Brightly coloured illustrations, catchy phrases and a call for action were the main characteristics of the propaganda posters, films and literature of World War I. They encouraged women and men from all over the world to work hard and join the army during these dire times.
Soon after World War I broke out in 1914, the “War Propaganda Bureau” was set up in Great Britain with the primary aim of recruiting civilians for the army and navy. They produced propaganda posters in order to strengthen the morale of soldiers at the front and to encourage people at home to devote their time and energy to the war. Propaganda was used to promote what political leaders wanted people to believe.
The US entered war in 1917 and shortly after, their “Committee of Public Information” took over as their main propaganda agency. The American government were faced with civilians who were not eager to enter war so plenty of effort was put into their propaganda campaigns. Some of these campaigns included the iconic portrayal of Uncle Sam on recruiting posters.
Countries differed in how they portrayed the enemy and their use of propaganda posters, films and press, but the main message stayed the same: encourage people to engage in the war effort. Information that reached the readers of newspapers was controlled and emotions provoked. The enemy was portrayed as an evil force that had to be fought.
Propaganda posters often targeted women, encouraging them to join the workforce and to motivate their husbands, sons and brothers to join the army.
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