British World War II Posters: Motivating a Nation

Although there were more resources to reach the public in World War II than in World War I, the poster again became an indispensable means of stirring the public. With its bright colors and catchy slogans, the poster served as a primary tool of government propaganda, calling for patriotism, national security, production, and being on guard against the invader.

The adage, "the walls have ears," was illustrated several times, and produced new challenges for graphic artists. What were the symbols for national security? How could they portray the need for a nearly paranoid caution against an insidious enemy?

The posters that succeeded the best relied upon graphic simplicity and an absence of emotion to bring civilians together in a common fight against the enemy. Accenting the close relation between the armed forces and production, English women and others were exhorted to work in the factories and make the sacrifices needed for the war.

The Blair-Murrah exhibition of British World War II posters is possibly the finest and most complete in portraying the subtleties of this complex time. This collection of vivid, exciting posters demonstrates the power of simple, clear graphics to motivate a nation.

Blair-Murrah, Sibley, MO 64088 USA
Tel. 816-650-3000 Fax 650-9700
exhibitions@Blair-Murrah.org