Rallying the Homefront:
WWII Propaganda Posters
June 2020- March 2021
When Britain and France went to war with Germany in 1939, Americans were divided over whether to join the war effort. It wouldn't be until the surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that the United States would be thrust into World War II. Once U.S. troops were sent to the front lines, hundreds of artists were put to work to create posters that would rally support on the home front.
Citizens were invited to purchase war bonds and take on factory jobs to support production needs for the military. As men were sent to battlefields, women were asked to branch out and take on jobs as riveters, welders and electricians. Perhaps the most iconic poster, Rosie the Riveter, was presented to the public eye for this purpose.
While many posters touted positive patriotic messages, some tapped fear to rally support for the Allied side and caution against leaking information to spies. "Loose lips sink ships" became a famous saying. Meanwhile, graphic images depicted a blood-thirsty Adolph Hitler and racist imagery of Japanese people with sinister, exaggerated features.
Today, the posters a offer a glimpse into the nation's climate during World War II and how propaganda was used to link the home front to the front lines.