Category Archives: Propaganda

Well, it’s officially summer here in New York, and maybe it’s just all the yardwork I’ve been doing the past few weeks, but I’m in a bit of an agricultural mood. So following that vibe, this month’s propaganda poster is of an agricultural nature, and my feeling on this poster pretty much sum up my feelings about said yardwork.

The Crop Corps. Remember all the stories in the news about the epic battles won by the U.S. Crop Corps? How ears of corn were used to halt the Nazi invasion into Russia? The heads of lettuce that turned the tide and led the Allied Forces to victory? Me neither. So just what was the Crop Corps?

Again we visit 1943, but this time we head to Nebraska, where the local government was asking people to volunteer their time to assist with farming.  Here we have another aspect of the WW2-era propaganda- some asked you to ration, some asked you to enlist in the Armed Forces, but here all the government is asking you to do is help support our troops by growing some damn crops for them. That isn’t too hard, is it?

Well with many of the able-bodied men heading overseas to defend liberty and end tyranny, evidently it was. You see, the U.S. Crop Corps were designed to enlist volunteers to help farmers and their families keep up with the daunting task of harvesting while the more farm-seasoned pros could spend some time tending the cattle and other livestock. 1940’s America was certainly a time where the mantra “Every bit helps” was in everyday use.

This, of course, was a very, VERY worthy call to arms. So why am I about to rag on this poster? Well, much like my own outdoor excursions this summer season, the man in the foreground of this poster seems, well, like maybe he’d rather be doing something else. I get the gesture is supposed to be telling me, “Come on, friend! Join the Crop Corps!” but the look on his face is saying something different. It’s as if he was holding his arm out and thinking, “Do it, slit my wrists. I can’t do this anymore!” Man, I feel ya, pal. Mad props to all the hardworking farmers out there, but as for myself and the poor shlub in this poster, we’d rather leave it to the professionals.

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WW2 Propaganda Poster of the Month- July

1943 America was all about supporting our war efforts overseas, and to that end the government employed various types of propaganda to rally the common citizen into helping. “Helping” usually meant either joining the fight in Europe by enlisting, or, as this poster suggests, conserving resources for military use. This particular example urges people on the homefront to start car-pooling, or joining a “car-sharing club” in an effort to save gasoline to fuel US tanks and planes on the battlefield.

One of the great things about World War 2 propaganda was the “if you’re not helping us, you’re helping the enemy” messages they usually conveyed, and this one does a great job of throwing that in the viewer’s face. Like many of the posters during the middle years of the war, this one specifically mentions Hitler by name rather than just saying “Nazis”, personifying him as the evil enemy and giving people a face to hate. This was in direct contrast to the Nazi propaganda of the time which used Hitler as a heroic icon for young German soldiers to rally behind.

I found this particular poster by Weimer Pursell really interesting because the driver is decked out in some pretty bright colors- specifically the purple and green that was often used in comic books to denote the villain. Granted that color scheme wasn’t really used in that effect until long after the war had ended, and the colors in this poster may have simply been chosen to avoid using the red, white, and blue associated with patriotism, but it really carries the same message here- being an uniformed driver makes you the bad guy.

Let’s talk about that driver for a minute while we’re on the subject. That look on his face can be either ignorance- maybe he doesn’t know Ghost-Hitler is sitting with him, or it could be indifference- he simply doesn’t care. Either way, this poster is trying to tell you that you don’t want to be this guy, and it’s got me so boiled that if I saw a man that even had a passing resemblance to him, I’d knock that Nazi-loving chump into next Tuesday. Clearly this is one poster that’s doing it’s job.

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