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propaganda posters quizlet

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propaganda posters quizlet

How to interpret propaganda posters

Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. (1915). Step Into Your Place. London.

Interpreting a visual source , like a propaganda poster, is very different to interpreting words on a page, which is the case with written sources . Therefore, you need to develop a different set of skills.

What is a 'propaganda poster'?

Propaganda is an attempt to influence peoples’ opinions or behaviour through the use of specific images and words.

It usually gives limited information which is heavily biased in its presentation. Propaganda typically achieves its aims by generating an emotional reaction in the viewer.

For much of the twentieth century, public posters were a common way for governments to use propaganda to persuade their citizens.

They often relied upon simple images in order to manipulate people through fear or guilt.  

Further information

Propaganda in the First World War:

Propaganda in the Second World War:

How do I understand the meaning of a propaganda poster?

Understanding what a historical propaganda poster means can be difficult for us because we did not live through the events that inspired them.

However, many propaganda posters rely upon a limited number of elements to persuade their audience . Once we learn those elements, we can begin to understand the specific message of a particular poster.

Propaganda Poster Elements

1 . Stereotypes

It was common for posters to represent a particular group of people (usually in a very racist way) using stereotypes. A stereotype is an over-simplification of what a particular racial group looks like. For example, Chinese people in the 19th century were drawn with a long pony-tail in their hair. Propaganda uses stereotypes so that audiences can readily identify which people group is the target of the poster. Getting to know common stereotypes can be quite confronting for us, since they can be very racist in nature. However, once you become familiar with common forms of stereotyping, you can identify the appropriate people group being targeted in a particular poster.

Common Stereotypes: 

propaganda posters quizlet

People Group:


Jewish People

Exaggerated Features:

Pickelhaube (the spiked helmet), gorilla-like body

Long pony-tail, narrow eyes, thin moustache, traditional Chinese clothes and hat, two large front teeth

Circular glasses, narrow eyes, toothy grin

Slouch hat, clean-shaven, khaki clothes

Large nose, kippah (Jewish prayer cap)

2 . Symbolism

Just like political cartoons , propaganda posters use simple objects, or symbols, that the general public would be familiar with. These symbols are used to represent important concepts or ideas. For example, using a ‘skull and crossbones’ could represent ‘death’ or ‘danger’. While you’re interpreting a poster, identify any symbols and try to work out what concept the image is meant to represent.

Here are some common symbols used in propaganda, along with their common meanings: 

Posters will often include short sections of information: either statistics or statements. This information is meant to provide the audience with just enough data for them to draw the conclusion the creator wanted them to make. When you are looking at the poster, it is worth asking whether the information provided is completely accurate or what other information has been left out. Finally, try to work out why the propaganda wanted the audience to know about the specific information they have presented. For example, how does this information help persuade the audience?

Posters will try to connect directly with their audiences though a number of techniques. They will either use the second person pronoun "you" in the text, ask a rhetorical question that the audience is meant to think about, or it will have people in the poster looking directly at the viewer. Propaganda does this in order to make the audience feel like they need to respond in some way.

Propaganda will try to play on a person's emotions in order to prompt them to respond. The most frequent emotional responses posters try to generate are:

6 . Call to Action

Almost every propaganda poster has a statement about what their audience should do after seeing the poster. For example: 'Enlist Today!' or 'Buy War Bonds'. The call to action is often the best way to determine the poster's purpose and intended audience . 

How do I write an interpretation?

Once you have deconstructed the poster, you can start creating your explanation. To do so, answer the following questions:

Once you have answered these questions, you are ready to answer the final one:

What do I do with my interpretation?

Identifying the message of a propaganda poster shows that you understand the primary source, which means that you can use it as an indirect quote in your historical writing.

Your interpretation can also help you in your analysis and evaluation of the source. For example, identifying the source's message can help you ascertain:

propaganda posters quizlet

Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. (1915). 'Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?'. London. © IWM (Art.IWM PST 0311). Source: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/17053

Demonstrating interpretation of propaganda posters in your writing:

This propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1915 sought to persuade British citizens to enlist for military service. It does this by employing a range of propaganda techniques. First of all, the main character is an idealised middle class British family man. The use of this stereotypical character is an attempt to connect with British middle-class men who had not yet joined the war effort. Secondly, the poster uses the symbolism of the toy soldiers, which the young boy is depicted as playing with. The fact that the man's son is more impressed with symbols of war than his own father begins to play on the audience's emotions. Thirdly, the text that accompanies the image, which is spoken by the daughter, inquires about the man's role in the war. The use of the second person pronoun of "you" is a clear attempt to engage personally with the audience. This is reinforced by the fact that the man's eyes are looking directly at the viewer. Therefore, although the girl is talking to her father, the poster intends to directly address the viewer. The clear intent is to make the audience the target of the question so that they will wonder what role they will play in the contemporary conflict. All of these techniques combine with the intention of generating the feelings of shame and guilt in the viewer. The propaganda hopes that young men will feel embarrassed to admit to their future children that they were 'too cowardly' to join the war effort. Even though there is no explicit 'call to action' for the viewer on the poster, the tacit expectation is that the guilt would result in young men enlisting to fight in the hopes of being able to allay the shame produced by the picture. The overall message produced by the propaganda poster is that real men will enlist in the war effort in the belief that their future children will be proud to know that their fathers did their part.

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propaganda posters quizlet

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You're the Author: WWI Propaganda Creation Project

In this lesson, students will view a variety of examples of WWI propaganda posters and discuss their message and why they were important for the war effort. After the discussion, students will create their own examples of WWI propaganda posters.

To inform students why WWI propaganda posters were so effective and important for the war effort.

WWI Propaganda posters - examples can be found at http://www.ww1propaganda.com/ , http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/wwipos/background.html , http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups/women-in-wwi/war-posters , and other various internet and print sources

DAY 1 Students will walk into the classroom that has various examples of WWI propaganda posters (see primary sources above) on the walls. Students will walk around the classroom examining the posters and write quick notes about the posters. Students will pay close attention to:

After students have had time to examine the posters, the class will discuss propaganda What does propaganda mean? Propaganda is information that is spread for the purpose of promoting a cause or belief. During WWI, posters were used to

Why were propaganda posters needed during WWI? Countries only had small standing, professional armies at the start of the war They desperately needed men to join up and fight Most people did not own radios and TVs had not yet been invented The easiest way for the government to communicate with the people was through posters stuck on walls in all the towns and cities How were men encouraged to join the army? Men were made to feel unmanly and cowardly for staying at home How were women used to encourage men to join the army? Women were encouraged to pressurise their husbands, boyfriends, sons, and brothers to join up How was fear used? Some posters tried to motivate men to join up through fear Posters showed the atrocities that the Germans were said to be committing in France and Belgium People were encouraged to fear that unless they were stopped, the Germans would invade Britain and commit atrocities against their families How were women encouraged to work in the factories or to join the army or the land girls? When the men joined the war, the women were needed to do their jobs There was a massive need for women in the factories, to produce the weapons, ammunition and uniforms needed for the soldiers There was a major food shortage and women were desperately needed to grow food for the people of Britain and the soldiers in France Posters encouraged everyone to do their bit Through joining up Through working for the war effort By not wasting food Through investing in government bonds Why are WWI propaganda posters important? For historians today, propaganda posters of WWI reveal the values and attitudes of the people at the time They tell us something about the feelings in Britain during WWI Class will discuss the assignment (poster creation) Students will begin brainstorming ideas for their own propaganda posters in small groups Students will begin creating their propaganda posters

DAY 2 Students will continue working to create their propaganda posters

DAY 3 Students will be given 15 minutes to finish their posters and hang them up around the classroom Students will walk around the room and look at the posters created by their classmates Students will play close attention to:

Directions: You will create an effective propaganda poster on one of the topics below that could have been used in World War I. • Possible topics: • Enlistment and recruitment • The role of women • Financing the war • Food conservation • Aiding our allies • Entering the war • Guidelines • The poster will be drawn or printed (using photoshop or etc) on 8 ½” by 11” paper and graded on your use of message/theme, creativity, neatness, historical accuracy, explanation, and use of characteristics/techniques

propaganda posters quizlet

Home / Guides / Writing Resources / Topics Guides / American Revolution / Analyzing Structure and Purpose of Propaganda

Analyzing Structure and Purpose of Propaganda

You will learn how to:

What is Propaganda?

Merriam Webster defines propaganda as :

“the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.”

A variety of sources can act as propaganda. Texts like newspaper articles or editorials, letters or petitions, and essays can all be forms of this extremely persuasive speech. Propaganda can be visual or auditory as well. Cartoons, posters, songs, speeches, radio, television broadcasts, and even graffiti can be forms of propaganda.

