Many of the posters featuring allegorical women were aimed at recruiting men for the armed forces, although when not soliciting enlistment, the posters also targeted women.

Aside from featuring women, many of the posters included in this section highlight the wartime organizations that contributed to the war effort, such as the Red Cross, the War Camp Community Service, and the YWCA, many of which were run by women and/or whose volunteer base was largely composed of women.

Please note that the Archives Center at NMAH is in the midst of digitizing their vast poster collection, so images may not be available for all of the posters included in this section—check back soon!

Further Resources

David Haberstitch, “Memories of a wartime poster model,”  O Say Can You See? Stories from the National Museum of American History  (blog), October 12, 2010 .

Elizabeth Prelinger and Barton C. Hacker, "'The Spirit of Woman-Power': Representation of Women in World War I Posters," in A Companion to Women’s Military History , ed. Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining (Boston: Brill, 2012), 453–484.

Eric Van Schaack, "The Division of Pictorial Publicity in World War I," Design Issues 22, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 32–45.

Jia-Rui Cook, "The Posters That Sold World War I to the American Public," Smithsonian Magazine , July 28, 2014 .

Michele J. Shover, "Roles and Images of Women in World War I Propaganda," Politics & Society 5, no. 4 (December 1975): 469–486.

World War I Posters at the Library of Congress .

World War I Posters at the U.S. Army Center of Military History .

"World War I Posters: The Graphic Art of Propaganda," LIFE.com .

"Your Country Calls!: Posters of the First World War" at The Huntington .

[1] George Creel, as quoted in Eric Van Schaack, "The Division of Pictorial Publicity in World War I," Design Issues 22, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 33 . 

[2] Elizabeth Prelinger and Barton C. Hacker, "'The Spirit of Woman-Power': Representation of Women in World War I Posters," in A Companion to Women’s Military History , ed. Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining (Boston: Brill, 2012), 464.

Image Sources:

Herbert Andrew Paus, "The Woman's Land Army of America," 1918, Photos, Prints, Drawings, Library of Congress, JPEG file,  http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/ppmsca/13400/13492r.jpg  (accessed April 30, 2015).

Howard Chandler Christy, "I Want You For The Navy," 1917, Photos, Prints, Drawings, Library of Congress, JPEG file,  http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/cph/3g00000/3g02000/3g02000/3g02010r.jpg  (accessed April 30, 2015).

propaganda posters for war

Join the R.A.A.F Back Them Up!

propaganda posters for war

Back them Up!

propaganda posters for war

Join the R.A.A.F. - Back them Up!

propaganda posters for war

Join the R.A.A.F Back them Up!

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First Call: American Posters of World War One from the Collection of Roger N. Mohovich

Introduction.

The enormous output of posters in the United States during and just after the First World War belies this country’s late entry into that conflict. Spurred by the example of the various European combatants, the creation and production of appropriate “pictorial publicity” quickly achieved a very high level of artistic involvement and industrial application. Thousands of designs were created, and most of them were printed in very large numbers. As a result, very few of these posters are scarce even today, and only a small handful might qualify as “rare.”

A large number of artists were involved in the creation of posters during the war. Some of them came to the work with their reputations already secured through their commercial work in books, magazines, and advertising: of these, for example, Howard Chandler Christy and James Montgomery Flagg are represented in this exhibition, Harrison Fisher and Edward Penfield are not. Some of the artists in the exhibit are now known to us largely because they did these—and other—posters. “Ruttan” and the euphonious “H. Blyleven Esselen” defeated attempts to track them down in the reference resources at hand; John E. Sheridan, who might well be a mystery elsewhere, is known here because he attended Georgetown in the closing years of the 19th century and his first poster work was probably the series he did advertising Georgetown baseball games against Princeton, Yale, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. As in Britain, some posters took advantage of work first published as cartoons in the daily papers; the examples shown here by W. A. Rogers and Oscar Cesare are typical. Many of the artists, whether obscure or famous, contributed their work gratis to the war effort.  

The posters helped not only with the obvious aim of recruiting members for the armed forces, but with the parallel home-front efforts embodied in various conservation efforts, in the multiple aims of the United War Work Campaign, in the work of the Red Cross, and perhaps most notably in the rapid subscription of the Liberty and Victory loans. Each of the four Liberty loan campaigns (two in 1917, two in 1918) and the Victory loan campaign of early 1919 brought an outpouring of poster art on both the local and national levels. Of the six posters in the exhibit not listed in Theofiles’ book, three relate one way or another to recruiting, and the other three are loan appeals.  

We note also that the same printing firms which thrived on the production of the posters contributed in some cases to their creation. W. F. Powers in New York made and donated the color plates for the Cesare poster; the Robert Gary Company in Brooklyn contributed the entire Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge effort. And the striking poster by Joseph Grosse, unknown to Theofiles, was contributed by the “Cloak, Suit and Skirt Industry Committee.” In a context where the various Liberty and Victory loan drives achieved something like 30 billion dollars in returns these efforts may seem tiny, but cumulatively they and others like them did much for the proliferation of the poster as an important means of war effort communication.

The current exhibition, timed to open on the 81st anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, is the second in what we hope will be a series of exhibits of posters drawn from the collection of Roger N. Mohovich, acquired in 1997 as a gift from his heirs, David van Buskirk and Warren Wilson. See also: TAKE UP THE SWORD OF JUSTICE: British Posters of World War I.

Entries for each poster are arranged in the following format: artist (where known); title; size (in inches, height before width); place of printing, publisher, and date; notes (those in quotation marks taken directly from the posters themselves); and references. References are to the following works: George Theofiles, American Posters of World War I (Dafran, 1973); Labert St. Clair, The Story of the Liberty Loans (James William Bryan Press, 1919); Joseph Darracott, The First World War in Posters (Dover, 1974); and Maurice Rickards, Posters of the First World War (Walker, 1968).

George M. Barringer Georgetown University Library

Flagg's "First Call"

Flagg, James Montgomery, 1877-1960 [New York]: Leslie-Judge Co. 1917 printed on board 11 x 21 Not in Theofiles

A Wonderful Opportunity for YOU

A Wonderful Opportunity for YOU

Ruttan [n.p., 1919?] 28 x 20 1/4 Probably a post-war appeal for recruits. Not in Theofiles

ONLY THE NAVY CAN STOP THIS

ONLY THE NAVY CAN STOP THIS

Rogers, William Allen, 1854-1931 New York: U. S. Navy Publishing Bureau [1917] 25 1/4 x 19 1/2 Reproduction of a cartoon from The New York Herald . Theofiles 47; Rickards 180

YOU DRIVE A CAR HERE - WHY NOT A TRANSPORT IN FRANCE?

YOU DRIVE A CAR HERE - WHY NOT A TRANSPORT IN FRANCE?

Esselen, H. Blyleven [n.p., 1918?] 27 1/2 x 19 1/4 Not in Theofiles

HOLD ON TO UNCLE SAM'S INSURANCE

HOLD ON TO UNCLE SAM'S INSURANCE

Flagg, James Montgomery, 1877-1960 Boston: Forbes [1919?] 30 x 20 Theofiles 324

Be Patriotic

Be Patriotic

Stahr, Paul C., 1883-19?? New York: W. F. Powers [1918?] 28 3/4 x 21 Theofiles 97

Food is Ammunition

Food is Ammunition

Sheridan, John E. [n.p., 1918?] 28 3/4 x 20 1/4 Theofiles 76; St. Clair, p. 155

SEE HIM THROUGH

SEE HIM THROUGH

Rice, Burton [n.p.] 1918 25 3/4 x 19 3/4 Theofiles 294, attributed to "Carlson Rice"

Back our girls over there

Back our girls over there

Underwood, Clarence Frederick, 1871-1929 [n.p., 1918?] 28 x 21 1/4 Theofiles 213; St. Clair, p. 177

FOR YOUR BOY

FOR YOUR BOY

Brown, Arthur William, 1881-19?? Philadelphia: Ketterlinus [1918?] 29 3/4 x 20 Produced by the Committee on Public Information, Division of Pictorial Publicity. Theofiles 197

The Hun ~ his Mark

The Hun ~ his Mark

St. John, J. Allen. Chicago: Manz Engraving Co. [1917] 30 1/4 x 19 3/4 Theofiles 137; St. Clair, p. 84; Darracott 40

Remember Your First Thrill of AMERICAN LIBERTY

Remember Your First Thrill of AMERICAN LIBERTY

[Anonymous] New York: Sackett & Wilhelms [1917] 30 x 20 Theofiles 135; St. Clair, p. 73

WOMEN! HELP AMERICA'S SONS WIN THE WAR

WOMEN! HELP AMERICA'S SONS WIN THE WAR

Porteous, R. H. Chicago: Edwards & Deutsch [1917] 30 x 20 Theofiles 131, attributed to "P. S. Porteus;" St. Clair, p. 73

"THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE..."

"THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE..."

[Anonymous] [n.p., 1918] 30 x 20 Theofiles 152; St. Clair, p. 36

HALT the Hun!

HALT the Hun!

Raleigh, Henry, 1880-19?? Chicago: Edwards & Deutsch [1918] 28 3/4 x 19 3/4 Theofiles 140; St. Clair, p. 37

HELP CRUSH the MENACE of the SEAS

HELP CRUSH the MENACE of the SEAS

Grosse, Joseph L. New York: O'Connor-Fyffe Adv. [1918?] 27 3/4 x 18 1/4 "Poster Contributed by Cloak, Suit and Skirt Industry Committee" Not in Theofiles

PROVIDE THE SINEWS OF WAR

PROVIDE THE SINEWS OF WAR

Pennell, Joseph, 1860-1926 New York: Heywood, Strasser & Voigt 1918 printed on board 20 x 21 Theofiles 162

HUN OR HOME?

HUN OR HOME?

Raleigh, Henry, 1880-19?? Chicago: Edwards & Deutsch [1918] 29 3/4 x 19 3/4 Theofiles 166; St. Clair, p. 137

Pvt. TREPTOW'S PLEDGE

Pvt. TREPTOW'S PLEDGE

Baldridge, Cyrus LeRoy, 1889-19?? Brooklyn: Robert Gair Company 1918 30 x 19 3/4 Poster donated by the printing company. Not in Theofiles

REMEMBER THE BOND

REMEMBER THE BOND

Cesare, Oscar E. [New York]: The Nation Press [1918?] 24 3/4 x 18 1/2 "Color Plates made and donated by Powers Engraving Co., N. Y." Reproduction of a cartoon from The New York Evening Post. Not in Theofiles

Answer the Red Cross Christmas Roll Call

Answer the Red Cross Christmas Roll Call

Greenleaf, Ray, 18??-1950 Buffalo: Niagara Litho. Co. 1918 30 x 20 Produced by the Committee on Public Information, Division of Pictorial Publicity. Theofiles 232

Hold up your end!

Hold up your end!

King, William B., 1880-1927 [New York?] 1918? 27 1/2 x 20 1/4 Theofiles 221; St. Clair, p. 142

Have YOU a Red Cross Service Flag?

Have YOU a Red Cross Service Flag?

Smith, Jessie Wilcox, 1863-1925 Chicago: Edwards & Deutsch [1918?] 28 x 22 1/4 Theofiles 237

Keep this Hand of Mercy at its work

Keep this Hand of Mercy at its work

Morgan, P. G. [New York?] 1918? 27 1/2 x 20 1/2 Theofiles 228, attributed to "C. Emerson, Jr."

THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA

THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA

Christy, Howard Chandler, 1872-1952 Boston: Forbes [1918?] 30 x 20 Theofiles 242; Darracott 6

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Back 'Em Up! Posters Urging Americans to Buy War Bonds

When you think of the weapons of WWII, what comes to mind? Planes, tanks, money? Bullets, machine-guns, and grenade launchers? Yes, all of these were important tools in the effort to win the war. But so was information. In this case, government issued information. Over the course of the war the U.S. government waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of the public. Persuading Americans to support the war effort became a wartime industry, just as important as producing bullets and planes. The U.S. government produced posters, pamphlets, newsreels, radio shows, and movies-all designed to create a public that was 100% behind the war effort.

In 1942 the Office of War Information (OWI) was created to both craft and disseminate the government’s message. This propaganda campaign included specific goals and strategies. Artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals were recruited to take the government’s agenda (objectives) and turn it into a propaganda campaign. This included posters found across American-from railway stations to post offices, from schools to apartment buildings.

War Bonds allowed for everyday Americans to invest in the war effort by purchasing bonds that would go up in value over time. Let's take a closer look at these propaganda posters urging Americans to purchase war bonds.

All images are courtesy of the National Archives.

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12 American Propaganda Posters That Sold World War I to the Masses

By shaunacy ferro | apr 5, 2017.

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.147

A new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York features rarely seen propaganda art commissioned by the U.S. government during World War I.

Propaganda is central to any war effort. In the early 20th century, the persuasion to head into battle came, in part, from art: The government recruited artists and illustrators to create propaganda materials. In a new exhibit, the Museum of the City of New York is showing how New York City-based artists and creatives working for the federal government’s Division of Pictorial Publicity helped sell World War I to the public.

Posters and Patriotism: Selling World War I in New York showcases a collection of more than 60 mass-produced propaganda posters from the era—some on display for the first time—that the railroad millionaire John W. Campbell donated to the museum in 1943. They make up just a small sample of the 20 million copies of approximately 2500 posters that the government distributed around the U.S.

1. "ENLIST" BY FRED SPEAR, 1915

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.147

this is caption

2. "JEWISH WELFARE BOARD" BY JOSEF FOSHKO, C. 1917

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.240

3. "I WANT YOU FOR U.S. ARMY" BY JAMES MONTGOMERY FLAGG, C. 1917

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.142

4. "CLEAR THE WAY!!" BY HOWARD CHANDLER CHRISTY, C. 1917

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.56

5. "TO-DAY BUY THAT LIBERTY BOND" BY UNKNOWN ARTIST, C. 1917

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.4

6. “PER LA LIBERAZIONE SOTTOSCRIVETE! (FOR LIBERATION SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONAL LOAN!)” BY ACHILLE MAUZAN, 1918

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.564

7. “REMEMBER! THE FLAG OF LIBERTY SUPPORT IT!” BY HEYWOOD, STRASSER & VOIGHT LITHO CO. (NEW YORK, N.Y.), 1918

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.35

8. “LEST WE PERISH” BY ETHEL FRANKLIN BETTS BAINS, 1917-18

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.109

9. “TREAT 'EM ROUGH” BY AUGUST WILLIAM HUTAF, C. 1918

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.178

10. “HELP THE RED CROSS” BY HERMAN ROEG, 1918

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.93

11. “FOR EVERY FIGHTER A WOMAN WORKER” BY ADOLPH TREIDLER, C. 1918

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.123

12. “EVERY GIRL PULLING FOR VICTORY” BY EDWARD PENFIELD, 1918

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, GIFT OF MR. JOHN W. CAMPBELL, 43.40.131

Posters and Patriotism: Selling World War I in New York opens April 5. 

