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WWII Posters from the National Museum of American History

WWII Posters from the National Museum of


American History
This text is provided courtesy of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

World War II posters helped to mobilize a nation. Inexpensive, accessible, and ever-present,
the poster was an ideal agent for making war aims the personal mission of every citizen.
Government agencies, businesses, and private organizations issued an array of poster images
linking the military front with the home front calling upon every American to boost
production at work and at home. William L. Bird, Jr. and Harry R. Rubenstein, Curators.

Buy a Share in America

The Treasury Department financed the way through


the sale of bonds and stamps to the public. War bond
posters called upon all citizens to share in ownership
of the war.

Artist: John C. Atherton, U.S.


Treasury, 1941
WWII Posters from the National Museum of American History

Remember Pearl Harbor/Purl Harder

Posters encouraged all citizens to participate in the war effort


in every possible way growing, conserving, saving, and
producing.

New York City WPA War Service, 1942

MoreProduction

The government launched a campaign urging workers to make


personal sacrifices to win the war. Government agencies
offered tips on the design and placement of the posters in the
factory, urging employers to use enough at least one
poster per 100 workers.

General Cable Corporation, 1942


WWII Posters from the National Museum of American History

Get Hot/Keep Moving

Posters called upon workers to conserve, keep their


breaks short, and follow supervisors instructions.

Unattributed

Well Have Lots To Eat This Winter, Wont We, Mother?

The Office of War Information drew some of its


specialists from the world of advertising and
commerical art, who tended to think in terms of ad
campaigns. The results were sometimes oddly
superficial posters that translated messages of
sacrifice and struggle into the familiar advertising
world of smiling faces and carefree households.

Artist: Al Parker, U.S. Office of War


Information Poster
WWII Posters from the National Museum of American History

This Is America Where A Man Picks His Job

Whether created by government or by corporations, the


production-incentive posters conveyed social, economic, and
political ideas through imagery. Throughout the war, the
imagery on such posters celebratedthe middle-class home,
the traditional nuclear family, consumerism, and free
enterprise.

Photography by Korth

This Is AmericaA Nation With More Homes

With victory in sight, posters turned toward idealized


images of the comforts and conveniences of life far from
the factory scene.

Sheldon Claire Company


WWII Posters from the National Museum of American History

Together We Can Do It

The main underlying goal was to convince


workers, who still were nursing wounds from
the labor conflicts of the 1930s, that they were
no longer just employees of General Motors or
United States Steel. Rather, they were Uncle
Sams production soldiers on the industrial
front line.

Oldsmobile Division, General Motors


Corporation, 1942

We Can Do It

Posters encouraged women to participate fully in


production. Often, the average working woman was
idealized as a fashion model in denim. This
glamourized image was intented to convince women
that they wouldnot have to sacrifice their feminity for
war work.

Artist: J. Howard Miller


WWII Posters from the National Museum of American History

Killing Time Is Killing Men

On factory walls and bulletin boards, series after series


of posters directed employees to get to work
anything less was practically treason.

Artist: Reynold Brown, North American Aviation,


1943