The National Archives Powers of Persuasion
Poster Art from WW II
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Introduction

About this Exhibit

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Part 1

Man the Guns!

It`s a Woman`s War Too!

United We Win

Use it Up, Wear it Out

Four Freedoms

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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!

This is Nazi Brutality

Under their system, the individual is a cog in a military machine, a cipher in an economic despotism; the individual is a slave. These facts are documented in the degradation and suffering of the conquered countries, whose fate is shared equally by the willing satellites and the misguided appeasers of the Axis.
--Government Information Manual for the Motion Picture Industry
Office of War Information

Many of the fear-inspiring posters depicted Nazi acts of atrocity. Although brutality is always part of war, the atrocities of World War II were so terrible, and of such magnitude, as to engender a new category of crime--crimes against humanity. The images here were composed to foster fear. Implicit in these posters is the idea that what happened there could happen here.

This is Nazi Brutality
by Ben Shahn, 1942

Lidice was a Czech mining village that was obliterated by the Nazis in retaliation for the 1942 shooting of a Nazi official by two Czechs. All men of the village were killed in a 10-hour massacre; the women and children were sent to concentration camps. The destruction of Lidice became a symbol for the brutality of Nazi occupation during World War II.

Printed by the Government
Printing Office for the Office of
War Information
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-245)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster This is Nazi Brutality
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We French Workers Warn You...
by Ben Shahn, 1942

Printed by the Government
Printing Office
for the War Information Board
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-246)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster We French Workers Warn You...Defeat Means Slavery, Starvation, Death
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The Sowers
by Thomas Hart Benton, 1942

Artist Thomas Hart Benton believed that it was the artist`s role either to fight or to "bring the bloody actual realities of this war home to the American people." In a series of eight paintings, Benton portrayed the violence and barbarity of fascism. "The Sowers" shows the enemy as bulky, brutish monsters tossing human skulls onto the ground.

NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-1966)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster The Sowers

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