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Analyzing World War I Propaganda Posters Objective Students will be able to understand propaganda and nationalism in mobilizing the civilian population in support of "total war“ by analyzing propaganda posters. TOTAL WAR What is “TOTAL WAR”? “a war in which every available weapon is used and the nation's full financial resources are devoted “ “military conflict in which the contenders are willing to make any sacrifice in lives and other resources to obtain a complete victory” The First World War was the first global war that used “Total War”. People around the world focused all of their energies on winning the war. All aspects of life were related to the war effort. Men were encouraged to join the fight. Factories focused on supplying war materials. While the men left the factories to fight the war, women were encouraged to replace them at the work place. Many women were also encouraged to join women’s branches of the military or the Red Cross. Propaganda was used to encourage support for the war. Propaganda – What is it? Propaganda is a persuasive technique used to spread information to help or hurt a cause. Governments use propaganda to support “total war” in a country. Common Objective of Propaganda 1. Unify the people of a country to support a war – eliminate any opposition 2. Convince people to save resources like food, oil, steel – necessary to fight a war 3. Recruit soldiers 4. To persuade people to participate in home-front organizations to support the war effort Tools Used in Propaganda Demonization Name Calling Patriotic Symbols Catchy Slogans Appeal to Fear Demonization This tool convinces people to hate the enemy by depicting them as evil. The enemy may be portrayed as a scary creature or the devil himself. This tool becomes more powerful when the enemy can be blamed for committing atrocities against women and children. Name Calling This tool uses loaded labels to encourage hatred of the enemy. Labels like “Japs” and “Huns” reinforce negative stereotypes and help to demonize the enemy. Patriotic Symbols This tool is used to promote nationalism within a country. Common symbols or slogans are used to build national pride. Catchy Slogans This tool involves using memorable phrases to encourage support for the war. For example, “Remember the Alamo!” Appeal to Fear Appeal to Fear builds support by creating fear in population. Disaster will result if you do not follow a specific course of action. Directions Step 1: Describe what you see in the poster. Step 2: Check off the propaganda tools used in the poster. Step 3: Describe the goal(s) of the poster related to “total war” Let’s complete one together… Example Step 1: Describe what you see in the poster. Step 2: Check off the propaganda tools used in the poster. Step 3: Describe the goal(s) of the poster related to “total war” This is a U.S. poster of a soldier returning from service in World War I. #1 The poster is designed to evoke feelings of patriotism and devotion to family among potential recruits. The soldier’s uniform and his loving family reinforce the poster’s caption, “For Home and Country.” The enemy helmet hanging from the soldier’s neck symbolizes his success in service to his country. Propaganda Tools: - Patriotic Symbols - Catchy Slogans The objectives of the poster are to recruit soldiers, eliminate dissent, and unify the country behind the war effort. This is a U.S. poster showing an enraged man ripping off his jacket. #2 The source of the man’s anger is revealed in the newspaper at his feet, which describes atrocities committed by the Huns. Because of a comparison that a German Kaiser once made between the Germans and the Huns, a fearsome nomadic group from Asia, during World War I the term Huns was often used to refer to the Germans. The implication of the poster is that the man is responding to such outrages by choosing to give up civilian life to become a marine. Propaganda Tools: - Demonization - Patriotic Symbols - Name Calling The objectives of the poster are to recruit soldiers. This is a German poster depicting a fist in knight’s armor, which evokes Germany’s past military strength and medieval history. #3 The caption of the poster reads, “That is the way to freedom—the enemy wills it so! Therefore sign up for war loans!”) Despite the fact that Germany launched the offensive that initiated fighting in World War I, the poster claims that Germany had no choice but to fight in the war—that the war was forced on Germany by its enemies. Propaganda Tools: - Patriotic Symbols - Could be – Catchy Slogans The objectives of the poster are to raise funds for the war effort, eliminate dissent, and unify the country behind war This is a a U.S. poster showing a female gardener and a variety of fruits and vegetables going “over the top” of a hill. #4 A U.S. flag flies proudly in the background. The implication is that the woman and the produce are assisting in achieving victory over the enemy. The poster encourages Americans to plant what the federal government called “victory gardens” to grow food for themselves so that commercial agriculture output could support World War I soldiers. During the war, the U.S. Food Administration used posters like this one to promote victory gardens as well as food conservation efforts called wheatless Mondays and Wednesdays, meatless Tuesdays, and porkless Thursdays. Propaganda Tools: - Patriotic Symbols - Catchy Slogans - Humor The objective of the poster is to solicit support for the conservation of resources during the war This is a French poster showing a rooster—a French national symbol—on a coin attacking a fearful German soldier. #5 The coin is labeled “liberty, equality, and fraternity,” the slogan used during the French Revolution to declare the people’s values. The caption of the poster reads, “For France, pour out your gold. Gold fights for victory.” Propaganda Tools: - Patriotic Symbols - Catchy Slogans The objective of the poster is to finance the war effort. This is a U.S. poster depicting the German Kaiser as a devil. #6 The Kaiser is sitting on a stack of skulls, with a bloody sword at his feet. The caption of the poster reads, “Superior to everything”. Propaganda Tools: - Demonization - Appeal to fear - Catchy Slogans The objective of the poster is to eliminate dissent and unify the country This is a German poster showing Great Britain as an octopus whose tentacles encircle the globe. #7 The caption of the poster reads “Freedom of the seas. England is the bloodsucker of the world.” The poster’s message is that Great Britain is the enemy of freedom in the world. The list of dates and locations at the bottom of the poster shows the places colonized by the British. Propaganda Tools: - Demonization - Name Calling The objective of the poster is to eliminate dissent and unify the German people behind the war effort This is a British poster showing a German helmet filled with ferns. #8 The German helmet—proof of conquest—was a prized acquisition among Allied soldiers. The presentation of it as a fern basket glosses over the killing that would have gone into acquiring it. Propaganda Tools: - Patriotic Symbols The objective of the poster is to recruit soldiers Wrap-Up Discussion What were some of the most common goals used in the propaganda posters? What were some of the most common tools used? Which propaganda poster do you think was the most persuasive? Why? To what extent does propaganda appeal to emotions and not reason?