Once again, the 4th of July puts us in the patriotic kick of things. Unless the Trump administration put a damper on that, like it does with everything. Anyway, I did a post of old wartime propaganda posters for the 4th of July last year. And since I have plenty left over, I thought it would be a good idea to do another. Because I think we all long for the days when propaganda didn’t try to pass itself as news. Though to be fair many of these wartime posters function more like public service announcements with messages like conserve resources, do your part, don’t give out any military secrets, buy bonds, enlist, and what not. And yes, you’ll find plenty with racist caricatures, particularly on any of the WWII ones featuring the Japanese. Still, they tend to be rather interesting to look at and not such for the artwork. But many of them have become so ingrained in the popular imagination that they’ve been parodied in pop culture for years. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasure trove of more propaganda posters from the old wartime years. Enjoy.
- Conserve water for the military industrial complex.
To be fair, this is for WWII when many nations were fighting for their survival. Still, the military industrial complex has gained a shadowy reputation since then.
2. This Christmas give your family the gift of war bonds.
Sure your kids may not enjoy them now. But wait until they’re about to go to college. Also, it’s your patriotic duty to do so.
3. Don’t get VD or else you’ll miss the boat.
Because our nation can’t afford soldiers with gonorrhea or chlamydia. So guys, keep it in your pants.
4. Angelic lady with harp wants you to enlist at your nearest recruiter station.
Because if you don’t enlist now, there’s a good chance they’ll draft you. A gem from World War I, by the way with George M. Cohan’s “Over There.”
5. One legged sailor wants you to do your part.
Because as you can see, he already did and got his leg blown off for it. And to him, it was worth it.
6. The YWCA wants you to support women workers.
Because women build planes and bombs so men can use them to blow up or shoot down other guys. By the way, average air time in a WWI aircraft was 20 minutes.
7. “When the sword is drawn, the Navy upholds it!”
So join the US Navy. Because spending long days warding off German U-Boats sure beats trenches and planes. Seriously, anything is better than the trenches.
8. Before you bang this woman, know that she might be an STD laden whore.
Yes, they seem to have a lot of wartime posters on STDs. But then again, contracting an STD is far worse than getting a cold.
9. Don’t be lazy or you’ll help the Nazis win.
Makes me wonder if they’re putting this guy down or sympathizing with him. I mean, the guy has a broken arm and can’t really do his job.
10. Even Mickey Mouse wants you to buy bonds.
Because Mickey loves America and wants to protect it from Nazis. Despite that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic.
11. Strike a blow for the Axis and give more wood for the army.
And we mean lumber this shirtless jacked guy chops down. Not the other kind since being gay in the military can give you a one way ticket to Levenworth, Kansas.
12. Civilians need food so plant more beans.
Because these people liberated from Axis occupation are absolutely starving. Mainly because of totalitarianism, systematic oppression, and the fact we bombed the shit out of their towns.
13. Buy war bonds to the moms and kids of fallen men.
Because a lot of employers simply won’t hire single moms during the 1940s. This is especially the case when she has two kids under the age of 5.
14. In a time of war, great Americans don’t take time off when their country needs them.
Though even during a time of war, can’t people just take time off for medical needs? Besides, everyone needs a break.
15. A woman loves a man who volunteered for submarine service.
Yet, serving in a submarine is absolutely no picnic at all. Still, at least they didn’t have women on there fortunately for her.
16. Defeat the Nazis and defend religious freedom.
Though I’d think it would be more to the point if it was a synagogue instead of a church. But church works fine.
17. The traffic light is right, stop waiting to beat Hitler and enlist.
However, they forgot to put a disclaimer: Must be 18 years or older. Though the traffic light is very effective.
18. Send your scrap to Uncle Sam so they can shoot down Nazi planes.
Still, I’m not sure a burning plane for a scrap metal poster is a good idea. But then again, this is WWII so it’s understandable.
19. Want to avoid VD? Try Prophylaxis.
Prophylaxis means prevention. And I guess the prophylaxis here is keeping it in your pants.
20. Whether in the fields, factories, or combat zones, we must attack at all fronts.
Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean using a hoe or a blow torch as weapons. But they’re the home front.
21. Kids, help Uncle Sam win the war by buying war savings stamps with your change.
Since bonds are for grownups. And the US government isn’t above getting its hands on your monthly allowance to pay for a new machine gun.
