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War Poster Collection

Joan of Arc poster, United States, World War I
Joan of Arc poster, United States, World War I

A selection of World War I and II posters from the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections Division collections. Included are propaganda on purchasing war bonds, the importance of national security and posters from allied and axis powers.

The University of Washington Libraries Special Collections Division houses many collections of regional and historical significance, notably specialized and scarce materials, such as these examples of World War I and World War II posters. World War I, known as the Great War, stimulated the transformation of this well-established advertising tool into an effective propaganda medium for war. Often designed by the leading artists and illustrators of the time, they were cheap to produce and easy to distribute. Their direct slogans and visual imagery appealed to a variety of cultural and nationalistic themes that served to muster public support for the war campaign. Many were illustrated with compelling images of heroes, sacrifice and family values. While some encouraged the purchase of war bonds and solicited donations for non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross, others promoted patriotism and warned against aiding the enemy with careless talk. The study of this medium leads us to a greater understanding of their effectiveness as tools for propaganda, aids in the analysis of national cultural and symbolic values, and helps define ideological differences between nations at war.

About the Database

The information for the Posters Database was researched and prepared by the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections Division and Cataloging staff in 2000. Not all the posters from the collection were included in this database. The images were scanned in RGB color using a Olympus C-2000 Zoom digital camera and saved in .jpg format. Some manipulation of the images was done to present the clearest possible digital image. The scanned images were then linked with descriptive data using OCLC's CONTENTdm software. The original collection resides in the UW Libraries Special Collections Division as the Posters Collection.

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