Digital History>Topics>Propaganda Posters

Inquiry Questions

Digital History TOPIC ID 59

O. W. Riegel, a propaganda analyst in the United States Office of War Information during the war, said: “The function of the war poster 'is to make coherent and acceptable a basically incoherent and irrational ordeal of killing, suffering, and destruction that violates every accepted principle of morality and decent living.”

Is he right or wrong?

How do individual posters use visual symbols to whip up public emotions?

What techniques—such as sentimentality or appeals to patriotism, fear, duty, and sacrifice—do particular posters use?

In what ways do the poster obscure the realities of life on the home front?

How would you compare these World War II posters with contemporary advertising?

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