Posters and Printed Items

Rosie the Riveter

The iconic poster featuring Rosie The Riveter used to encourage women in production.

Monroe Bomb

A photograph of James Monroe adjusting a fuse on one of his "Monroe Bombs" that will be dropped and scatter leaflet propaganda in various parts of Europe.

The most commonly recognized forms of propaganda are posters and printed items posted around the country. On June 13, 1942 President Roosevelt created the Office of War Information, or the OWI, which employed artists of various medias to create advertising war posters that would then be distributed across the nation. This agency is what gave us the posters that helped fight the war at home and encourage men to enlist for the war effort afar. Images provided by this agency were perhaps one of the most powerful weapons of World War II, and the words used as ammunition.

These posters could be found all around the country as well as all over many other countries involved in the war. One of the most large-scale ways that the United States used what can be called “psychological warfare” was by dropping leaflets from aircrafts over various regions. They used this to decrease enemy morale as well as increase Allied troops morale throughout the war. In 1944 air force Captain James Monroe invited the leaflet bomb that made these leaflet drops much easier and much more accurate which would allow the Allies to drop more than 80,000 leaflets at one time. At home you couldn’t go to the post office, schools, railway stations, and more without seeing images of hope, hate, and fear about the war.

Alaska is the death-trap for the Jap

The poster's graphics and its caption reading "Death-Trap For The Jap" are aimed at Japan's then-occupation of Alaskan islands in the Aleutian Islands Campaign. This is a poster used by the United States.

America definitely used plenty of depictions of patriotism and nationalism to rally the public, but not nearly as much as they used hate and revenge. Images of hate and slander are perhaps the most recognizable and controversial posters used by the United States in the war effort. At the time, they justified this simply by the fact that if our troops and families at home hated their enemies they would fight harder to stop them. These posters dehumanized, beastialized, and slandered all Germans and Japanese people by creating terrible, racist images and stereotypes of them. Japanese, commonly referred to simply as “Japs” were often depicted as rats often with large, sharp teeth and dripping with blood.

He's watching you
This poster shows the menacing, shadowy figure of a German soldier peering directly at the viewer. It was intended to motivate adherence to wartime rules about secrecy in the industrial sector.

Germans were typically called and shown as a brute, apes, or called “The Huns” in American propaganda, in both World War I and World War II. While we look back at this and all we see is racism, the OWI was doing what they believed to be the ticket to American victory.

Posters and Printed Items