Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Fighting Talk

Coming under the hammer at Boldon Auction Galleries Fine Art & Antique Auction on Wednesday 22nd September are a Private Collection of original Second World War USA Military propaganda posters produced and dated between 1942 and 1945 by the Office for War Information.

War posters served an important role on the Home Front in the United States during World War II. The posters were used to keep Americans informed of the war which often seemed remote and not directly relevant to them, to remind them of their patriotic duties, and to instill a sense of anger towards the enemy nations.

The Office for War Information (OWI) was created in June 1942. Its function was “to promote, in the United States and abroad, understanding of the status and progress of the war effort and of war policies, activities, and aims of the U.S. government.” Eventually, two contending groups within the OWI clashed over poster design. Those who saw posters as "war art" favored stylized images and symbolism, while recruits from the world of advertising wanted posters to be more visually appealing like adverts.

More than 8000 artists, who belonged to "Artists for Victory," designed posters for the OWI. A realistic, three-dimensional style replaced the flat, abstract images typical of the First World War. Unlike the earlier propaganda, which inspired fear and hatred of the enemy, President Roosevelt preferred more positive imagery that involved Americans and personalized the war effort for everyday Americans.

The advertising specialists within the OWI finally gained the upper hand in 1943. From that time, government posters looked more like magazine illustrations, and the idea of "war art" was abandoned. "Information campaigns" were now run using posters in conjunction with magazines, radio, and other kinds of paid advertising space to maximize the impact of the propaganda message. (The OWI was closed down in September 1945).

These American posters are far more direct and “punchy” than many of their English counterparts with graphic depictions of the terrible consequences of “careless talk”


or over consumption of precious resources.

This is a real chance to purchase a piece of Social Political History. For more details please contact us on 0191 537 2630 or visit

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