War through Art

A history blog highlighting "Weapons of Mass Communication," aka U.S. and international propaganda posters and imagery from both world wars and beyond.

Barbarous Hun: The Sinking of the Lusitania and the Rise of Propaganda

On May 7, 1915, the British passenger ship Lusitania was hit by repeated torpedo attacks emanating from a German u-boat off the coast of Ireland. Of the 1,960 passengers and crew on board, only 767  survived. 128 of the deceased were American citizens.

Depicting the Devil: How Propaganda Posters Portrayed Nazi Ideology

In 1925, a bellicose Adolf Hitler understood that he needed the power of mass persuasion to push his political ideology on the German people. Citing propaganda as an essential component of statecraft in Mein Kampf, he wrote that propaganda must “awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses.” In its early phases, the Nazi party largely depended on Hitler’s own oratory gifts and stage presence to gather more interest and support. This changed dramatically with the party’s rise to political prominence and Hitler’s partnership with chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels. 

Wonder Women of U.S. War Posters

If you enjoy your summer superhero movies, then you will most likely check out the new Wonder Woman movie, released in U.S. theaters on June 2, 2019. The movie is set during the "Great War," but did you know women... Continue Reading →

To the Skies! – Aerial Propaganda Posters of WWI

April 6, 2017 marked the 100-year anniversary of the United States entering the "Great War," as a belligerent in the conflict. Commercial advertising was already well developed in the U.S. during the time, and an organized campaign to shape public... Continue Reading →

WPA Posters: Coming to a Stamp Near You

The United States Postal Service unveiled a new collection of commemorative stamps featuring the iconic Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters. The ceremony took place at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. Perhaps one... Continue Reading →

Horsing Around – Depictions of Horses in Propaganda Posters

Domesticated horses have been an important component to warfare for well over 5,000 years. Heavy and light cavalry units as well as chariots and other mobilized wagons have played an important role in organized military campaigns across the world. In... Continue Reading →

Making Fun of Hitler

Even prior to the war turning in the favor of the Allies, Hitler and the Nazi regime were depicted in an often humorous fashion in the U.S. and Britain. Hitler in particular was heavily ridiculed and depicted as a bloodthirsty... Continue Reading →

When a teenage Fidel Castro wrote to FDR

Scouring through the National Archives digital collection you might come across a few choice items from time to time. Take, for example, this letter from Fidel Castro, dated November 6, 1940. A fourteen year old (not twelve as indicated in... Continue Reading →

Presidential Mustaches in Movember History

No-Shave-November is in full swing across the United States. For those of you wondering why your significant other has been trying to grow either a magnificent face squirrel, full beard, or lame, spotty attempt at either, it's all for charity!... Continue Reading →

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