Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Mobilizing For War:
Poster Art of World War II


Enlisting the public's active contributions to the war effort went beyond urging them to take a war job, to pay their taxes and buy bonds, and to salvage materials that would be needed to wage the war. Citizens also were reminded that they played a direct role in the defense of the home front.

A Gallup poll in December 1941 found that half of the population expected air attacks. Civilian defense volunteers scanned the skies for enemy planes and organized neighborhood safety patrols.

By the summer of 1942 more than 10 million people volunteered to help with this home front effort. And all citizens - but particularly those who worked in war-related industries - were constantly warned not to talk about their work or news they had heard from their relatives on the fighting fronts for fear that enemy sympathizers or spies would relay that vital information to the Axis powers. Posters everywhere reminded citizens that "loose talk sinks ships" and that "careless words create needless losses."