WWI: The Propaganda Poster is Born
[DATE POSTED: November 9, 2018]—This November marks the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I, when Germany signed the Armistice that ended the war on November 11, 1918. This war was unlike any before it. It was the first war in a century that involved all of Europe's great powers. It also featured several advances in military technology, including armored vehicles, field telephones, submarines, and aircraft. But one innovation of this time would forever change how we understand media and its role in public opinion: propaganda. World War I ushered in a new era of centralized war propaganda—the war film, the leaflet, and the propaganda poster.
This was the first war in history in which the creation and targeted distribution of propaganda played an important role, and considered a war effort that reflected individual nations' goals. Across the globe, illustrators and writers created propaganda posters and leaflets, newspapers printed articles, and filmmakers wrote and directed pro-war films starring well-known actors. These engaging, larger-than-life visuals were designed to boost recruitment and morale at home and abroad, as well as to encourage popular support by idealizing a nation's motivations for joining the war. Propaganda could also be used to incite hatred for enemy forces, and demoralize or stir up unrest among the opposition's home front.
Deepen your library research or classroom discussion into World War I with these propaganda posters. Examine the examples of World War I propaganda efforts through the actual posters mass produced and published by British, French, German, and U.S. governments. Use the Background Essay to help students contextualize the war and the various national efforts at propaganda. Apply the Instruction in your library or classroom to guide student research and deepen primary source analysis.
"Wwi: the Propaganda Poster Is Born." History Hub,
Entry ID: 2181987