Posters Worth A Thousand Words

World war ii political posters from the collections of the smithsonian national museum of american history, in collaboration with, the role of a poster, posters were a key way to spread information during the war, the posters that spread awareness, teaching the british public about aviation, the posters that educated civilians, decoding the many symbols of military insignia, the posters to recruit women, encouraging women to join the reserves and fight for the country, explore the poster collections by color, joining the fight, propaganda posters encouraged citizens to enlist in the military, "we're coming" / join the a.i.f. now, the new anzacs pause before action in the middle east / join the aif now, man the guns join the navy, united states. navy, en sus puestos, come on, pal ... enlist, on to victory / air crews wanted r.a.a.f. - urgently, helping on the homefront, from victory gardens to calling for productivity, why not use me more says 'potato pete', ministry of food, killing time is killing men., brown, reynold, keep the wheels turning / repair work is vital to the war effort, "bundles for berlin" / more production, united states. war production board., dig for victory, home grown food means more ships for the war effort, he's a fighting fool / give him the best you've got / more production, it's your production / against his, put your muscle on a war basis sign up for a farm job at your local u.s. employment office, u.s. employment office, buy war bonds, funding the war through the power of the purse, lend a hand bonds buy bombs, abbott laboratories, bonds build ships buy more bonds, carry on buy war bonds, world war ii poster, 85 million americans hold war bonds. treasury department., united states. war finance division, let 'em have it buy extra bonds. treasury department., back the attack / buy war bonds 3rd war loan, care is costly buy and hold war bonds. treasury department., attack attack attack / buy war bonds. treasury department., united states. department of the treasury, carry your share / buy war bonds, the poster art of norman rockwell, an iconic artist's contributions, ours to fight for freedom from want, office of war information. (washington, d.c.), save freedom of worship each according to the dictates of his own conscience buy war bonds, save freedom of speech / buy war bonds, ours to fight for freedom from fear, loose lips sink ships, countries around the world reminded citizens that carless talk costs lives, the enemy has long ears, hold your tongue, qui a trop parlé, se taire, c'est servir, a careless word..., women winning the war, the posters entreating women to enlist, wish i could join too serve your country in the waves ..., that was the day i joined the waves ..., bring him home sooner / join the waves, you are needed now / join the army nurse corps / apply at your red cross recruiting station. u.s, green, ruzzie (artist), "we can do it", miller, j. howard, don't miss your great opportunity / the navy needs you in the waves, on the same team / enlist in the waves.., make nursing your war job--it's war work with a future, there's a man-size job for you in your navy / enlist in the waves ... u.s. navy., falter, john, my needle hums along the track for hitler's ears i'm pinning back ..., back them up, building a strong base of support, a raid by "hudsons" of the coastal command on german shipping at aalesund, norway, in which eleven ships were hit back them up, british field-guns smash a german tank attack at point-blank range in libya back them up, british army, back them up, a british "commando" raid on a german-help port in norway back them up, a british tank attack in the western desert back them up, a british cruiser ramming on italian submarine in the mediterranean back them up, the bombing in daylight of the power station at knapsack, germany, by the royal air force. back them up, the inner workings of airplanes, educating everyone on the aerial technology, britain's "spitfire v" ..., [in arabic or persian], il gigantesco bombardiere britannico "stirling" ..., le "halifax ii" de handley page ..., de lange afstand bristol "beaufighter" ..., "lancaster" - o avião pesado de bombardeamento britânico, one picture, many languages, how a poster changes as it spreads around the world, de stemmen der vrijheid leven ..., de stem der vrijheid leeft ..., h φωnh thσ eλeyθepiaσ zh ..., glas slobode živi novine saveznika štampane u velikoj britaniji, hlasy svobody žijí spojenecký tisk ve velké britanii, det frie ord lever de allierte aviser i england, dive into even more posters and printed culture, from the smithsonian national museum of american history.

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Propaganda posters

Propaganda is a form of communication that promotes a particular perspective or agenda by using text and images to provoke an emotional response and influence behaviour.

Can you think of some modern examples of propaganda?

1. During the First World War, propaganda was used around the world for fundraising, to build hatred of the enemy, and to encourage enlistment. Posters were an ideal method of communicating this propaganda, as they could be printed and distributed quickly in large quantities.

Here are two examples of Australian propaganda posters, which aimed to encourage enlistment by promoting a sense of comradery and duty:

Collection Item C101052

Accession Number: ARTV05616

Sportsmens’ Recruiting Committee, Troedel and Cooper Pty. Ltd, Enlist in the Sportsmens’ 1000 , 1917, chromolithograph on paper, 98.7 x 73.2 cm

Collection Item C95715

Accession Number: ARTV00141

David Souter, Win the War League, William Brooks and Co. Ltd, It is nice in the surf, but what about the men in the trenches? , 1915, lithograph printed in colour on paper, 76.2 x 51.4 cm

a. What messages are the posters presenting?

b. Who are those posters targeting? Who are they not targeting, and why?

c.What do these posters tell us about how the typical Australian man was percieved during the early 1900s?

d. Do you think these posters would have influenced people like Augusta Enberg , the Christensen family , or Peter Rados ? Why or why not?

2. The following propaganda posters also encouraged enlistment, but did this by building fear of the enemy.

Collection Item C95655

Accession Number: ARTV00078

Norman Lindsay, Commonwealth Government of Australia Syd. Day, The Printer Ltd, ?, 1918, chromolithograph on paper, 99 x 74.4 cm

Collection Item C101462

Accession Number: ARTV06030

B.E. Pike, VAP Service, Must it come to this? , 1914 – 1918, chromolithograph on paper, 57.7 x 46 cm

Collection Item C254150

Accession Number: ARTV00079

Norman Lindsay, Commonwealth Government of Australia, W.E. Smith Ltd, Will you fight now or wait for this? , 1918, chromolithograph on paper, 98.3 x 74.6 cm

a. How is the enemy depicted, and what message is being presented?

b. How does the artist use text and images to convey this message?

c. What mood is being created?

d. What design elements (colour, typography, shape, space, and scale) have contributed to the mood of this poster?

e. Do you think the artist has been successful in getting their messages across? Why or why not?

f. How do you think these posters might have made Australians with German heritage feel?

3. Below are German propaganda posters that also focus on the notion of the enemy.

Collection Item C2075583

Accession Number: ARTV10343

Claus Berthold, Das Duetsche Scharfe Schwert [The German sharp sword], 1917, lithograph on paper, 90.8 x 58 cm

Collection Item C2075587

Accession Number: ARTV10346

Leopold von Kalckreuth, Hurrah, Alle Neune [Hurrah, all nine!], 1918, lithograph printed in colour, 75.4 x 57 cm

Collection Item C100554

Accession Number: ARTV05099

Egon Tschirch Was England Will! [What England will do!...], 1918, lithograph printed in colour, 93 x 67cm

a. Translate the text on these posters using Google Translate . You can also find out more about the posters by searching with the image number (such as ARTV10346) at www.awm.gov.au

b. Compare and contrast these three German posters, to the three Australian posters that also focus on the enemy. Identify similarities and differences relating to message, tone, and the representation of the opposing side. Which posters do you think have the greatest impact? Why?

4. Design your own First World War propaganda poster. You might like to consider:

a. Will you use an Australian, British, German, French or other perspective?

b. What are you trying to get the viewer to think or feel?

c. Will your message be positive or negative?

d. What colours, font, size, and style will you use to get your message across?

For more images and activities relating to propaganda posters from the First and Second World Wars, view the Hearts and Minds education kit.

Last updated: 19 January 2021

History Collection - Covering History's Untold Stories

  • Warfare History

6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

When it came to the first great war of the 20th century, people were scared and many did not want to get involved. In the United States ,people did not know why they should get involved with a war that was on the other side of the world. Even in Germany it was hard to rally people to join the war effort and fight. But that was where propaganda came in. World War I produced such stunning propaganda posters that they continue to hang in homes and art museums to this day. They also helped rally people to fight for their countries.

6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

The Hun and the Home

When it became clear to the British government that war was happening, propaganda was one of the first orders of business. A war always needed men on the front and women at home to support the war effort in any way possible. To do this, Wellington House was established in 1914 and was responsible for propaganda about German activities until 1915. There was a lack of coordination between the various departments responsible for propaganda, so the Foreign Office was created in 1916.

In 1917 propaganda was still not as strong as it needed to be so Lloyd George created the Department of State to handle propaganda. Problems still existed and so finally the Ministry of Information was created in 1918 and handled propaganda until a few weeks after the war. Once the Ministry of Information was dissolved, anything left of the propaganda department went back to the Foreign Office.

This poster was printed in 1914 and it served the same purpose as many American propaganda posters would. The war in Belgium seemed far away for the people of Britain. Therefore, initial propaganda focused on British loyalty to Belgium and the suffering of her people. This poster refers to the Germans as Huns, and acknowledges the difference between the current lives of the people in Britain and the people in Belgium.

The poster shows that British women and children are safe and their homes intact. It contrasts it with a Belgium where women are murdered or worse, children are dead or slaves. The poster gives the sense that Belgium tried to remain neutral and is now suffering. Britain was the guarantor of that neutrality and it now becomes the duty of Britain to rise up and protect themselves and their Belgian brothers.

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6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

Will You Fight Now Or Wait for This?

Australia was in somewhat of a unique position during World War I. They were involved in the war and they needed manpower, but despite two attempts to introduce conscription in 1916 and 1917, participation in the Australian armed forced remained voluntary throughout all of World War I. Conscription in one form did exist beginning in 1911, but a conscripted force could not be used for a foreign war. So not only did the Australian government have to convince men to sign up for a war that was across the ocean but they also could not compel men to fight when they ran low on manpower.

Propaganda in Australia was two-fold, convincing men to volunteer for the war and to stifle any opposition to the war. Compared to the British propaganda operation, the Australian propaganda machine was a decentralized mess. For a period, propaganda was regulated at the state level. As time went on and it became apparent conscription was never going to happen, the propaganda took on a much more deliberate and persuasive tone.

This poster was made in 1918 and shows the desperation of the Australian government for manpower. The poster depicts a man surrounded by Germans. An elderly man has been shot, a woman is pleading for mercy, and in the background a woman is half undressed and being restrained by German soldiers. It depicts a worst-case scenario and one that was deemed highly unlikely.

There was little chance that the German army would make a move on Australia when they had much bigger fish to fry throughout Europe and even the United States. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and the propaganda officials in Australia were willing to put the fear of German invasion into the minds of its populace in order to get men to fight in its armies.

