11 military propaganda posters that are surprisingly convincing

Rifles, grenades, and heavy machinery are the weapons of war, but there’s another, subtle and powerful form of warfare. Images, words, films, and even songs engage the hearts and minds of citizens to support wars.

The following posters are examples of persuasion used in the past to sway public opinion and sustain war efforts.

1. Fear is a powerful motivator. After all, it’s either them or us.

fear poster: japanese and the nazis

2. Nothing like a woman and child in imminent danger to jump-start our natural protective instincts.

baby fear propaganda poster

3. This poster draws on the similarity of a child’s college fund.

nazi child war bond propaganda poster

4. Events like the massacre at Lidice gave Nazis a reputation for their brutality. This poster is a reminder of the atrocities that await should they invade American cities.

fight nazis propaganda poster

5. Posters like the one below alerted citizens to the presence of enemy spies lurking in everyday society. These posters reminded well-meaning citizens of the consequences careless talk may cause, such as compromising national security and troop safety.

watching you propaganda poster

6. “Uncle Sam” was extensively used during World War II. He was a fighter, a laborer, a recruiter and more.

uncle sam rolling up his sleeves propaganda poster

7. “Avenge Pearl Harbor” was a popular cry after the surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

avenge pearl harbor propaganda poster

8. Posters like the one below encouraged continued support for the war.

anti japanese bombing propaganda poster

9. Humor was also used in propaganda posters.

hitler pants down propaganda poster

10. But direct and emotional messages were more effective.

send more gear propaganda poster

11. World War II took place during the golden era of comic books, which lasted from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. This poster made in the popular comic book style was a sure fire way to promote a message.

sacrifice propaganda poster

NOW: The 8 most famous US military recruiting posters of World War II >

OR: Watch 5 Hollywood directors who served and filmed real wars:

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