Photograph of an American World War II propaganda poster, called "In the Face of Obstacles - Courage", by Jes Wilhelm Schlaikjer / U.S. War Department. Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Our street corners must not be next!
Millions of photographs document the events of World War II. From President Roosevelt signing the Declaration of War against Japan to General MacArthur making good his promise, "I shall return," national archives and personal scrapbooks are filled with the pictorial record.
Much less known, however, are the posters that dominated American life during the war. Created to encourage, motivate and caution U.S. military and civilians, many of the posters also send strong messages. Some historians have suggested they were America’s version of propaganda.
From the Statue of Liberty in chains (with the subtitle "Never!") to a suggestion that "foxy foreign ideas brought poverty, suffering and defeat to Europe," posters reminded Americans what the fight was about while they chided members of the military to maintain silence about U.S. plans.
NARA (America’s National Archives and Records Administration) houses a fantastic collection of war posters. Let’s take a virtual trip to view some interesting examples.
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