Analyzing World War I Propaganda Posters You will examine World War I propaganda posters from four countries to learn about propagandists’ objectives and tools during wartime. You will examine eight World War I propaganda posters from England, Germany, France, and the United States. Using the posters as models, you can design your own poster using the same objectives and tools. Your poster will be displayed in class.
Directions • 1. Read Propaganda Objectives and Tools • 2. Practice analyzing a propaganda poster using this Quialink:http://www.quia.com/quiz/2849546.html • 3. Create your own poster.
Analyzing a Propaganda Poster • 1. Examine the poster • 2. Determine the objective you think the propaganda poster is designed to achieve. • 3. Determine what tools were used to design the poster.
Things to Think About While Analyzing a Propaganda Poster • What do you see here? • What is happening in the poster? • Which country do you think produced this poster? • What objective is the poster designed to achieve? • What propaganda tools are used in this poster?
Common Objectives of Wartime Propaganda • 1. Recruitment of soldiers, either through a draft or voluntary enlistment. • 2. Financing the war effort through the sale of war bonds-loans from citizens to the government-or new taxes. • 3. Eliminating dissent and unifying the country behind the war effort. • 4. Conservation of resources-such as food, oil, and steel-necessary to wage war. • 5. Participation in home-front organizations to support the war.
Propaganda Objectives and Tools • Common Tools Used in Wartime Propaganda • Demonization • Emotional Appeals • Name Calling • Patriotic Appeals • Half-Truths or Lies • Catchy Slogans • Evocative Visuals Symbols • Humor or Caricatures
Demonization • This tools involves portraying the enemy as purely evil, menacing, murderous, and aggressive. The propagandist attempts to remove all confusion and ambiguity about whom the public should hate. The enemy may be portrayed as a hairy beast or the devil himself. The tool becomes more powerful when the enemy can be blamed for committing atrocities against, women, children, or other noncombatnts.
Emotional Appeals • This tool involves playing on people’s emotions to promote the war effort. Since the strongest emotion is often fear, propagandists create their own work based on the premise that the more frightened a person is by a communication, the more likely he or she is to take action. Thus propagandists are careful to explain in detail the action that they want the consumer of the propaganda to carry out.
Name Calling • This tool involves using loaded labels to encourage hatred of the enemy. Labels like “Commies,” “Japs,” and “Huns”reinforce negative stereotypes and assists propagandists n demonizing the enemy.
Patriotic Appeals • This tool involves using patriotic language or symbols to appeal to people’s national pride.
Half-Truths or Lies • This tool involves deception or twisting the truth. The propagandists may include some elements of truth in the propaganda to make an argument more persuasive. For example, blaming the enemy for compete responsibility for the war ad portraying one’s own country as a victim of aggression is a common propaganda tool.
Catchy Slogans • This tool involves using memorable phrases to foster support for the war effort. For example, short phrases like “Remember the Maine!” and “Remember the Alamo!” have been very successful in motivating Americans to strongly support the use of arms against Spain and Mexico, respectively.
Evocative Visual Symbols • This tool involves using symbols that appeal to people’s emotions-like flags, statues, mother and children and enemy uniforms-to promote the war effort.
Humor or Caricature • This tool involves capturing the viewer’s attention through the use of humor to promote the war effort. The enemy is almost always the butt of jokes used by propagandists.
Poster A • This shows a U.S. poster of a soldier returning from service in World War I. The poster is designed to evoke the patriotism and devotion to family among potential recruits. The caption “For Home and Country” is reinforced by the soldier’s uniform and his loving family. The enemy helmet around the neck of the soldier is a symbol of his success in service to his country.
Poster B • This shows a U.S. poster of an angry man ripping off his jacket to put on a U.S. Marine Corps uniform. He source of the man’s anger is revealed by the newspaper at his feet which tells of German atrocities: Germany’s purportedly ruthless invasion of France through Belgium. The newspaper headline refers to the Germans as “Huns” to evoke memories of past German aggression.
Poster C • This shows a German poster depicting a drawing of a fist in knight’s armor, evoking Germany’s past military strength and medieval past. The caption of this poster reads, “Das istderWegzumFrieden-die Feindewollenes so! DarumzeichneKriegsanleihe!” (“That is the way to freedom-the enemy wills it so! Therefore sign up for war loans!”) Despite the fact that Germany launched the offensive that initiated the fighting in World War I, the poster claims that Germany had no choice but to fight the war because it was forced upon Germany by its enemies.
Poster D • The show a U.S. poster of a female gardener with a variety of fruits and vegetables going “over the top” of a trench to assist in achieving victory over the enemy. The U.S. flag flies proudly in the background. The poster encourages Americans to plant what the federal government called “victory gardens” to grow more food for World War I soldiers. During the war, the U.S. Food Administration used posters like this ne to promote victory gardens as well as food conservation efforts called wheatless Mondays and Wednesdays, meatless Tuesdays, and porkless Thursdays.
Poster E • Here we see a French poster showing the French rooster on a coin attacking a fearful German soldier. The coin is labeled “liberty, equality, fraternity,” three strong French values dating to the French Revolution. The caption reads, “pour la France, VersezVotre Or. L’Or Combat Pour La Victorie.” (For France pour out your gold. Gold fights for victory.”)
Poster F • Here we see a U.S. poster depicting the German Kaiser drawn as a devil, with a red body and a pointed tail. The Kaiser is sitting on a stack of skulls, with a bloody sword at his feet. The caption reads “Uber Allies” (“Superior to everything”).
Poster G • Here we see a German poster showing Great Britain as an octopus whose tentacles encircle the globe. The caption reads “FreiheitgeMeere. England derBlutsaugerder Welt.” (Freedom of the seas. England is the bloodsucker of the world.”) The message of the poster is that Great Britain is the enemy of freedom in the world.
Poster H • Here we see a British poster showing a German helmet filled with ferns. The caption reads “Do you want a fern basket like this? Join the Sixth and come and get one.” The German helmet was a prized acquisition among Allied soldiers, and the ferns are a reference to the death of the German soldier who had worn the helmet.
Poster I • Here we see a U.S. poster showing a soldier returning from war and facing a student in a cap and gown. The caption reads, “When the Boys Come Home. While I was Over There what were You Doing Here? Students of America how will you answer him?” The poster was created by a home-front organization, the United War Work Campaign.
Poster J • Here we see a U.S. poster showing the city of New York under attack by German forces. The poster depicts the destruction of the Statue of Liberty and New York City in flames. In New York Harbor, a German submarine can be seen making its way up the Hudson River to wreak further damage.