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War Department Posters

While military forces fought overseas, citizens at home were encouraged to support the war effort by recycling scrap metal, keeping silent about troop movements, abiding by rationing programs, and other activities. The War Department, as well as private commercial firms, promoted these efforts with a variety of posters which were prominently displayed. All of the images on this page have been taken from our World War II Posters Collection.



Army Air Force Poster


Recruiting poster for the Army Air Force.


Gold Star Poster


Gold star flags signified the death of a family member in action. This poignant image combines that symbol with an admonishment to keep silent about troop movements.


Books Are Weapons Poster


Poster promoting the conflict as a war of ideas.


SPARs Poster


In 1942, Congress created a new branch of the Coast Guard called the U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve. Eventually known as SPARs, after the Coast Guard motto ("Semper Paratus, Always Ready"), over 10,000 women joined the ranks between 1942 and 1946.


Libraries Poster


Libraries were not immune from pro-war propaganda. This poster implies that American books and libraries will be threatened if America loses the war.


Women's Land Army Poster


Betweeen 1940 and 1942, around six million farm laborers left the fields to enlist in military service or to work at higher paying jobs in factories. In 1943, Congress established the Emergency Farm Labor Service to address the labor shortage. The Women's Land Army eventually employed over a million women of all ages and backgrounds to drive farm tractors, harvest crops, and even to sheer sheep.


Salvage for Victory Poster


Recycling center sign encouraging the salvage of materials useful to the war effort.


Rising Prices Poster


Poster which emotionally ties citizen cooperation at home to victory overseas.


Book Burning Poster


War Department poster which refers to the Säuberung, a ritual burning by fire, which occured in 1933. Led by the German Student Association, this movement sought to destroy "un-German" literature by burning copies of such works in grand public ceremonies.


Pledge Poster


Poster encouraging citizens to avoid black market items. Note the use of patriotic colors (red, white and blue).