Structure Defined

Structure is the overall format or organization of the source. As you analyze a source, its organization can help you better understand the information presented to you.

Each type of propaganda will have a distinct structure. For example, the way an author organizes information in a political cartoon will be much different than a propaganda poster or a speech.

Purpose Defined

Purpose is the reason a source was created. Historical texts typically have one of three purposes:

The purpose of propaganda can be tricky. On the surface it may look like the purpose is to inform or to entertain, but a closer examination of the item will reveal its true goal: to persuade.

Cartoons as Primary Sources

Political cartoons are an important type of historical document that show social or political thoughts from a specific point in  time.

To examine these cartoons, look at both the images and the words. The images and the words are the structure of the cartoon; together they reveal the message and purpose.

Analyzing Cartoons

Usually, political cartoons are usually a combination of text and images.

When analyzing images, look for:

When analyzing the text, look for:

For additional information about analyzing a cartoon, look at the Cartoon Analysis Guide from the Library of Congress.

Political Cartoon Example

View Paul Revere’s Four coffins of men killed in the Boston Massacre . Examine the images, the use of symbols, and the surrounding words to see the message the cartoon conveys.

For additional help analyzing the structure and purpose, use the  ​Cartoon Analysis Worksheet  from the National Archives as a guide.

Political Cartoon Analysis

Listen to the sound clip below:

Paul Revere’s  Four coffins of men killed in the Boston Massacre  includes:

Source: LOC  Bibliographic Information page

Speeches as Primary Sources

Speeches are an important historical source, both in their spoken and written forms.

Speeches are meant to be delivered verbally to an audience, so their structure should be very clear and easy to follow .

Speeches usually follow a dramatic arc that includes an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and the dénouement, or resolution. The audience goes on this ride with the speaker.

The Purpose of Speeches

The purpose of a speech can be to inform and  persuade .   Speeches use rhetorical language in a number of ways to convince the audience not only to follow along, but to also accept the argument presented.

Speeches as Propaganda

Speeches are often personal and make an emotional appeal to persuade the audience to believe or do something. Because speeches are oral, the original audience will not have a text with citations to follow along with during the delivery of the speech.

As a result, propaganda speeches can gloss over any weaknesses in the argument  by making emotional appeals to the unsuspecting audience, who may or may not realize a lack of logical reasoning.

Speech Example

Listen to the sound clip below:In 1774, four years after the Boston Massacre, John Hancock delivered a speech at the annual commemoration of the event. Hancock was already known in the community for his support of the Patriot cause.

Read the fourth paragraph of the speech  ​Boston Massacre Oration  from America’s Homepage. This, and the paragraph that follows, are the climax of his speech.

Posters, also called broadsides, were another popular form of communication in Colonial America.

The  Massachusetts Historical Society explains , “Broadsides are single sheets printed on one side that served as public announcements or advertisements…bringing news of current events to the public quickly and often disappearing just as quickly.”

The structure of these posters is like that of a cartoon – broadsides are visual , use images and words to convey ideas , and compress a few ideas into a limited amount of space .

The purpose of these posters could be  informational ,  persuasive , or a  combination of the two.

How Propaganda Posters Work

Posters served as propaganda tools in the past, especially during World War I and World War II. The United States Government issued propaganda posters to encourage citizens to take action by enlisting, buying war bonds, or working in factories. One of the most iconic posters is J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” featuring Rosie the Riveter. Click here to examine the poster’s details.

We Can Do It

Propaganda posters often appeal to emotion over logic. They do this by using popular images of home or nation, vibrant colors, and large fonts to convey simple, direct commands or statements.

Older broadsides often contain more writing, in smaller font, partially because these posters were encountered up close.

Propaganda Poster Example

Paul Revere created what may be the most famous poster (broadside) of the American Revolution: “The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of the 29th Regt.”

Click here to examine that poster. Examine both the words and the scene on the poster. Consider Revere’s message and his use of historical accuracy.

For help examining the poster, use the ​Poster Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives

Propaganda Poster Analysis 1

Because  Revere’s Boston Massacre Poster is so famous, it has been analyzed by many historians.

Read the poster analysis in the article  ​Boston Massacre Engraving by Paul Revere  from the Paul Revere Heritage Project. Reread the title of the poster and the poem that appears below the scene.

Consider whether or not you think this broadside is propaganda.

Propaganda Poster Analysis 2

Revere’s Boston Massacre Poster fits the criteria for propaganda. The images are graphic and create an emotional response . The title, labels, and poem make a persuasive case, along with the images, that the British were at fault when they shot and killed harmless colonists.

