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Techniques Used in World War II Propaganda

In World War II, one of the techniques that were used to create propaganda was “Propaganda Posters” which were used to gain support for the war and encourage people to join the military (Mahaney). This essay intends to explore the underlying meanings and graphical representations of the selected posters in context with World War II.

The first poster which is selected for the analysis has a bright red heading at the top of the poster with white letters that read “Front line breakdowns can lose battles” and a blue closer with white letters reading “That’s why our workmanship counts” that convey a powerful message in a succinct manner. The poster shows a striking image with the main subject about military personnel and their efforts at the battle. The message of the poster is that the need for good workmanship was vital to the allied war effort, as poor craftsmanship could compromise the safety of the soldiers on the battlefield. The second soldier handing the tool to the other one underneath the tank depicts the hardships and challenges of the soldiers who selflessly serve their country and the constant battle they face on a daily basis as soldiers on the battlefield. This artwork suggests that in order to maintain the high level of efficiency needed to win the war, manufacturing workers must maintain a high level of productivity.

The second poster titled “Women of Britain come into the factories” is a representation of how women were utilized during WWII. They were expected to be doing their part in the war effort by working at the factories. It also depicts women as the workhorses of the war, supplying the country with the necessary resources to help win the war. The woman in the poster is standing in the middle of the frame with her hands spread wide wearing a factory uniform depicts that the audience of women was targeted to persuade them to be more involved in the workforce. The use of persuasive techniques ignited the pressure on British women to participate in factory work while their husbands went off to fight in the war. This propaganda poster is significant because it depicts an ideal image of womanhood, which did not exist at the time.

Third, the World War II propaganda poster entitled “Air defense is home defense” was created to encourage the public to protect their homes from enemy attacks. This poster depicts several illustrations that represent elements of air power. The text on the poster proclaims that air power is an important tool that can be used to defend the country’s homes. The fighter aircraft flying over the heads of people while they are staying at a bay side represent the important role of air power in defending the home front. Moreover, the airplanes on the poster are flying straight towards the city from the bay side which represents the element of surprise that planes in the air can bring to an enemy. The message written in the closer of the poster urges the audience to take part in the air defense “Apply to the nearest R.A.F. Recruiting Depot” to represent the importance of volunteers for air defense in the defense of Great Britain.

Fourth, the poster selected for the analysis read “England expects national service” is a visual representation of the government’s expectations for its citizens as the poster uses imagery where people are gathered under a large statue of a soldier to illustrate the government’s call for mandatory service during the war era. The use of everyday people from different fields of life in the painting shows that anyone could join the Navy and Army to stand behind their Nation and could fulfill the expectations of the government. Moreover, the “national service” was meant to motivate the British people to volunteer to serve in the armed forces during World War II (McCrann). The purpose of this propaganda poster was to show the importance of having strong military and collective national services with the armed forces of Britain during the war era in order to defeat the Germans in World War II. The government of Britain produced this poster to rouse public support for the war effort and enlist volunteers for the army.

Lastly, the poster, “Every Minute Counts,” at the top of the poster and “Early Stopping Will Make a Late Victory” is propaganda that was used by the British government during World War II. The person in the poster is dressed in a way that gives the vibe that he must be working in manufacturing. The pictorial representation is enhanced further as the worker lying in front of a clock depicts how a time-thieving worker would look like in order to make workers realize that they need to clock back into work without any breaks and time-theft to help their Nation get out of the war turmoil. Moreover, the visual design in the picture along with the message “10 minutes wasted a day means a production loss” is effective to convey this message to the audience that “early stopping” would lead to “Late Victory” as the workers are stealing the production time amid the trying times of war.

In a nutshell, propaganda posters proved highly effective during World War II as they used emotional appeal to recruit soldiers, and women as factory workers, and also invoke a sense of patriotism and unification for Britain to get people to join the war and workforce as well.


Mahaney, Darlene C. “Propaganda Posters.” OAH Magazine of History, vol. 16, no. 3, 2002, pp. 41–46.

McCrann, Grace-Ellen. “Government Wartime Propaganda Posters: Communicators of Public Policy.” Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, vol. 28, no. 1–2, 2009, pp. 53–73.



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