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6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

Arch-Enemy Kaiser Wilhelm II

Russia was known for being slow to mobilize. In fact, Germany planned on it. For Russia, the drawback to having a massive army was the fact that it took so long to get the army organized and to the front lines. The good thing was that with a massive population there was never a need for conscription, and the army was supplied with men mainly through volunteers. Even with a large army fighting the war, there were still enough men at home to keep things working, at least for a while.

This meant that there was not as big of a need for propaganda in Russia as there was for other countries. Nicolas II did put out some pamphlets and posters that were geared toward getting people to buy war bonds which would fund the war effort. There was propaganda at the time being put out by the Communist Party that was geared toward encouraging people to fight not the Germans, but the Czar and his family. Thus came the Russian revolution of 1917.

Among the few pieces of Russian propaganda that was put out during World War I was this image of Kaiser Wilhelm II being depicted as the arch-enemy of Russia. Kaiser Wilhelm II was the person blamed for the start of the war in Russia. In this image the Kaiser is portrayed with a devil tail, horns, and cloven hooves.

With two skulls in his hands he looks like a figure of absolute evil. The skulls were used as symbols of greed, evil, and brutality. It was posters like this that kept men volunteering for the war even as losses on the front mounted. It was not until after the revolution that Russia finally accepted defeat and signed a surrender with Germany.

6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

This is How it Would Look in German Lands

Propaganda in Germany near the start of the war focused on convincing the public that violating Belgian neutrality was necessary in order to get to France. There was a three-pronged approach to propaganda in Germany. They censored their own press so that no negative reports on the war would reach the public, they presented favorable information and publicity about the war to news reporters and agencies, and finally they worked to prevent the home front from being infiltrated with propaganda from the enemy.

The government would supply press releases to journalists who were not permitted to edit the reports. This meant that there was no diversity of information among newspapers and it caused the public to generally distrust the press. Propaganda in Germany toward the second half of the war took a very different turn as the need for money rose. It started playing on the fear of the people and the need for money and men at the front.

This poster from 1918 focuses on the need to for the Rhineland to remain German. The text says “This is how it would look in German lands if the French reached the Rhine.” The Rhineland made up a border with France and it was important to both sides because of that. The Germans wanted to keep France out of the Rhineland not only to keep the front in French territory, but because the Rhineland was a large industrial sector for the country.

The poster depicts French howitzers firing on German towns with buildings on fire. It was supposed to scare the public into continued support for the war. Nationalism in Germany had people willing to support the war in the beginning but now support for the war was as scarce as food so the propaganda started to shift toward that of fear.

6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

Why Don’t They Come?

Canada during World War I was not given much choice as to whether or not to join the war. Once Britain entered the war, Canada was obligated to because they were still a British dominion, and therefore Canada’s foreign policy decisions were made by British Parliament. The war caused a rift in Canada as British Canadians were much more willing to support the war effort, while French Canadians were less willing to get involved in British affairs. For the first part of the war Canada’s force was voluntary, but people of color and different ethnicities were not allowed to volunteer. They were told “this is a white man’s war.”

Propaganda was therefore focused on shaming or guilting men to sign up and fight the war. There was not a lot of propaganda that focused on fear because few believed that the war would ever reach Canada. Propaganda was also geared toward donations to the Canadian Patriotic Fund which helped support the war effort and the families left behind as their men were fighting.

This propaganda poster worked on a number of levels. It played to the guilt of a man who saw it. How could he sit by and watch hockey while a soldier was in desperate need of help? It also suggested that a man who had not volunteered for the war was not really a man because he wasn’t playing a man’s part. Not only did it speak to the men eligible to fight in the war but for those that were not.

The poster gave the sense that any man who did not volunteer for the war was someone who should be shamed for not being a real man and doing his part. The poster is done in yellow because that color gives a sense of warning or immediacy, men are needed now to volunteer because the poor chap in the photo won’t last very long. Posters like this were also meant to help convince the French Canadians that the war was necessary.

6 WWI Propaganda Posters That Rallied People to Fight

Destroy This Mad Brute

The United States never had a large standing army, and that meant that when war came they had to quickly mobilize and get public support for the war. President Wilson created the Committee on Public Information whose job it was to put forth propaganda towards the war. Wilson chose George Creel to head the organization largely because Creel had a unique approach to propaganda that Wilson agreed with. Creel did not want to censor information, which was contrary to most propaganda initiatives at the time. He would allow the papers to publish what they wanted as long as they did not print enemy propaganda or lies about the war.

Since the United States had not quite reached the age of mass media, Creel focused most of his attention on posters. Some of the posters that were created through his department remain as iconic images to U.S. culture today, such as the Uncle Sam “I Want You” poster. Creel partnered with advertising agencies and put his posters everywhere. They were on subways, bus stops, billboards, barns, and anywhere else an American might walk. Creel also hired 75,000 men to travel and deliver hundreds of patriotic speeches to rally people to the war effort. Creel’s operation was considered one of the most successful to date as his efforts even reached Europe and Germany.

Some of the propaganda took a less patriotic turn and focused on defeating a barbaric enemy. This poster shows a large brutish ape carrying a woman away and leaving destruction behind him. He carries a club that says “Kultur” which was representative of German culture. It also shows the brute making his way across the ocean and stepping onto American shores as a way to instill fear into the hearts of Americans that the German menace could reach them.

This sort of propaganda was effective but it also put numerous German-Americans at risk. They faced persecution for being associated with the Germans, despite their families having lived in the United States for generations.

What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

The victory of communism is inevitable, says this 1969 propaganda poster by Konuhov. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

Larisa Epatko Larisa Epatko

  • Copy URL https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/these-soviet-propaganda-posters-meant-to-evoke-heroism-pride

These Soviet propaganda posters once evoked heroism, pride and anxiety

Propaganda during Soviet times came in poster form. Some messages stirred patriotism in the fight against Adolf Hitler’s invading forces, while others slammed illiteracy and laziness.

They also bashed the greed associated with capitalism:

Soviet propaganda poster depicts capitalism in 1923. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

Soviet propaganda poster depicts capitalism in 1923. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1917, which overturned the tsars and led to the Soviet Union. Posters at the time showed positive images of workers and the promise of a new future.

"Let us bring in a rich harvest of new territory!" says a Soviet propaganda poster by Oleg Mikhailovich Sawostjuk in 1927. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

“Let us bring in a rich harvest of new territory!” says a Soviet propaganda poster by Oleg Mikhailovich Sawostjuk in 1927. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

The posters also shamed the lazy worker:

"We smite the lazy workers," says a 1931 propaganda poster that was found in the collection of the Russian State Library in Moscow. Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

“We smite the lazy workers,” says a 1931 propaganda poster that was found in the collection of the Russian State Library in Moscow. Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

And urged support for the Red Army and socialism:

A Soviet recruitment poster from the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917 says, "You! Have you signed up with the volunteers?" Photo by Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

A Soviet recruitment poster from the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917 says, “You! Have you signed up with the volunteers?” Photo by Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks instituted a literacy campaign:

A propaganda poster from 1920 by A. Radakov says, "The illiterate is like a blind man." Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

A propaganda poster from 1920 by A. Radakov says, “The illiterate is like a blind man.” Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

Another inspirational poster promoted healthy exercise:

Propaganda poster from 1930 by Alexandre Deineka says, "Kolkhosians, let's do some exercise!" Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

Propaganda poster from 1930 by Alexandre Deineka says, “Kolkhosians, let’s do some exercise!” Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

During World War II, as German forces battled to take control of Moscow, posters depicted Soviet forces putting the squeeze on Hitler:

Propaganda poster by Koukrynisky says, "Napoleon was wiped out, Hitler will be wiped out" in 1941 during World War II. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

Propaganda poster by Koukrynisky says, “Napoleon was wiped out, Hitler will be wiped out” in 1941 during World War II. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

"The Motherland Is Calling," says a World War II Soviet military recruitment poster by Irakly Toidze featuring Mother Russia holding out the Red Army Oath of Allegiance in 1941. Photo by Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

“The Motherland Is Calling,” says a World War II Soviet military recruitment poster by Irakly Toidze featuring Mother Russia holding out the Red Army Oath of Allegiance in 1941. Photo by Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

As the Space Race raged between the USSR and United States in the 1950s and 1960s, images showed high-flying patriotism:

The Space Race was a 20th century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

The Space Race was a 20th century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

The Soviet Union was the first to launch a satellite, Sputnik 1, and a human into space, Yuri Gagarin. With Apollo 11, the U.S. landed the first humans on the moon in 1969. Crews from the two countries now work together aboard the International Space Station.

