Every year around the 4th of July (at least for the last two years), I’ve done a post of these old timey war propaganda posters which have become pop culture icons and occasionally internet memes. However, in late June I had to attend a wedding in Minnesota while a bunch of crazy stuff went on in the Trump administration, which I had to catch up on when I came back. So I’m running a little late with this. Anyway, unlike some of the propaganda outlets of today like Brietbart or Fox News, these war time posters weren’t really meant to deceive. If anything, they were more like Public Service Announcements stating that, “we’re all in this together,” especially the ones pertaining to WWII when the threat to survival was very real. At any rate, the artwork is always interesting to look at which is why they’re still in our public consciousness long after the wars they originated in have been long over. So for your reading pleasure, I give you another treasury of good old-fashioned wartime propaganda posters.
- He does his bit for 4 years so you buy bonds.
Since he’s Scottish, he wears a kilt in his uniform. Yes, I know it’s part of his heritage. But it’s not a great clothing choice to wear in the trenches.
2. “Hit Hard and often with the Marines!”
Apparently, this means bombing the shit out of some Japanese city. To be fair, we were at war with them at the time. But I kind of hate seeing beautiful architecture reduced to ruin though.
3. To prevent loose heads, inspect daily.
Because you don’t want a hammer to lose its head and land on your foot. Since it hurts like hell.
4. Work in construction? Join the Seabees.
These are US naval construction battalions. Yet, they seem to have among the least badass names ever.
5. Fight for Canada and stab bayonets into fire breathing vultures.
Well, I guess the black bird symbolizes Germany. Yet, while the Canadian soldier will beat the crap out of them, he’ll be polite about it.
6. “Every Time You Twist a Nut, Think of Hitler.”
I know they mean this in a mechanical sense. But you can also make an inside joke out of it, too.
7. If you’re Filipino, thank Japan for invading you.
Yes, the Philippines was a US territory at the time. And Japan is pointing out the US is playing they’re liberators from the Imperial oppressors angle. However, history shows us that this psychological tactic didn’t work.
8. Got tin cans, send them to the war effort.
Don’t forget to take off the labels and flatten them. Because you don’t want the salvage collector to reject them.
9. Serve those who served, become a VA nurse.
So you can treat soldiers who might be missing limbs and are suffering from PTSD. Yet, please don’t ask them about them watching their friends die.
10. The Army Corps of Engineers always clears the way.
So join up and you, too, could be a giant GI that would make Captain America look like a sissy. You’ll also get giant equipment, too.
11. “You’ll buy ’em, we’ll fly ’em!”
For this dead-eyed pilot needs all the ammo he needs to shoot at Messerschmitt’s. Buy bond stamps, please.
12. Join the Signal Corps where skill and courage count.
Because there needs to be some kind of communication among the burning rubble of Western Europe. Though I’m not sure what kind of horn can be heard above machine gun fire.
13. Can’t fight? Send money!
This is for the Canadian Patriotic Fund. And yes, Canada actually fought in both world wars.
14. Blot out the Hun with Liberty Bonds.
As far as propaganda posters are concerned, this was the easiest to design. Just a red hand print and typeface and voila.
15. Don’t pick up sultry ladies, soldiers, since they’re loaded with disease.
Indeed, even warnings on VD won’t stop soldiers from picking up prostitutes. Because many of them might be dead in the next fight anyway.
16. Hold up your end and send bonds!
Yet, not sure if this would help the nurse holding one end of a stretcher. Also, it’s for a bond fundraiser.
17. Are you Irish and Canadian? Join up and fight for Mom!
I’m sorry, but Whistler was neither Irish or Canadian. But that didn’t stop Canadians from using his painting as a recruitment poster.
18. “Grind These Heels in Our Wheels of US Production!”
Nowadays we just use robots to make the stuff. Unless they require some technical skill and engineering.
19. Join the military police of the troops and for the troops.
If being a soldier isn’t tough enough for you, then become a military cop to make sure your fellow men aren’t killing each other on their off-hours. May or may not be able to stop officers from committing war crimes.
