Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

You're the Author: WWI Propaganda Creation Project
Lindsay Kingsolver
US History
Time Frame:
3 class periods
World War I

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

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.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

9-12.AH.3.CC.B - Evaluate the motivations for United States’ entry into WWI.
â�� 9-12.AH.3.PC.D - Assess the impact of WWI related events, on the formation of “patriotic” groups,
pacifist organizations, and the struggles for and against racial equality, and diverging women’s roles
in the United States.

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

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

Full description of activity or assignment.

� 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
� Students will pay close attention to:
� Message/theme
� Effectiveness
� Slogans
� Colors
� Author/organization
� 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
� During WWI, posters were used to
� Recruit men to join the army
â�� Recruit women to work in the factories and in the Women’s Land Army
� Encourage people to save food and not to waste it
� Keep morale high and encourage people to buy government bonds
� 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
� Students will continue working to create their propaganda posters
� 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:
� Message/theme
� Effectiveness
� Slogans
� Colors

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

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
â�� 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
� Assessment rubric