Editor’s Note: The PBS NewsHour is airing a series this week called  Inside Putin’s Russia . Tuesday’s installment describes how propaganda is used in Russia today .

Larisa Epatko produced multimedia web features and broadcast reports with a focus on foreign affairs for the PBS NewsHour. She has reported in places such as Jordan , Pakistan , Iraq , Haiti , Sudan , Western Sahara , Guantanamo Bay , China , Vietnam , South Korea , Turkey , Germany and Ireland .

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World War Propaganda Posters

Introduction.

Propaganda is the art of influence that seeks to manipulate an attitude of a group of people toward a cause or political position. By its nature, it not impartial and is usually biased. It is often selective with the facts or truths it presents, and will often appeal to fears or concerns of the group it is targeting. Over time, propaganda has acquired strongly negative connotations and can seem quite outdated by today’s standards. However, during both World Wars I and II, propaganda posters caught the eye and influenced the populace, with their striking artistic style still rippling through art to this day. We have taken a look at some prominent and interesting examples from both sides.

Uncle Sam (U.S.A)

“I Want You for U.S. Army”

The image of Uncle Sam (often viewed as the personification of the United States) from the World War I recruitment poster has become one of the U.S.A.’s most iconic images. James Montgomery Flagg, a prominent U.S. artist, designed 46 posters for the government, but his most famous was the “I Want You for U.S. Army”. Versions of the poster were then used again for World War II.

By James Montgomery Flagg

propaganda posters for war

During both World Wars, posters were meant to instill people with a positive and patriotic outlook on the conflict. Posters were encouraging not just men to join the army, but every citizen of the United States to contribute to the war effort and do their part, whether at home or abroad. As we can see in the above example, red, white and blue are the colors which dominate the poster.

Treat ‘em Rough (U.S.A)

“Treat ‘em Rough” 1917

This poster, by artist August William Hutaf was created for the United States Tank Corps.

By Hutaf, August William

propaganda posters for war

This Is How It Would Look in German Lands (Germany)

“So Säh es aus in Deutschen Landen” 1918

A contrast from the usual stark colors that are in a number of propaganda posters, the artist, Egon Tschirch, worked as a freelance painter in Rostock. His trips around southern France, Africa and Tunisia brought vivid color and luminosity to his work. Tschirch was also a soldier in World War I.

By Egon Tschirch

propaganda posters for war

The colors in the poster stuck with red and black, which were used in a great deal of Germany’s propaganda work, as well as the gothic script. In the poster we can see two French howitzers that are firing on a city on the banks of the Rhine, where great plumes of smoke rise from the industrial areas.

Lord Kitchener (Britain)

“Your Country Needs You” 1914

Perhaps one of the most famous recruitment posters of World War I showing Lord Kitchener. The poster depicts Lord Kitchener, who was the British Secretary of State for War, wearing the cap of a British Field Marshal and calling on the viewer to join the British Army to fight against the Central Powers. The poster would go on to influence the United States and the Soviet Union.

By Alfred Leete

propaganda posters for war

Before the institution of conscription in 1916, the United Kingdom has relied on upon volunteers for the army. However, with the outbreak of World War I, recruiting posters had not really been used since the Napoleonic War. The fact that Kitchener was an actively serving military officer leant credibility to the poster. Le Bas of Caxton Advertising chose Kitchener for the advertisement, saying Kitchener was “the only soldier with a great war name, won in the field, within the memory of the thousands of men the country wanted.”

Motherland (Soviet)

“Motherland Calls” 1941

This was, perhaps, the first and most famous Soviet poster of World War II. The image itself depicts “Mother Russia” in red, the color most strongly linked to Soviet Russia. In her hand she is holding a piece of paper which on it is the Red Army oath.

By Irakli Toidze

propaganda posters for war

The poster was created in July 1941 by Irakli Toidze, a famous socialist realism artist, during the first days of the Great Patriotic War. Over time, it has become one of the most reconcilable pieces of Soviet art, and stands as a symbol of Russian liberation. The Motherland Calls also influenced Russia’s largest statue, also dubbed “The Motherland Calls” (The Mamayev Monument), which stands in Volgograd (former Stalingrad).

Manchukuo (Japanese)

“With the cooperation of Japan, China, and Manchukuo the world can be in peace” 1935

Japanese propaganda tended to rely on pre-war elements of statism in Shōwa Japan. Later, new forms of propaganda were introduced during World War II to persuade occupied countries of the benefits of Japanese rule. These attempted to undermine American troops’ morale, counteract claims of Japanese atrocities, and make it appear as though the Japanese were victorious.

By Manchukuo State Council of Emperor Kang-de Puyi

propaganda posters for war

The poster above is of “Manchuko”; its purpose is to promote harmony between Japanese, Chinese, and Manchu peoples. Its caption reads: “With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace.” The flags shown are, left to right: the flag of Manchukuo; the flag of Japan; the “Five Races Under One Union” flag.

The More We Fight, the Stronger We Are (China)

“The More We Fight the Stronger We Are. The More Enemies [we] Fight the Weaker They Get” 1940

Earlier Chinese propaganda posters are largely associated with the image of Mao Zedong, as well as the rising sun over a sea of red flags. Even before this, during the long march (1934–1935), graphic sheets were produced and distributed to the local people to support and propagate the Communist ideology. They were originally simply designed in black and white, being distributed between the local populace.

Credit: Shihlun

propaganda posters for war

The above poster uses red once again, and served to garner support for the Chinese to overthrow the Japanese troops that had occupied their land. After the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, propaganda posters became even more popular method for spreading the message about the Communist party.

Drive Them Out (Italy)

“Cacciali via!”

The Fascist regime used propaganda heavily to influence its citizens. This included pageantry and rhetoric, its purpose being to inspire the nation to unite and obey. In the beginning, propaganda was under the control of the press office, until a Ministry of Popular Culture was created in 1937. Two years before, a special propaganda ministry was created, whose purpose it was to espouse fascism, refute enemy lies, and clear up ambiguity.

By Ugo Finozzi

propaganda posters for war

Posters were a powerful propaganda tool, and many were designed by some of Italy’s leading graphic artists. The above poster shows a mother clinging to her child as a soldier, holding a dagger, rushes forward toward flames with the text “Drive them out!”. It was created by Ugo Finozzi.

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How Russia Depicts Wounded Soldiers: As Heroes, or Not at All

Troops with amputated limbs or serious injuries return home to find a patchwork system of treatment and, often, efforts to keep them out of the public eye.

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A group of medical and military personnel sit on chairs in a pink room.

By Neil MacFarquhar and Milana Mazaeva

A shell slammed into the ground just feet from where the Russian soldier was deployed, and the explosion tossed him into the air.

“I felt my arm fall off, then a blow to my leg, everything slowed down, just a frozen picture in my eyes — no sounds, no other sensations,” said the soldier, Andrei, a 29-year-old former convict recruited into the Wagner private military company.

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Drifting in and out of consciousness, he was convinced that death loomed, he said in an interview, requesting that only his first name be used because of a fear of retribution by the Russian authorities. As shells exploded on all sides in the fighting near the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut , fellow soldiers dragged him to an evacuation point. He eventually spent more than a year in hospitals, with the remnants of his left arm amputated and one leg still at risk.

Cases like Andrei’s do not receive much publicity in Russia, where — as in Ukraine — the total number of war wounded is not disclosed. But, according to American and Ukrainian officials and numerous military analysts, the number is staggering, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands. And one senior Russian official estimated that amputees represented more than half of the seriously wounded.

Because reporters and aid groups have little or no access to hospitals or rehabilitation centers in Russia, information is scarce, often limited to community news reports and Telegram channels.

The Kremlin, military analysts and some medical personnel say, wants to avoid a repeat of the antiwar movements that forced a halt to earlier wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

“The Russian state has learned by experience that if it wants to maintain domestic stability, it should suppress that kind of debate,” said Nick Reynolds, a research fellow for land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute, a London-based military think tank.

Military analysts say the high number of wounded also reflects the striking indifference that Russia exhibits toward its soldiers as it sacrifices huge numbers to make small gains across the 600-mile front in Ukraine.

“The Russian leadership on every level does not care much about soldiers,” said Pavel Luzin, a Russia military expert with the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington-based research group.

Wounded veterans are not ignored entirely. They are occasionally featured on state television in the service of war propaganda — invariably presenting an upbeat account of how they are readily adapting to life with their injuries, including missing limbs.

