>The Art of Persuasion, Part 2: American propaganda posters

>Originally posted June 30, 2007.

During the last years of World War II the Office of War Information, a US department of psychological warfare, was showering occupied Europe with 7 million flyers a week, which was made possible due to the invention of the leaflet bomb which could hold 80,000 leaflets in one piece. On July 16, 1943, 16 million leaflets alone were dropped in every part of Italy, informing the Italians that they could either die for Mussolini and Hitler, or live for Italy.
That’s how much used propaganda was, and still is.
But the propaganda flyers didn’t only try to convince or persuade – they worked as warnings as well, often telling of coming bombing attacks, thus allowing time to leave the area. That’s why propaganda was read by so many.

Besides flyers, leaflets and posters, radio was a very important propaganda medium. Playing on the emotions of the public, utilizing great speeches and announcers, this made a deep impact. It frightened and inspired the people into action.
The Americans also used film to a great extent. “That which is done by Hollywood today will be emulated by American cities tomorrow”. Hollywood had very strong Jewish and British elements, and it did what it could to help. They created cruel stereotypes of the enemy, and it worked out really well, speaking directly to the primitive emotions of the American audience. The bad guy gangster became the bad guy Nazi, and so on.
Music was also used as propaganda, the well known label Decca Records, for example, producing vinyls entitled We’re gonna have to slap the dirty little Jap (and Uncle Sam’s the guy who can do it), and Columbia released Praise the lord and pass the ammunition, while Bluebird had their Good-bye mama (I’m off to Yokohama).

As stated in Part One of this series, the American propaganda used God, democratic values and stereotypes to persuade the public. A lot of the posters also speak of the danger of careless talk, most of the time depicting women as those careless talkers.

So, here’s some amazing propaganda posters, done the American way.

One thought on “>The Art of Persuasion, Part 2: American propaganda posters”

  1. >woooah! Thank you so much for sharing this info! I’m a 23 spanish girl studying English Philology and I was looking for some propaganda posters like those. :D

    Thanks! thanks! You’ve made a nice and interesting page. Congrats!

    See you!


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