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!

United We Win

We say glibly that in the United States of America all men are free and equal, but do we treat them as if they were? . . . There is religious and racial prejudice everywhere in the land, and if there is a greater obstacle anywhere to the attainment of the teamwork we must have, no one knows what it is.
Arthur Upham Pope, Chairman of the Committee for National Morale, in
America Organizes to Win the War

During World War II, racial restriction and segregation were facts of life in the U.S. military. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of African Americans participated wholeheartedly in the fight against the Axis powers. They did so, however, with an eye toward ending racial discrimination in American society. This objective was expressed in the call, initiated in the black press for the "Double V"-victory over fascism abroad and over racism at home.

The Government was well aware of the demoralizing effects of racial prejudice on the American population and its impact on the war effort. Consequently, it promoted posters, pamphlets, and films highlighting the participation and achievement of African Americans in military and civilian life..

United We Win
Photograph by Alexander Liberman, 1943

Printed by the Government
Printing Office for the
War Manpower Commission
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-370)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster United We Win
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Above and Beyond
the Call of Duty
by David Stone Martin

At the beginning of the war, African Americans could join the Navy but could serve only as messmen.

Doris ("Dorie") Miller joined the Navy and was in service on board the U.S.S. West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Restricted to the position of messman, he received no gunnery training. But during the attack, at great personal risk, he manned the weapon of a fallen gunman and succeeded in hitting Japanese planes. He was awarded the Navy Cross, but only after persistent pressure from the black press.

Printed by the Government
Printing Office for the
Office of War Information
NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-208-PMP-68)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
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Private Joe Louis Says--

NARA Still Picture Branch
(NWDNS-44-PA-87)

(Click on poster for high-resolution image)

Poster Private Joe Louis Says--

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