20. Join a Volunteer Agricultural Camp to lend a hand on the land.
However, you’re unlikely to find any hunky man on the farm who’s neither terribly disabled or suffering from PTSD. Because those guys are overseas.
21. You came to this country, now help us preserve it. Save your wheat and food.
To be fair, there ware a lot of immigrants during WWI. So the image is warranted if you think otherwise.
22. Be an American Eagle and join the Army Air Service.
Disclaimer: New pilots will only receive limited training before combat. Also, average time in the air is 20 minutes.
23. Know a trade? Build for your Navy.
Yes, this is another Seabees poster. But this one is for the yards and docks where combat opportunities are limited.
24. Support the troops, send more fish.
Because fighting the German menace is more important than thinking about overfishing. Since fish is a fighting food.
25. “Dad, I’m off to war so you buy bonds!”
Since Johnny will have to leave his elderly father sooner or later. He’ll be drafted if he doesn’t volunteer.
26. Remember to practice safe SECS.
Meaning if you’re a soldier fighting, don’t give away certain info related to your job. Because the enemy can intercept it.
27. “Do it right, make it bite!”
So make bombs the right way to shoot down the enemy planes. Kind of a disturbing message to send.
28. Keep New Orleans safe, don’t talk about ship sailings.
Because a slip of the lip can sink a ship. For you don’t know who in New Orleans can be working for the Nazis.
29. Join WAVES and work on parachute strings.
Because someone has to make the parachutes strings straight on those Navy planes. So they’ll make a woman do it.
30. Pour that molten metal on to make the planes.
For the planes can’t make themselves. Also, don’t forget to put on your safety equipment. Though shirts are optional for some reason.
31. Keep America calm and stop needless noise.
Well, that’s something I can still get behind. Yet, this poster is telling Americans not to panic when everything goes to shit.
32. See that dead soldier? Well, he’s gone because of careless talk.
So keep your mouth shut and the next group of soldiers would be parachuting down alive. Understand?
33. Support your country, save waste paper.
Not sure what they’d use the waste paper for. But they also give instruction for packing certain types.
34. When America’s under threat, Lady Liberty draws her sword.
When Lady Liberty draws her sword, it’s really going to go down. Just look what the US did during the world wars.
35. Support the war effort and keep that lumber coming.
Since soldiers need to use all the wood they can get. Though the ones in the Pacific might be surrounded by jungle.
36. When you show up for work, you’re punching Hitler’s face.
So keep punching in every day. However, be careful with the munitions equipment that could send you to the hospital.
37. To win the war, more women must go to work.
But once the war’s over, women must leave their jobs for the men and settle down to be happy housewives. Kind of sucks if you think about it.
38. Soldiers, beware of the Juke Joint Sniper.
She’s also known as a prostitute or whore. And yes, she’s loaded with STDs.
39. Uncle Sam’s not done fighting yet.
So, Japan is next. And that would mean the US will drop a couple nukes on it until the country surrenders.
40. Support your country, build bombs and buy bonds.
Let’s hope she doesn’t cause an accident. Though her face does evoke some sadistic glee akin to a serial killer.
41. Make sure you can load and unload those docks fast.
Got to get those goods for the troops quick. Else, we’ll end up with Fascism.
42. When Columbia calls, men must enlist.
Funny, we don’t even use Columbia as Liberty anymore. Yet, she wields a flag and sword.
43. Save your country, donate your binoculars to the US Navy.
Since us looking for enemy U-boats is more important than spying on the neighbors and birdwatching. So send your binoculars, please.
44. Don’t forget to prepare for air raid protection.
Since you’ll never know whether the Germans will bomb the shit out of your hometown. Just ask the Brits.
45. Remember, that pickups might be full of STDs.
And these were meant for your grandparents’ generation. So I guess many didn’t keep it in their pants for their sweethearts back home.
46. Help us win the war so save your food.
Because all your food waste can be used to feed some hungry soldiers. And we need them well-fed to win.
