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The Visual Image of the Enemy
You might want to discuss with students the importance of symbols in propaganda. Have them look for clues that will help them decipher the symbolism in the cartoon. Lady Liberty is an example. It is also a good opportunity to discuss the importance of "the enemy" in times of conflict. Even today, the enemy is usually characterized as something other than human. Usually only the victims remain pictured as being human and needing protection, much like Lady Liberty in this picture.
Point out to students that print propaganda such as this was much more important prior to the age of television.
The United States did not immediately enter World War I. Concerned with getting entangled in European problems, some U.S. citizens needed great persuasion to dedicate themselves to making the world "safe for democracy." Protests against entering the war were most strongly heard in the nation's heartland. In an attempt to prepare the nation for war, the federal government used propaganda to encourage reluctant citizens to join its efforts. The U.S. Army distributed this poster to encourage Americans to join the war effort.
- What did the text of the poster ask people to do? Given the time period, which people do you think they had in mind?
- What did "This Mad Brute" represent? How can you tell?
- What did the lady he is carrying represent?
- Do you think that this approach to get people to enlist in the U.S. Army was successful? Justify your answer
- Can you describe any propaganda you might remember from the Persian Gulf War? What impact, if any, did that war have on you or your family?
Libary of Congress Collection
- The Great War
This site was designed to accompany the PBS series and includes an interactive time line, maps, locations, and interviews about World War I.
- The Gulf War
This is a great multimedia site about the topic.