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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) (x)

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"Warning! Our Homes Are in Danger Now!"

This World War II propaganda poster employs not-so-subtle depictions of Adolph Hitler and a bloodthirsty Japanese soldier menacing the American homeland. Produced by the General Motors Corporation, the poster emphasizes the danger posed to American [...]

"We Can Do It!"

Among the most famous images from the World War II era, the "We Can Do It!" poster of a determined working woman (colloquially dubbed "Rosie the Riveter") has been reproduced thousands of times since its original appearance in 1942. During the war, [...]

Up Housewives and At 'Em!

Similar to American efforts of the time, this World War II poster urges British housewives to contribute to the war effort by recycling household materials. With its smaller population and more direct experience of the war (close to 68,000 British [...]

Dig for...Plenty

This World War II-era poster urges Britons to "Dig for Plenty" by growing their own vegetables in home gardens. Part of the larger "Dig for Victory" campaign that ran in Britain throughout the war, the poster stresses the benefits of growing one's [...]

Keep Mum, She's Not So Dumb!

This World War II poster urges British officers and other servicemen to"keep mum" (quiet), lest military secrets and other sensitive information fall into the hands of the enemy as a result of careless talk, in this case overheard by a beautiful [...]

They Can't Get on Without Us

A WWII poster urges British women to join the ATS, or Auxiliary Territorial Service, a"woman's army" formed in September 1938 to free as many men as possible for service on the front. The scene in the background suggests one of the Service's primary [...]

"Nicht spenden, Opfern (Don't give, Sacrifice)"

This 1930s-era Nazi poster translates as "Don't give, Sacrifice," to the Winterhilfswerk (Winter Aid), a Nazi party charity. The dire economic circumstances in Germany during the 1930s both facilitated the Nazis' rise to power and served as a focal [...]

"Altpapiersammlung (Paper Drive)"

A 1943 poster announces a Nazi paper drive. As in the Allied countries, German civilians were expected to contribute to the war effort by recycling materials, rationing food, and buying war bonds. In Nazi Germany, however, such participation was [...]

"Der Jude (The Jew)"

This poster, issued in 1943 or 1944, was intended to perpetuate the Nazi myth of "the Jew" as "inciter of war, prolonger of war." As German fortunes in the war begin to decline, myths of a "Jewish conspiracy" made a convenient scapegoat for failing [...]

"We will ruthlessly defeat and destroy the enemy!"

A Soviet poster shows a Red Army soldier dispatching a gnome-like Hitler. The torn document and discarded mask represent the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the treaty of non-aggression signed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and violated when the [...]

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