War time poster propaganda provides important documentary evidence of the context in which the internment of Japanese Americans occurred. The stereotypes and emotions to which the posters appealed and encouraged will help you understand how this event was possible.
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To Start You Thinking -

  • Poster propaganda relies heavily on the use of stereotype, emotion, and symbols as you can clearly see in the examples above. Select three of the posters to examine in detail and address the following questions for each:

    What are the main colors used in the poster?

    List the symbols (if any) that are used in the poster and identify the meaning of each.

    Are the messages in the poster primarily visual, verbal, or both?

    Who do you think is the intended audience for the poster?

    What does the government hope the audience will do?

    What government purpose(s) is served by the poster?


questions adapted from "Poster Analysis Worksheet," a part of the lesson materials in Teaching With Documents:Powers of Persuasion - Poster Art of World War II, in The National Archives Educators and Students Collection.
Last modified in July, 2008 by Rick Thomas