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WWII Propaganda

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Adan Delval

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of WWII Propaganda

In the “TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT POSTER” we notice that the words are capitalized and in red. Based on my interpretation even though all of the words are capitalized this poster in has the word “TOGETHER” in red which attracts the audience automatically to that part of the poster. We also see that the font type is very blocky in this entire poster, which makes the poster stand out. We also see that “WE CAN DO IT!” is the same length as “TOGETHER” with a slightly smaller font, this could mean that they are equally important.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, “the US government called upon manufacturers to produce greater amount of war goods”. The atmosphere in the workplace was often tense; resentment existed between management and labor unions throughout the 1930s that continued well into WWII. Due to this tension General Motors and Westinghouse Electric initiated a campaign and utilized a series of posters including the ones in this analysis in an attempt to create a cooperative and collaborative environment between the labor workers and management. The idea of the poster was to move past the tension and increase production by telling people that soldiers oversees needed their help and unity.
In the poster we see two male arms, one is labeled “labor” and one labeled “management”. We also see that the “management” arm is wearing a white shirt, we also see that the labor arm is wearing a blue shirt. In analyzing this image I attribute this to the blue-collar and white-collar labels that we often use. This is somewhat contradictory if they are trying to convey the idea that everyone is equal. The labeling still creates a sense of separation rather than unity between the two working hands.
While comparing these two posters we can notice the following similarities: “KEEP ‘EM FIRING!” If we try to understand the poster on the left would make it difficult to understand and associate it directly to war. However, the poster on the right we get the sense that there is a war going on, because of the images (pilot and airplanes). The arms do not directly give us a sense of war; the tank and plane at the bottom of the left poster are the only hints we get of an ongoing war.
Right of the bat we can understand that there is a war going on. At the top, we see that “YOU” is larger; this was possibly done to make people feel unified and integrated even though they are not fighting the war, there are ways they can still help. Then, we see “GIVE US THE ‘FIRE’” in smaller font against the red background in white letting that makes it standout. At the bottom of the poster the phrase “WE’LL” is in a large font size next to it we see “GIVE’EM HELL!” is in smaller font size just like it is above. There are two words that stand “YOU” and “WE’LL”. This was done with the purpose of creating a connection between people by using “YOU” and the soldiers fighting war by using “WE’LL”. This is a good tactic to make people feel part of something bigger. The planes in the background provide a sense of movement, this is perceived as lets do this soon we're already fighting.
Like the previous two posters, these two also have something in common; the phrase “WE CAN DO IT!”. Unlike the other two posters this one does not have the letters capitalized. The words in this poster stand out for two reasons, firstly because they are white against a dark blue background and secondly because they are in a speech bubble, which attracts people towards what is being said.
Unlike the other posters that mostly use red, blue and white this one has a very different use of colors. Whereas the others use very patriotic colors this one doesn't. I believe this is because they where trying to target women, and since women where not fighting the war patriotism wasn't perceived as important as in the other posters.
Rosie the Riveter poster was rediscovered in 1982, which is when this poster started being used to promote feminism. Feminists understood the “we” to mean “we women” that they should be united to fight for gender equality. The original purpose of the image completely changed over time. Thus now, we know this image as women empowerment and attribute the image to feminism and women’s movements.

One interesting thing is that out of all the propaganda posters this is the only one that resurfaced and is one of the posters that is printed the most on magnets, stickers, bumper stickers etc. The others are not as popular as this one.
This is an analysis of wartime propaganda posters created during WWII by J. Howard Miller with the purpose of increasing employee’s morale within companies.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the government called upon companies to produce greater amounts of war goods. The increase in goods initiated a conflict between the labor workers and management. Large companies like Westinghouse Electric (WE) and General Motors (GM) created a public relations series of posters to attempt to address this issue.

Furthermore, during this time we also see posters whose purpose was to enlist men (in particular) in the military. In addition, these posters were also created to capture the hearts of the people to support the war, and let them know they need all the support they can get to "keep giving 'em hell.

In conclusion, we can gather that these posters were targeted towards labor workers. In Rosie the Riveter and Together We Can Do It! We see that people can read it and identify with the “we” that they can work hard to help fight the war. In the “You Give Us the Fire” poster the audience being targeted is addressed by using “you”. These posters strategically made labor workers feel that even if they were not fighting war they were able to help significantly by working cooperatively. By working “together” they were able to produce more war goods and keep the war going on.

One final thing we see in all three posters is the use of the exclamation mark "!" I think this was done to emphasize the importance. It can also be perceived as in screaming over all the noise at the factories to catch people attention.
We also see that the labor arm is darker than the management arm. In my analysis I link this to the idea that while management workers work in their office labor workers oftentimes work outside, with oil products and in harsh conditions. In an attempt to portray the idea of equality they have made the arms the same size. Furthermore, we see that both arms are rolling the sleeves up and are ready to work. Nonetheless, the division is still delineates the separation of these workers.
The woman standing in front of a yellow background brings a lot of attention to her. The navy blue coveralls also give the woman more attention because it stands out more against the yellow background. The coveralls make her look like she's ready to work and isn't here to play around.

The final touches are added with the woman flexing her arm, and her eyes gazing at the viewer; which leads the viewer to believe that women can do the same work as men. Her fixed look further reinforces her strength. Furthermore, we can associate this poster with the poster on the right because both where directly targeted towards labor workers.

During WWII a lot of men were enlisting in the military, therefore there was a scarcity of men to do these jobs. By means of these posters if was probably perceived that it was okay for women to partake in these jobs without being criticized.
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