American World War II Posters:

A Sophisticated Appeal

In World War II, the American public was united in its support of the war effort. American workers worried about the sluggishness of defense production and were willing to work overtime without pay. After Pearl Harbor, the public cried out for total mobilization and other war measures.

Despite the atrocities of Hitler's fascism, few World War II posters tried to illicit raging hatred, as they had during World War I. People were more sophisticated and the exposure of the frauds of earlier "atrocity propaganda" had created a suspicion of heavy-handed methods.

Therefore, World War II posters are more subtle, and emphasized the importance of saving time, money and services. Despite the subtlety of these posters, they are no less powerful. Because of them, thousands of men joined the military even before their draft notices were mailed. Women went to the factories and joined the armed services. Rationing was taken seriously. War bonds were bought with precious money.

The Blair-Murrah collection of American World War II posters vividly reflects the nation at war. In addition to the posters, video-cassettes describing such things as "The Memphis Belle," "To the Shores of Iwo Jima/Guadalcanal," "Report from the Aleutians," and many more, make this a stirring and memorable exhibition.