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Some of the most iconic images of the First and Second World Wars are the propaganda that blurred the line between promotional advertising and art. The powerful "I Want You" poster, original interpretations of soldiers heading into service, representations of the brave women that took over the work force when the men left their posts to fight-these are all examples of war propaganda that was used to encourage not only participation in the war itself, but a sense of unification and American pride that would make each citizen feel as though they were a part of something amazing.

World War I and II Propaganda Posters

The term "propaganda" has developed a negative connotation over the years, but it was actually a vital aspect of the war effort not just in America, but in nearly all nations that were participating in the battles. In the United States the various facets of the government utilized propaganda posters to bring the nation together and urge each individual to do his part to support the war effort. This included recruiting new members of the armed forces as well as the Red Cross and other merciful efforts. Anyone walking down the street was likely to come upon a propaganda poster. Original war advertising efforts also reminded citizens about the importance of conserving food, and eased the frustration of rationing by instilling a sense of patriotic duty and helping the soldiers with their sacrifice.

Military and Political Posters

Though we as a society are greatly influenced by such advertising methods as billboards, television commercials, and signs, it is difficult for some of us to fathom the incredibly persuasive power of a poster. Original posters from war eras show just how impactful carefully designed posters were, and the difference that they made not only to those that viewed them, but to the military and political involvement of the nation. Our collection at Nancy Steinbock Posters shows the wide array of messages that were relayed through these posters.

The American Food Administration was one of the most active producers of posters during military times. For one such poster the original purpose was to encourage the increased use of corn in the American wartime diet. The poster depicts a pretty wife stirring a pot of grits alongside a plate of corn muffins, a plate of corn cakes, and labeled containers of corn meal, grits, and hominy. The text on the poster referred to corn as "The Food of the Nation" and encouraged wives to "Serve Some Way Every Meal". Described as "appetizing, nourishing, economical", corn was being pushed because it was easy to produce, inexpensive to buy, and allowed families to bulk up their restricted diets while still supporting the troops. Many other similar posters were utilized as a means of transmitting information and subtly influencing the behavior of military and citizens alike.

Collector Poster: Original or Reproduction?

For someone seriously looking into a wartime or other military poster, original is truly the only way to appreciate the meaning and impact of the piece. Though many companies provide reproductions that can satisfy a casual interest, we offer only originals. This ensures that our buyers can own a meaningful piece of history.


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