22. Ladies, don’t worry about rations, can your food instead.
Yes, they encouraged people to can their food so they’d last for weeks. Then again, they didn’t have as reliable refrigeration then.
23. The Red Cross and Uncle Sam need you!
I don’t know about you, but Uncle Sam seems to be a bit creepy with that nurse. I have a bad feeling where this is leading.
24. Soldiers, when you sleep with a woman, you might pick up more than a girl.
And they think college hookup culture is bad these days. Yes, the World War II generation slept around, too.
25. This soldier wants you to save gas through carpooling.
Yes, carpooling saves gas. But the disadvantage of carpooling is that it’s not always feasible for co-workers living a neighborhood away from each other. Though this wasn’t much of a problem in the 1940s.
26. Before the war, men never thought a woman can do a blue collar job.
Yes, this is kind of sexist. But women did work in factories during both world wars. Not to mention, many female factory workers in WWI started out as girls.
27. Be wary and don’t fall for Axis propaganda.
Note they included religious bigotry on there but left out other faiths. Still, I’d worry more about Axis Sally than Tokyo Rose.
28. See a German U-Boat? Bomb it!
This is a navy recruitment poster. And here’s a guy carrying explosives. Hope he throws it at the Germans quick or he’s sunk.
29. Someone talked and this man’s ship got bombed.
Yes, scare them straight into shutting up while they make port in a foreign country. Still, you’d wonder if this guy ever learned to swim.
30. Uncle Sam wants you to shut up about military strategy.
Because you’ll never know when you meet a Nazi spy. So keep your trap shut.
31. The British Navy needs your bones for bombs.
They also need bones for all this other stuff, too. Though the aircraft one is puzzling to me.
32. Remember, loose talk during lunch can cost lives.
Nothing inspires paranoia like this one. Doesn’t help they’re drinking beer either. Oh, I see what they’re getting at.
33. Winston Churchill always holds the line to victory.
Here’s Churchill’s famous English bulldog portrait. And it doesn’t seem very flattering to me.
34. Careless talk will give you a German Iron Cross.
Or as this poster conveys, “make you a traitor.” Also not, the Nazi signet in full display.
35. Remember to eat healthy to be US strong.
Too bad a lot of people in our country do not nowadays. Still, you can see the point.
36. Talk less because you’ll never know if you meet a German spy.
Keep in mind that the Gestapo mainly dressed in civilian clothes in Nazi Germany. So this isn’t incredibly far fetched.
37. Fight for your country so you won’t have to lose your sacred rights.
Too bad they didn’t try to warn us during the 2016 election. Because our rights are now under attack from the Trump administration and the GOP as we speak. Have you seen the GOP healthcare plan and anti-protest laws?
38. VD can be cured, but antibiotics can’t relieve your regret.
So a sailor should be a good boy to keep it in his pants and his mouth shut. Because careless talk may mean death to your comrades.
39. Set to course to victory, join the US Coast guard.
Sure patrolling the nation’s borders may seem like a boring gig as you see these guys’ faces. But at least you most likely won’t die.
40. Defend America, don’t waste your food.
Because Americans need to be healthy to defeat the Nazis. So clean your plate at dinner.
41. Empty cans? Save them for ammunition.
Funny how the bullet chains are cans with tomatoes. As if they’re firing a machine guns with sauce bullets.
42. To avoid careless talk, don’t forget to tie your parrot’s beak shut.
Or any military camp could just ban pets. Much easier than tying something on a parrot’s mouth.
43. Soldiers, Uncle Sam wants you to take care of your gear.
For soldiers need to make sure everything’s working so their equipment can last. Doing that, the life they could save, could be their own.
44. Support oil for it powers planes and land vehicles.
Though today, you’d be more for clean energy like wind and solar. Okay, maybe we’re not that far yet, technology wise. But we’ll get there.
45. Join the Navy and man the guns!
I don’t know about you. But there’s something phallic about that missile and it doesn’t help that the guy doesn’t have shirt on. Just a thought.
46. Produce to the limit or else the 2 headed Axis hulk will storm New York City.
Because you don’t want this monster destroying the Statue of Liberty. Still, in movie world, cataclysmic events in New York are commonplace.