On rare occasions, President Vladimir V. Putin visits the wounded in hospitals, pinning medals on their crisp, cobalt blue military pajamas. He sometimes acknowledges problems in the system, and he unfailingly promises solutions.

“As for prosthetics, there is still a lot to be done,” Mr. Putin said last month while talking to veterans . He had recently learned, he added, that former soldiers issued with prosthetics received reduced government payments, which he called “unacceptable.”

After the war’s first month, the Russian defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, announced 3,825 wounded, a figure Russia has never updated. So estimates of the wounded from both sides are extrapolated from the number of dead, which already involves significant guesswork.

William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, wrote in an article published in Foreign Affairs last month that Russian dead and wounded soldiers numbered 315,000.

Numerous doctors, veterans or relatives, when contacted, declined to speak about the wounded, lest they breach Russia’s laws against revealing confidential information or denigrating the military, not to mention jeopardizing their jobs or benefits. Some who spoke declined to use their full names.

Multiple interviews indicated that the main aim in treating the wounded was to redeploy them to the battlefront quickly. There is a paucity of medical discharges, analysts and medical personnel said, underscoring the desperate need for soldiers, with the Ministry of Defense preferring to recycle the wounded rather than implementing another unpopular mobilization.

Dmitri, 35, was mobilized in September 2022. He said that his first horrific taste of the war came two months later, when a drone dropped a grenade on a nearby dugout holding 10 men. “There were arms ripped off, a helmet with brains on it, and one guy’s leg was torn off, although not completely torn off yet,” he recalled in an interview. “I was not ready for that. Nobody was.”

Last summer, Dmitri suffered shrapnel wounds from a drone strike that sent him to a hospital just inside Russia, he said. He counted about 400 patients in his ward, and 150 seriously wounded lying in another. With roughly 80 patients each, the doctors initially spent less than five minutes per soldier, he said: “It was a conveyor belt.”

Since Dmitri’s injuries were relatively light, nobody examined him for two days, then a doctor ran a magnet over his wounds. When it did not react, he received a splash of disinfectant and a few bandages before being discharged and told to report back to the front six days later.

“I was in shock” at the instructions, said Dmitri, who fled Russia with the help of the Georgia-based organization Go by the Forest .

Many of the accounts from doctors and the wounded suggest that Russia lacks essentials for treatment — everything from sufficient evacuation vehicles to hospital beds to drugs. The military runs a network of about 150 medical facilities nationwide, including a sophisticated medical academy in St. Petersburg and several specialized hospitals in Moscow.

The Russian Ministry of Defense did not respond to a request for comment.

Some veterans lauded what they called their fast, thorough care, but it could seem like winning the lottery. Artem Katulin, head of a training program for combat medicine, told the official RIA Novosti news agency last year that over half the war deaths were from injuries that were not life-threatening and that improperly tied tourniquets accounted for one-third of amputations.

Maxim Lukashevsky, a surgeon who volunteered at a hospital near the front and is now back working in Moscow, said in an interview that on a busy day he might treat around 45 wounded men in five hours, including up to five amputations.

A young Russian named Regina has published a diary on social media documenting the highs and lows of caring for her husband, Denis, hospitalized in St. Petersburg for more than a year with a chunk of his brain missing.

She has relied on crowd funding for everything from adult diapers to a high-tech wheelchair. While praising the dedication of the medical staff, she denounced the lack of individually tailored rehabilitation programs.

“I feel like I’m putting my loved one together like a puzzle,” she wrote. In another post, she noted, “I was so angry about how terrible everything was in terms of prescriptions for individual rehabilitation; I was just shaking with resentment.”

About 54 percent of wounded veterans classified as disabled have suffered amputations, Aleksei Vovchenko, the Russian deputy minister of labor and social protection, testified to a government committee in October, without giving an overall figure.

A traumatologist working in Siberia said that many permanently disabled young veterans had damaged organs or shattered joints. Although Russia builds prosthetic limbs, joint replacements are elusive because they were largely imported before the war, he and others said.

The traumatologist and others noted a distinct lack of public compassion for the grievously wounded. Amputees have begun to appear on the streets, begging for money, he said, and there are few facilities like wheelchair ramps.

Even Anton Filimonov, Russia’s poster boy for the upbeat amputee — he lost a leg by stepping on a land mine — said at a public forum in St. Petersburg last year that Russians were “not ready” to see amputees.

The stream of wounded will likely continue, military experts said. The losses have not prompted the armed forces “to change their fighting in this very attritional, infantry-led, frontal assault style,” said Karolina Hird, a Russia analyst with the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

Andrei, the Wagner recruit, was a construction worker from near Rostov who had served about three years of an eight-year sentence for severely wounding someone in a bar brawl. He trained for two weeks before being thrust onto the front lines, and was soon seriously injured.

With all the nerves and veins in his left arm destroyed, it was amputated. The doctors recommended that his heavily damaged left knee be replaced, but he was discharged last month in a wheelchair. He still endorses the war.

Originally left-handed, Andrei had to learn to depend on his right. Although a microprocessor moves the fingers on his prosthetic arm, it has a simple mechanical elbow, so he can hold a glass but cannot lift one to his lips.

“It is not a comfortable thing, to be honest,” he said.

Audio produced by Patricia Sulbarán .

Alina Lobzina , Oleg Matsnev and Helene Cooper contributed reporting.

Neil MacFarquhar has been a Times reporter since 1995, writing about a range of topics from war to politics to the arts, both internationally and in the United States. More about Neil MacFarquhar

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

News and Analysis

As the war in Ukraine enters its third year , leaders in Kyiv are trying to find a new path forward  amid ferocious Russian assaults, while facing a series of daunting unknowns and hard choices .

Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, traveled to Ukraine  for a visit that aimed to show American solidarity with a democratic ally under attack and to increase the pressure on Republicans to quit opposing additional U.S. aid.

Russian forces launched multiple attacks around the southern Ukrainian village of Robotyne , targeting land hard-won by Ukraine in a rare success of its counteroffensive in 2023.

A Long Fight: On the second anniversary  of Russia’s invasion, many Ukrainian citizens are taking a longer view of the war , pinpointing the Maidan uprising of 2014 as the start of a 10-year conflict with their adversary.

Sending a Message: Two years since the start of the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has fully embraced the image of an unpredictable strongman  ready to escalate his conflict with the West.

Wounded Soldiers: The number of Russian troops with amputated limbs or serious injuries is believed to be staggering . When these veterans return home, they face a patchwork system of treatment and, often, efforts to keep them out of the public eye .

Creative Use of Weapons: Ukraine’s use of a Patriot missile to take down a plane in January is an example of how novel battlefield tactics can be fraught with peril as well as promise .

How We Verify Our Reporting

Our team of visual journalists analyzes satellite images, photographs , videos and radio transmissions  to independently confirm troop movements and other details.

We monitor and authenticate reports on social media, corroborating these with eyewitness accounts and interviews. Read more about our reporting efforts .

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Vladimir Putin

‘Some buy the propaganda. Many have changed their minds’: life in Russia after the invasion

The day-to-day within Putin’s regime has altered dramatically – some have profited, but dissenters remain

From the comfort of their VIP lounges, global leaders watched on as the decorated former figure skating star Irina Rodnina ignited the Olympic flame to kick off the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

The opening torch ceremony, steeped in the competition’s language of “peace and tolerance,” was meant to be the culmination of Russia’s ­resurrection as Vladimir Putin turned to soft power to impress the world.

Ten years later, Rodnina was again entrusted with inaugurating a winter sporting event. This time, she fired the ­starting gun as hundreds of Russian ­skiers, banned from competing in the west, formed a giant pro-war letter “Z” at the start of an annual cross-country race on the outskirts of Moscow.

The stark contrast reflected a ­decade in which Putin annexed the Crimean peninsula and eight years later unleashed the biggest conflict Europe has witnessed since the end of the second world war.

He has opened a second front at home, kindling nationalist fervour with a mix of nostalgia for Russia’s imperial and Soviet past.

Presenting himself as the sole guarantor of Russian sovereignty and traditional values, Putin has firmly positioned himself against the west, which he brands “satanic”.

The news of Alexei Navalny’s death in jail on Friday dealt a ­devastating blow to the country’s already suppressed opposition. Putin’s control over domestic politics now appears total. Navalny’s death was also a reminder that Putin is waging a war on two fronts – abroad against Ukrainian citizens and at home against those who dare to think differently.