47. Join the sub service to hit the Japanese where it hurts.
So join up living with a bunch of other guys like you in a cramped space to bring down Japanese aircraft carriers. Still, not exactly a nice place to be at.
48. Free speech doesn’t mean careless talk.
So use your freedom of speech wisely. Also, don’t talk around parrots.
49. Help win the war, invent for victory.
So if you have a more efficient idea about killing more people at a faster rate, give the US military a call. Hell, do it now.
50. We’ve just begun the fight, so join up.
Though this guy seems kind of frightened to me. Like he’s pleading for help than leading a charge.
51. Protect yourself since STDs are everywhere.
So remember, stay away from prostitutes. Or other scarlet women for that matter.
52. Support the war effort and build more B-24s.
It’s a bomber plane by the way. Still, if you’re assigned to one of these during WWII, best you write your last will and testament. Since they have a 50% survival rate.
53. Support the war effort by finding a job that fits you best.
Offer only valid until war ends. After that, women must give up their jobs for the menfolk. Because they belong in the kitchen according to their antiquated ideas.
54. Women, help our boys win the war and buy bonds.
Or else, this sweet old lady might feed you a poisoned pie. So send money.
55. Don’t boast till it’s over. Enemies also have their production machine going, too.
So best you don’t say anything until it’s all over. Whenever that is.
56. All you British ladies, come into the factories.
Just don’t blow yourself up and know you’ll only have that job until your man comes home. So keep calm and carry on.
57. Men of Britain, best you join up and stop air raids. Else, you’ll have your house bombed.
Of course, if you’re a guy during WWII, you’ll already fail miserably. Because we all know the Germans bombed the shit out of the UK. Though this one depicts a large airship for some reason.
58. In wartime, give all the help and comfort you can.
This is from the Jewish Welfare Board during WWI. But it would’ve worked just as well in WWII for obvious reasons.
59. Support your country and dig on for victory.
Since food rations for civilians can only go so far. So get on with your vegetable garden.
60. This summer of 1917, don’t forget to enlist since your country needs you.
If not, then expect Uncle Sam to look upon you in dismay. Also, you might get arrested for trying to buck the draft.
61. Your country needs you, join the Navy.
And yes, they use the woman in a naval uniform again. Despite that she won’t wear it in real life.
62. Are you a girl with a star-spangled heart? Be a WAC.
Look, ladies, you can join the Army, too. Of course, you won’t be assigned to combat duty. Because that’s men’s stuff.
63. Remember, sailors, don’t tell your date about naval operations.
After all, she could be German for all you know. Careless talk costs lives.
64. Are you a woman not doing vital work? Your country needs you now.
Because while the men are away, women need to step up. This is especially if they don’t have husbands or kids.
65. Are you playing square, soldier? Save gas.
Since the world only has a limited supply of oil. Best you save on your tank for the troops.
66. Only you can prevent forest fires and Fascism.
Kind of expecting Smokey the Bear to turn up at any moment. But he won’t be around till the 1950s.
67. Join the Marines to fight first in France for freedom.
Keep in mind you’ll be spending hours in some filthy trenches. Hope you don’t mind rats.
68. They have the guts, donate scrap metal.
Cause those tanks need all the scrap they could get. Not to mention, bullets are made of metal, too.
69. We can’t win the war without women.
Yes, you can’t win a war without women. But they still treated them like crap once it’s over.
70. Don’t crow or we lose the war.
And yes, there’s a giant rooster with the Axis Powers. So best keep your mouth shut and avoid careless talk.
71. Answer the call and join Pershing’s Crusaders.
But unlike their medieval counterparts, they don’t fight for their souls. And they spend more time in the trenches.
72. Support the men in the trenches. Enlist now.
Yeah, I know it’s a miserable experience with filth, disease, gunfire, and No Man’s Land. But your country needs you at the front. Still, the guy’s kind of creepy.
73. As Americans, we’ve always fought for liberty.
And it’s made no difference whether they’re Brits or Nazis. Yet, the uniforms and equipment have drastically changed.