47. Use your ration stamps to stamp out black markets.
Funny how they have a black marketer in disgusting green. Yes, ration stamps get the job done.
48. Keep em’ fighting since production wins wars and prevent accidents.
Again with the bare chest and phallic looking missiles. And you wonder why sailors are more prone to gay stereotyping.
49. Every minute counts so avoid time off.
Instead of avoiding time off, it’d be better if it said, “avoid vacation time.” Because if someone needs a day off for illness, injury, or family, then they should have it.
50. Keep our cars rolling cause America can’t hitchhike to victory.
Still, hitchhiking isn’t a good idea even if that’s a way people got around at the time. And hitchhiking to victory, forget it.
51. “We’ve just begun to fight! Watch us put it across!”
I guess this is for recruitment as the eagle looks ahead. Guess this is from WWII.
52. The housewives brigade wants your scraps.
So give them all your junk so they can give to the war effort. Metal, paper, and bacon grease preferred.
53. Don’t read history, make it. Join the Navy.
But I think reading history is very important. This goes especially for the stuff that isn’t flattering like slavery.
54. Buy bonds to keep Germany and Japan from this mom and kid.
Yes, they have menacing hands that’ll go after your family. Just imagine the suffering.
55. Men who know always say no to prostitutes.
Because prostitutes are STD ridden whores who’ll infect them. Then again, this isn’t an entirely accurate description.
56. War bonds are the crop that never fails.
Though if I can grow money I would. But unfortunately money doesn’t grow on trees. Or from the ground.
57. Eat some of each from every food group every day. Other than that, eat whatever you want.
Nowadays, you’d have to eat a set of servings from each group. And it’s usually shaped within a plate or a pyramid.
58. In a time of war, it’s best you watch your weight.
So I guess they don’t want you to overeat either. Yes, it’s best you know your capacity.
59. Knock out VD. Prophylaxis prevents disease.
And yet, they have tanks shooting out saying, “soap,” “silver,” and “mercury.” Unfortunately, such treatment aren’t as good as penicillin.
60. July 4th is Uncle Sam’s birthday and the US is still going strong after 142 years.
And see Uncle Sam charge with his bayonet among the exploding bombs. Not necessarily a safe way to run through. But it’s WWI.
61. Simple Sam breaks a tool every day at work.
Here he is on a stool with a dunce cap. Yes, his antics in the factory waste time. But he really can’t help himself.
62. The Statue of Liberty wants you to buy a liberty bond or she perishes.
So while Uncle Sam urges men to serve, Lady Liberty urges everyone else to buy bonds. But she doesn’t look defenseless here.
63. Take the pledge that you’ll use ration points and not buy black market stuff.
Because it’s your patriotic duty to do so as an American consumer. So raise your hand and swear to it.
64. Let the guns do the talking for silence is security.
Because the guns can do quite a lot of damage. Kind of intimidating if you ask me.
65. Sure she might be hot but she could very well be a Nazi spy.
If you want to know, just ask her what she thinks about Jewish people. Okay, maybe that’s a bad indicator.
66. Always be be on the alert and join the Marines.
Here he has a gun pointed at planes during the night. I’m sure the planes don’t know what’s coming.
67. A rattlesnake is less dangerous than careless talk.
And rattlesnake bites are are real bitch. In fact, rattlesnakes can kill you. Just look at the fangs of this thing.
68. Think this Japanese beauty is hot? Avoid her.
Crazy how they managed to put a naked woman on here. Not often you see this on a WWII poster.
69. Sailor, beware of who you screw at port.
So don’t tell her anything about equipment, salings, or troop movements. She might be using her hotness to get you to talk.
70. Want to bring him back sooner? Get a war job.
Though the sooner you bring him back home, the sooner you’ll get a pink slip. So what it brings you is mixed.
71. “You give us the fire. We’ll give ’em hell!”
Here he is about to get in a fighter. Remember that bombers and pilots didn’t have a high survival rate in WWII. So he’s not likely to make it.
72. In Germany, someone is doing the same job as you, beat ’em.
Funny how they put it behind a large white swastika. Looks so evil.
73. The swastika marks the spot.
And it’s squarely on Hitler’s ass. And the planes are bombing it like crazy as he screams in pain.
