Propaganda is information used to promote or demote a cause and was used heavily throughout World War II. It allowed governments to connect with citizens on a personal level, as it motivated people to accomplish the goals needed to win the war. Propaganda gave citizens a sense of responsibility and encouraged them to take action in order to support their country at war. Many times the propaganda used was presented in the form of posters and showed an image with motivational or persuasive messages. There were a variety of styles for these posters to target specific groups of citizens and played to their emotions and values. Propaganda was used by many nations throughout the war, including the United States and Germany.
Soldiers in the military needed to be fearless, determined to win and willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the country. Propaganda posters encouraged young men to make a difference and fight for their country.
Need for Working Citizens
Other forms of propaganda posters encouraged citizens to work and find jobs. Everyone needed to be a “soldier” at home by working in a variety of ways to support war efforts. These posters were designed to make those at home feel guilty about not serving on the battlefield.
Along with mandatory rations, citizens were encouraged to find additional ways to save resources for military causes. There were some propaganda posters that supported growing food in a garden, instead of buying from a grocery store. Others recommended carpooling with neighbors and friends to save fuel for airplanes and other military equipment. One poster even attempted to guilt trip the viewer, claiming that if he was riding alone, then he was supporting Hitler. These posters also encouraged citizens to give up unnecessary supplies and dedicate extra time to military efforts.
Against the Enemy Leaders
Propaganda often portrayed the enemies as animalistic and not fully human as a way to provoke feelings of hatred toward the opposing power. Posters included brief descriptions of the enemies and their inhumane actions, especially those that were against a country’s values and beliefs. References to Hitler and the Axis power were often included in American propaganda because it created a strong dislike and, as a result, more motivation to defeat the enemy.
To Help Unite the Country
Propaganda posters were used to create an atmosphere of unity. They portrayed images and used words that would unite citizens for a common goal. People were able to connect, despite minor differences, and work together to contribute to the war effort.