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Inspiration: 80+ Amazing WWII Allied Propaganda Posters

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With World War II now more than sixty years ago, it's easier to appreciate the propaganda posters of the era for their artistic merit. Allied posters of the age aimed to influence citizens to enlist in the military, buy war bonds, join the workforce, and sacrifice in ways that many people in the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere have a hard time imagining today. But the tactics employed in many of these posters and adverts were wildly successful in building national pride and support for the war effort, and today are cherished for their campy nostalgia and patriotic messages.

The posters below are the best of the best from the WWII era. Left out are many of the more offensive posters (of which there are plenty of examples). Looking through these can help give us a better understanding of what life during war-time was like a few generations ago.

Remember that propaganda posters were, in reality, sales tools. Their aim was to sell the citizenry as a whole on the war, and to get them to participate actively in the war effort in various ways. Study the motivational tools they use: pride, fear, patriotism, and a sense of duty.

Enlistment Posters

Enlistment posters aimed to entice young men to join the armed services. For the most part, they played on the desires of young men to be thought of as "men", and on feelings of national pride.

Your Place is Here!

O'er the Ramparts We Watch

Of the Troops and For the Troops

Where Skill and Courage Count

He Volunteered for Submarine Service

We Clear the Way

Gee!! I Wish I Were a Man

Ready

Smack 'Em Down!

Fly

Serve

Sub Spotted - Let 'Em Have It!

The U.S. Marines Wants You

War Bonds and Rationing Posters

War bonds were necessary to fund the war, and so most of these posters went after feelings of national pride and responsibility. Some posters also played on fear and anxiety to encourage citizens to purchase war bonds, and implied that if you didn't buy as many as possible, that you were unpatriotic.

Don't Let That Shadow Touch Them

Save Freedom of Worship

Could You Tell Him You're Tired of Buying War Bonds?

A Crop That Never Fails

Lend to Defend His Right to be Free

Keep These Hands Off!

Now All Together

Attack Attack Attack

Even a Little Can Help a Lot - NOW

Stamp 'Em Out

Do With Less

To Have and to Hold!

Triumph Over Tyranny!

It's Smart to Save!

Next!

The Sky's the Limit

Hasten the Homecoming

Get a Thrill, Give a $5 Bill

Buy War Bonds

National Service and Pride Posters

These posters encouraged service, volunteerism, and national pride, often playing on one's sense of patriotism and responsibility to entice more contributions.

More Firepower To 'Em

Like Digging a Foxhole

Britain Shall Not Burn

Land, Sea, and Aire, We're Over There

Send Airgraphs

Closed for the Duration

Loose Talk Can Cost Lives

Loose Talk Can Cause This

Quiet!

Loose Talk Can Cost Lives

OURS...To Fight For

This is the Enemy

Americans Will Always Fight for Liberty

Disaster

Keep America Rolling

Millions of Troops Are On the Move

When Your Ride Alone You Ride with Hitler!

Work- and Output-Related Posters

These posters encouraged factory workers and others to increase their output and production rates, generally by tying their efforts in directly with the war abroad.

Plant More Sugar Beets!

Keep That Lumber Coming!

Your Metal is on the Attack!

Fast and Steady Speeds My Lathe

Keep 'Em Firing

More Production

Help Harvest

Posters Aimed at Women

Women played a huge part in WWII, both through military and civilian service. These posters played on a sense of duty and national pride to encourage women, especially young, single women, to get more involved.

We Can Do It!

Of Course I Can!

Be a Cadet Nurse

She's a WOW

War Gardens for Victory

Become a Nurse

For Your Country's Sake Today

Be A Marine

She's a WOW

Volunteer for Victory

Woman's Place in War

Join the WAC Now!

Woman's Place in War

Wanted More Navy Nurses

Enlist in a Proud Profession

Victory Waits On Your Fingers

Woman's Place in War

I'm Proud of My Two Soldiers

Be With Him at Every Mail Call

Good Soldier

I'm In This War Too!

Other Posters

Some propaganda posters don't fit neatly into the categories above, often dealing with building a sense of hatred toward the Axis forces, or a sense of anxiety and fear.

Let's Catch Hime With His "Panzers" Down!

He's Watching You

No Medicine for Regret

This is Trench Foot

I Believe...

United We Are Strong

What do YOU say, AMERICA?

Smoking Stacks Attract Attacks

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