Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Sexualization of World War II

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From pin-up girls on the sides of military airplanes to USO clubs to propaganda on the homefront, the sexualization of women (and subsequent sexism) was everywhere during World War Two. 

Male artists produced images of sexualized women for magazines and posters which became wildly popular with the troops. The USO opened social halls across the country, with the two most famous being in New York and Los Angeles. These clubs did not allow women in unless they were employed by the USO to dance and flirt with the servicemen. The United States government produced propaganda posters that were distributed to the public that depicted women in ways that were very appropriate to the times. Women were supporting the war effort, but in the eyes of the government they were specifically supporting the men fighting in the war and not patriotism or anti-fascism.

These seemingly innocuous aspects of American culture during WWII contributed to a change in how society viewed women. The rate of reported rapes increased by 45% during the war years. There was a pornography boom in the 1950s. Women were viewed as sex symbols/objects in the public eye and popular culture for the first time in American history.  

WWII Comics

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Looking at the art that was influenced by what the soldiers saw as well as what artists read and in the news. This exhibit includes comics and illustrations from the likes of Dr. Suess, Bill Mauldin, and Dave Breger and their influence on the overall perception of politics, the "average Joe" infantry, and the Allied and Axis powers.

Of course, not all illustrations were made for adults at home in the Sunday paper and the infantry on the battlefield. Comic books were in the hands of almost every child during that era, and with comics such as Superman and Captain America, the American experience of World War II was felt by every American.

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American Poster Propaganda during World War II

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During the Second World War, the United States governmnet used a tool called propaganda to motivate, unite, and justify war-goals to the American public. The poster constituted propaganda that was seen throughout the nation. A majority of posters were produced by an organization called the Office of War Information which used various images to persuade and reinforce the messages of the government. Each poster, designed by different artists highlighted specfic themes such as bond-buying or rationing.

This exhibit displays the various styles and themes of OWI posters during the Second World War. How do you feel concerning the individual poster? Can you decipher how the poster contributed to American propaganda as a whole? 

 

 

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WORLD WAR II: THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN NARRATIVE

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August 13, 1943

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the Philippines as he shared his devotion to victory in the Pacific Theater of World War II. He declared: 

The story of the fighting on Bataan and Corregidor, and, indeed, everywhere in the Philippines, will be remembered so long as men continue to respect bravery and devotion and determination. When the Filipino people resisted the Japanese invaders with their very lives, they gave final proof that here was a nation fit to be respected as the equal to any on earth, not in size, but in the stout heart and national dignity which are the true measures of a people. That is why the United States, in practice, regards your lawful Government as having the same status as the governments of other independent nations. That is why I have looked upon President Quezon and Vice President Osmena, not only as old friends, but also as trusted collaborators in our united task of destroying our common enemies in the East as well as in the West.

President Roosevelt addressed the Filipino people as soldiers for democracy and now worthy of independence. Much like the lived reality of war felt by all Filipinos throughout this time, such respect was earned through Filipino-American encounters in war and not in peace. The narrative of the Filipino experience in World War II often begins with the Japanese invasion in 1941 and President Roosevelt's pledge to return freedom to the island through military might. The relationship expressed in Roosevelt’s promises of fellowship and solidarity only reveal partial truths. The history of the Filipino-American relationship is steeped in imperialist hierarchies of racial expectations and capabilities. This digital exhibit travels through newspaper articles, oral histories, and historical reviews as a means to reveal the untold narrative of the Filipino experience prior to and after World War II. Beginning this narrative in the midst of “The Good War” robs the Philippines of their struggle for independence from and lends the United States the undeserved reputation of benevolent.

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American Film and Propaganda in World War II

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Throughout the course of history we have seen various forms of propaganda to try and push a, typically political, agenda to a mass amount of people. In this paper we will explore the many forms used by The United States throughout the course of World War II. The Americans used many forms of media at hand whether it was film, posters, comic books, and more. From the iconic Rosie the Riveter to Uncle Sam, even today we still recognize and honor propaganda from decades before us. Though many of these forms of propaganda spawned immense patriotism and nationalism throughout the country, they also sparked more racism and stereotyping that would spread like wildfire across the country. Despite all of this, the propaganda machine played a major role in winning the war for us at home as well as the war abroad. 

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