United States, World

Propaganda Then and Now

Rosie the Riveter (USA Today)

World War II was a time in history when America needed the most help from their people that they could get. During this war, there were two different groups fighting against each other. The group America was a part of was called the Allies. It included Britain, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, the Soviet Union, China and the United States of America. We used many forms of advertisement to make our citizens completely believe that the enemy was awful. By using propaganda that would get to people easily such as through, posters, the radio, etc, we were able to make people want to support the war/its efforts. America’s use of propaganda during World War II was an effective way to persuade americans to support the war and these ideas of propaganda continue to be applied to many of the things we see in modern day U.S. as well.

Much of the advertising used during WWII by Americans incorporated some sort of propaganda in order to help war efforts. Whether it be using foul or negative images to represent their enemies or creating idealized images of Americans involved in war efforts, America became very good at trying to get people on board with the war. One fairly famous example of an American WWII poster is one of a woman known as “Rosie the Riveter” flexing her muscles and stating “We can do it” with a fairly tough look on her face. The poster was created for the purpose of empowering American workers (warhistoryonline). The hope was that in showing people this strong and independent woman, they would also feel strong and empowered to be supportive of the war effort through their actions as well. Something as small as walking places instead of driving all the time and wasting fuel was a small accomplishment for America’s fight but could mean a lot if they could get enough people helping out. However silly it may sound to say that a bunch of exaggerated cartoon posters helped to shape how Americans fought the war, there is no denying the huge impact that it ended up having.

World War II propaganda not only had an impact on America at the time, but also continues to have an influence on modern day advertisements and other forms of public broadcasting. Take any normal TV sales commercial for example. You can almost guarantee that at least one type of persuasive propaganda will be used to convince you to buy their product; and if not to buy then at least to hold their product in a higher regard in your mind. This was the type of persuasion used during the war as well. The use of powerful images, exaggerations, emotional appeals and others are what truly make the difference in convincing the American public of something.

It isn’t easy to convince an entire nation to do or believe in something. America’s use of propaganda during World War II attempted to do this by persuading americans to support the war and their ideas of propaganda continue to be applied to many of the things we see in modern day U.S. as well. You can see similar trends by looking at this type of propaganda in the past and comparing it to modern ways in which we convince the public. It is important to understand where all of our ideas stem from as Americans and taking a peek into WWII and propaganda use gets us one step closer to that.

Article by Kashtin Holly & Video (1st) by Jackson Slaughter

Works Cited

“Inside America’s Shocking WWII Propaganda Machine.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 19 Dec. 2016, news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/12/world-war-2-propaganda-history-books/.

Herold, David. “We Can Do It! The Story Of Rosie the Riveter.” WAR HISTORY ONLINE, 7 June 2017,

“American Propaganda during World War II.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_propaganda_during_World_War_II.


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