Accelerated US History
February 13, 2017
The Effect of American Propaganda in World War II
Following the United States’ entry into World War II and with national governments battling for the hearts and minds of the people, propaganda became an industry of war just as “important as producing bullets and planes.” In the words of Archibald MacLeish, assistant director of the Office of War Information and librarian of Congress, “The principal battleground of the war is not the South Pacific. It is not the Middle East. It is not England, or Norway, or the Russian Steppes. It is American opinion.” Thus, propaganda was the most effective resource in securing the American victory in World War II, as it caused an increase in…show more content… Army,” also known as “the most famous poster in the world. The timing of the posters release strengthened the chance of military enrollment because of the implanted widespread hatred of the Axis Powers. Originally created for use in World War I, its popularity and effectiveness led to reprinting for World War II. However, this poster, along with several others, was more effective in World War II: in 1940, there were 458,365 military personnel in the United States, but in 1941, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that number increased by approximately 293 percent with 1,801,101 personnel. Whereas there were only 4,355,000 American troops by the end of World War I in 1918, there were at least 12,209,238 servicemen by the end of World War II in 1945. Although there were no more casualties on United States soil after Pearl Harbor, the armed forces still exponentially increased afterward, as shown by the statistics above.
Aside from the general nationalism in the form of increased military and activism exhibited by the American people, the propaganda effort also increased the chance of war success through the sense of individualism and importance instilled in those who weren’t on the battlefield. Many resources were “important to conserve during the war effort,” and posters geared toward conservation composed one out of every seven propaganda posters made between 1941 and 1945