The National Archives Powers of Persuasion
Poster Art from WW II
Skip past Part 1

Introduction

About this Exhibit

Horizontal Rule
Part 1

Man the Guns!

It`s a Woman`s War Too!

United We Win

Use it Up, Wear it Out

Four Freedoms

Horizontal Rule
Part 2

Warning! Our Homes
Are in Danger Now!

This is Nazi Brutality

He`s Watching You

He Knew the Meaning
of Sacrifice

Stamp `Em Out!

He's Watching You

Words are ammunition. Each word an American utters either helps or hurts the war effort. He must stop rumors. He must challenge the cynic and the appeaser. He must not speak recklessly. He must remember that the enemy is listening.
--Government Information Manual for the Motion Picture Industry
Office of War Information

Concerns about national security intensify in wartime. During World War II, the Government alerted citizens to the presence of enemy spies and saboteurs lurking just below the surface of American society. "Careless talk" posters warned people that small snippets of information regarding troop movements or other logistical details would be useful to the enemy. Well-meaning citizens could easily compromise national security and soldiers` safety with careless talk.

He`s Watching You
By Glenn Grohe, ca. 1942

Gouache on cardboard
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-208-AOP-119)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster He's Watching You
Horizontal Rule

Someone Talked!
by Siebel, 1942

Printed by the Government
Printing Office for the Office
of War Information
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-230)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster Someone Talked!
Horizontal Rule

...Because Somebody Talked!
by Wesley, 1943

Printed by the Government Printing Office
for the Office of War Information
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-227A)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster ...Because Somebody Talked!
Horizontal Rule

Wanted! For Murder
by Victor Keppler, 1944

A woman--someone who could resemble the viewer`s neighbor, sister, wife, or daughter--was shown on a "wanted" poster as an unwitting murderess.

At least one viewer voiced objection to the choice of a female model. A letter from a resident of Hawaii to the Office of War Information reads, in part, "American women who are knitting, rolling bandages, working long hours at war jobs and then carrying on with `women`s work` at home--in short, taking over the countless drab duties to which no salary and no glory are attached, resent these unwarranted and presumptuous accusations which have no basis in fact, but from the time-worn gags of newspaper funny men."

NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-208-PMP-91)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

  Poster Wanted! For Murder--Her Careless Talk Costs Lives

Back to Top

Horizontal Rule

Introduction|About this Exhibit|Parts 1 and 2

NARA Home|Exhibit Hall|Contact Us|Privacy

National Archives and Records Administration

.