An older woman in a knitted hat and winter jacket holding a single rose and holding a piece of paper taped with a newspaper article about Alexei Navalny and words in Russian meaning “Not dead but killed”

As the second anniversary of the invasion approaches, Russians find most aspects of their lives reshaped at an unprecedented pace by their president.

Children read freshly printed ­history books that defend Russia’s ­invasion of Ukraine and they learn how to handle ­military drones . War ­veterans, often former convicts from the ­notorious paramilitary Wagner group, visit schools to preach “patriotic values” .

Theatres and museums, once at the centre of a bubbling independent cultural scene, have seen their critical shows curtailed, with artists and directors jailed or in exile. Some museums now put on exhibitions featuring the personal belongings of Ukrainian ­soldiers killed on the battlefield.

Under the guidance of a ­militaristic orthodox church, the Kremlin has virtually outlawed being gay, sentencing its citizens for wearing frog-shaped earrings ­displaying an image of a rainbow or posting pictures of the LGBTQ+ flag.

In one of the most visible ­demonstrations of Russia’s embrace of conservative values, ­authorities in December cracked down on a raunchy celebrity-studded party in Moscow, signalling the shrinking of political freedoms even for the well-connected. One of Russia’s most prominent pop ­singers, Philipp Kirkorov, has since embarked on a tearful apology tour , performing for soldiers in occupied Ukraine.

Observers say that state ­pressure has created an atmosphere of fear and denunciation – with neighbours, friends and even family members reporting on each other, often ­anonymously – reminiscent of the darkest repressions under Joseph Stalin.

One recent poll showed that up to 30% of Russians were scared to voice their opinions about the war, even to friends and family.

“We have seen a clear nationalistic and patriotic consolidation around the war,” said Denis Volkov of the independent polling agency Levada Centre, pointing to surveys that show consistently high levels of support for the invasion among Russians.

Two soldiers in uniform lying on top of beds perpendicular to each other, one with his hand on his chest and looking at the camera, with a child’s drawing of a bird on the wall

Putin has also mobilised the ­political and business elites, many of whom were reeling in the early days of the invasion when their Riviera estates and bank accounts were frozen by the west. While Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted summer rebellion ­temporarily weakened Putin’s standing at home, the plane crash that killed the Wagner leader two months later swiftly restored his reputation as Russia’s ruthless and unchallengeable leader.

“We stopped fantasising about a post-Putin future. He is our reality, and we need to live in it,” said one major businessman in Moscow.

But it is not only the stick which binds Russia’s elite around Putin. The president has delivered on his early promise to the rich and powerful: stay with me and get wealthy.

The Kremlin has turned the ­departure of hundreds of western ­companies into a windfall for Russia’s loyal elite , who have eagerly taken over the prized assets in a historic transfer of wealth comparable to the one seen in the early days after the fall of the Soviet Union.

A new cohort of Russian businessmen has emerged to fill the void left by international chains, among them Timati, a pro-Putin rapper who snapped up and rebranded ­hundreds of Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza stores across the country.

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The resilience of the Russian economy has enabled Putin to maintain the war in Ukraine while simultaneously offering his citizens a robust choice of consumer goods. “ Parallel imports ” through Turkey and Kazakhstan have ensured that Muscovites can get their hands on the latest technological gadgets , like Apple Vision Pro headsets.

Going into the March presidential election that is set to hand him six more years, Putin faces no ­serious challenger.

His victory will be framed as a public endorsement of the invasion, according to Marat Gelman , a former adviser to the president. Despite telling subordinates in 2004 anyone “could go crazy” after seven years in charge, Putin’s tenure could surpass even Stalin’s, who ruled the Soviet Union for 29 years.

Still, not everyone is ­convinced. A small but persistent group of women gather every weekend outside the Kremlin to demand that their husbands, who were conscripted to fight in Ukraine, be allowed to return home.

“Some still buy into the state propaganda. But many are changing their opinion about the special military operation,” said the movement’s unofficial leader, Maria Andreeva.

The grassroots movement has been gaining momentum in Russia in the past few months and puts a dent in the image portrayed by Putin of a ­society united behind the war effort.

And when the Kremlin flirted with the idea of allowing Boris Nadezhdin , the little-known anti-war candidate, to run in the March presidential elections, thousands of Russians gathered in long lines to give their signatures in support of the long-shot politician.

“A significant number of ­people don’t like what is going on and oppose the war. They are just ­waiting for a chance to demonstrate their frustration,” said Greg Yudin, ­professor of political philosophy at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, pointing to the unexpected show of support for Nadezhdin, who has since been barred from running.

Yudin, like other experts, believes that the “silent majority” of Russians longs for a return to prewar normality and has instead embraced a form of escapism, largely ignoring the developments on the battlefield.

“Loud pro-war voices appear to be dominant in society, but in reality they are a minority,” Yudin said.

Recent polling has suggested that some in the country are growing tired of the war.

When quizzed by the Levada Centre on what Russians would like to ask Putin, the most ­popular ­question was: “When will the ­invasion of Ukraine end?”

But with the Kremlin exerting complete dominance over the nation’s media and education, and its security services progressively infringing on people’s private lives – all manifestations of a totalitarian regime – the lasting consequences of the war are yet to be seen.

“Russians are constantly being told how to think, and that of course has an impact. The propaganda is powerful,” said Yudin. “But it is too early to say just how much of the mind is poisoned.”

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s tentacles of terror are stretching into homes across the US as his war in Ukraine marks its two year anniversary Saturday.

Russian-born Americans who oppose the war in Ukraine say that they are too afraid to make their opinions known publicly — or even in confidence to family members back home.

“I live in fear of putting my family in danger in Russia,” said a Russian emigré engineer, who does not support Putin’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

“I don’t post anything on social media. I keep quiet about my views not to harm them. When we talk, it’s ‘hi, how are you?’ and that’s it. You never know who is listening in.”

This week Russian Americans were given new reason to fear Putin’s brutality: the revelation that ballerina Ksenia Karelina, was being held for “treason” and facing life in a gulag.

The 32-year-old was arrested when she flew from her home in Los Angeles to her native Yekaterinburg to see her elderly grandmother and newly-divorced parents for Russian New Year.

Putin’s Federal Security Service (FSB) agents — successors to the Soviet KGB — alleged that her “treason” was making a $51.80 donation to Razom for Ukraine, a New York-based charity that helps Ukraine. How it found “evidence” of the donation remains unknown.

Ksenia Karelina with hat over her eyes in Russian custody

The Post has learned that Karelina decided to go public with her anti-war message while in Yekaterinburg, her hometown.

Her detention, which the State Department acknowledged it was effectively powerless to do anything about — Russia does not recognize Karelina and other dual citizens’ status as Americans — sent a new chill through the emigré community.

“We are mortified, horrified and appalled,” said Lydia Kokolskyj, vice president of development for Razom for Ukraine. “Putin has instilled a mindset of terror in Russians inside and outside Russia.”

Kokolskyj said the non-profit does not disclose its donors and its information on donations is protected by strict “security protocols and many firewalls.”

Ksenia Karelina and family in Russia

Many Russian Americans were simply too scared to speak to The Post, even under conditions of anonymity, citing fears of backlash from the Putin regime for their family members in Russia.

Just generating a phone record would have been a risk.

“It’s very difficult,” said a Russian-born financial analyst who has lived in the US for more than 20 years and did not want to be identified.

“The majority of us, we don’t support Putin’s response.”

The analyst has posted anti-war messages on social media in the past, but said, “I am afraid my family will also be a target. Even here in America.”

When the analyst tries to speak to a sister in Russia about the war, “she just goes ballistic on me,” said the analyst. “They are brainwashed into thinking that Ukraine is a country full of Nazis and that Putin is liberating Ukraine from fascism.”

Pro-Putin supporter hands out flyers in Red Square, Moscow

Putin’s brutal tactics against his own people have escalated dramatically since his botched invasion of Ukraine in 2022, with his security forces now known to have detained 19,850 anti-war activists, often using the Kremlin’s 51 new repressive laws in, according to OVD-Info , a Russia-based human rights group.

That was before the sudden death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on February 16 at the hellhole Arctic Circle prison camp where he was held — a death President Biden and other world leaders said was Putin’s doing.

In the course of the last few days, security forces detained more than 400 mourners who held vigils for the lawyer and Putin critic in 39 cities across the country. Navalny’s brother Oleg has also been on a wanted list for unspecified charges since 2022.

One of Navalny’s associates, Anatoly Berezikov, a 40-year-old DJ and anti-war activist, died in detention at a prison in Rostov-on-Don after he was arrested for disobeying police last year.