74. Victory is always a question of stamina.
So send the troops your meats, fats, sugars, and anything laden with carbs. Since they need energy in the trenches.
75. When the empire is threatened, the lions must rise to the occasion.
Despite that it’s the lionesses who always do everything. Men, what can you do with them?
76. Women should always respond to the call of service for their country.
Yes, women, respond to the call of service. Your God-given right to vote can wait later. Since this is WWI poster.
77. Fight for your country, Australians, or the Germans will win.
Here they have Australia as New Germany. That should scare them into enlistment.
78. In America, free labor will always win.
Because American made weapons are top of their grade. Yet, we also have large multinational corporations willing to play both sides.
79. America beat the Germans before and we’ll beat them again.
However, this time they’re fighting for Der Fuhrer instead of the Kaiser. So it’s a bigger deal.
80. You never know who’s listening on the party line.
For it just as well could be Hitler for all you know. So no careless talk on the phone.
81. Support your country and join the Red Cross.
Sure they may be a great organization. But don’t mind its dubious reputation relating to corruption.
82. As FDR said, we must preserve hope. So buy bonds.
Not sure if this FDR image freaks me out. But he kind of reminds me of a mad scientist who’s about to experiment on some hapless trespasser in his castle.
83. This American soldier will go over the top for you.
And you see the soldier carrying the American flag. But in WWI, they’ll seldom go over the top. Since No Man’s Land is a real hell hole.
84. This woman’s husband is proud she did her part.
Well, at least he tries to be supportive. Though the expression reminds me of a man who’s struggling to feel secure with his masculinity. Yet, can’t help but feel a bit resentful over the whole thing.
85. Do your bit and get into the khaki.
Cause who else is going to fight in Gallipoli alongside a hot Mel Gibson? Sorry if I offended any Australian reading this.
86. Stop the black market. Don’t buy or sell on it.
Too bad there will always be a black market. And people will always make money on it.
87. British Empire soldiers always stand together.
That doesn’t mean the soldiers will get independence or be treated equally. But it’s WWI so it’s a recruitment tool.
88. America needs more nurses.
Here Uncle Sam gives a new nurse her hat. Now they wear scrubs.
89. While our men are at war, serve on the home front.
This is from Pennsylvania by the way. And there are some civilian organizations you can join, too.
90. Support the war effort, conserve energy.
Just remember there were no windmills, solar panels, and geothermal energy sources. So conserving fossil fuels is the only option.
91. Always remember that Hitler wants know.
So cut with the careless talk. Or you’ll help Hitler win the war.
92. It’s best to land with the US Marines.
But keep in mind, you wouldn’t want to fight with them on the Pacific. Because it’s a very violent place during WWII.
93. At night, it’s forward to victory.
For the German planes can bomb the shit out of Britain at any time in 1940. Best have the anti-aircraft gun ready at night.
94. Save energy and turn the gas down.
Guess most stoves were powered by natural gas. Seems like they should switch to electric.
95. This soldier lets his M-1 do the talking.
So in wartime, we must be careful on what we say. Or he’ll get riddled with bullets.
96. Why stand by during a brush fire? Fight the Germans back!
Because our effort needs all hands on deck. However, now our brushfire is the Trump administration. And too many are standing by watching our country burn thanks to Donald Trump, white supremacists, greedy corporations, and right-wing conspiracy nutjobs.
97. Save your coins, kids, and by war stamps.
And when little Jimmy turns 18, it’s straight to the trenches. But wars can’t win themselves, you know.
98. Support the troops, send money to the Red Cross.
Nowadays contributing to the Red Cross doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. Yet, in this one, it acts like a shield for Lady Liberty.
99. Watch the ramparts, join the Army Air Forces.
And here he is holding a large bomb to be dropped in some city. But thanks to him, the skies won’t be so friendly.
100. Instead of dreaming of victory, fight for it! Buy bonds!
For soldiers can’t get on without stuff in the trenches. So send the US government money despite that they spend more on the military than anything else.