The facts of the Boston Massacre are more complex than the poster depicts…oversimplification is a characteristic of propaganda.

This poster influenced American opinion. Ultimately this helped to create public support for the American Revolution.

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What is the purpose of a propaganda poster?

Table of Contents

Propaganda typically achieves its aims by generating an emotional reaction in the viewer. For much of the twentieth century, public posters were a common way for governments to use propaganda to persuade their citizens. They often relied upon simple images in order to manipulate people through fear or guilt.

What is propaganda and what is its purpose quizlet?

The communication of information to spread certain ideas, beliefs, or practices and shape or influence public opinion. It is oftentimes deceptive or dishonest.

What is the main goal of propaganda quizlet?

The main goal for propaganda is political/advertising for a position that may have truth or false info.

What is the best definition of propaganda?

Propaganda is the dissemination of information—facts, arguments, rumours, half-truths, or lies—to influence public opinion. Deliberateness and a relatively heavy emphasis on manipulation distinguish propaganda from casual conversation or the free and easy exchange of ideas.

What was the purpose of propaganda in WWI?

Propaganda is used to try to make people think a certain way. Stories about bad things the Germans had done were told to make people angry and frightened so everyone would want Britain to beat them in the war.

What role does propaganda play in World War I?

During World War One, propaganda was employed on a global scale. From the beginning of World War One, both sides of the conflict used propaganda to shape international opinion. Curator Ian Cooke considers the newspapers, books and cartoons produced in an attempt to influence both neutral and enemy countries.

What are the 5 goals of propaganda?

Terms in this set (5) Recruitment of soldiers, either through a draft or voluntary enlistment. Financing the war effort through the sale of war bonds or new taxes. Unifying the country behind the war effort and eliminating dissent. Conservation or Resources.

What is the main goal of propaganda?

What are some methods of propaganda?

What is propaganda in an easy definition?

What are the different propaganda techniques?

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Text: History of American Propaganda Posters

History of american propaganda posters: american social issues through propaganda.

Leaders throughout history have been able to use propaganda to their own needs and desires. By stirring an individual’s imagination and emotions whether it is for better or worse, figures in power who create campaigns of propaganda imagery can drive a population towards their end wants. Propaganda became a common term around America during World War I when posters and films were leveraged against enemies to rally troop enlistment and garner the public opinion. Propaganda became a modern political tool engendering good will across wide demographics and gaining favor of the country.

The following infographic takes a closer look at American Social Issues expressed through Propaganda imagery.

history of propaganda infographic image

What is Propaganda?

Propaganda can be described as thoughts, ideas, allegations or facts, spread deliberately to further one’s own cause or with the intention of causing damage to an opposing cause. Propaganda is commonly understood to involve any medium that strikes an illicit emotional reaction to one’s thoughts or views. It is a form of biased communication that is expressed through forms of art that do not always depict one set of thoughts in a clear way. A way to clearly stir the emotions of a populace and drive a one-sided opinion, propaganda has been a tool for the powerful to convince and push the less powerful towards a purpose.

The History of Propaganda

Although the term propaganda became common place in the United States during period of World War I, the concept has been used long since then. Some of the first to use propaganda for their own accords were the Greeks. Though the Greeks did not use propaganda as we know it now in print or movie depictions, they still used art to project their thoughts onto groups. Greeks could influence large groups of citizens and country men to their ways of thought through games, theater, assemblies, courts, and religious festivals.

After the invention of the printing press, leaders could now spread their ideas to the masses much more quickly. Philip II of Spain and Queen Elizabeth of England both used printed and written materials to organize their subjects during the Spanish Armada in the 16th century. To convince each individual nation that the other was at the aggressor, the leaders each participated in their own propaganda campaigns to distribute widespread dissent.

Newspapers during the Mexican American War sometimes took it upon themselves to influence articles and create articles that called for annexation of all Mexico by the United States. In some populations areas that were still controlled by Mexico, some U.S. writers would write or edit papers with the purpose of convincing the residents that the U.S. terms for peace should be accepted and that it was their best choice.

American Social and Political Issues Depicted Through Propaganda

America has been using propaganda in art for over a hundred years to drive the population towards a common thought. Often the premise dispensed by the government is centered toward an idea of Americanism or pride for the country over others. However, opposition for anyone in power had the same opportunity to use these same tactics through the wide distribution of newspapers and printing machines.