74. Make every minute count for Pershing. Join the shipyard.
However, keep in mind that WWI era wasn’t known for good health and safety conditions. And that the guy isn’t in proper safety equipment.
75. Remember, housewives, save fats for explosives.
Because fats contain nitro glycerin. So whenever you contribute grease to the military, you’re killing Nazis.
76. Women, there’s a war to be won. So get on your feet now.
Because when there’s a war on, the US needs everyone they have. So ladies, it’s off to the munitions factories.
77. Canada needs soldiers like you in its army.
Instead of a noble knight on horseback, we have a soldier on a motorcycle. Don’t think popping a wheelie is a good idea.
78. Smack the Japanese and join the submarine service.
Here’s a guy holding a V for victory. Hope he knows that the Pacific front was particularly horrific.
79. A starving child’s life was saved because you went without luxury. So give us money.
What a way to pull at people’s heartstrings. Though recently, the American Red Cross’s reputation has suffered.
80. “Let’s go Canada!”
Apparently, Canada didn’t have its famous maple leaf flag yet. And this guy hardly looks like a badass.
81. Every time you take the day off, you help Hitler.
Seems like they’re big on getting people not to miss any day at work. Though everyone deserves a break now and then. Even in wartime.
82. Break the bottle neck traffic, carpool.
Yet, in this one, the car breaks the bottle. But you have to agree, carpooling is a good idea, whenever it’s feasible.
83. Tell where he’s going, he’ll never get there!
Because telling where he’s going helps the enemy. So don’t. Okay?
84. Remember, make a mistake, you help the enemy! Because there’s a war on.
Sorry, but we can’t afford secretaries making mistakes. Too bad she might not have adequate training which I’m quite sure about.
85. Don’t forget that this hideous Japanese guy is the enemy.
Really? Depicting Japanese guys as raping white women? That’s about as racist and horrendous as sending a bunch of Japanese Americans to internment camps out west.
86. Still need more rags for salvage.
And yet, this old guy leads an invisible homeless guy. Couldn’t see anything so cruel.
87. “Remember Pearl Harbor and purl further!”
Seems like this was designed by a knitting circle. Still, it’s kind of clever.
88. Hey, British POWs, want some fresh air? Join the Free Corps.
The British Free Corps was a Waffen SS unit during WWII consisting of British prisoners of war who were stationed at the Eastern Front to fight the Russians. Only 54 joined up and major figures were later court martialed as traitors.
89. Fight the Japanese menace surrounding Australia. Blockade!
Though to be fair, militaristic Japan wanted an empire. And Australia is quite close to Indonesia.
90. “Couldn’t have done it without you!”
As if this American sailor can’t help but show how many Japanese boats he’s sunk. So proud of his accomplishments.
91. Salvage your rubber cause these guys have more important places to go.
Though it seems like they’re going on a joy ride more than anything. But they need rubber for tires to get around places.
92. Talk too much and this soldier’s behind a barbed wire fence.
Of course, he’d probably be at some POW camp which is nothing like Hogan’s Heroes. But at least he can be happy he’s not from Russia.
93. Can’t fight in war? Plant a victory garden instead.
After all, if you can grow it, you don’t need to buy it. You can even give some of your produce to the troops, too.
94. Open your eyes, America, since fighting Nazis isn’t business as usual.
Nor is it with the Trump administration. Not sure how we’ll get through that with our federal government intact.
95. Be good this year and invest in defense.
Because if you’ve been bad and help Nazis, then you’ll probably get something worse than coal. Like a charge for treason. And Santa wouldn’t like that.
96. Keep your mouth shut and don’t rat out information.
Cause you never know when the Axis powers would use it against you. So be smart and don’t say anything about war stuff.
97. The YWCA wants you to back our girls over there.
Yes, women who served in WWI didn’t get the credit they deserved. This switchboard operator is one of them.
98. Even a fish would keep its mouth shut around Japanese bait.
Boy is their rendition of the Japanese racist. Still, even if the fish took the bait, it would die right there.
99. After Iwo Jima, it’s all of us together.
This is a depiction of the famous photo at Iwo Jima. Subject of two Clint Eastwood movies.
100. Wasting stuff helps Hitler.
And they had to do a paper version of Hitler with a weird looking mustache brush. Not flattering but he’s a horrible man anyway.