Alexei Navalny behind bars

Authorities said he committed suicide , but when his attorney and a human rights worker said he had likely been tortured to death by prison guards, they were forced to flee the country after authorities searched the attorney’s home, according to reports.

The fear of persecution is felt doubly in America by Russians: there is both concern for their relatives and personal fear at Putin’s agents’ reach far beyond their borders.

“Anyone protesting the war anywhere in the world should also be worried about the long arm of Vladimir Putin. They just killed a guy in Spain,” said Inna de Silva, a Ukrainian-born public relations professional who lives in New Jersey.

That victim was Maksim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine last year with his military helicopter but whose body was found in a parking garage in Villajoyosa near Alicante, in southern Spain; he had been shot six times and run over .

Members of Spanish Civil Guard investigate remains of Maxim Kuzminov in Villajoyosa, Spain

The head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, Sergei Naryshkin, openly gloated to state media TASS , “This traitor and criminal became a moral corpse at the very moment he planned his dirty and terrible crime.”

In Miami, Russian security forces tried to assassinate a double agent in 2020.

Kremlin officials pressured a Mexican scientist to track down and kill former Russian spy Aleksandr Poteyev, who worked for the CIA and betrayed a ring of 10 fellow operatives, including the notorious Anna Chapman, when he defected to the US.

Two years ago, the Kremlin added Moscow-born writer and Putin critic Masha Gessen, who lives in New York City, onto a wanted list of the country’s interior ministry for spreading “false information” about human rights abuses committed by Russian soldiers in the Ukrainian city of Bucha at the beginning of the war in 2022.

Russian wanted poster in Cyrillic for New York-based writer Masha Gessen

And there have been suspicious deaths in the US: a Putin critic, businessman Dan Rapoport, fell to his death from the window of his Washington, DC, apartment in 2022, with thousands of dollars of cash in his pocket; and Mikhail Lesin, who set up Putin’s RT propaganda channel died from blunt force trauma to the head in a D.C. hotel room a day before he was due to speak to Department of Justice investigators.

“Everyone who opposes the Kremlin risks ending up in this inhumane system,” wrote Dan Storyev, who works with OVD-Info, in the Moscow Times this week, an independent newspaper now published from outside Russia.

“Even those outside of Russia aren’t safe now that the Kremlin is ramping up transnational repression.”

The most high-profile move against an American in Russia was the arrest last March, also in Yekaterinburg, of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on trumped-up charges of spying.

propaganda posters for war

A court last week ruled that he will stay behind bars until at least March 30, a move slammed by the US ambassador to Moscow as the latest in a “baseless” case designed to trample on journalism.

Putin has insisted Gershkovich was “caught red-handed when he was secretly getting classified information” and hinted that Moscow would trade him for the release of Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany for murder ordered by the Kremlin.

Rebekah Koffler, a strategic military intelligence expert and author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” said fear of the Kremlin has long been ingrained in Russians abroad.

Now, she said, no one should return to Russia, telling The Post, “That’s like really asking for it.

“They [the Putin regime] will find any kind of excuse to arrest you. They are collecting US citizens to eventually exchange for what they want.”

Russian anti-war activist Anatoly Berezikov

Despite the danger, native born Russians are still looking for ways to get into the country through countries such as Turkey — ballerina Karelina’s route — and Serbia that continue to have diplomatic relations with Russia, said the analyst. They post about it on social media.

“There is no logic or common sense, and people here just keep quiet not to bring attention to their relatives in Russia,” the analyst said.

“A friend of mine who just returned from Russia after a two month visit with her elderly mother, said the last time she spoke to her mother, she told her: ‘If I die, do not show up here for the funeral.'”

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IMAGES

  1. World War I Propaganda by James Montgomery Flagg (1917-1918). Fine+

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  2. World War II Propaganda Poster (United States Navy WPA, 1941).

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  3. World War One propaganda: A look at wartime ads from 1914-1918

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  4. World War 1 Propaganda Posters Used By The U.S. Government

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  5. World War II Propaganda Posters: Rare Posters From New Book

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  6. Digitally restored vector war propaganda poster. His life is in your

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COMMENTS

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    During the Second World War, propaganda posters in the United States were commonly seen on a walk or commute to work, a trip to the store, in a newspaper or magazine, and any other time one went around town. Posters were not the only form of propaganda used by the U.S government.

  4. The Posters That Sold World War I to the American Public

    There were certainly propaganda posters before 1917, but the organization and mass distribution of World War I posters distinguished them from previous printings, Mihaly said. Despite the...

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  7. About this Collection

    Available online are approximately 1,900 posters created between 1914 and 1920. Most relate directly to the war, but some German posters date from the post-war period and illustrate events such as the rise of Bolshevism and Communism, the 1919 General Assembly election and various plebiscites.

  8. War Posters

    A prime example of a war poster using women to seduce men to enlist is the U.S. Navy's "I Want You" poster, created by Howard Chandler Christy. An attractive young woman dressed in nautical garb angles her body toward the viewer, giving a sultry gaze as her hair wisps away.

  9. Powers of Persuasion

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  10. PROPAGANDA POSTERS AT A GLANCE:

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  11. War Posters

    The use of posters as propaganda took off during World War I, and some of the most iconic images from this era are still in use today. For example, the image of Uncle Sam pointing at viewers and saying, "I WANT YOU," created by James Montgomery Flagg, dates from 1916 and was subsequently used throughout the rest of World War I, repurposed for World War II, and is still identifiable to many ...

  12. First Call: American Posters of World War One from the Collection of

    Introduction The enormous output of posters in the United States during and just after the First World War belies this country's late entry into that conflict. Spurred by the example of the various European combatants, the creation and production of appropriate "pictorial publicity" quickly achieved a very high level of artistic involvement and industrial application.

  13. Take a Closer Look at War Bond Propaganda:

    The U.S. government produced posters, pamphlets, newsreels, radio shows, and movies-all designed to create a public that was 100% behind the war effort. In 1942 the Office of War Information (OWI) was created to both craft and disseminate the government's message. This propaganda campaign included specific goals and strategies.

  14. 12 American Propaganda Posters That Sold World War I to the Masses

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    The Growth of Propaganda. Propaganda was being used long before the outbreak of World War One, but the use of posters, rather than handbills, was pioneered during the war. Almost from the outset, the British government, through the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, set about producing posters to swell the ranks of Britain's small professional ...

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  18. Second World War Posters: KS2 & KS3 Resource

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    This poster was printed in 1914 and it served the same purpose as many American propaganda posters would. The war in Belgium seemed far away for the people of Britain. Therefore, initial propaganda focused on British loyalty to Belgium and the suffering of her people. This poster refers to the Germans as Huns, and acknowledges the difference ...

  21. These Soviet propaganda posters once evoked heroism, pride and ...

    Propaganda poster by Koukrynisky says, "Napoleon was wiped out, Hitler will be wiped out" in 1941 during World War II. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

  22. WW1 Recruitment Posters

    First World War Recruitment Posters: WW1 KS2 and KS3 Resource. Discover more about First World War Recruitment Posters. ... Mail, such like The Daily Express, were used to communicating with a mass audience basically. So, whereas the British propaganda effort, it's begun the war whereby employing civil servants, politicians. They eventually ...

  23. World War Propaganda Posters

    Posters were a powerful propaganda tool, and many were designed by some of Italy's leading graphic artists. The above poster shows a mother clinging to her child as a soldier, holding a dagger, rushes forward toward flames with the text "Drive them out!". It was created by Ugo Finozzi. World War Propaganda Posters.

  24. How Russia Depicts Wounded Soldiers: As Heroes, or Not at All

    They are occasionally featured on state television in the service of war propaganda — invariably presenting an upbeat account of how they are readily adapting to life with their injuries ...

  25. Opinion: I grew up in Russia and Ukraine. Here's what I say ...

    While for most of the world the war in Ukraine has been going on for two years, for my family it's been 10. ... They were all designed in the exact style of Soviet propaganda posters and used ...

  26. 'Some buy the propaganda. Many have changed their minds': life in

    "Some still buy into the state propaganda. But many are changing their opinion about the special military operation," said the movement's unofficial leader, Maria Andreeva.

  27. It's chilling how quickly the October 7 massacre is being forgotten

    The sight of anti-Israel propaganda, especially stickers and posters about "Israeli apartheid" and various spins on this slander, is utterly commonplace - and has only become more so since ...

  28. Russians in America fear of Putin after ballerina's arrest

    The Russian ministry of the interior placed New York-based writer Masha Gessen on a wanted poster for "spreading false information" about the war in Ukraine after they wrote about Russian human ...