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Object Record


'1778 - 1943  Americans Will Always Fight For Liberty' Poster
Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

"1778 - 1943 Americans Will Always Fight For Liberty" Poster

Date: 1943
Catalog #: 56184    Accession #: 199084
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Maker

Bernard Perlin (Artist)

Perlin studied painting at the Art Students League in New York. Under the Works Projects Administration he created post office murals prior to the war. This poster is one of the few which visually associates the fight for freedom in World War II with the American Revolution.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 28" H x 22" W

Physical Description

Four color print on paper.

Specific History

Produced by the United States Office of War Information, Washington, D.C. Printed by the United States Government Printing Office. Distributed by the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information.

Series: Office of War Information Poster, No. 26

To control the form of war messages, the government created the U.S. Office of War Information in June 1942. OWI sought to review and approve the design and distribution of government posters. Posters and their messages were seen as "war graphics," combining the sophisticated style of contemporary graphic design with the promotion of war aims.

Over time, OWI developed six war-information themes for its own internal use, as well as to guide other issuing agencies and major producers of mass-media entertainment.

1. The Nature of the Enemy - general or detailed descriptions of this enemy, such as, he hates religion, persecutes labor, kills Jews and other minorities, smashes home life, debases women, etc.

2. The Nature of our Allies - the United Nations theme, our close ties with Britain, Russia, and China, Mexicans and Americans fighting side by side on Bataan and on the battlefronts.

3. The Need to Work - the countless ways in which Americans must work if we are to win the war, in factories, on ships, in mines, in fields, etc.

4. The Need to Fight - the need for fearless waging of war on land, sea, and skies, with bullets, bombs, bare hands, if we are to win.

5. The Need to Sacrifice - Americans are willing to give up all luxuries, devote all spare time to the war effort, etc., to help win the war.

6. The Americans - we are fighting for the four freedoms, the principles of the Atlantic Charter, Democracy, and no discrimination against races and religions, etc.

ref: Alan Cranston to Norman Ferguson, 17 November 1942, folder :California Trip, box 1078, entry E222, MC 148, RG 208, NACP. From Design for Victory: World War II Posters on the American Home Front, William L. Bird, Jr. and Harry R. Rubenstein. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 1998.

This particular poster fits neatly into theme six.

General History

The Division of Military History and Diplomacy has been collecting recruiting posters for more than 50 years. Recruiting as an activity of the military is important to the understanding of who serves in uniform, during both war time and peace time, and the visual materials used to market military service. The collection contains examples of early Civil War broadsides, World War I posters, including the original artwork for Uncle Sam as drawn by Montgomery Flagg, and World War II posters, which show the recruiting of men and women for all services, and auxiliary organizations. The collection contains primarily Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II recruiting posters for the Army, Navy and some Marine. More modern day recruiting materials are also contained in the collections, and cover a broad range of Army recruiting slogans.

Posters during World War II were designed to instill in the people a positive outlook, a sense of patriotism and confidence. They linked the war in trenches with the war at home. From a practical point, they were used to encourage all Americans to help with the war effort. The posters called upon every man, woman, and child to endure the personal sacrifice and domestic adjustments to further the national agenda. They encouraged rationing, conservation and sacrifice. In addition, the posters were used for recruitment, productivity, and motivation as well as for financing the war effort. The stark, colorful graphic designs elicited strong emotions. The posters played to the fears, frustrations, and faith in freedoms that lingered in people's minds during the war.


Keywords

Country: United States
War: World War II
Service: Army
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