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

During World War II, propaganda posters in the United States were usually moved around town for a walk or work, a trip to the store, in a newspaper or magazine, and at any other time.

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

However, posters were more common than other methods of promotion. They were built on a large scale and spread over a large area, whereas a movie could only be seen by theatre-goers.

Another advantage was that a person's exposure to the poster could be longer than a radio programme. One could only listen to a radio campaign during the purchased time slot, but a poster would be on a wall until elements or people took it down, or a new poster was pasted on it.

During World War II, the Office of War Information (OWI) controlled the release of all American propaganda from the time of its formation until the end of the war.

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

In order to gain greater support from the civilian population, there needs to be a central agency that can control the information that will reach them.

The themes of OWI posters include: buying war bonds; careless talk; Recruitment; increase in production; protection; And other ways it can support the war effort.

Various disciplines with different missions launched by war agencies. If the promotion was to be successful, posters needed to remind people of the campaigns on a daily basis.

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

In the face of acute wartime labor shortages, women were needed in the defense industries, civil service and even in the armed forces.

Despite the continued 20th-century trend of women entering the workforce, promotional campaigns were aimed at women who had never held jobs before.

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

The individual drives often had their own style, but some of the more popular artists added their own flare to the art on the poster, while still maintaining the message.

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

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

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

However, it did not cover the wide spectrum of places the average person traveled throughout the day. Therefore, it became necessary to involve citizens in putting up posters at places they frequented.

Each community had a defense council, and a poster committee within the council handled poster distribution. The committee members searched the best places to put up the posters.

When looking for a location, the OWI Handbook calls for consideration of certain aspects such as: the number of people who will see the poster at the location being considered; If there were already government posters in place; whether the area was viable for posting; obtaining the permission of the owner; and the size of the poster that can be displayed.

Poster placement was a concern for OWI as the public needed to see the posters and their messages.

Visibility was the most important consideration in putting up posters, so did OWI, committee members and other groups that helped distribute the posters focused on high traffic areas.

From museums, post offices and schools, railway stations, restaurants, shops, and sometimes on the sides of buildings, almost every government building hangs a propaganda poster that anyone can see.

OWI wanted a total saturation of government messages aimed at the average citizen. The messages contained on the posters recognized the need for every citizen to become a better contributing member of wartime society.

There were certain criteria for the posters to meet. The artist who designed the poster had to be aware of the key points that government officials wanted to be present in each poster.

Everyone needs to appeal to human emotion and not be abstract. Attracting emotion made the viewer feel something about the image.

If the image evoked a reaction there was a chance the viewer would support the message or be wary.

The use of photographic detail stems from the government's concern that the public does not understand an abstract image and how it relates to the message. Therefore, the use of details allowed everyone to understand the image.

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