The Pyramid of the Capitalist System Created in 1911, The Pyramid of the Capitalist System, this cartoon directly criticized the worst parts of capitalism. As an American cartoon published, distributed and seen by many of those who were not on the top of the hierarchical capitalistic food chain, it brought to light a social issue that many were afraid to express before.

Liberty Loan Drive Promoting the purchase of war bonds during World War I was very important for the U.S. to keep the war machine driving forward and funded. The Liberty bond driving needing a boast and public attention used an ad that inspired people to purchase bonds. The ad was successful in driving funding and raised more than $17 billion.

Help Keep Your School All-American While the United States has bene a mixing pot, the issue of racism has been difficult to address. The poster, Help Keep Your School All-American, featuring Superman, one of the most popular figures with school children at the time of the ad spoke to changing a prevalently racist outlook of America at the time.

Women in the War This poster meant to drive women into the armed service. By featuring a woman working directly with a wartime device, it helped to inspire a feeling of comfortability with women serving at home and abroad.

We Can Do It Nearly everyone is familiar with “Rosie the Riverter”, but probably not everyone is familiar with her as a propaganda peace to inspire the U.S. wartime workforce. The posters produced of her were pivotal in swinging public opinion that a woman could work in a factory and outside the house to drive the wartime machine production. From 1940 to 1945 the percentage of female U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to 37 percent.

Daisy Girl Political campaign propaganda took a strong foothold during the middle of the 19th century. At a time when nearly everyone feared nuclear warfare, Lyndon B. Johnson played off this fear and created campaigns against his opposition’s controversial comments. Though the political ad, Daisy Girl, only aired once it was still instrumental in playing on the fears of the people to swing their opinion.

Go Tell Mama! I’m For Obama Even in present day terms, America is using propaganda to stir emotion and convince others of our thinking. Artist Ray Noland emphasized the idea of community in his Go Tell Mama! I’m For Obama, playing on the ideas and sentiments of a largely community organization that needed grassroots marketing to spread advertising.

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  1. Propaganda Posters Flashcards | Quizlet

    WW1 propaganda poster information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. Rosie the Riveter campaign to hire women to work in factories to increase production during the WW2 WW2 production

  2. Lesson 4 - Activity - Propaganda Posters Flashcards | Quizlet

    The poster targets women who are taking on traditional male roles, especially in manufacturing areas that support the war effort. What emotional appeal is made by the imagery of the poster? The poster wants the viewer to identify with the self-confident woman who is willing to do what it takes to help America win the war.

  3. Propaganda Flashcards | Quizlet

    Terms in this set (16) What is propaganda? Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation aimed at serving an agenda. At its root, the denotation of propaganda is to propagate (actively spread) a philosophy or point of view. What is the most common usage of propaganda? What would governments use propaganda for? Why were posters mainly ...

  4. How to interpret propaganda posters - History Skills

    Propaganda Posters guilt (e.g., making the audience feel like they have failed), patriotism (e.g., appealing to the love of their country), fear (e.g., that if they don't act, something bad will happen), or shame (e.g., that they are weak, cowardly or selfish). Who or what is represented by the stereotypes and symbols?

  5. You're the Author: WWI Propaganda Creation Project

    After students have had time to examine the posters, the class will discuss propaganda What does propaganda mean? Propaganda is information that is spread for the purpose of promoting a cause or belief. During WWI, posters were used to Recruit men to join the army Recruit women to work in the factories and in the Women’s Land Army

  6. Analyzing Structure and Purpose of Propaganda | EasyBib

    Propaganda posters often appeal to emotion over logic. They do this by using popular images of home or nation, vibrant colors, and large fonts to convey simple, direct commands or statements. Older broadsides often contain more writing, in smaller font, partially because these posters were encountered up close. Propaganda Poster Example

  7. What is the purpose of a propaganda poster? – WisdomAnswer

    Propaganda is defined as a communication whose purpose is to influence the attitudes of a community or a group of people for a cause, position or simply for the benefits of one’s self or one’s group. In its defence, the most basic purpose of propaganda is to persuade people by providing distorting information. What are some methods of propaganda?

  8. History of American Propaganda Posters: American Social ...

    A way to clearly stir the emotions of a populace and drive a one-sided opinion, propaganda has been a tool for the powerful to convince and push the less powerful towards a purpose. The History of Propaganda. Although the term propaganda became common place in the United States during period of World War I, the concept has been used long since ...