Posters and Propaganda

Propaganda is Poster: "One by One, His Legs Will be Broken"information used to persuade a group of people or to promote a cause or idea.

Propaganda has always been crucial during periods of war. During WWII, the Wartime Information Board brought news to Canadians. Public opinion polls were used to determine information strategies and government employees, private sector companies and individuals generated poster artwork, text, and film to keep citizens up-to-date on the home front and abroad.

Posters became an effective means of communication. They could be produced at low cost, printed in different sizes and displayed on billboards, in shop windows, theatres, buses, streetcars, workplaces, even on matchbox covers, and produced from a few hundred to tens of thousands.

Poster Designers

Poster designed by A. J. CassonPoster designers included anonymous graphic artists as well as noted Canadian painters like Group of Seven member, A.J. Casson . In the United States, the well-known illustrator, Norman Rockwell made a series of four paintings illustrating the "Four Freedoms" that were widely reproduced and collected.

Many posters drew upon popular advertising and commercial art styles using realistic renderings of people and settings. Others were more stylized with Cubism geometric motifs. The design vocabulary of many poster artists was influenced by artists, architects, and designers who left Europe at the outbreak of war for North America.Posters Designed by Norman Rockwell

Promoting a Common Purpose

On the home front, the war effort included production of weapons, airplanes, food and other materials with over one million Canadian men and women employed in war industries. Posters helped to mobilize the workforce and promote a common purpose. During WWI, posters were used to sell victory bonds and war savings stamps. The cash sale of victory bonds during the WWII totalled billions of dollars, owed largely to poster campaigns. Financial support of the war and calls for increased production and labour were important messages conveyed by propaganda posters. Canadians responded and their efforts contributed to winning the war for the country and its allies.

Poster: "Save Waste Paper"

Poster: "When you ride ALONE you ride with Hitler!"

Posert: "Buy Victory Bonds" 

Exhibition Areas

Select a link below to learn about this online exhibition: